Designer lamps for Kalipuja and Diwali came into vogue some years ago, replacing the traditional earthen lamps filled with oil. This year, however, cheap but effective electronic lamps are in demand. People are thronging shops to buy the “Made in China” lamps. A shopkeeper said the demand has been on the rise since last year. “This year, it seems even higher,” he said. But why have people shifted from the traditional lamps? “It is less costly and less cumbersome. We save on oil and the lamps do not burn out or are put off by strong winds. What’s more, this is a one-time buy and can be used in all occasions to decorate the home,” said a customer.
Though it dealt with some serious issues including the party’s national poll programme, the recently held CPM Central Committee meeting failed to get the undivided attention of the party members. The bigwigs who attended the morning to evening sessions at Alimuddin Street were often seen on their cellphones ¿ even when the party’s Delhi-based leaders were speaking. On two occasions, the conversations stretched for nothing less than 15 minutes. “We have a whole lot of important things to do and the meetings go on and on till late evening everyday,” remonstrated a senior party member, “we just have to take an unauthorised break”.
The recent arrest of a Bangladeshi criminal in the city has put the police on the alert — so much so that ordinary Bangladeshi tourists are facing a tough time. The problem came to the fore at one of the Central Kolkata police stations, where a Bangladeshi citizen had come for help. The man, who had his pocket picked near New Market, only wanted to lodge a complaint. But he found himself facing a battery of questions. After an hour of grilling, the man decided to give up and call it a day. “Your never know who’s who. He may be a Bangladeshi criminal hiding here, you know,” said a policeman at the station by way of explanation.
Money has always been the one factor that united people with varying ideologies. This came to the forefront again in Singur, where cutting across party lines, people demanded that the Tatas come back. The pro-Nano lobby includes the so-called syndicate engaged in supplying materials to the Tata plant and some Trinamool and Congress supporters who were seen in Save Farmland rallies. Now, all are to be found at the temporary dharna manch set up by the Save Nano Committee. All have bills that the Tatas or the ancillary industries are yet to pay. “There is no other way to get our money back,” said a contractor reportedly close to the local Trinamool leadership. The suppliers hope that even if the Tatas do not set up a factory in Singur, the agitation should at least help them get their dues.
Sweet and sour
It is well documented that the sacked Jet Airways employees had led the CITU procession at the Dum Dum airport to demand reinduction. What is not so well known is the arrangement CITU leaders had made to coax them to join CITU victory rally after the reinstatement. An array of sweets had been laid out to help Jet employees celebrate. For the record, the employees did gather at the CITU office, had the sweets, but implored CITU leader Dipankar Ghosh to let them go as the management had asked them to give the party a miss.