Kolkata: A man reportedly feared drowned in Ganga while he was performing a magic show on Sunday afternoon. Extensive search operations were conducted but till Sunday night he was not traced. According to sources, Chanchal Lahiri, a resident of Hooghly, performed magic with the stage name, ‘Jadukor Mandrake’. He had performed several dangerous acts earlier.He attempted an act, which was similar to a trick performed by well-known illusionist Harry Houdini. He claimed he would locked himself up inside a box and throw it into the Ganga and within seconds he would set free himself and come out of the water. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaAccording to the plan, on Sunday, he boarded a vessel from Fairlie Place Ghat and went towards Howrah Bridge. Around 12:35 pm, near pillar number 28, Lahiri was locked inside a box and it was pulled up by a crane and thrown into the Ganga. However, Lahiri did not come out of the water as seconds passed and even when it was close to a minute. Panic grew within the spectators. Immediately, North Port police station, River Traffic Police and Disaster Management Group were informed. Disaster Management Group divers jumped into the water to trace Lahiri but the efforts went into vain. Despite several hours, Lahiri was not found. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersDue to non-availability of sufficient light, search operation was suspended during night. Lahiri has successfully performed several dangerous acts in the past. He claimed, he freed himself from a locked cage within 29 seconds. The greatest all Houdini’s escapes was Chinese Water Torture Cell. Houdini was to escape an extraordinary contraption resembling a fish tank, which was filled with water while Houdini is placed head down. His feet were tied and the tank was covered. During his lifetime and for many years after, he was the only man to perform the escape from the water torture cell. With all its danger and difficulties, Houdini never failed in the escape. However, he failed a similar trick in 2013 where he had locked himself up in a box and thrown it into the water. At that time when he was performing the act, some spectators saw Lahiri coming out of the box through a concealed opening. He was put inside a box and locked up and the box was thrown into the water and within a few seconds he emerged from the river and climbed up to the vessel. But, when he reached the Howrah jetty, people surrounded him and alleged that he cheated the spectators and assaulted him. In Sunday’s incident, cops have asked other police stations whose jurisdiction falls adjacent to the river Ganga to keep a watch to trace Lahiri.
Despite some modest gains in some regions in the world, millions of women are losing ground in their quest for equality in the world of work, according to a new report prepared by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) as part of the its Women at Work Centenary Initiative . “The report shows the enormous challenges women continue to face in finding and keeping decent jobs,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a press release.“Our actions must be immediate, effective and far-reaching. There is no time to waste. The 2030 Agenda is an opportunity to pool our efforts and develop coherent, mutually supporting policies for gender equality,” he added.The report, Women at Work: Trends 2016 examined data for up to 178 countries and concludes that inequality between women and men persists across a wide spectrum of the global labour market. What’s more, the report shows that over the last two decades, significant progress made by women in education has not translated into comparable improvements in their position at work. Employment gender gap closed by 0.6 points since 1995 At the global level, the employment gender gap has closed by only 0.6 percentage points since 1995, with an employment-to-population ratio of 46 per cent for women and almost 72 per cent for men in 2015. In 2015, 586 million women were working as own-account and contributing family workers across the world. As globally, the share of those who work in a family enterprise (contributing family workers) has decreased significantly among women (by 17 percentage points over the last 20 years) and to a lesser extent among men (by 8.1 percentage points), the global gender gap in contributing family work is reduced to 11 percentage points. Although 52.1 per cent of women and 51.2 per cent of men in the labour market are wage and salaried workers, the report shows that this in itself constitutes no guarantee of higher job quality. Globally, 38 per cent of women and 36 per cent of men in wage employment do not contribute to social protection. The proportions for women reach 63.2 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa and 74.2 per cent in southern Asia where informal employment is the dominant form of employment. The report also provides new data for up to 100 countries on paid and unpaid working hours and access to maternity protection and pensions. Women work longer hours Women continue to work longer hours per day than men in both paid and unpaid work. In both high and lower income countries, on average, women carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work than men. In addition, across more than 100 countries surveyed, more than one third of employed men (35.5 per cent) and more than one fourth of employed women (25.7 per cent) work more than 48 hours a week. This also affects the unequal distribution of unpaid household and care work between women and men. The cumulative disadvantage faced by women in the labour market has a significant impact in later years. In terms of pensions, coverage (both legal and effective) is lower for women than men, leaving an overall gender social protection coverage gap. Globally, the proportion of women above retirement age receiving a pension is on average 10.6 percentage points lower than that of men. Globally, women represent nearly 65 per cent of people above retirement age (60-65 or older according to national legislation in the majority of countries) without any regular pension. This means some 200 million women in old age are living without any regular income from an old age or survivor’s pension, compared to 115 million men. On average, women earn 77 per cent less than men In terms of wages, the results in the report confirm previous ILO estimates that globally, women still earn on average 77 per cent of what men earn. The report notes that this wage gap cannot be explained solely by differences in education or age. The gap can be linked to the undervaluation of the work women undertake and of the skills required in female-dominated sectors or occupations, discrimination, and the need for women to take career breaks or reduce hours in paid work to attend to additional care responsibilities such as child care. Though there has been some small improvement in reducing gender wage gaps, if current trends prevail, the report confirms estimates that it will take more than 70 years to close the gender wage gaps completely. Getting to Equal by 2030 The ILO theme for International Women’s Day 2016, observed worldwide on 8 March, is “Getting to Equal by 2030: The Future is Now,” reflecting the urgency of addressing these gaps if the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be achieved. Nearly all of the agenda’s goals have a gender component. “Achieving gender equality at work, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is an essential precondition for realizing sustainable development that leaves no one behind and ensures that the future of work is decent work for all women and men,” said Shauna Olney, Chief of the ILO’s Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch. According to ILO, more jobs – and quality jobs – for women, universal social protection and measures to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care and household work are indispensable to delivering on the new transformative agenda. Working alongside her male team member, a woman employee checks the quality of work at a dam under construction in Sri Lanka. Photo: World Bank/Lakshman Nadaraja