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Two Kolkata-based companies under scanner for buying Mamata Banerjee’s paintings

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate have pinned down two Kolkata-based firms because of their dubious balance sheets. The two companies despite having minimal profits, as displayed in their balance sheets, have spent crores for buying paintings drawn by West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

One of the companies has its office a British India Street while the other is located on Camac Street in Kolkata.

According to a news report, the balance sheet of British India Street firm shows a total earning of Rs 36,000 in 2009-10 and 2010-11. However, despite the meager income the firm invested Rs 2.31 crore to buy at least nine paintings, reportedly drawn by Mamata Banerjee, before assembly elections.

Reportedly the other company shows an income of Rs 33,000, but spent Rs 2 crore on two paintings, reported the Times of India.

The investigators probing the case are trying to determine whether the bank accounts of the two companies became inactive immediately after the elections were over.

TOI reported an officer as saying, “It is possible that they may have posted bigger profits later but unless the company produces those account sheets, the probe will continue.”

Based on the recorded statements, the investigators have found out that the British India Street office has not been opened in months.

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The Wrath Of Amphan Cyclone In India

Cyclone Amphan exposes Eastern India; Odisha and West Bengal to serious damage and devastation

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Amphan Cyclone
A satellite view of Cyclone Amphan on May 19, 2020. PC: Weathernerds.org

BY Varuni Trivedi
Odisha and West Bengal were left in shambles as Cyclone Amphan left only doom and devastation behind. Torrential rains and winds gusting up to 185 kph on Wednesday, affected 4.5 million people across 1,500 villages in Odisha, and claimed the lives of 72 people in West Bengal leaving many homeless and devastated.

Both the states suffered widespread destruction of homes, crops, and infrastructure. Many people were crushed by falling trees and electrocuted by power lines. Horrific images of destruction came from both states showing uprooted trees and electricity poles catching fire. Amidst a global pandemic that had already taken a toll on people the ‘normal life’ in these states is paralyzed for millions. Both Orissa and West Bengal currently lay in the aftermath of a destructive cyclone for which they weren’t prepared.

The worst-hit in this scenario are the small scale industries and infrastructure which wiped out leaving lakhs of people homeless. It devastated coastal villages knocking down mud houses and temporary shelters and flooding many areas. In the WB capital Kolkata, the streets are still flooded while phone and internet services have still not been restored completely. Officials say that the extent of destruction caused is yet to be determined. The loss of dwellings and crops, which has struck people amid two months of a nationwide lockdown that has left millions of Indians without an income and in a terrible shock.

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People struggling to get past an uprooted tree struck by Aphan cyclone. PC: IndianExpress

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said she was “shocked” to see such a massive disaster. She further stated that she had never seen anything like this before and the cyclone is worse than the coronavirus. She stressed the cyclone’s “unexpected scale” and has urged great support from the center. Today PM Modi along with CM Banerjee took an aerial survey of the cyclone areas.

The Prime Minister has assured all sorts of assistance to West Bengal and will be ensuring that the relief money is credited directly to the account of the beneficiaries. PM Modi conducted an aerial survey of areas affected by Cyclone Amphan in Odisha as well, accompanied by CM Naveen Patnaik and Guv Ganeshi Lal. Financial assistance of Rs 500 Cr has been announced for the state. Ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to next of kin of deceased whereas Rs 50,000 to seriously injured has also been announced.

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PM Modi along with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in an aerial survey of Cyclone hit areas. PC: PTI

The eastern coastal States during the storm season every year face the wrath of nature as the unpreparedness of the states exposes the citizens to these calamities. The cyclone’s disastrous effects were anticipated, but even with reliable forecasts and preparatory moves by the National and State Disaster Response Force units, the impact was devastating and catastrophic. The loss of life and damage to livelihoods is still significantly irreparable in many parts.

Also Read: ICC Publishes Guidelines for Safe Resumption of Cricket

This has become an even more challenging situation as the nation is amid a lockdown and faces serious issues battling the COVID-19 Pandemic. Whereas it can be said that the battle against the virus may yet be won sooner or later, India must strengthen its disaster management especially in areas like Orissa and West Bengal which experience the wrath of such natural calamities almost every year. For a never-ending cycle of storms along its coastline, India needs better preparedness so that livelihood of people may be protected if not saved completely.

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Pandemic, Pandemonium and Booze 

Lockdown 3.0 sees long queues as liquor shops across the nation open

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People queue up to get alcohol amid lockdown across the country, Pixabay

By Varuni Trivedi

Monday, saw a nationwide brawl and chaos as the government relaxed the stringent lockdown. Serpentine queues outside liquor shops were a common sight as men and women flocked to stock up on booze amidst the third phase of lockdown. While the central government has issued clear guidelines on social distancing, it was adhered to in some places while others saw complete chaos. Some states have reported a high excise earning as the liquor sales soared high after relaxations.

As the Delhi government on Sunday announced implementing the latest lockdown relaxations suggested by Union Ministry of Home Affairs around 150 liquor shops located outside the coronavirus containment zones opened on Monday. To get their hands on booze people flouted social distancing norms, a liquor shop in New Delhi’s Malviya Nagar saw more than a hundred people lined up,  the Police were called to take charge of the situation. Many other cities saw a similar scenario, people had gathered outside shops as early as 6 am in the morning. In some places the situation got out of control and shops were shut by the owners before the set time. However, the sale of liquor in malls, restaurants and permit rooms is still prohibited across the nation during lockdown 3.0.

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Liquor sales soared on Monday amidst lockdown relaxation. Pixabay

Social distancing went down the gutters in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata too as people were seen in queues as long as 1 to 2kms outside liquor shops. In some cities, the Police had to resort to mild lathi-charge in order to get a hold of the situation. However, interestingly enough at some shops in Bengaluru staffers were seen thermal screening the customers in fear of COVID-19 spread. In UP’s Mirzapur a shopkeeper was seen showering petals on his customer.

According to the excise department Uttar Pradesh recorded a sale of over 100 crores on Monday itself, the Principal Secretary, Excise, Sanjay Bhoosreddy said: “I don’t think there would be any single industry with just less than one lakh workforce that gives ₹100 crore revenue (to the state exchequer) in a day”. Likewise, Karnataka’s excise department released a statement estimating the value of liquor sales on the first day to be around 450 million rupees. Mahasamund district’s women in Chhattisgarh staged a protest against the liquor shops opening condemning the government’s decision. Other places however saw a considerable number of women outside liquor shops. 

Also Read: Celebrities Across Country Question the Decision to Open Liquor Shops

The country saw a bittersweet situation where on one side the uncontainable happiness on the faces of customers was unmatchable while on the other side social distancing norms were flouted and the Police faced a tough time in managing the crowds. A lot of places witnessed utter chaos which led the owners to shut down the shops before time.

 

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Foodies Must Try These Dishes from the Streets of Kolkata

Here are 5 must try dishes from the streets of Kolkata

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Here are the dishes from the streets of Kolkata that foodies would not want to miss. Wikimedia Commons

BY PUJA GUPTA

When you think about Bengali food, you will have a veritable carnival of sweet treats and seafood dishes parading through your mind. While roaming the streets of Kolkata, you will drool at all the delicacies; thats the Kolkata street food scene for you. Every true Bengali food lover has their recommendations or will suggest some must-try street food. But there are a few places which foodies agree you have to try!

Chef Ananya Banerjee, the owner of LAB studio, who hails from West Bengal, lists the top five must-try food items from the streets of Kolkata:

(1) Kathi-roll:The Kathi-roll of Bengal is a famous Mughlai influenced dish. The dish comprises of mutton and chicken rolls, spiced with fresh lemon juice, finely chopped green chilies, red onions and salt and is served as a roll in an egg paratha. Simply mouth-watering!

(2) Jhal Muri: This Bengali take on Chaat, distinguishes itself with the use of mustard oil or paste. This pungent treat is a must-have for a tete-a-tete over tea!

(3) Kobiraji Cutlet: “Kobiraji”, is a juicy cutlet, usually made with prawn coated with a lacy fried egg on outside. “When I was young, I remember going down to the Shyam Bazar- crossing for evening walks with my grandfather. After our walk, we would regularly eat prawn- Kobiraji from a food stall called Allen’s Kitchen. This tiny place has been serving the delicacy for more than 80 years,” says Banerjee.

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Jhal Muri is a Bengali chat that is loved by all foodies. Wikimedia Commons

(4) Moghlai Porota: This is surely not for the faint-hearted! It’s a flaky, crispy porota (parantha) stuffed with mutton mince and eggs. Have one and it will keep your tummy full for the rest of the day! The Anadi-Cabin, a restaurant on Dharmatala streets in Kolkata, is one of the pioneers in making “Mughlai-porota”.

Also Read- The Best Destinations for a Perfect Travel Experience

(5) Macher Chop: Among the many influences that the British gave us in their 200-year reign, the “chop” preparation is very popular. You go anywhere in the world, the word “chop” usually means “cut-of-a-meat”. However, in Bengal, it typically means fish, meat or vegetables, crumb-fried. You will typically get a whiff of that appetizing aroma, from the local roadside snack counters every evening around 5 pm.

It’s barely a preface into the sheer delights Bengali cuisine has to offer, but this must-try is enough to get you hooked! (IANS)