Cash-strapped Jet Airways cuts more domestic flights

Cash-strapped Jet Airways cuts more domestic flights

After pulling out of Abu Dhabi, Manchester and Hong Kong over the past 48 hours, Cash-strapped Jet Airways on Thursday slashed its domestic schedule by cutting departures from Delhi to all metro cities, except Mumbai.

A look at the schedules from Delhi showed that, on Thursday, there were no domestic departures to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. The cash-strapped airline has also stopped accepting bookings for the Mumbai-Hong Kong flight beyond March 22. The Delhi-Hong Kong service was cancelled overnight.

The Naresh Goyal-led Jet is facing its worst financial crisis, with debt exceeding $1 billion. The carrier, which is struggling to stay aloft, has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, and aircraft lessors — resulting in some of them moving to terminate lease deals and take back their aircraft.

Critical period: The Naresh Goyal-led Jet Airways is facing its worst financial crisis, with debt exceeding $1 billio

Data available showed that the Manchester-Mumbai route, which was being operated by an Airbus A330-200, is shutting down indefinitely, indicating lessors had grounded the aircraft.

Domestic flights

On Thursday, Jet cancelled 73 of its 117 departures from Mumbai. Similarly, in Delhi it operated only 31 of the 106 published departures.

Of the 31 flights from Delhi, 20 were operated using Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Of these, 7 were to Mumbai, 3 to Amritsar, 2 to Kathmandu, 2 to Dehradun and one each to Pune, Dhaka, Kochi, Srinagar, Singapore and Bangkok. “Flights to Bhopal, Udaipur, Chandigarh, Jaipur, etc. were operated using the ATR 72-500 fleet,” an airline official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

From Bengaluru, Jet operated only 3 flights: one each to Mumbai, Delhi and Amsterdam. “We have cancelled 26 flights out of Bengaluru,” the official said.

At Chennai, 16 departures were cancelled. Of the four flights that operated, 3 were to Mumbai and one to Paris. From Hyderabad, two flights were operated to Mumbai, compared with the 6 departures it normally operates. In Kolkata, 8 out of 10 departures were cancelled, with just one each to Guwahati and Mumbai taking off.

Flights to airports like Mangalore, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhuj, Coimbatore were not being operated, data showed.

Jet’s services to Amsterdam, Paris and London have not been hit. All flights are available for booking through the entire schedule and are operating normally.

The airline is also operating 3 daily flights on the Mumbai-London Heathrow sector and one daily flight on the Delhi-London Heathrow route. These too are available for bookings. “Jet Airways owns 10 Boeing 777-300ER, so the impact on flights to Europe will be minimum,” another official said, declining to be identified.

Engineers’ union

“Amidst all the commotion, this message is to appreciate each one of you who is continuously complying with all the regulations, civil aviation requirements, manufacturer’s approved manuals, company rules and standard procedures, unfazed by the developments around you,” Amit Kelkar, Vice President, Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers’ Welfare Association (JAMEWA), wrote to the airline’s engineers.

“While the JAMEWA committee is in talks with the management on the issue of disbursal of our salaries, let’s all collectively live up to this challenge and continue to maintain our professionalism by delivering safe airplanes for our esteemed guests throughout the network, within India and across the globe, the way we have been always doing,” Mr. Kelkar wrote.

MUMBAI, MARCH 21, 2019

Mrinal Sen, a veteran filmmaker passes away

Mrinal Sen, a veteran filmmaker passes away

Mrinal Sen, one of the towering figures of Indian cinema, passed away on Sunday morning at his south Kolkata residence. He was suffering from age-related ailments and suffered a heart attack at 10.30 am. He was 95.

Film director Mrinal Sen.
Film director Mrinal Sen.

The body will be kept at a moratorium in the city till his son Kunal Sen returns from abroad.

Last of the triumvirate of legendary filmmakers from West Bengal comprising Satyajit Ray and Ritwick Ghtatak, Mrinal Sen was recipient of various award including Dada Saheb Phalke award in 2005.

The auteur, who has won multiple National Film awards, was known for his artistic depiction of social reality.

Born at Faridpur now in Bangladesh, his first film was Raat Bhore in 1956. He was heavily influenced by French New Wave cinema. Some of his well known works include Aakash Kusum (1965), Bhuvan Shome (1969), Calcutta 71 and Interview (1971), Khandhar (1974), Chorus (1975), Mrigaya (1977), Akaler Sandhane (1981) and Ek Din Achanak (1989). Aamar Bhuwan (2002) was his last feature film.

