Unions go ahead with bank strike
Branches of public banks remained either closed or non-operational today as staffers and officers went ahead with their day-long strike pressing for various demands, including accountability of top executives in the wake of mounting bad loans. Services like cash deposits and withdrawal from branches and cheque clearances have been hit hard by the strike, which has been called under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU). "The strike has been forced on us because of adamant and insensitive attitude of the bank management and IBA. They even did not bother to talk on providing compensation for extra hours put in by bank staff during the demonetisation period," All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) General Secretary CH Venkatachalam told PTI.
Some of the demands include compensation of employees and officers for extra hours they put in following demonetisation in November and early initiation of next wage revision. They have also demanded adequate recruitment in all cadres, stringent measures to recover bad loans and accountability of top executives. Besides, they have pitched for criminal action against wilful defaulters.
Fire in Burrabazar area yet to be controlled
The fire in a century-old building in central Kolkata's wholesale market Burrabazar continued to rage today, with 35 fire tenders working to douse the blaze which broke out on Monday night. There was no report of any casualty, officials said. Thick smoke was seen billowing out of the building engulfing the entire area. The ceiling and wooden staircase of the building have collapsed. Fearing that the building may collapse, the police had evacuated the building, when the fire broke out at around 9.35 pm yesterday, and adjacent houses. Traffic movement around Rabindra Sarani and nearby roads has been controlled as a precautionary measure. Fire fighters continued operations overnight, defying the challenges in reaching the building located on the narrow Amaratala Lane in the densely congested Burrabazar area, a senior official of the Fire department told PTI on Tuesday morning. "The fire is still not under control but we are fighting hard to douse it. As the building is located inside a narrow lane, it is difficult to reach there quickly," the officer said.
Air Costa temporarily suspends flight operations
Regional carrier Air Costa today temporarily suspended its flight operations after failing to resolve "financial issues" with the aircraft lessor. The airline has grounded the two leased Embraer aircraft which it had been operating and the services will remain suspended till Wednesday, an Air Costa official told PTI from Vijayawada. Prior to suspending its flight services, Air Costa had been operating 16 flights daily to eight destinations. "We are trying to resolve the issue. We are also in advanced stage of talks for fund infusion in the airline," said an airline official.
Reports from Kansas 'disturbing': White House on US shooting
The White House said today that the early reports coming from Kansas, where an Indian engineer was shot dead and another injured in an apparent hate crime, were "disturbing". White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily news conference that "early reports coming from Kansas are equally disturbing". Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed and Alok Madasani, of the same age, was injured in the shooting by 51-year-old US navy veteran Adam Purinton who screamed racial slurs and told them "get out of my country". A 24-year-old American named Ian Grillot tried to intervene and received injuries in the firing in Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas.