A phuchkawallah in apron and gloves dishing out lip-smacking fare in clean plates. The utensils in which the ingredients are kept are covered with a plastic sheet. Even the tamarind solution is being made from bottled water. A man wears a cap, apron and gloves while making and handing out rolls. The sauces he is using are branded, and not of the cheap variety, laced with unhealthy preservatives and colours. Too good to be true? Not at Boi Mela 2008. Snacking has taken a hygienic turn at the Salt Lake stadium grounds, thanks to a pilot project by Bidhannagar Municipality. "A health food consultant recently approached us, offering to monitor the quality of street food in Salt Lake as part of a public-private partnership. It wanted to make changes to roadside stalls to enable them to serve healthy fare,' said Biswajiban Majumder, the chairman of the municipality. "The organisation gave us a demonstration in the last board meeting. We asked them to undertake a pilot project at the book fair,' added Majumder. Under the project, 55 food stalls have been set up at Boi Mela, serving jhalmuri to ice cream. "There are hundreds of stalls dishing out unhealthy food in Salt Lake. We are trying to develop a hygienic format for the stalls,' said Subha Bose, the owner of Bose & Bose Consultancy, which is monitoring the food being sold at Boi Mela. Visitors at the fair are happy with the change. "Street food invariably used to be unhealthy. Which is why I often avoided it so that my children did not fall ill. I love the food at the book fair,' said Aparna Nandi, a resident of Behala Chowrasta, who had come to the fair with her 12-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter. "We are strictly monitoring the ingredients in the food,' said Joydeb Bose, who is in charge of controlling the quality of the food at the fair on behalf of Bose & Bose. The stall-holders, too, are learning to live with the changes. "The measures seemed troublesome at first, but we understood that they are necessary as people have became health-conscious. However, the cost of the items will go up marginally, as we have to use quality ingredients,' said Arup Ghosh, who is running a kachuri stall at the book fair.

Nayachar: The six-member expert committee constituted by the state government to see the technical and economic feasibility of a chemical industry on Nayachar liked what it saw on the first visit to the island today. Led by former ONGC chairman and the Hinduja group vice-chairman in India, Subir Raha, the team (see box) of scientists that included oceanographers and chemical engineers spent over two hours criss-crossing the island. "Prima facie, it looks good. The initial drilling suggests that the soil has load-bearing capacity. However, we will look into more than 10 areas

The GNLF-controlled Darjeeling municipality has decided to stop supplying drinking water and clearing garbage in the town from tomorrow. In Calcutta, home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said the situation in the hills was "worrisome' but tourists were safe. "Those feeling unsafe would be brought down to the plains,' he added. Although a lean season for tourism, there would be several hundred tourists in the Darjeeling hills now. The peak period will begin in March.

Now, prepaid cards will fetch solar power.The West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency will introduce cash cards that will ensure solar power to villagers within their validity period. Prepaid

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The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is planning to start commercial production of coal-bed-methane in the first quarter of the financial year at Jharia in

Alarmed at the rise in tuberculosis cases in industrial and colliery belts, the health department has launched a drive to fight the disease in Burdwan, especially in the Raniganj-Asansol colliery

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