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Author: Vithika Salomi

Maoists abduct two rail officials

A group of suspected Maoists set ablaze railway property and took two rail officials as hostages in Bihar’s Lakhisarai district, on the interceding night of Tuesday and Wednesday, forcing suspension of services on the Kiul-Jamalpur-Bhagalpur route for hours.Both abducted officials were freed on Wednesday afternoon, almost 16 hours later, near Dharhara forest area, the police said.The Maoists gave a bandh call in Bihar and Jharkhand to protest operations launched against them by the security agencies.According to police, around 15-20 heavily armed Maoists attacked Masudan railway station on Tuesday and torched the control room, documents and some railway equipment. This hit the movement of trains in the area. “They also abducted assistant station manager Mahesh Kumar and a porter Nirendra Mandal, and threatened to kill them if the plying of trains was restored on the route. Hence, the movement of trains, which was restored on Wednesday morning, was suspended again after an hour,” said a senior official of the East Central Railways.Among the trains stranded at different stations were the Howrah-Gaya Express, Farakka Express, Jainagar-Howrah passenger, Muzaffarpur-Bhagalpur Jansewa Express and Bhagalpur-Danapur Intercity Express, while several others were diverted. The Maoists also killed an “up-Mukhiya” Virendra Koda in the district on Wednesday.

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Violent protests, chakka jam against sand policies in Bihar

The demonstrations against sand mining policies of the Government of Bihar, turned violent at several places with the protesters raising anti-establishment slogans, burning effigies and tyres and damaging property at several places across Bihar on Tuesday.In the state capital, the Danapur area was affected for several hours when agitators blocked the roads and went on a rampage looting shops breaking windscreen of four-wheelers. “The government is targeting people of a particular community with its new policies. We will not let it happen,” they chorused. The police had to resort to lathicharge to bring the situation in control.In Maner, the crowd burnt police vehicles and pelted stones on cops, after they fired in the air to disperse them. Around 10 people sustained injuries. The mining and related construction activities are on a virtual standstill in the state, though people in the business claim that illegal mining is on as usual.The truck owners association have also effected a complete “chakka jam” beginning this week and parked their trucks to disrupt traffic on all major state and national highways in Bihar. Among the major affected areas were Koilwar bridge (Bhojpur), Maner, Munger, Barh and Sheikhpura. Long queues of bigger vehicles could be seen on these roads and commuters faced much trouble.At several places, the protesters offloaded their trucks and spilled sand on the roads while many of the masons and daily wage labourer blocked roads using their tools and other equipment. They have also restricted the entry of trucks arriving from other states, resulting in upping of prices of groceries and some essential goods.Meanwhile, Patna High Court on Tuesday deferred the pleas of truck owner association regarding the mining policies till the first week of January. However, the labourers, sand traders and truck owners said they will continue with their protests till the government met their demands and withdrew the new sand policy. The Opposition RJD has also called a Bihar-bandh on December 21 in this matter.BLOCKED ROADSAt several places, the protesters off loaded their trucks and spilled sand on the roads while many of the masons and daily wage labourer blocked roads using their tools and other equipment.

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CM Nitish Kumar calls for community partnership for effect liquor ban enforcement

A day after BJP-ally and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi alleged that liquor was freely available to bureaucrats, officers and those who could “afford” it in dry Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday also expressed concern over bootlegging and sought community partnership to bring an end to it.Addressing the general public in Sitamarhi district on the third day of his “Vikas Karyon Ki Sameeksha Yatra,” Nitish conceded that illicit liquor trade was thriving in dry Bihar. “Everyone needs to remain vigilant and the whistleblowers will get protection. Their identities will not be revealed,” he said.The CM said that local police helpline and control room numbers were displayed at public places and urged women and youngsters to support their efforts in ban implementation. Total alcohol prohibition was enforced in Bihar on April 5, 2016, “especially on the strong demand made for it by the womenfolk of the state.”Nitish said there were few people who had made it a lucrative business but the state government was in process of establishing a special cell for ensuring effective prohibition.Earlier on Wednesday, Manjhi, also the leader of Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular, had dared the state to use breathalyzers on its senior officials, to expose who all were still consuming alcohol. “I have said it as a friend of Nitish. Everyone knows that the poor are targeted whereas the higher rung of the society is easily getting away despite defying the ban,” Manjhi reiterated on Thursday.Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has also continuously made charges of liquor ban “failing” in Bihar. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has alleged “home delivery” of liquor, which is smuggled in the state through Nepal and Jharkhand, though the government has denied it.

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Patna all set to host maiden marathon on Sunday

Patna is gearing up to host its maiden marathon, “Run for pride”, which will also witness the presence of “Flying Sikh” Milkha Singh, on December 17 morning.Around 5,000 people from across Bihar are expected to participate in the event, which is being co-partnered by Government of Bihar. The event includes three categories – a half-marathon of 21.1km, a 10km run, both of which will be timed and a four km fun run/walk. Prizes worth Rs 10 lakh are up for grabs in various categories.“This is Patna’s first marathon or half-marathon and the people have shown an overwhelming interest to participate in it. The theme – Run for Bihar – has touched many people,” said a senior official of the Patna district administration.Around 40 schools of the state capital have also registered for the event, and the schools whose maximum students complete the marathon, will be declared the “Fittest School of Patna”.The marathon will commence from Patna’s historic Gandhi Maidan at 6.45am on Sunday. It will touch Dak Bungalow crossing, Income Tax roundabout, Patna High Court, Bihar Museum, Patna zoo up to Raza Bazar flyover and back to Gandhi Maidan via the same route. The smaller runs will cover a section of the same route and will commence at different timings to avoid confusion or traffic. The district administration in process of readying the route and medical teams, drinking water stalls and volunteers will be stationed along it.

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Nitish Kumar faces flak on Sameeksha Yatra Day 1

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar started his ‘Vikas Karyon ki Sameeksha Yatra’ on Tuesday to take feedback from the masses about implementation of developmental works and social awareness campaigns run by the state government.His Sameeksha Yatra commenced from West Champaran’s Patilar village, the same village from where he commenced his ‘Vikas Yatra’ in 2009. “The purpose of the yatra is to take stock of the progress on the ground. The government runs on the feedback of the people,” said Nitish, who has undertaken almost 10 yatras in the last 12 years.The CM, however, had to face protests by the people on Day 1 itself. Sugarcane farmers in Bagaha police district raised slogans to draw the CM’s attention to their condition. The CM said a proper platform would be given to them to put forth their grievances. In the same district, a section of women also protested against exclusive progress of certain villages. They alleged that the officials only worked for development of those areas where the CM’s visits were scheduled.On Tuesday, Nitish laid the foundation stone as well as inaugurated developmental schemes worth over Rs 100 crore in West Champaran. “The CM will take stock of implementation of Saat Nischay (seven resolves) scheme, total prohibition, Right to People’s Grievance Redressal Act and the Right to Public Service Act. He will also check the awareness campaigns run to discourage dowry and child marriage across the length and breadth of Bihar,” said a senior Bihar government official.The Opposition targeted Nitish’s yatra as a “gimmick” and Leader of the Opposition in Bihar legislative assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said, “The school building he had laid the foundation stone could not get four-wall in eight years, a primary-health centre is being launched thrice… What Vikas? He should undertake Prayashcitt (repentance) Yatra and Deemak (termite) Yatra.”Sources said Nitish is likely to face more protests, especially from contractual employees, who are demanding regularisation of job and equal pay for equal work, and have created ruckus at Nitish’s yatras over the last few years.

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JD(U) asks workers to use social media for spreading party message ahead 2019 polls

The rank and file of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JD-U) have been asked to reach out to every village, every habitation, to connect with the grassroots 365-days of a year and spread the message of JD(U) being a “party with a difference” that believes in “politics with agenda”.This has to be done, especially by promoting the social campaigns undertaken by the Nitish led government in Bihar, including total alcohol prohibition, and those against dowry and child marriages. Party MP R C P Singh asked them to get it printed in marriage invitation cards of their family members – that the bride and groom are above marriageable age and no dowry has been exchanged in the solemnisation of the wedding.Senior leaders of the party have asked the workers to give priority to booth-level management, both in the urban and rural areas. “The workers have been asked to rope in women, members of self-help-groups, ex-armymen, retired cops and teachers at every booth, to widen the party’s base,” said a Bihar-based JD(U) leader.Also readNitish Kumar govt to rely on CCTV cameras to keep crime rate in check The party will also launch a renovated, state-of the-art web portal early next year, to reach out to the tech savvy voters. The move is being seen as its preparations for the 2019 general election. Information about the party’s agenda and activities, web magazines, how to connect with the party or feedback for improvement etc, will be some of the features of the JD(U) website, the party leader said.Party workers were told to update their technological and social media skills. “Members have been asked to learn the use of Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to reach the thoughts and ideals of the party and its leaders among the masses and use e-mails for communication,” said party leader Dr Amar Deep. The party has social media accounts but these are not update on a daily basis, and several of its leaders are also not quite active on social media platforms.Also readSBI changes names, IFSC codes of 1,300 branches: How will it affect you and other things to knowJD(U) has also told its youth leaders to up their participation in the party activities.

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Nitish Kumar govt to rely on CCTV cameras to keep crime rate in check

The Bihar government is set to launch “safe city surveillance scheme”, under which it will bring all major public places under the watch of close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and improve the overall crime control in the state.This scheme is especially being launched for checking crime against women, such as eve-teasing and molestation, harassment, snatching incidents and roadside scuffles etc. It will also help in keeping a track of miscreants.The scheme, which will be launched in a phase-wise manner, will commence from capital Patna.Also readMumbai city gains most from RERA: here’s howA sum of over Rs 110 crore has been sanctioned for the scheme, under which intallation of CCTV cameras will be installed at all public places. “Patna is already under video surveillance as CCTV cams are installed at some major thoroughfares and strategic location. These are used for traffic management as well as crime control. However, under the new scheme, all public places will be covered, increasing the net of video monitoring,” said a senior Bihar Police official.The Bihar home department will be the nodal agency for implementation of the safe-city surveillance scheme. “The network of CCTV cameras will be connected to a control room, where it will be monitored by policemen round the clock. Those in the control room will coordinate with their counterparts in the field and police stations, to alert them about any incident in their area,” he said.Also readSBI changes names, IFSC codes of 1,300 branches: How will it affect you and other things to knowThe official said city people will also be able to alert the control room, if they anticipate any trouble, and quick and appropriate action will be initiated.The state government has been under fire over “deteriorating law and order” as murder and loot incidents have seen an increase in the last few months.

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Journo beaten up by liquor mafia in Bihar

A Bihar journalist, associated with a vernacular daily, sustained serious injuries after he was thrashed by liquor mafias while attempting to cover a raid in Nawada district, the police said on Saturday.The incident took place late on Thursday evening when Vikas Kumar, alias Sonu, was informed about a police raid to crackdown on liquor mafias operating in Rajauli Dih area and he went to cover it. Sources said police had seized around 20 litre desi liquor, and arrested three persons in connection with it.”While he was returning on his bike, Vikas was apprehended by some bootleggers and was beaten up. He received serious head injuries in the incident. The mafias later abandoned him and left,” said Avadhesh Kumar, Station House Officer of Rajauli police station. He added, “One persons has been arrested in connection with it.”Bihar Police ADG (Headquarters) SK Singhal termed the attack on a journalist in line of his duty as a grave matter, and promised strict action against the accused claiming that no one will be spared.Kumar said, “Vikas was taken to a primary health centre for first aid, following which his family members shifted him to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi on Friday.” A police team had been sent to Ranchi to register his statement, he added.The Opposition, however, has reiterated it claims of failure of prohibition in Bihar and RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav said, “Liquor is freely being smuggled into Bihar from Nepal, Jharkhand and West Bengal and is being home delivered in Bihar. How can you expect alcohol prohibition to be a success?” Total liquor ban was enforced in Bihar on April 5, 2016.

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At Patna University’s special exhibition, check out original Laila-Majnu manuscript, rare coins

If you are a history lover and living in Patna, you must not miss out the Patna University exhibition that starts today.From letters written by the First President of India to handwritten manuscript of ‘Laila-Majnu’, from antique coins of the Mughal era and gazettes of the British period to several rare scripts will be on display at Patna University’s Central Library for visitors.The exhibition, which is a part of the university’s centenary year celebration, will be inaugurated by Bihar Governor-cum-Chancellor of Universities Satya Pal Malik. “This is the first occasion when the rare manuscripts will be put on display for the public. People can walk through the history of the last few centuries,” said a senior official of the Patna University.Among the displays include a 17th century illustrated manuscript of “Laila-Majnu”, handwritten in Persian by Mullara Abdur Rahman Ghani, documents on the history of Magadh and Bihar as well as versions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata dating back to the 13th century, Malti Madhawan and Saroj Kalika (14th century), Rishala Sifat Jaruriya and Tolinama (15th century), Jahangirnama and Vrihat Jatak (16th century), Kavya Kamdhenu by Mop Dev (17th century) and Shukla Yajurveda (18th century).The letters of Dr Rajendra Prasad, the First President of India, date between 1950 and 1951, and are responses and greetings to the principals and students of the colleges of Patna University (PU). There are manuscripts written on “Bhjojpatra”, leather, copper leaves and palm leaves etc, besides some rare coins dating between 12th and 15th centuries.The PU official said that while several of these manuscripts were present in the central library, some of them have been collected from different departments and paintings made by students of College of Arts and Crafts will also be put on display. The students and general public can visit the exhibition between 9am and 7pm till December 15.

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Bihar board to have week-long student helpline to tackle Class X and Class XII exam blues

The Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) has arranged a tele-counselling facility for its Class X and XII examinees, where students can clarify their queries by consulting experts in different subjects. The service will commence from December 15 for a week till December 21. “Five telephone numbers will be issued, on which students from across the state can call and ask their queries. Experts will be available to answer their problems from 11am to 2pm. There will be new experts every day,” said BSEB chairman Anand Kishor.Students can put forth their questions related to syllabus, examination patterns, and how to answer questions. “The BSEB has changed the pattern of question paper for the 2018 exams to include about 50% objective questions. This may be a cause of confusion among the students, and the Board is giving them an opportunity to clear any doubts,” he added. The idea to include objective questions has been made to improve the pass percentage of students, which stood at around 50% in 2017.The Board has also decided to provide dummy OMR sheets to the examinees for answering the objective questions. “The OMR sheet along with the cover page, will give them a practice of how to fill it in the main exams as not many students, especially those in other districts, are well versed with OMR sheets. Every institution will be provided as per the number of examinees and students can even make Xerox copies for practice,” Kishor said and added that this was the first instance in the country when dummy OMR sheets were provided to students for practice.This year, around 7.68 lakh students have registered for the Class XII exams while 13.75 lakh students have registered for the Class X Board exams of 2018. This is a significant dip from 2017, when 12.5 lakh students had written the Class XII or Intermediate Exams and 17.2 lakh students had appeared for the Class X or Matriculation exams of the BSEB.The decrease is being attributed to the poor results in 2017 when around 50% of the examinees failed due to various exam reforms introduced by the BSEB, after it faced controversies of mass-scale cheating and topper scam in the previous years.

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Contractual health workers on strike in Bihar, services hit

Medical services in Bihar have been crippled after almost one lakh contractual health workers in the state proceeded on an indefinite strike demanding regularisation of their service and equal pay for equal work.The striking workers include health managers, nursing staff, lab technicians and assistants, paramedics, Ayush doctors, pharmacists, counsellors, data entry operators and accountants, hired on contract to work in state-run hospitals. The emergency and out-patient department services are among the worst hit, while several surgeries have been postponed in Patna hospitals due to the shortage of technical staff.”Our demand is to regularise the service of all contractual workers who have completed one or more years in service and equal payment for equal work as per the recommendations of the 7th pay commission. The strike will not be called off till the demands are met,” said Lalan Kumar, a functionary of the Bihar State Contractual Health Workers’ Association, the umbrella organisation for various smaller federations on strike.They got a shot in the arm after the Patna high court recently ruled in favour of about 4 lakh contractual teachers in Bihar, holding their demand for equal pay for equal work as constitutional.The Bihar government, however, does not seem to be ready to give in to the health employees’ demands.A senior officials in the state health department said the district administrations have been directed to withhold the salaries of the striking workers to compel them to rejoin. “If they don’t, the government is mulling about terminating their contracts for boycotting work. Fresh contractual staff are likely to be hired against their seats,” he added.Oppn attackThe contractual workers have threatened immolation after hearing about termination of their contract. The Opposition too targeted the government over the issue. “The hospitals in Bihar are in ‘coma’. The health minister is either sleeping or on outstation tours,” said Tej Pratap Yadav, former Bihar health minister and an RJD MLA.
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Sharad Yadav should seek Lalu Prasad Yadav’s help now

The Nitish Kumar-led faction of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) took a dig at former party president Sharad Yadav who was disqualified from Rajya Sabha, saying he should move back to Jabalpur or sing praises for Lalu’s family to remain politically relevant.JD-U’s charge was led by its spokesperson-cum-MLCs Neeraj Kumar and Sanjay Singh who said Sharad had lost his political relevance. “Sharad has no base in Bihar. He tried to take the crutches of of Lalu Yadav’s burnt out ‘Laalten’ but now he should move back to his home and take care of his household there,” Singh said.Kumar, on the other hand, said that only chanting “Lalu zindabad” will no longer work for Sharad Yadav. “Now that he has been disqualified as an MP, he will have to sing praises for Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi and sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi, if he is to remain on their beneficiary list.”The Bihar unit of the JD-U has welcomed the decision taken by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, to disqualify rebel MPs Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar from Rajya Sabha membership, and said this will spread the message of political propriety. “It is all a result of Lalu’s ‘kusangati’ (bad companionship). People should know that no one is above the party,” said a senior party leader based in Patna.
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Nitish Kumar says tweet war to show mirror to some people

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had been mounting attack on the Opposition — a tweet a day — said on Monday that it was aimed at showing a mirror to some people.Nitish’s Twitter war commenced on November 27, when he obliquely targeted RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav over making an issue of his reduced central security cover. “I am a chief minister for the last 12 years but I never received any security from the Centre. Neither do I think about it, nor am I interested in it,” said Nitish, while addressing media persons after his weekly Lok Samvad programme on Monday.Nitish said his tweets included some sweet sarcasm. “If you look at all my five tweets, they do not include any indecent words. Neither have I named anyone. It is only a mirror for some people,” the Chief Minister said. The tweet war was the first direct confrontation between Nitish and Lalu after disintegration of the Mahagathbandhan in July this year.Replying to a query on democracy within the Congress party, Nitish said it was their internal matter. “Everyone knows that the number 1 position in Congress is fixed and the rest get posts starting number 2. That has been their culture and tradition,” he said.He took a dig on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi stating that few people were trying to prove themselves “janeu-dhari Hindu” (one who wears Brahminical thread) while seeking votes in the Gujarat polls. “But those who don’t wear janeu, aren’t they Hindus. We are the followers of Jai Prakash Narayan, who had refused to wear janeu in front of thousands of people,” Nitish said.On another query regarding reservation in promotion, which was recently taken up by Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Nitish said he too was in its favour. “We have supported it earlier too. We had introduced it for SC and ST but it was challenged and struck down by the Patna High Court. The matter is now pending in the Supreme Court,” he said.Meanwhile Lalu continued with the Twitter war targeting the Bihar government over “development” and said, “Where is the development, education, healthcare and employment? Achievements can be shown only if there’s any.”
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Hotel scam: Lalu Prasad’s wife and ex-Bihar CM Rabri Devi likely to appear before Enforcement Directorate today

Former Bihar Chief Minister and wife of RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav Rabri Devi has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before the sleuths at their Patna office on Saturday for questioning in the alleged land for railways hotel scam case.Rabri, who has skipped multiple summons to appear before the ED officials in New Delhi, had challenged the investigating agencies to come to Patna, if they wanted to question her. She had said she would not appear before them in Delhi, however many notices they sent, and they would have to come to Patna for interrogating her.She had alleged that the Centre was using the government machinery to “implicate her family.”The ED had sent the last summon to Rabri on November 24. Sources said Rabri will be quizzed by a two member team from Delhi, assisted by local ED officials. This will be Rabri’s first interrogation by the ED and the officials are likely to record her statement. She was recently quizzed by the Income-Tax officials over other Benami property allegations.Rabri is a co-accused in the scam, which pertains to allocation of maintenance of railways hotel in Ranchi and Puri in exchange of gratification during Lalu’s tenure as the Union railways minister in 2004. Lalu, his son and former Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, former Union minister Premchand Gupta and his wife Sarla Gupta, are also accused in the case. The ED had registered a case against them under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in July this year.The ED has already questioned Tejashwi in this case.
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Crime control: Bihar gives cops the stick, stop salaries of 70 SHOs

Bihar has decided to give police the stick for improving vigilance and bringing down crime in the state by withholding the salaries of 70 station house officers (SHOs) in Patna for zero arresting in major cases in their respective police stations in the last one week.The order was issued by Patna Range DIG Rajesh Kumar on Thursday, after he found that the cops had made no arrests in major cases such as murder, dacoity, loot, kidnapping, violence against women etc between November 23 and 28. Kumar found it as he reviewed the performance of all police stations, who were asked to update the headquarters about their activities every day since October 11.”Only three police stations in Patna – Kadamkuan, Phulwarisharif and Gaurichak – have reported arrests in serious cases during the last one week while the others have reported zero arrests. This shows their indiscipline, dereliction of duty, negligence and disobedience towards senior officials,” reads Kumar’s strongly worded order.Kumar said, “What sort of a policing is happening where not a single arrest has been made in serious cases in the entire week in a police station? The cops should be on their toes to investigate and arrest at least one accused (in serious crimes) every day.”A show cause notice has also been issued to 10 sub-divisional police officers (SDPOs) and deputy superintendent of police (DSPs), under whose jurisdiction the said police stations function. “They should reply within three days, why no arrests have been made in serious cases in their respective areas despite several reminders? They will invite disciplinary proceedings if they fail to respond within time,” Kumar said and added that the senior officials should also be proactive in making arrests.He also directed the Patna senior superintendent of police and city superintendents of police to ensure compliance of such orders from the Bihar Police Headquarters or other senior level and monitor it on a daily basis.The order aims at bettering crime control in the state, which seen increased law and order issues over the last few months, including murder of several businessmen and loots in the state capital. The Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has also cornered the government over it calling it ‘Mahamangalraaj’ of the NDA in Bihar.
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Bihar govt to push for Heritage tag for Rajgir Cyclopean Wall

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bihar government will make efforts to get the ‘World Heritage’ tag for the ancient Cyclopean Wall at the popular tourist destination Rajgir in Bihar.Bihar’s Nalanda Mahavihara and the Mahabodhi in Bodh Gaya have already made it to the World Heritage sites list.“The Cyclopean Wall is one of the oldest examples of masonry. We have asked the Nalanda University vice-chancellor to survey the wall and prepare a report on it,” said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.Kumar added that Bihar has a rich archaeological history that can be made known to the world if the Archaeological Survey of India worked on it.Nitish, who was inaugurating the Rajgir Mahotsav evening, said the main objective was to get international recognition for Rajgir. “Earlier, we had to make efforts to get a world heritage site status for the Nalanda Mahavihara. We will do the same for the Cyclopean wall if required,” said Nitish.Nitish added that there were only two Cyclopean walls in the world, the other one being in Greece, and thus, it was an important part of Bihar’s heritage.Historians believe that Bihar’s Cyclopean wall, built of huge undressed stones, would have been around 40-km-long that encircled Rajgir. It dates back to the pre-Mauryan era (before 3rd Century BC), and was built likely to provide protection to the ancient settlement in Rajgir.

Will skin PM Modi, says Tej Pratap over Lalu Prasad Yadav’s security

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The reduction in security cover of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad Yadav has not gone down well with his son Tej Pratap Yadav, a former Bihar cabinet minister, who has threatened to “flay” Prime Minister Narendra Modi if anything happened to his father.”It is a conspiracy to murder my father. I will give them a ‘muh-tod jawab’. Narendra Modi ji ka khaal udhedva denge (will get Narendra Modi’s skin flayed,” Tej Pratap said outside Bihar legislative assembly on Monday, when asked about to comment on the scaling down of Z+ security cover to Lalu.Tej Pratap said, “The security that has been reduced… everyone knows that we have a lot of programmes scheduled and Lalu ji also attends many of them. If anything happens to my father, then who will take its responsibility?”The BJP has come down heavily on Tej Pratap’s comment threatening to drag him to the court over it.”Tej Pratap needs to consult psychiatrists and learn restraint from some good advisors,” said Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey, while his cabinet colleague Suresh Sharma too termed Tej Pratap mentally unstable.Lalu’s younger son and leader of the Opposition in Bihar assembly, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said Modi will be responsibile if any untoward incident happened to his father.Less than a week ago, their mother and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi too had made a similar remark, saying there were many in Bihar who were ready to slit the PM’s throat, while Tej himself had targeted Sushil Kumar Modi, the deputy CM of Bihar, a few days ago saying he would assault him in his house (ghar mein ghus ke marenge) and disrupt his son’s wedding next month.Meanwhile, Lalu said he was not scared by such tactics and that the people of Bihar and even their children were there to protect him. “They have been slapping false cases against me and my family members to intimidate me.They are afraid of me and have reduced security to restrict my movement and for harm to come my way,” he said. Lalu added that he had spoken to Tej Pratap over his comments and asked him not to repeat it.

Winter session of Bihar Assembly likely to be stormy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The winter session of the Bihar legislature, commencing from November 27, is likely to be a stormy one with the Opposition ready to target the government over the multi-crore Srijan Scam and Toilet Scam, which surfaced in the state over the last few months.The session will witness five sittings, and the government is likely to introduce some important bills besides the second complementary budget.The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which is the single largest party with 80 MLAs but sits in the Opposition after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dumped the Mahagathbandhan to join hands with the BJP, held a meeting of the legislators on Sunday evening. “We will not interrupt the Assembly if we get satisfactory answers for the adjournment motions moved by us,” said Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, the leader of the Opposition in the Bihar legislative assembly.The Opposition has plans to target the government over “deteriorating law and order in the state, scams, health facilities and education.” “We will show a mirror to the claims of good governance made by the NDA government,” said a Congress leader. The three MLAs of CPI (ML-L) will also target the government over “increased crime graph and communal violence.”Meanwhile, leaders of the JD-U and BJP said the treasury benches were ready with their answers for the Opposition. “The developmental works done by the Nitish government will be an answer to all their questions,” said a JD-U leader. The JD-U and BJP will hold their legislature party meets on Monday.Assembly speaker Vijay Choudhary and Council chairperson Harun Rashid have sought cooperation from all members of the smooth functioning of the House. The session will conclude on December 1.

