Joydeep Thakur

Joydeep Thakur is a Special Correspondent based in Kolkata. He focuses on science, environment, wildlife, agriculture and other related issues.

Articles by Joydeep Thakur

Calcutta high court: “Jobs are being sold like a commodity”

One year on, the probe into the West Bengal school recruitment scam remains mired in a political tussle. Will the victims find justice? An explainer

While cancelling the appointments of 32,000 primary school teachers recruited in 2016 by the West Bengal Board of Primary Education for allegedly violating recruitment norms, the Calcutta high court last week observed that “jobs were sold like a commodity.”(HT File Photo)
Published on May 22, 2023 03:36 PM IST

'Dream it, make it happen’

Smarajit Jana, a pioneering AIDS activist, mined the power of the collective to set up cooperatives. He died on May 8, 2021 due to Covid-19

Dr Smarajit Jana shaped the sex workers’ rights movement in the country and spearhead the first rights-based HIV intervention programmes(Rahulkepapa / Wikimedia Commons)
Published on May 17, 2023 08:07 PM IST

ED charge sheet: How TMC’s Anubrata Mondal acquired assets worth 48 crore

Anubrata Mondal, 64, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in August 2022 for his alleged involvement in the cattle smuggling case. ED arrested him in November 2022

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Anubrata Mondal jailed in a cattle smuggling case being bought to ESI hospital for a checkup prior to being produced before Enforcement Directorate in Kolkata in March (ANI FILE)
Updated on May 09, 2023 09:11 PM IST

BSF detects new modus operandi of Phensedyl smugglers along Indo-Bangla border

The BSF apprehended a postman, who cloned the barcodes and consignment numbers and delivered the drug to smugglers living in villages along the Indo-Bangla border

BSF personnel intercepted a postman on April 20 while he was on the way to deliver a parcel that contained 38 bottles of Phensedyl. (Representative Image)
Updated on Apr 23, 2023 09:35 AM IST

Aizawl zoo grapples to keep exotic animals alive

Aizawl Zoo in India has a second list of rescued exotic animals and birds smuggled into India from Myanmar, but the zoo is running out of space and some of these animals are dying. Between July 2019 and September 2022, the zoo received 910 exotic animals, of which only 274 survived till the first week of December 2022. The zoo has all one visiting doctor, one veterinary field assistant, one range officer in charge of general administration, and two forest guards. The zoo has sent a proposal to the Union government for separate enclosures and a new rescue and rehab centre.

Mizoram has emerged as a hot spot for animal and bird smuggling. (HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 21, 2023 11:44 PM IST
By, , Guwahati/kolkata

Villages in WB’s Alipurduar gasp for air as pollution from Bhutan takes toll

Pasakha Industrial Estate (PIE) has been the epicentre of the growing pollution levels in the adjacent areas of the West Bengal district

Locals drink water from the same Singhi jhora (stream) where the Pasakha Industrial Estate discharges its waste water. (HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 17, 2023 01:46 PM IST

Plastic-rock found in Andamans’ Aves Island

Interestingly, according to the 2011 Census, there are just two people on Aves Island. Both are male.

Known as plastiglomerate, it is a rock composed of sand, rock fragments, shells and other materials held together by plastic. It is a new form of plastic pollution, which scientists described in 2014. (Photo courtesy: Prasun Goswami)
Published on Mar 27, 2023 12:36 AM IST

Plastic-rock hybrid discovered in Andaman’s Aves island

Known as Plastiglomerate, the rock is composed of sand, rock fragments, shells and other materials held together by plastic, resulting in a plastic-rock hybrid. It is a new form of plastic pollution described by scientists in 2014

Representative image of Plastiglomerate, a piece of rock made from plastic (Twitter Photo)
Published on Mar 25, 2023 07:33 PM IST

Drug-resistant bacteria found in fowls in remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Some strains of these bacteria are responsible for life-threatening diseases including Hemolytic uremic syndrome, pneumonia, diarrhoea and typhoid among others in humans

The scientists collected 199 cloacal swab samples from five breeds of fowls between November 2019 and January 2021 from three island districts. (Representative Image)
Updated on Feb 27, 2023 04:09 AM IST

Plot twist in Bengal: Guv heaps praise on govt as BJP walks out

On Wednesday, it was the BJP led by leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari, a former TMC leader once considered close to Banerjee, who said that they were disappointed that the governor made no departure from a speech that painted a “rosy picture” of the state’s affairs, even shouting slogans of “go back”.

