Containment zone at Park Street in Kolkata

Amid prevalent chaos and uncertainty over access to the essential services and commodities during the lockdown, we bring you the latest updates from your city.
*Chicken rate, that has been on a roller-coaster ride since the lockdown began, touched Rs 250 on Monday and mutton sold at a phenomenal Rs 800 a kg.
*While the spiralling of mutton price has been blamed on back-to-back disasters — first the Covid-inflicted lockdown and then Amphan — the surge in chicken price is due to the death of a large number of birds in the storm, traders say.
*Kolkata’s containment list now has 286 zones, 19 more than the earlier list.
*Kolkata containment list, unlike that of Salt Lake, is not graded along the green, orange and red zones. Mapping Kolkata into orange and green zones has been delayed as the Kolkata Police is focused on mitigating the impact of Cyclone Amphan, sources said.
*According to an earlier state notification, Kolkata has allowed shops and retailers to resume business in green zones from May 21. From May 27, more exemptions will be in place, including for autos and hawkers. These, according to plans, will be allowed in orange and green zones.



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KOLKATA: Flyers, who arrive in Kolkata airport with sore throat, fever or shortness of breath — all symptoms of Covid-19 — will be taken to the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in New Town for swab test and health assessment before being either allowed to go with the advice of self-isolation or home quarantine, or be admitted to the health facility for treatment.
The revival of domestic flights was postponed from Monday to Thursday following a request to the civil aviation ministry by the state home department. Also, the number of flights have been majorly curtailed. While a third of pre-Covid services were supposed to be back in air, the services will resume with only 10 flights (10 departures and 10 arrivals).
Amidst confusion among passengers on whether taking a flight to Kolkata will mean getting quarantined, the Bengal health department clarified that those who do not display Covid symptoms will be allowed to proceed to their destination with an advice to self-monitor their health for 14 days. In case they develop symptoms, they will need to dial the state call centre.
Symptomatic flyers will, however, be transported to the CNCI unit in New Town that is both Covid treatment and a quarantine facility. There, swab tests will be done. Thereafter, doctors will assess if the symptoms are mild, moderate or severe. Those displaying mild symptoms will be released and advised self-isolation. The rest will be admitted to the Covid facility.
“All arriving passengers will be required to declare their recent travel history, symptoms, address in Kolkata and contact number so that follow up checks can be carried out. This form has to be submitted after they undergo thermal scan,” a health official at the airport said.
During departure, only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the flight. Everyone will be required to wear a mask and follow hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette while maintaining social-distancing norms.
Airport officials have warned that the procedures, both during departure and arrival, will take time. “Departing passengers should arrive three hours before the flight. Check-in counters will close an hour before departure. On arrival too, the formalities will take time and passengers may be able to walk out 45-60 minutes after landing,” an airport official said.
“The sale of the middle seat is puzzling. How will flyers maintain social distancing in a 2.5-3 hour fight when there are people seated next to you on both sides? Many travellers aren’t comfortable with the idea,” said Travel Agents’ Federation of India chairman (east) Anil Punjabi.



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West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh addresses the media outside NSCBI airport in Kolkata. (PTI Photo)

KOLKATA: Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Monday asked the state government to stop playing the “blame game” and act to get the state back on its feet, days before an MHA team comes to Bengal to make a damage assessment of Cyclone Amphan.
“People in the city are suffering for the last five days. They are left to fend for themselves without drinking water and electricity. The government is turning its back on the problem and making CESC the scapegoat,” he said.
Ghosh also expressed doubts over the utilisation of disaster funds. “We want to visit affected areas and find out if victims are getting support. But the chief minister isn’t allowing us to reach out to those areas. The Centre released Rs 1,339 crore for Aila-affected areas in 2009, when Left Front was in power. Mamata Banerjee formed the government in 2011. This government has submitted utilisation certificates for work amounting to Rs 525 crore only. Utilisation certificates for Rs 814 crore are pending. A major portion of this fund is related to embankment repair. We have urged the Centre to make direct cash transfers to victims as far as possible,” he said.
“What is the guarantee that the state will properly utilise central funds when the CM has claimed that Amphan damage in the state amounts to more than Rs 1 lakh crore,” he added.
Ghosh cited incidents of the nurse agitation at KPC Ray Hospital in Jadavpur and police unrest at Garfa police station to target the CM on the administration front. “Why are all these happening? A few days ago, a block development officer from Tapan in Dakshin Dinajpur died on way to a hospital in Siliguri because the administration couldn’t provide treatment in Dinajpur or Malda,” Ghosh said.



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Representative image

KOLKATA: Prices of chicken and mutton — the two principal sources of protein for non-vegetarians — have hit all-time highs in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan. Chicken rate, that has been on a roller-coaster ride since the lockdown began, touched Rs 250 on Monday and mutton sold at a phenomenal Rs 800 a kg. Retailers claimed the two will remain dear till the effects of the cyclone die down and supply normalises.
While the spiralling of mutton price has been blamed on back-to-back disasters — first the Covid-inflicted lockdown and then Amphan — the surge in chicken price is due to the death of a large number of birds in the storm, traders say.
“Our preliminary assessment is that 75 lakh mature birds were killed by the cyclone,” said Madan Mohan Maity, secretary of West Bengal Poultry Foundation
With a majority of poultry farms in North and South 24 Parganas and Hooghly still shut after the Amphan devastation, procuring poultry products has become extremely difficult. Besides, blocked roads are preventing vehicles with poultry products from reaching markets. Retailers say, all these factors together have pushed the price of dressed chicken up.
“The majority of the farms are still shut and the losses are mounting. The price of chicken may soar further due to the widening demand-supply gap,” said Rashid Khan, a wholesaler at New Market, even though the WBPF on Monday fixed the retail price of chicken at Rs 240 for the benefit of buyers in the lead-up to Jamai Sasthi this Thursday.
For mutton lovers, the good news is that with lockdown restrictions easing, prices could slide once the state borders are opened next month. Most goats butchered in Kolkata are brought from Uttar Pradesh and other parts of north India.
“Prior to the lockdown, we had been selling meat at Rs 640 per kg. With the state borders sealed, the supply of goats from the hubs stopped and prices soared since we had to depend on depleted local supply. At one point, with no supply, we had to close our shops. When we came back to business at the end of lockdown 3, the local supply was so low that we had to sell it at a premium. But prices will come down once the state borders are opened,” said Seraj Qureshi of Kohinoor meat shop at Beckbagan.
Abdul Hamid of Standard Meat Shop in Behala, who has been selling mutton at Rs 800, said sales had taken a hit even in the middle of Eid celebrations. “We realize that the prices are so high, it has become unaffordable for many. The supply is low and we are buying goats at such hefty prices that we can’t help but sell at this price,” Hamid said.
“I had planned on buying mutton this Sunday but the price forced me to back off and settle for chicken,” said Sujit Mondal, a resident of Behala Thakurpukur.
Raziq Qureshi of Bengal Meat shop in Belgachhia hoped prices will come down soon. “At some places, like ours, prices are already coming down because of availability of goats from Bashirhat and Duttapukur areas. The cyclone had caused a sudden gap in supply but it has resumed from Monday. Once the state borders are opened after lockdown 4, there would be such an influx of supply that the prices could slide below Rs 700 again,” said Qureshi, who sold mutton at Rs. 780 on Monday.



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