Veteran actor Soumitra Chattarjee spoke about 60 years of association with the filmmaker and said that his death has left a huge void in Bengali cinema.

Director Aparna Sen, who featured in three of his films said he enjoyed his own work and this would come out in his cinema. “Saddened at the passing away of Mrinal  Sen. A great loss to the film industry. My condolences to his family,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.

CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury also remembered the filmmaker for his humanistic narrative. “Mrinal Sen’s passing away is a big loss not only to Cinema but to the world of Culture & India’s civilisational values. Mrinal da radicalised cinematography by his people-centric humanistic narrative. Deepest condolences,” he wrote.


IndiGo cancels 47 flights with faulty engines

IndiGo cancels 47 flights after DGCA grounds planes with faulty engines

Budget carrier IndiGo has cancelled as many as 47 flights on 13 March, 2018 after the country’s aviation regulator DGCA grounded its eight A320Neo planes with faulty Pratt & Whitney engines, along with three such aircraft of GoAir.

IndiGo has cancelled 47 flights across its domestic network on March 13, the airline announced on its website. The flights that have been cancelled are from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Patna, Srinagar, Bhubaneswar, Amritsar, Srinagar and Guwahati, among others.

IndiGoThe Directorate General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA) cracked the whip after an IndiGo flight bound for Lucknow returned to Ahmedabad within 40 minutes of its getting airborne due to a mid-air engine failure on Monday.

Three other IndiGo A320Neo planes have been on the ground since February following similar engine problems.

Citing safety of aircraft operations, the Director of the DGCA, in the March 12 order, said that A320 Neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect. Three other IndiGo A320Neo planes have been on the ground since February following similar engine problems.

IndiGo has cancelled 47 flights across its domestic network on March 13, the airline announced on its website. The flights that have been cancelled are from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Patna, Srinagar, Bhubaneswar, Amritsar, Srinagar and Guwahati, among others. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA) cracked the whip after an IndiGo flight bound for Lucknow returned to Ahmedabad within 40 minutes of its getting airborne due to a mid-air engine failure on Monday.

On Monday, hundreds of passengers were stranded across the country as dozens of flights were cancelled by IndiGo and GoAir following the grounding of 11 planes. IndiGo operates about 1,000 flights daily.

IndiGo carries about 40 per cent of domestic flyers, while GoAir has a market share of around 10 per cent.

– PTI, 13 March, 2018

During Chaitra Yatra Lakhs of devotees expected to throng Tara Tarini Hill shrine

During Chaitra Yatra Lakhs of devotees expected to throng Tara Tarini Hill shrine

 Hill shrine to be made polythene free this year

Devotees to the shrine will be asked to refrain from bringing bags to the temple

Like previous years, Lakhs of devotees are expected to throng the Tara Tarini hill shrine on famous Tuesdays During Chaitra Yatra festival. During that time the hill shrine would be made completely polythene free. The  Chaitra Yatra on this Month is celebrated on all Tuesdays of the Hindu month of Chaitra and these days are very famous among the devotees of Adi Shakti. This year the festival would be celebrated at the famous hill shrine on five Tuesdays that fall on March 14, 21, 28 as well as April 4 and 11.

Noteworthy, Tara Tarini is the second highest visited Religious destination in Odisha after Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri. It also caught national attention when Government of India named a Ship of Indian Navy on the name of this famous Shakti peetha recently and for the first time Modi government recognized it’s ancient presence as the famous goddesses of Sea Traders on the Kalinga coast.

Tara Tarini Shakti Peetha on the Purnagiri (Also known as Ratnagiri, Kumari hills, Parvata, Tarakashya Mahagiri in different periods of time in different Texts and Jatakas) at the bank of the holy River Rushikulya near Brahmapur city in Ganjam District, Odisha, India is worshiped as the Breast Shrine (Sthana Peetha) and manifestations of Adi Shakti. The Tara Tarini Shakti Peetha is one of the oldest pilgrimage centers of the Mother Goddess and is one of four major ancient Tantra Peetha and Shakti Peethas in India.