Representational image
Updated on Feb 09, 2023 04:41 AM IST
By, Kolkata

Govt to update elephant corridors to mitigate human-animal conflict in 6 states

Ramesh Kumar Pandey, director of Project Elephant, which is a centrally sponsored scheme for elephant conservation, said the government has decided to redraw elephant corridors

In 2005, Wildlife Trust of India and Asian Nature Conservation Foundation in collaboration with state forest departments, Project Elephant and researchers had identified 88 elephant corridors. (Shutterstock)
Published on Jan 28, 2023 12:40 AM IST

Bereaved Modi opens train link, chairs meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the last rites of his mother Heeraben, who died early morning at the age of 99, and returned to work hours later, flagging off a key train link in West Bengal and chairing a meeting of the National Ganga Council via video conference.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi carries the body of his mother Heeraben at a crematorium in Gandhinagar, India, December 30, 2022. (REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 31, 2022 02:11 AM IST
ByAmit Cowper and Joydeep Thakur, Gandhinagar/kolkata

Mushrooming illegal call centres keep police in West Bengal’s IT hub on toes

The West Bengal police said at least 25 illegal call centres have been busted since September and 292 people have been arrested

Police said that in most of the cases the call centres have been found to be duping people either by promising jobs or by promising handsome returns. (Representative Image)
Published on Dec 25, 2022 02:45 PM IST

West Bengal recovers 52.3 lakh misappropriated NREGS fund

Kolkata: West Bengal has recovered around ₹52

West Bengal recovers <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>52.3 lakh misappropriated NREGS fund
Published on Dec 24, 2022 11:49 PM IST

Traffickers use govt portal to evade authorities while smuggling animals

Enforcement agencies have detected at least three to four cases in the last couple of months in which fake applications were submitted on the Parivesh portal to make illegal consignments appear legal

In June 2020, the Centre had issued an advisory on how to apply through Parivesh portal to import exotic species (HT FILE)
Published on Dec 11, 2022 03:24 PM IST

Five years on, Mamata’s Krishak Bazar project finds few takers

The Krishak Bazars (farmer markets) were a dream project of the Mamata Banerjee government which came to power in 2011 while championing the cause of farmers in Singur and Nandigram.

The Krishak Bazar in Gosaba in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district wears an empty look. (HT photo)
Updated on Nov 14, 2022 04:42 AM IST
By, Kolkata

Bengal recruitment scam: CBI court extends Partha Chatterjee’s judicial custody

The CBI court extended former West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee’s judicial custody by 14 days in the school recruitment scam case

Partha Chatterjee was physically produced in the special CBI court at Alipore on Monday morning. (ANI)
Published on Oct 31, 2022 08:08 PM IST

1 out of 10 Bangladeshis caught by BSF handed over to BGB as ‘goodwill gesture’

Every year, BSF hand over a few hundred men and women, who are intercepted along the India-Bangladesh international border, to the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) without arresting them

Around 11,750 people were intercepted by BSF in south Bengal along the Indo-Bangla border between 2017 and 2022. (Representative Image/HT Photo)
Published on Oct 18, 2022 01:47 PM IST

From St Peter’s Basilica to Altamira: Durga Puja amid politics, Unesco tag

Welcome to Kolkata during the Durga Puja, where the pandals compete to outdo each other, the only thing that matters almost as much as the festivities is politics, and often, both coalesce.

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome, is the Durga Puja pandal theme of Shree Bhumi Sporting Club’s puja in Kolkata. (Samir Jana/HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 03, 2022 11:52 AM IST
ByTanmay Chatterjee and Joydeep Thakur, Kolkata

No ex-gratia for kin of tipplers killed in elephant attack: Bengal advisory

The next of kin of any inebriated person killed by an elephant will not receive any compensation from the state forest department, according to a fresh advisory issued by forest officials in West Bengal’s Jhargram district

No ex-gratia for kin of tipplers killed in elephant attack: Bengal distt advisory
Updated on Sep 27, 2022 01:31 AM IST

WB gears for thermocol-free Durga Puja; draws mixed reactions from organisers

The Centre banned the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified single use plastic items including thermocol, all across the country from July 1