Sonepur cattle fair fast losing its sheen, reduced to a cultural carnival

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Once famous as Asia’s largest cattle fair, Bihar’s “Sonepur Mela” is losing its sheen with colourful events turning it into a cultural carnival.The fair, which was inaugurated by deputy CM of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi on November 2, is put up at the confluence of River Ganga and River Gandak in Saran district, around 40 kilometres from the state capital.The various folklore associated with the fair claim that animals were traded here from the times of Chandragupt Maurya and through the Mughal era. It is believed that Veer Kunwar Singh also visited the centuries old fair to strengthen his cavalry and infantry to fight against the British.Elephants, horses, cows, buffaloes, goats and birds were once a major attraction at the fair, but the scenes have changed now. The regular visitors to the fair claim the number of cattle traders has reduced considerably, and handloom and handicraft stalls along with government kiosks now dominate the fairground.The reason for almost emply “Gai Bazaar”, many believe, is the increased fear of cow vigilantes across the nation. Similar views were echoed by RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav, who said, “Fewer animals have been brought to the fair as cattle traders are hesitant of attack by Gau Rakshaks en route. Earlier people were afraid of lions, now they are afraid of cows.”The ban on trading of elephants and birds has added to the lacklustre. “Till the turn of the century, elephants from across the country were traded at the fair. However, for the last few years, they were only put on exhibition and now even that is on verge of extinction,” says Harkhu Rai, who visited the fair to buy milch animals.The focus of the fair has now shifted on entertainment events such as theatre and cultural evenings along with spreading awareness and promotion of government’s policies and products. The Government of Bihar too is aware of the changes and a senior official of the state tourism department said, “With so many legislation related to animal trade coming up in the country, it is difficult to preserve its essence of being Asia’s largest cattle fair. Perhaps, renovating it as a cultural centre in the coming years will be more practical.”The fair, which is visited by many foreign tourists, will conclude on December 2.

Now Facebook, WhatsApp access for Bihar college students under free WiFi scheme

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 50,000 students from 300 colleges in Bihar are availing the free WiFi service offered by the Government of Bihar as a part of its ‘Saat Nishchai’ scheme.The stats were shares by deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi following a review meeting of the free WiFi campus scheme. “The students will now get the facility of one time logging in with access to use WhatsApp, Facebook, Youtube and e-commerce websites to attract more students to make use of the scheme,” Modi said.The users are allowed to download up to 1GB data per day and a total of 10GB in a month. “Earlier, they had to login multiple times using their User ID and Password, but now they will have to log in only once and their device will remain connected to the WiFi,” he added.Modi said the Bihar government will spend around Rs 23 crore to install solar panels to ensure uninterrupted power supply so that the WiFi facility functions smoothly.Around 60 engineers who look after the maintenance of the WiFi equipment in colleges have also been asked to hold camps to make the students aware of the facility and encourage them to register for it.Modi said the number of users increased from 20,000 in June to over 49,000 at present.The scheme was launched on the occasion of Bihar Diwas in March 2017 to help youngsters become digitally smart and progress in life. It was one of CM Nitish Kumar’s pre-poll commitment and the government had sanctioned Rs 220 crore for it.

Bihar teachers up in arms against ODF patrolling

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Bihar government order asking school teachers to prevent open defecation in their areas by patrolling in their wards or Panchayats has stirred up a controversy as teachers are up in arms against the administration saying that the directive is an ‘insult’ to them.The instructions were issued by the Block Development Officers of Aurangabad’s Deo and Muzaffarpur’s Kurhani. The order asked 200 odd secondary school teachers to visit the villages every morning and evening to keep people from defecating in the open as part of Bihar Open Defecation Free (ODF) campaign. They were also instructed to ask locals to use toilets, and photograph those who refuse to listen to them, and send it to senior officials.The teachers, who are already overloaded with work, are not happy. “The paperwork and teaching for Class 10 and 12 exams are underway. Besides, we also have to participate in campaigns against dowry and child marriage, and promote alcohol prohibition. Is it humanly possible to visit villages every morning and evening for ODF work now?” a government schoolteacher said.The Bihar Secondary School Teachers Association, has lodged its protest with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanding him to withdraw the order. “We do support the ODF campaign. But compliance with the latest order would mean compromising our dignity and endangering our safety,” the association wrote in its letter to the CM.An association functionary said, “The Central government stresses on not engaging teachers for non-academic activities, but the state government has a diametrically opposite take on it. And after all this, they expect the Board exam results to be top class.”The directive has drawn flak from several quarters. Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad Yadav said the Bihar government was making arrangement for getting the teachers thrashed. “At a time when education is in shambles in the state, such order is bizarre,” he said.DIRECTIONSThe order directed secondary school teachers to visit villages twice a day to spread awareness about ODF.
It also instructed them to take pictures of those who refuse to comply and send it to senior authorities

Bihar: Special police unit for execution of liquor ban, crackdown on violations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With a view to improving the enforcement of total alcohol prohibition in Bihar, the state government has approved the creation of the post of Inspector General of Police (Prohibition), who will head a special unit to monitor the implementation and crackdown on liquor law violations in the state.The decision was taken at a meeting of a cabinet minister of the state, chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday evening.Bihar had imposed a total ban on sale and consumption of liquor in the state on April 5, 2016. However, seizures of a huge amount of smuggled liquor make it to the headlines everyday. To keep a tab on these, the Bihar Police proposed the formation of a special unit, which would exclusively deal with these cases.The IG (Prohibition) will work with crime investigation department (CID) and an SP-rank officer of the department will be a part of his team.“The SP (OSD) will now be SP (Prohibition) and 68 other police department officials, of various ranks, will also be a part of the team,” an official said. According to sources, the unit will have a separate control room and will be free to take over cases related to prohibition, if it deems it fit for a probe.Nitish Kumar, who has been championing the agenda of prohibition, was irked at the recent hooch tragedies, which claimed at least six lives and had asked the cops to step up their action against liquor mafias in the state.

Bihar: CM Nitish Kumar to embark on Sameeksha yatra from Champaran next month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is all set to embark on his next ‘yatra’ in December to review the progress of developmental works going on in the state.The “Sameeksha yatra” (Journey to review), will kick-start from Champaran, which is celebrating 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement. In his bid to directly connect with the people, Nitish will visit all the 38 districts of Bihar to take stock of the socio-economic development of the state by assessing the progress of developmental works launched by his government.The announcement was made by Nitish himself, who said, “The Bihar government has done a lot of work. We have provided 35% reservation to women in all jobs, student credit cards for youths etc. To take a stock of their progress, I will commence a yatra from next month from Champaran.” Nitish, also the JD(U) president, has undertaken several yatras such as “Sampark yatra”, “Sankalp yatra”, “Nyay yatra” etc. He has maintained that it gives him immense pleasure to go among the people, and hear their issues directly, besides being connected with the grassroots.In November last year, Nitish had undertaken the “Nishchai yatra” when he toured the length and breadth of Bihar to assess the impact of total prohibition, implemented in the state on April 5, 2016. During the yatra, he also assessed the implementation of his ambitious “Saat Nishchai” scheme, Bihar Public Grievance Redressal Act and other government welfare schemes functional in the state. The JD-U, then a part of the Mahagathbandhan government, had famously targeted PM Narendra Modi and posters reading “Wo videsh bhraman par rehte hai aur hamare CM gaon gaon mein jakar logo se milte hai… Fark dikhta hai” were across the state and on social media platforms.

Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) gearing up to expand base outside Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Buoyed by the allotment of ‘arrow’ symbol, the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal-United (JD-U) is now working on strengthening its organisation base outside Bihar.As a result, the party is set to hold a convention of party workers in Delhi on December 10, which will be addressed by party’s national president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.Earlier, when former JD(U) President Sharad Yadav had expressed displeasure with Nitish for dumping the Mahagathbandhan and joining hands with the BJP, Nitish had maintained that JD-U was a regional party and hence, the decision taken by its Bihar unit members was to be adhered to.A senior party leader said the JD-U has already chosen its new state presidents for Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. “Now to increase our base in Delhi, we will hold a meeting at Talkatora stadium on December 10,” he added.With a good number of people from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh in Delhi, the Nitish enjoys considerable support there. Senior party leaders including KC Tyagi, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh and Sanjay Jha will also be present at the Delhi meet.The party, which has also decided to contest the Gujarat polls from 12 assembly seats, is likely to declare its candidates within a day or two, the leader said and added, “Even if we lose, we will have some base there.”The JD-U Bihar executive committee will also hold a meeting in Patna on November 26 to discuss these issues.

Padmavati row: Rajputs to burn Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s effigies in Bihar today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The protests demonstrations against the release of filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavati” has reached Bihar where members of the “Kshatriya samaj” will hold statewide agitation on Saturday.The announcement was made by Lokendra Singh Kalvi, who was in Patna on Friday, to garner support for his movement, and the demonstrations will be led by “Kshatriya Samanvay Samiti-Bihar”.On Saturday, members of the community will burn effigies of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and other artists in the movie in all district headquarters of the state besides demanding to ban the release of the film, “which hurts their sentiments”. Women of the Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha, under the “Veerangana team” will also hit the roads in Saturday’s protest. A “Sankalp Sabha” will be organised in Patna.The protesters will also hold an “Aakrosh march” against the film on November 26. “We will also write to the administration and owners of cinema halls, not to release the movie,” said a functionary of the Kshatriya Samiti.The movie has witnessed widespread protests by members of the Rajput community across the nation, who claim that “their history has been distorted in the film”. On Friday, the protesters faced flak when one of the had said that they will cut actor Deepika Padukone’s nose if the movie is released.