Tarini Ship

The mythological and Tantric texts recognize four major Shakti Peethas: Tara Tarini (Stana Khanda), near Brahmapur; Odisha, Bimala (Pada Khanda) inside the Jagannath Temple, Puri; Odisha, Kamakhya (Yoni khanda), near Guwahati; Assam and Dakshina Kalika (Mukha khanda) in Kolkata, West Bengal. Including these four there are 52 other sacred Shakti Peethas, which originated from the limbs of Mata Sati‘s corpse in the Satya Yuga.

As per the information, cleaning up of the hill shrine ahead of the Chaitra festival was formally started on Wednesday. Senior officials of district administration, including the district collector and authorities of the Tara Tarini Development Board (TTDB), took part in the cleaning process.

Cleaning of the hill shrine was started from the foothill and in the coming days the whole hill is expected to be cleaned up. TTDB secretary Pramod Panda said it has been decided to make the hill shrine completely polythene-free during the festival.

During Chaitra, TaraAll shops at the foothill and the hilltop have been informed about the perils of polythene use. All visitors to the hill shrine would also be requested to refrain from throwing polythene bags and other non-biodegradable materials in the hill shrine region. The local tehsildar has been tasked to ensure minimal use of polythene at the hill shrine.

During Tuesdays of the Chaitra festival, ten buses would be provided by TTDB for transportation of devotees to the hilltop through the ghat road. Ticket for the to-and-fro journey would be ₹ 50 per passenger. Except for these buses and a few vehicles used for official purposes, no other vehicle would be allowed to travel to the hilltop.

This is being done to avoid traffic congestion on the ghat road during the festival days. A Ropeway and traditional steps also lead to the top of the hill shrine.

It has also been decided that the irrigation department would release some water from the barrages in the Surada area so that the Rushikulya river at the foothill contains adequate water for the bathing of the devotees on Tuesdays of the Chaitra festival. On these days, three temporary medical centres would be opened at Tara Tarini.


Rose Valley scam: BJP office attacked in Kolkata

Rose Valley scam: BJP office attacked in Kolkata after TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s arrest

Rose Valley scam: BJP office attacked in Kolkata after TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay's arrest

Hours after CBI on Tuesday arrested Trinamool Congress parliamentary party leader in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay in connection with the alleged Rose Valley chit fund scam, the BJP office was attacked in Kolkata.

Stones were thrown at the party headquarters.

As per ANI, the attack was carried out by TMC students’ wing.

The Twitter account of BJP West Bengal said that many party workers had been injured in the attack by ‘TMC goons’.

Bandopadhyay, who arrived at the CBI office here today at around 11 am, was interrogated by CBI, after which he was arrested.

The TMC MP had been summoned thrice earlier by the investigation agency.

His arrest in the alleged Rose Valley scam came close on the heels of the arrest of another TMC MP Tapas Pal on Friday.

Paul, an actor-turned-politician, is now in the CBI custody in Bhubaneshwar.

-January 3, 2017, Kolkata


Cabinet approves establishment of an IIM at Jammu

Cabinet approves establishment of an Indian Institute of Management at Jammu

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the establishment and internationalization of Indian Institute of Management, IIM at Jammu in a transit/temporary campus at Old Government College of Engineering & Technology from the Academic Year 2016-17.

IIM at Jammu 

The project will involve a cost of Rs.61.90 crore in temporary campus for the initial four years from 2016 to 2020. The student strength intake for this year in the Post Graduate Diploma Programme (PGDP) in Management is 54 which will progressively go up to a cumulative student strength of 120 in the 4th year. Meanwhile, steps would also be taken up for setting up campus at Jammu and an out-campus in Kashmir region. The Detailed Project Report for the permanent campuses is under preparation and thereafter the process for setting up of the campuses would start.

The Cabinet also approved formation of an IIM Jammu Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. IIM Jammu will be run and managed by the Society with a Board of Governors (BOGs) to be constituted by the Government of India, which will administer the Institute and would be responsible for establishment and internationalization of the Institute.

This is a part of Prime Minister’s development package for Jammu & Kashmir. The Institute coupled with opening of IIT at Jammu, modernization of NIT Srinagar and opening of two new AIIMS institutions, one each in Kashmir region and Jammu region, would go a long way in meeting the requirement of high quality living and education in Jammu & Kashmir.