The move has opened up several challenges for organisers ahead of the puja celebrations (File image)
Published on Sep 01, 2022 04:30 PM IST

After cattle, smuggling of phensedyl and yaba tablets spikes in eastern states

Smuggling of yaba tablets, a party drug that originated in Myanmar, has also gone up. This year more than 7,000 tablets have been seized in the first seven months

100 Battalion of Border Security Force (BSF) in a joint operation with Meghalaya police seized 3200 bottles of phensedyl cough syrup in the bordering area of South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya, on July 24 (ANI File)
Published on Aug 12, 2022 09:48 PM IST
ByJoydeep Thakur and Utpal Parashar

Minister, MLA, Governor, Vice President: Tracing Jagdeep Dhankhar’s path

During his three years of gubernatorial tenure in West Bengal, when Jagdeep Dhankhar would berate the Mamata Banerjee administration and attack it through public addresses, long official letters and the social media, he personally drafted the letters.

Jagdeep Dhankhar’s political career started in 1989, when he was elected as a MP on a Janata Dal ticket from the Lok Sabha seat of Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Updated on Aug 07, 2022 05:23 AM IST
By, , Kolkata/jaipur

3 J’khand Cong MLAs held in Bengal cash haul

The vehicle (JH 09AQ 0016) was carrying the name plate of Irfan Ansari, Congress MLA from Jamtara in Jharkhand, who was in the vehicle when it was intercepted at Panchla in Howrah district, around 30 km west of Kolkata.

Jamtara MLA Ifran Ansari. (HT file)
Published on Jul 30, 2022 10:36 PM IST
ByJoydeep Thakur and Vishal Kant, Kolkata/ranchi

The cash-for-jobs scandal and the unravelling of Partha-Arpita saga

Now, four years later, the relationship between the two, and their role in the cash-for-jobs scandal over the recruitment of teachers for government schools is at the heart of an Enforcement Directorate investigation.

Cash recovered by ED officials from the residence of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee. ( (PTI)
Updated on Jul 30, 2022 04:50 AM IST
ByTanmay Chatterjee and Joydeep Thakur, Kolkata

Partha relieved of posts as raids by ED continue

The TMC suspended Chatterjee, also an office bearer in its state unit, adding that he could be reinstated if proven innocent.

Political analysts said the seizure of so much money is unprecedented in West Bengal’s history and has dented the image of the TMC. (PTI)
Updated on Jul 29, 2022 12:44 AM IST
By, Kolkata

From cash & gold to admit cards – what ED found in Partha and Arpita’s closets

Bengal school jobs case: Partha Chatterjee and his aide - Arpita Mukherjee - were arrested after raids during which ₹21 crore were seized, according to ED. 

West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee was brought back to Kolkata by ED after a Kolkata court remanded him in the agency’s custody till August 3 (ANI)(HT_PRINT)
Updated on Jul 26, 2022 09:54 PM IST
By, Kolkata

In coastal villages, the heavy toll of shrimp farming

The growth of highly saline fish farms along the coast has not only had enormous environmental costs — due to their negative effects on water and land — but has led to great losses and huge debts for villagers in the area. 

in-Depth Government estimates suggest that land equal to that of 40 Dharavi slums has been transformed into aquaculture ponds. (Joydeep Thakur/HT Photo)
Published on Jul 13, 2022 09:56 PM IST

Mamata Banerjee calls Oppn meeting over presidential poll

Banerjee on Saturday sent letters to 22 non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and chief ministers of eight non-BJP ruled states.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.(PTI file photo)
Published on Jun 12, 2022 06:27 AM IST
By, , Hindustan Times, Kolkata/new Delhi

‘Perfect opportunity’: Mamata calls opposition meet ahead of Presidential poll

‘The Presidential elections are around the corner, presenting the perfect opportunity for all progressive opposition parties to reconvene and deliberate on the future course of Indian politics, said Mamata Banerjee in her letter to the non-BJP leaders.

Mamata Banerjee has invited 22 non-BJP leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and chief ministers of eight non-BJP ruled states, for the opposition meeting in New Delhi on June 15. (PTI File Photo)
Published on Jun 11, 2022 08:45 PM IST
ByJoydeep Thakur and Saubhadra Chatterjee
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