Tejashwi Prasad Yadav thanks Rahul Gandhi for ‘wonderful lunch’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had a lunch meeting with Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, the former deputy CM of Bihar and younger son of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad Yadav, in Delhi on Friday, triggering speculations about changing political equations in Bihar.The meet comes a day after Tejashwi, also the leader of Opposition in Bihar legislative assembly, took on Rahul’s adversaries, dubbing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘Gappu’ in lieu of the saffron party calling Rahul ‘Pappu’.”Despite being out of power, the so-called Pappu is climbing the popularity graph, while Gappu is misusing government machinery and spending crores on IT cell, and yet his popularity is falling,” Tejashwi had said in a series of tweets on Thursday.The news of the luncheon meet was shared by Tejashwi on his official Twitter handle along with photographs on Friday afternoon. The Yadav leader thanked Rahul and said, “Thank you @OfficeOfRG for taking me out for wonderful lunch. Feel appreciated and grateful. Again thanks for taking out time out of your tight schedule.” He, however, did not elaborate on the meeting.”The two share an easy rapport. Earlier this month, Rahul ji had wished Tejashwi over the phone on his birthday,” said an RJD leader in Bihar.At a time when Rahul is busy stumping for Gujarat election, and in light of the corruption charges levelled against Tejashwi and his family members and the ongoing inquiry in the land for Railways’ hotel scam, the meeting assumes much significance.Rahul’s Congress was a part of the Grand Alliance government, which came to power in Bihar in November 2015, in which Tejashwi was the deputy CM. Even after its disintegration, both RJD and Congress have been supporting each other in Bihar.

Safety comes first: Bihar schools set to have ‘Safe Saturday’ for students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a novel initiative, the Bihar government is set to launch a school safety programme from January 2018, where the students will be trained in disaster management at their schools every Saturday. The programme has thus been named “Safe Saturday”, and is a part of Chief Minister’s “School Suraksha Karyakram”.The decision was taken at the 11th review meeting of the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA) chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and senior government and BSDMA officials in attendance. Disaster management is already studied as a subject by high school students in the state. A BSDMA official said the Safe Saturday programme will include modules on types of disasters, how to identify them, what steps can be taken to mitigate their effects and post-disaster management.The school teachers will be trained by master trainers of BSDMA and booklets and other related reference materials will be provided to them, so that they can educate the students about disaster risks and management. “Not just natural calamities, but risks of heatwave and cold wave, drowning, traffic hazards or fire safety etc will also be told to them,” the official said. The schools will also conduct mock drills, he added.Bihar is a “disaster-prone” state which faces multiple hazards of flood, drought, and lightning every year besides being in seismic zone IV and V, making it earthquake-prone too. These hazards have been claiming several lives across the state, due to lack of timely mitigation or management and delayed relief and rescue operations.

‘Hooch’ kills three more in dry Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Barely three weeks after four persons died in hooch tragedy in Rohtas district, three more deaths were reported due to suspected consumption of spurious liquor in dry Bihar’s Vaishali district on Thursday.The incident took place at Basauli village in Vaishali on Wednesday night. The locals said the deceased — Arun Patel, Lal Babu Paswan and Devendra Paswan — all in their 40s, had consumed spurious liquor along with some other men at a local villager’s place on Monday evening.”They complained of nausea, vomiting etc and were taken to a local hospital where the three died. Two of them died on Tuesday and were immediately cremated by their family members while Arun’s body has been sent for postmortem,” said a local police officer.Vaishali superintendent of police Rakesh Kumar said, “It will only be clear after the postmortem reports are received whether they died due to hooch or some other illness. We were told by the family members that they were also suffering from other ailments. An investigation has been launched into it.”Sources said the police are also on the lookout for those who have taken ill after allegedly consuming liquor, though no headway has been made on that front. “One person has been detained for interrogation,” the source added.The locals, however, alleged that the police want to cover up the hooch deaths. “The local chowkidar used to sell liquor and the cops never took any action against him,” said a resident of Basauli village.This is the third hooch tragedy in Bihar, where total alcohol prohibition was enforced on April 5, 2016. Earlier, on October 28, four persons died and two others took ill after consuming spurious liquor in Danwar village of Rohtas while over 15 persons died due to illicit liquor in Gopalganj’s Khajurbani district in August last year.THIRD TRAGEDYThis is the third hooch tragedy in Bihar, where total prohibition was enforced on April 5, 2016.
On October 28, four died and two took ill after taking spurious liquor in Rohtas.
15 persons had died taking illicit liquor in Kha-jurbani in August 2016.

Tejashwi Prasad Yadav slams Nitish Kumar for ‘kid’ comment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar called Tejashwi Prasad Yadav a ‘kid’, the younger son of RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav has retaliated by targeting Nitish’s son and asked the CM if his son had traits like him.On Wednesday, Tejashwi took to Twitter to hit back at Nitish and said, “Respected Nitishji, I am proud that I have my father’s traits. But you keep a hand over your heart and reply whether or not, your son (Nishant) has your nature. Seedhi baat, no bakwas.” He further added, “I do not want to lower the level of politics like you, but you are well aware of the truth. Let some secrets remain as secrets.”The RJD leader was peeved with Nitish, who on Monday, had brushed aside media queries related to Tejashwi, saying, “He is still a child. Sometimes he speaks loudly because of the traits he has acquired from his father. What should I reply on the comments made by him?”This did not go down well with Lalu as well, who had said Nitish will know who his son was when he faces him in the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls. “He is not a bachha, but Nitish’s chacha,” Lalu said. Tejashwi had also replied that a person remains a child to his or her parents and elders throughout the life, and so Nitish was right in referring to him as a child.Earlier, Tejashwi had taken yet another dig at ‘uncle’ Nitish saying, “If not blessings, you could at least have greeted this child on the occasion of Children’s Day. You didn’t even send any wishes on my birthday a few days ago. If you call me a kid, then at least behave like an elder.”Tejashwi, who used to refer to Nitish as ‘chacha’ (father’s younger brother) when he was a deputy CM in the Mahagathbandhan government, uses the term now to take a jibe at Nitish.

Bihar gears up for Prakash Parv celebrations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar is gearing up to host grand celebrations to mark the 350th Prakash Parv of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru who was born in Patna.Large-scale preparations are underway in the state for the festivities. In January, the Bihar government had organised a three-day inaugural function, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and more than five lakh Sikh devotees from across the world. This put Bihar on the global map.The state government has sanctioned Rs 52 crore for the concluding ceremony.As Patna Sahib is considered to be one of the holiest destinations by Sikhs, more than three lakh pilgrims are expected to take part in the closing ceremony from December 23 to 25. Understandably, the state government does not want to leave any stone unturned and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is monitoring the preparations. The arrangements include construction of tent cities, strengthening civic amenities such as roads, parking, power supply, sanitation and medical facilities, in the tent cities as well as near the Sri Takhat Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara area, and organisation of “langar” etc. Officials said the tent cities, which were likely to accommodate around 40,000 pilgrims, would be ready by the end of November. The CM has directed that roads be levelled and there is proper ventilation, toilets and mosquito nets for the visitors.The beautification of Kangan ghat, a major attraction for Sikh pilgrims as it got its name from Guru Gobind Singh throwing his bangle here, is also underway. Besides construction of “langars” (community kitchen), it will also witness some action in form of Gatka, martial arts and horse-riding stunts.To make the 350th Prakashotsava memorable, the state government is planning a multipurpose centre-cum-park on the life and works of Guru Gobind Singh. The proposal has been sanctioned by the Government of India along with a sum of Rs 50 crore for its construction and it is likely to be ready in 18 months.Grand eventIn January, the Bihar government had organised a three-day inaugural function, which was attended by PM Narendra Modi

Nitish Kumar predicts easy win for BJP in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president Nitish Kumar on Monday exuded confidence over his latest ally’s fate in the Gujarat Assembly polls and said there was no threat to the BJP, which will continue with its winning streak there.”You can understand the sentiments of the people of a state from where an incumbent Prime Minister hails. I understand that BJP does not face any threat in Gujarat,” predicted Nitish, negating Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s emergence as a challenger there.Nitish was replying to mediapersons after his weekly Lok Samvad programme on Monday. He disagreed with Gujarat polls being a semi-final for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, and pitched for holding of simultaneous polls, though he conceded that it will require much debate and discussion and was not immediately enforceable.Besides extending support to his ally, Nitish targeted his opponent and arch rival Lalu Prasad Yadav saying RJD’s party polls were a trick to hog media limelight. “The RJD is not a political party but Lalu’s personal property. The election for RJD president was held last year itself. What sort of a constitution does the party have,” Nitish said.He was replying to question on Lalu filing his nomination for the post of RJD president for the 10th term and being the only candidate to do so. Nitish said the RJD will be back to pavillion in the next assembly polls. On Lalu’s younger son and leader of the Opposition in Bihar legislative assembly, Tejashwi Yadav, Nitish said he was still a kid and there was no need to reply to his comments.The Bihar CM said he had discussed the issue of cow vigilantism with PM Modi, who was in agreement that action should be taken against “gau rakshaks” as per the laws of the land. “I have ordered strict action against those who take laws in their hands,” he added.On a query related to Jammu and Kashmir, Nitish differed with National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah’s stand, saying, “My view is that Kashmir is an inseparable part of India and so is Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.”