Indian Institutes of Management are the country’s premier institutions imparting best quality education in management on globally benchmarked processes of education and training in management education and allied area of knowledge.

At present, there are nineteen IIMs. Out of these, thirteen IIMs are located at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Shillong, Ranchi, Raipur, Rohtak, Kashipur, Trichy, Udaipur. Another six IIMs which have been started in 2015 are located at Amritsar, Sirmaur, Nagpur, Bodhgaya, Sambalpur and Vishakhapatnam.

-Cabinet, 13-October, 2016

Jaitley, 22 state finance ministers attend GST meet

Jaitley, 22 state finance ministers attend GST meet in Kolkata

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is attending a meeting of Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers here on Tuesday to nudge the states to arrive at a consensus on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill.
Twenty-two states are represented at the meeting, which began in the morning, by their finance ministers. West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra is chairing the closed-door meeting, said a state government official.
Discussions on the draft Goods and Services Tax Bill, including the overall framework, and the Information Technology process of the GST are on the agenda of the two-day discussions, Mitra told IANS earlier.
The meeting would also deliberate upon finding ways and means to resolve issues between the states and the Centre on the GST.
However, the contentious issues of the GST rate, the dispute settlement mechanism and one per cent additional tax are not a part of the agenda.
The meeting here follows West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s declaration of support to the GST, which has come as a boost for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s efforts to get the bill passed in the Rajya Sabha in the monsoon session starting next month.
The bill for a pan-India GST to thoroughly overhaul India’s indirect tax regime, first mooted by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime at the Centre, has been passed by the Lok Sabha, but is stalled in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA lacks a majority.
The states will draft their own State GST (SGST) bill based on the draft model law with minor variations, incorporating state-specific exemptions.
The Centre and the states will also have to approve the integrated GST law or iGST, which will deal with inter-state movement of goods. The Constitution amendment bill needs to be ratified by more than half of the states.

-14 June 2016 | IANS | Kolkata

PM Narendra Modi meets ailing Swami Atmasthananda Maharaj in Ramakrishna Mission

PM Narendra Modi meets ailing Swami Atmasthananda Maharaj in Ramakrishna Mission

  • As a young boy, Modi had visited Belurmath to join the Order but his request was turned down
  • This was Modi’s second visit after May 9, last year to the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met the ailing Swami Atmasthananda Maharaj, president of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission Order, whom he considers his ‘guru’.

This was his second visit after May 9, last year to the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan in the city, where the 98-year-old monk is recovering from age-related illness.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi visits Swami Atmasthananda at the Ramakrishna Mission, to inquire about his health, in Kolkata on April 17, 2016.
Shri Narendra Modi visits Swami Atmasthananda at the Ramakrishna Mission, to inquire about his health, in Kolkata on April 17, 2016.

“The PM spent about 15 minutes in the hospital. He went to the Maharaj’s room, touched his feet and was blessed by the senior monk,” the RKM Seva Pratisthan Secretary Swami Satyadevananda Maharaj told .

The two spoke in Gujarati and asked about each other’s well-being during the short exchange, as the senior monk was not in a condition to talk much.

Modi used to get spiritual guidance from Swami Atmasthanand when both of them were in Rajkot.

After the meeting, the general secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, Swami Suhitananda Maharaj, gifted the PM a holy shawl from the Belurmath temple and exchanged wishes.

“The PM was treated with prasadam ‘payesh’ (Bengali variant of kheer) and ‘sandesh’ (Bengali sweet) from Belurmath,” said Swami Satyadevananda Maharaj.

As a young boy, Modi had visited Belurmath to join the Order but his request was turned down and was told that his calling lay elsewhere.
– PTI, 17, April, 2016

Fanatical Politics: Last Nail in Kolkata’s Coffin- Swapan Dasgupta

Fanatical Politics: Last Nail in Kolkata’s Coffin

By- Swapan Dasgupta

One of the sure signs that a place has become — for the want of a more appropriate word — provincial is when visiting tourists are badgered to provide testimonials of its greatness. Kolkata was once counted among the great cities of both India and the British Empire. Since then, for reasons that need separate and exhaustive treatment, it has fallen from grace. Today, it is still among India’s big cities but in terms of economic growth and associated vibrancy, it is barely ahead of Lucknow, Jaipur and Chandigarh.