Bihar: Four lakh contractual teachers threaten to go on indefinite strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around four lakh teachers, working in government schools on a contractual basis, have threatened to proceed on an indefinite strike, if the Bihar government does not implement ‘equal pay for equal work’ for them.The decision comes in the wake of the Bihar government mulling to move the Supreme Court over Patna High Court’s decision that contractual or ‘Niyojit’ teachers were entitled to equal pay as their regular counterparts.On October 31, a division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anil Kumar Upadhyay had directed the state government to fix pay scales of contractual teachers on a par with regular teachers of nationalised schools, within three months.However, with the state government yet undecided, more than 20 associations of contractual teachers of primary, secondary and senior secondary levels, have come together and said, “If the Bihar government does not implement equal pay for equal work by January 31, 2018, they will lock the schools across the state and proceed on strikes from February 1, 2018.”It may be mentioned that the Class X and XII exams of Bihar School Examination Board is held in February and March, and the contractual teachers comprise a major chunk of its invigilators. The education department will face much inconvenience in the event of the teachers proceeding on strike. However, implementation of the ‘equal’ pay scale, will put an additional burden of Rs 2,900 crore on the state exchequer. The contractual teachers were appointed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, after he came to power in 2005, to fill up existing vacancies and streamline the education sector in Bihar. Initially, they were offered a consolidated pay, however, few years into service and they started staging agitations demanding equal pay for equal work. While they were given a ‘pay scale’ in 2015, it was still less than the regular teachers.

To counter exam controversy, Bihar board to introduce 50% objective questions in 2018 boards

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mired in controversy for the last three years, the Bihar Schools Examination Board (BSEB) has decided to change the pattern of its examination, by including more objective questions in the papers to be held in 2018 board exams.The Board has also uploaded the changed pattern on its website on Friday evening, to provide adequate time to the students and teachers to prepare accordingly for the exams. “We have changed the pattern to include 50% objective questions in the theory papers,” said BSEB chairman Anand Kishor and added that multiple-choice questions will have to be answered on OMR sheets.Kishor said the Sent-up exams for the students will be held on the same pattern. The BSEB has said it will also upload model question papers for preparation of students on its website, by November 15.The Board had witnessed extremely disappointing results with over 7.94 lakh of the 12.6 lakh, or 64% students, failing in Class XII and 8.56 of 17.23 lakh, or 49.68% students failing in Class X exams in 2017. It was said to be the result of the multiple exam and evaluation reforms introduced by the BSEB after the topper scam and mass-cheating in Class X exams came to light.Educationists claim that objective questions are not just scoring but also easier to evaluate using OMR sheets. “There was provision of objective questions till a few years ago and the BSEB faced protests from students when it was scrapped, because it used to be scoring and saved time for answering long questions,” said a Patna-based government school teacher.

Lalu Prasad Yadav hints Tejashwi will be RJD’s 2020 CM candidate, backtracks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Friday, Rashtriya Janata Dal President Lalu Prasad Yadav theoretically handed over his political legacy to his younger son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, when he hinted that he will be naming him as the party’s chief ministerial candidate in the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls.Interacting with media, Lalu lauded Tejashwi’s leadership and said, “He is better than others in leadership skills and we will fight the 2020 Assembly election under him.” He added that Tejashwi is a popular leader and it was time to bring the youth forward.Tejashwi has already served as the deputy chief minister of Bihar under CM Nitish Kumar in the Mahagathbandhan government, before it disintegrated in July this year. Presently, the 28-year-old is the leader of the Opposition in Bihar legislative Assembly, where his party has a maximum 80 MLAs.Lalu was replying to queries on comments made by recently re-elected state RJD chief Ram Chandra Purve, who said, “The RJD will form the next government in Bihar under the leadership of Tejashwi.” Lalu added to that and said, “Tejashwi speaks better than most of us and has the ability to lead. And I am not saying that just because he is my son.”However, Lalu’s statement triggered notes of discord within the party with senior leaders like party vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and former Bihar finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui claiming that it was too early to declare who would lead the party in the next polls. “No decision has been taken yet. Purbe may have expressed his personal sentiments,” they said.Following their statement, Lalu too rephrased his statement saying, “There is a lot of time for the election. The CM face will be decided by the party when the time comes.”

We want to boost organic farming: Nitish Kumar

Nitish said and listed irrigation, seed management, power supply and connectivity as his focus areas in agro sector. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Welcoming President Ram Nath Kovind to Bihar on Thursday, chief minister Nitish Kumar said the state was trying to promote organic farming, by building an organic farming corridor along both sides of the River Ganga flowing through the state.“Our dream is to have at least one Bihar dish on every platter by 2022,” Nitish said and listed irrigation, seed management, power supply and connectivity as his focus areas in agro sector.“The state has already made huge progress in the production of paddy, wheat, maize and potatoes.

Bihar’s Krishi plan will help farmers: Ram Nath Kovind

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Ram Nath Kovind, while unveiling the Rs 1.54 lakh crore Bihar Krishi Road Map 2017-22 here on Thursday, said the state had the potential to usher in the next green revolution and contribute towards food security of the nation.”We are celebrating the centenary year of the Champaran Satyagraha in 2017, so this was the best time to introduce the new ‘Agricultural Road Map’ in the interests of farmers. It will further energise the agricultural sector’s performance in the state and empower the farming community, which will help in boosting Bihar’s image,” Kovind said, on his maiden visit to the state after assuming the office of the President in July this year.The President said Bihar had been lucky for him and that he would always remember the regard and affection received from people of all sections and regions during his tenure as the Governor of the state. “It is a moving and emotional experience for me to be back here. I will remember Bihar’s affection forever,” he said.Kovind also launched nine schemes related to the Krishi Road Map including Bihar Fisheries College at Kishanganj, organic farming corridor, foundation-stone-laying of agriculture feeder at Naubatpur in Patna and vegetable processing and distribution cooperative system, and said these would strengthen the agriculture sector. He advised for improving management of the state’s water resources.

President Kovind on his first Bihar visit today, to launch Krishi Road Map

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President of India, Ram Nath Kovind will unveil Rs 1.54 lakh crore Third Agriculture Road Map, on his daylong visit to Patna on Thursday.This is President’s first visit to Bihar, after moving to Rashtrapati Bhavan. He will land at Patna airport at 11.25am.Kovind’s itinerary also includes a visit to Raj Bhawan roundabout, where he will pay his tribute to Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India. He will then proceed to the newly inaugurated Bapu Sabhagaar at Samrat Ashok International Convention Centre-Patna, where he will launch the Road Map.The Krishi Road Map was approved by the Nitish Kumar led NDA government last month, and the CM said he envisaged having at least one Bihar dish on every platter by 2022, in a bid to boost the agriculture sector in the state. It also aims at ensuring food security, nutrition, inclusive development and increase in farmers’ income, an agriculture department official said.While some of the programmes under the third Agriculture Road Map are a continuation of its previous two editions, as many as 12 departments, including, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Pisciculture, Revenue and Land Reforms, Water Resources, Power, and Food Processing are coordinating to ensure smooth implementation of the third Road Map.Kovind, who will return to Delhi the same day, will also pay tributes to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan at his statue near Gandhi Maidan.On Wednesday evening, CM Nitish himself reviewed the preparations for the President’s visit. It may be mentioned that Nitish shared very cordial relations with Kovind, during the latter’s tenure as the governor of the state, and the JD-U chief was among the very first few people who met Kovind after the BJP announced him as NDA’s Presidential pick earlier this year.

Lalu Prasad Yadav takes a jibe at Modi over note-ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad Yadav on Wednesday hit out at the Narendra Modi-led-NDA government at the Centre saying demonetization was done to satisfy egos and it claimed over 150 precious lives in the country. He alleged that “notebandi” helped in “whitewashing” black money “with greater ease”.”It was the poor who had to suffer the most due to demonetization while the maximum benefit was reaped by the rich. If demonetization was supposed to flush out black money from India’s economy, why hasn’t the government told the people how much black money was recovered,” Lalu told reporters on the first anniversary of scrapping of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes by the Centre.Calling November 8 a “BJP money laundering day”, Lalu said, “demonetization was executed on ‘NINO, Nothing In-Nothing Out’ method and therefore, result has been ‘Nothing’. Amit Shah’s income increased by 300 times and his son’s by 16,000. That’s the ultimate achievement of demonetization.” Lalu also sought to know what action was taken against “Mahesh Shah from whom Rs 13,000 crore black money was recovered” during demonetization.The RJD held state-wide demonstrations and rallies as a part of the Opposition observing “Kala Diwas” to mark one year of note-ban. Apart from the RJD, the Congress, Samajwadi Party and NCP, too, staged protests and workers of all parties raised slogans, wearing black bands and displaying placards against demonetization at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan on Wednesday.Lalu and other Opposition leaders sought to know why the BJP and its allies were “celebrating” demonetization as anti-black money day when “so many people had died standing in queues or lost their livelihoods” due to note-ban. “The only thing it did was convert black money of the rich and affluent into white money,” he added.Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee President Kaukab Quadri alleged that note-ban shut shops of small and medium scale industries, rendering thousands unemployed. “It was an unnecessary step for which even the RBI did not agree with the government,” he added.Opposition observes ‘kala diwas’The RJD held state-wide demonstrations and rallies as a part of the Opposition observing “Kala Diwas” to mark one year of demonetisationCongress, Samajwadi Party and NCP, too, staged protests and workers of all parties raised slogans and wore black bands

Nitish Kumar wants reservation in pvt jobs, calls for debate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday pitched for reservation in private sector and called for a debate on it at the national level for Parliament to take a decision on it.Nitish was defending Bihar government’s recent move of introducing quota in outsourced services while addressing mediapersons after his weekly Lok Samvad here. Interestingly, Nitish’s call for private sector reservation found support from ally-turned-foe Lalu Prasad Yadav, President of Rashtriya Janata Dal, which sits in Opposition with its 80 MLAs, after being dumped by Nitish in July.Citing provisions of Bihar Reservation Act 2003, Nitish said the state government was working in accordance to it. “When the government is hiring workforce through outsourcing, the payment is made through state treasury. Hence, it is but natural that they should adhere to Reservation Act,” the CM said.He added, “Those who understand the basic sentiment of reservation will never have any doubts regarding it. It is our personal opinion that quota should also be applicable on the jobs in private sector and there should be a debate on it.”Lalu too supported the statement saying he wanted to bring the marginalised sections in the mainstream, though he added, “Private sector means big companies. However, how many such companies are there in Bihar that reservation will be provided to the deprived sections?”It may be recalled that reservation had turned out to be a major issue ahead of 2015 Bihar assembly polls.Nitish also defended his decision to quit the Mahagathbandhan and join forces with the BJP in July, saying he had difficulties in running the previous regime. “It was difficult to contain liquor or sand mafias or maintain law and order in the state. Our decision to quit was taken for people of Bihar,” he said.

JD-U, RJD spar over liquor in dry Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) on Friday released a photograph of former deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, in which he is seen posing with a girl in front of some beer bottles, and alleged that the younger son of RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav consumed liquor while he went on outstation trips.The JD-U also dared Tejashwi to undergo a blood test. “Are these values (sanskaar) that he has imbibed from his family? What does he have to say about this aspect?” said JD-U MLCs and spokespersons Neeraj Kumar and Sanjay Singh, at a joint press meet at the party office in Patna on Friday.They also questioned why Tejashwi did not stay at Bihar Bhawan but elsewhere during his Delhi visits. “When he enjoys other perks of being a leader of Opposition in Bihar, why does he stay at some private facility? Everyone knows about his addiction habits,” they alleged.JD-U’s allegations come in the backdrop of Tejashwi releasing pics of a suspected liquor mafia-cum-JD-U leader Rakesh Singh’s selfie with CM Nitish Kumar earlier this week. The photographs forced the JD-U to expel Rakesh from their party. Later, Lalu had alleged a senior JD-U leader of taking “cuts” from liquor mafias besides claiming that their spokespersons held alcohol parties even in dry Bihar.The RJD was quick to return JD-U’s fire with Tejashwi clarifying that the said photograph was one clicked much before his entry into politics. “It was at a post-match party during my IPL days and I don’t even know the lady with me personally. Also, the JD-U should make it clear what exactly is objectionable about the pic?” Tejashwi asked.

Hooch tragedy triggers raids in dry Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bihar police have launched special drives and mounted raids to round up those involved in the illegal manufacture, sale or consumption of liquor across the dry state.The move comes after four people lost their lives and two took ill due to consumption of spurious liquor in Rohtas district last week, prompting Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to direct the cops to check supply of illicit liquor. The tragedy left the government which enforced total prohibition on April 5, 2016.In capital Patna alone, nearly 300 people have been arrested since the launch of the special drive on October 29. The cops have seized several litres of “desi” and foreign-made liquor besides destroying local breweries. “Our team had to fight stone-pelters during a raid,” said ASP Rakesh Dubey.Over 50 involved in liquor trade have been arrested in raids conducted in Bhojpur, Buxar, Rohtas and Kaimur districts while at least five were taken into custody in East Champaran. Sources said hotels and restaurants are particularly being checked for liquor, while patrolling in border areas too has increased.The tragedy has singed the police department too. More than 200 policemen are facing suspension for dereliction of duty, said the sources.The hooch deaths have given the Opposition fresh ammo to attack the government, with RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav claiming that prohibition is a total failure in Bihar where liquor is now being “home-delivered”. He said on Wednesday, “Some top JD-U leaders are taking a cut from liquor mafias. What more does one need to say on that?”Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, Lalu’s son and leader of opposition in assembly, said, “The CM should make public how many of his party leaders and workers have been booked under the prohibition law?” asked Tejashwi, who had earlier shared the picture of a “liquor mafia cum JD-U worker” clicking a selfie with the CM. The JD-U man was later dismissed from the party.

Equal pay for 4 lakh contractual teachers, rules Patna High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around four lakh contractual teachers in Bihar, who were on a warpath since 2009, sounded a cry of triumph when Patna High Court on Tuesday ruled that their demand of “equal pay for equal work” was constitutional and that they were entitled to salary on a par with their counterpart regular teachers.After Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took over the reins of the state in 2005, he appointed more than four lakh teachers at the primary, secondary and senior secondary levels to fill up the vacancies and streamline Bihar’s education sector. These teachers, referred to as “Niyojit Shikshak” or contractual teachers because they were appointed on a contract basis, were offered a consolidated pay and almost none of the perks enjoyed by the regular government school teachers.A few years into their appointment, they started staging agitations, demanding equal pay for equal work and though they were given a “pay scale” in 2015, it was still less than the regular teachers. This pay scale put an additional burden of Rs 2,900 crore on the state exchequer.A division bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anil Kumar Upadhyay, while hearing multiple writ petitions filed by various groups of contractual teachers, allowed the petitions and said, “The state government is directed to fix their pay scales like regular teachers of nationalised schools from the date of their entry in the service notionally and actual payment since December 2009, when the first writ petition was filed.”

Nitish Kumar woos investors to boost Bihar’s silk sector

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said the silk sector has a lot of potential and invited investors, promising them all help from the state government for establishing their units. He added the government was committed to strengthening the traditional industries in the state.Bihar, considered a cash-strapped state which has demanding a special category status for the past several years, is now trying to harness traditional and small-scale industries after it has found little success in attracting big investors despite its lucrative industrial policies. Following enforcement of total prohibition on April 5, 2016, the state also lost on its excise revenue, which made it mandatory for Bihar to look at smaller industries such as food-processing, garment etc, to fill its coffers.In Bihar, Bhagalpur, also popular as “Silk City”, once had a flourishing silk industry, with the Bhagalpuri silk famous across the globe. However, the sector has lost its sheen, with very few weavers left in the area as they hardly break even. “Silk, handloom and powerloom have a lot of potential for growth and can provide employment to a large number of people in the state. We have already seen the growth in tussar silk where we provided assistance to women groups working in the sector,” the CM said, while addressing traders and officials at “Udyami Panchayat” in Patna on Monday.Nitish also stressed on the need for increasing the number of handloom cooperative societies to strengthen the organisation of handloom weavers in the state. “There will be a joint meeting of the industries and cooperative departments very soon, where all your problems will be taken up in detail and solutions will be given to you,” he told the small-scale industrialists.

17 drown during Chhath Puja ‘arghya’ in Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as devotees bid farewell to Chhathi Maiyan with arghya to the rising sun on Friday, the festivities turned tragic at several places with at least 17 people reported to have drowned in separate incidents across the state.A maximum of four persons, including two women, drowned in Bhagalpur district, while performing the Chhath rituals. In Samastipur, two siblings aged 13 and 10 met their watery graves in a village pond, while an 18-year-old woman drowned in a water body in Dalsinghsarai.In Bihar’s Banka district, three persons, including a six-year-old boy, drowned during the Chhath arghya, whereas two persons died in Araria district. Drowning deaths were also reported from Madhepura, Arwal, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi and Vaishali districts. A boat also capsized in Munger district though no one was injured in that incident. A senior official said the compensation will be given to the kin of victims as per the government rules.Earlier, a day before the Chhath Mahaparv commenced with ‘Nahai Khai’, four women, who were on the way to perform pre-Chhath rituals, were run down by a train in Bhagalpur.According to figures furnished by the state disaster management department officials, last year 47 deaths had occurred only due to drowning during Chhath in Bihar. “The experience of previous years show that drowning events on Chhath ghats occur after the morning arghya, when administrative arrangements become somewhat relaxed. Hence, we need to remain more watchful,” said a senior official of the department.Lakhs of devotees re-assembled at the Chhath ghats on Friday morning and offered their obeisance to the ‘Udeeyaman’ (rising) sun to conclude the rituals.PRAYERS FOR PEACEChief Minister Nitish Kumar performed the arghya at his residence and said he prayed for peace and prosperity for the people of Bihar and India.