Don’t get me wrong, Kolkata is still a great city. The people are naturally friendly (if a trifle over-intrusive), the civic amenities are good and the eateries spectacular and affordable. It is still a major centre of art and theatre, and as a sporting venue it is perhaps unrivalled in India. There is a lot going for Kolkata, apart from the fact that opportunities for economic growth are woefully limited. Yet, when such a city craves for testimonials it suggests that there is a realisation that there is a void which is sought to be filled by asking the likes of Shobhaa De and Ben Okhri — two recent visitors from whom good character certificates were extracted — what they thought of the place. And you can hardly expect visitors, overwhelmed by the generous hospitality of those who invited them to Kolkata, to go beyond gushing superficiality.

This insatiable hunger for recognition comes to mind in the context of the concert of Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali in Kolkata last week. What was interesting about the musical occasion that was hosted by the West Bengal Government and the Ministry of Minority Affairs at the Centre was that it passed off without any incident — no calls for boycott, no hostile demonstrations and no effigy burning. This was unlike Mumbai where the Shiv Sena ensured cancellation of a concert and even Thiruvanantapuram where there were protests by people carrying saffron flags. No doubt Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took exceptional care to make a political point about Pakistani artistes being welcome in this “tolerant” city. But even if the Government had kept aloof from a cultural event, a Ghulam Ali concert would have gone on undisturbed in Kolkata.

The importance of normalcy should not be under-estimated. In recent years the Shiv Sena has prevented Pakistani cricketers and performers from doing their thing in Mumbai; and even in Chennai, the possibility of Sri Lankan cricketers being prevented from playing is high. Compared to these cities, Kolkata appears a shining example of easy-going metropolitan conviviality.

The facile explanation would be that Kolkata retains a large measure of openness because there is no “Hindu Right” worth speaking of. The point is well taken because some of the fringe organisations that claim to speak for Hindu interests have made it their business to be silly. There was all that needless fuss over Bajirao Mastani, whose depiction of history was, at best, incidental. And there was all that feigned outrage over a book on Hinduism by an American academic — which, incidentally, has reappeared in bookshops.

From a distance it would appear that such trivial controversies have left the citizens of Kolkata unmoved: they are truly ‘progressive’ and enlightened.

Unfortunately, life in Kolkata isn’t all hunky-dory. Nearly a decade ago, the Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen was unceremoniously bundled out of the city by the then Left Front Government after some Muslim organisations of Kolkata decided that her life was dispensable.

To date, Taslima hasn’t been allowed to re-enter Kolkata and even her books (written in Bangla) are sold under the counter for fear of recriminations. The fuss that greeted Salman Rushdie’s proposed presence at a Jaipur Literature Festival about four years wasn’t a function of “backward” Rajasthan. I can bet my boots that the State Government’s enlightened approach to the culture wars would terminate abruptly if Rushdie was to plan an appearance in Kolkata on a public platform.

There is a disconcerting conclusion that can be arrived at: Kolkata seems an intolerance-free zone because the political dispensation (first the Left and now the Trinamool Congress) has entered into a tacit understanding with those most likely to create trouble. As long as their veto on what is impermissible is adhered to, Kolkata can become the citadel of progressive values and enlightenment. The alternative is about as menacing as the Shiv Sena.

A recent incident illustrates the point. A spoilt son of a very rich businessman with political links to the TMC rammed through the barricades on Red Road and knocked down and killed a young air force personnel rehearsing for Republic Day. Far from the police taking prompt action to apprehend the rash driver, he was given a sufficient lead time to disappear from the city. The errant boy is known to hobnob with the same lot of people who were responsible for a rape on Park Street three years ago—the main culprit is still absconding.

What explains the deliberate foot dragging isn’t the ineptitude of the Kolkata Police, but a political approach that is premised on selective indignation. The fact that the hit-and-run driver and the Park Street culprits came from a particular community is both important and incidental. Important because West Bengal politics is shaped by a near-fanatical desire to oblige the minority vote bank. And it is incidental because the protection is showered on anyone — their faith is secondary — that can boast links to the ruling party.

If these rules of the game are diligently followed, Kolkata is a great place. The tourists who are bowled over by Kolkata’s undoubted charm, never get to experience the city’s less appetising underside. Worse, they don’t comprehend the compromises that are made to keep Kolkata ‘progressive’.