Bihar goes all in for Chhath

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lakhs of devotees thronged the decked-up ghats of River Ganga and offered the first “arghya” to the “astaachal surya” (setting sun) on the third day of the Chhath Mahaparv on Thursday.Chhath, the biggest festival in Bihar, which commenced with “Nahai-khai” on Tuesday, was celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety as the fasting “vratis” reached various ghats and water bodies singing traditional festival hymns. Standing in knee-to-waist deep waters, the vratis offered prayers to the Sun God.Governor Satya Pal Malik, CM Nitish Kumar and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi along with senior officials toured various ghats to take stock of the arrangements. The ghats had been cleaned and decked up, safety enclosures, control room, watch towers, toilets, changing rooms, medical teams and water ambulances had been arranged for at the river banks. Security personnel were deployed and river patrolling was also undertaken to keep a tab on worshipers.At the CM’s house, Nitish’s sister-in-law and niece performed Chhath, while the CM offered “arghya” at a makeshift pond at his residence. “It is a festival of self-discipline and if that discipline continues for 10-20 days beyond Chhath, we will be able to witness a huge change in the society,” Nitish said.The CM said Chhath was a festival where the nature and Sun God were worshiped. “We know that life on earth is dependent on the sun. This is the most lively festival,” he added, while distributing “kharna prasad” at his home on Wednesday evening.Former CM Rabri Devi is also observing Chhath with her family members at her residence in Patna. Her husband and RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav, sons Tejashwi and Tej Pratap and daughters offered “arghya” on Thursday evening. While Lalu shared Chhath greetings, Rabri said, “I seek Chhathi Maiya and Sun God’s blessings for the prosperity of the people of Bihar.”

PM Narendra Modi visits newly-opened Bihar Museum

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The exhibition encourages faith and curiosity. It is the best place to experience the confluence of history and culture,” This is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote in the visitor’s book of the newly inaugurated Rs 500-crore Bihar Museum for which he even deviated from his official schedule to visit on October 14 .Known to be Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s baby, the Bihar Museum is a treasure trove of the rich cultural and historical heritage of the state that makes us time travel from the pre-historic ages to the early 18th century AD. Besides this it gives us glimpses of contemporary art forms as well as an experiential learning zone for children, who comprise a major chunk of its visitors.With a total of seven galleries – History, Historical Art, Contemporary and Regional Art, Bihari diaspora, Visual Storage, Children’s and Orientation, the museum promises to be a visual treat for art lovers. The Children’s and Orientation galleries were opened for the public in August 2015.While the Orientation gallery is a sneak-peak into Bihar’s history, the Children’s gallery with its life-size replicas of birds, animals and natural settings, static and working models, scenes from different reigns, interactive audio-visuals and discovery room is a “play and learn” platform for kids.Everything here can be touched by them, unlike other “boring” galleries where they have to see everything at an arm’s distance.Thematic zones relating to dynasties that ruled Bihar – Mauryan, Gupta and Pala, growth of Buddhism and Jainism and Nalanda and Vikramshila Mahaviharas, stories of Bihari migrants of the last few centuries, teracotta sculptures, coins and works of state-renowned contemporary artists have also found a place at the museum, spread over a sprawling 13.5 acre campus in the heart of Patna.Among the museum’s most treasured display is the Didarganj Yakshi, a 3rd Century BC Mauryan statue, that was discovered almost a 100 ago. It is a life-size female figurine, holding a Chauri (fly whisk) in her right hand, carved out in a single Chunar sandstone and finished to an incredible mirror-like polish, finding place among the finest and most precious artefacts of ancient Indian sculptural art. A 6,000 kg Buddha begging bowl is also among its USP.What sets the Bihar Museum apart from the 100-year-old Patna Museum or other museums in India, claim historians, is that “it doesn’t just display the artefacts, it gives an experience through expanse, journey, symbol and learning landscape and memories that will be cherished till long after they step back into the chaotic life outside.”Some other unique features include alternating of open and indoor spaces to break viewing constancy and create a pleasurable and inviting experience, the use of corten steel plates that prevent rusting and minimise maintenance costs and use of fly-ash brick, solar panels and smart lighting to make it environmentally friendly. To ensure international standards, Canada and Japan-based consultants were hired for the conceptualisation and designing.Beloved piecesAmong the museum’s treasured display is the Didarganj Yakshi, a Mauryan statue 6,000 kg Buddha begging bowl is also among its USP

Madhubani paintings adorn railway station walls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The beautiful Madhubani painting, the most globally renowned traditional art form of Bihar, now adorns the walls of Madhubani railway station, around 175 km northeast of the state capital Patna. This is a first of its kind initiative in Bihar.The world-famous painting tastefully covers over 7,500 square feet of the station, placing it in a class of its own. Officials of the East Central Railway (ECR) division claim that this is the largest depiction of Mithila artwork in the world.”The aim was not just to beautify the walls, but also to display the skill and talent our artists have and spread awareness about it, especially among the younger generation,” said an ECR official.The task was undertaken as a part of Swachhta mission to keep the station campus clean and kicked off on October 2 this year. The handiwork turned into a reality almost two week later, due the efforts of around 200 Mithila painting artists, mostly young students, who worked tirelessly to achieve the feat. They have not charged any fee for their services either.The railways provided them with colours, painting brushes and refreshments and felicitated them after completion of the work.What makes Madhubani painting different from others is its eye-catching geometrical patterns, use of natural and vibrant colours and filling up empty spaces using motifs.”A number of people are visiting the railway station just to see the paintings,” the official said. Every team has a different theme of their painting, which ranges from traditional folklore, scriptures such as Ramayana and Mahabharata and nature to rural and social life, festivities and fold dances. Headings and sub-heads have been used to describe the paintings and people visiting Madhubani will get a taste of the popular Mithila painting as soon as they deboard at the station.

Cong’s Bihar in-charge is behind crisis: Ashok Choudhary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ashok Choudhary, the former president of Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee, who was ousted from his post last month, has blamed Congress’s Bihar in-charge CP Joshi for the crisis facing the party and said he would soon take up the matter with vice-president Rahul Gandhi.“The entire plot is Joshi’s conspiracy as he wants to instal his own favourite as the BPCC chief,” Choudhary said.

RJD starts planning for party without Lalu Prasad Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) grilling Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad Yadav and his son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav in the land-for-hotel case and central enforcement agencies tightening their hold around them over alleged benami deals, the party is now preparing for all eventualities, including Lalu getting arrested in the coming days.Senior RJD leaders feel the ruling “BJP is trying send Lalu to jail” to weaken its Opposition ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and said that the party is going to rally united behind its President. “A clear message should go to the people that the RJD stands with Lalu and his family in this hour of need and that we will not be bulldozed by the BJP’s tactics,” a state RJD leader said.With the looming threat in mind, senior party leaders at a recent meet emphasised on the need to “strengthen the base of the party” and announced some new campaigns to take on the BJP-JD (U) combine.To that end, the RJD has preponderated its organisational polls with the election for its national president slated for November 20, more than one year before Lalu’s present tenure ends in January 2019. While the official party line for this shift is that it does not want the organisational polls to coincide with the 2019 general election, RJD insiders agree that the decision was taken so that the party is not without leadership in case of Lalu’s incarceration.In fact, some feel that the party may be headed for a leadership change, with Tejashwi stepping into his father’s shoes. “One doesn’t know Laluji’s calculations. It is quite possible that he may think it is an opportune time to hand over the baton to Tejashwi,” said a source.

4 boys arrested for Muzaffarpur gangrape

The incident took place late on Saturday evening when the 14-year-old girl was heading home and the four boys, identified as Gagan, Sachin, Roshan and Anish, allegedly raped her, videographed the act and uploaded it on different internet sites. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a video clip of a minor girl’s gang rape in Muzaffarpur while she was on her way home from the Dussehra fair went viral on social media, the Bihar police on Tuesday arrested the four accused of raping and filming the teenager.Muzaffarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Vivek Kumar confirmed the arrests and said the youth were nabbed from separate locations in their native Nawada village and are now being interrogated. The incident took place late on Saturday evening when the 14-year-old girl was heading home and the four boys, identified as Gagan, Sachin, Roshan and Anish, allegedly raped her, videographed the act and uploaded it on different internet sites.The matter, though, came to light only after a few days, as the local Panchayat first tried bury the incident. “The girl’s family and the accused youths were called for a meeting to settle on some compromise, but we got a whiff of it and acted immediately,” a local police source said and added, “An FIR was lodged against seven persons — the four culprits plus three others who tried to hush it up.” Reports of locals trying to hush up the incident triggered a statewide uproar with the Opposition attacking the ruling BJP-JD (U) combine over increase in cases of violence against women.Viral videoThe case surfaced after it emerged that the Panchayat had attempted to hush up the gangrape of thje 14-year-old when she was on her way home from the Dussehra fair. They videographed the incident and uploaded it.

Nitish Kumar to participate in ‘yagya’ with Mohan Bhagwat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be participating in a “yagya” with Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat in Bihar’s Bhojpur district on October 4.Bhagwat will fly to Ara in Bhojpur to participate in the “millennium yagya” which is being organised on the 1000th birth anniversary of Ramanujacharya, a Vaishnavite saint, philosopher and theologian who wrote influential commentaries on “Brahma Sutras” and “Bhagwad Gita”.A BJP functionary, who confirmed Nitish’s participation in the event, said, “It is not an event of either the BJP or the RSS. It is a national level religious programme and personalities from across the country are participating in it.” Sources said BJP MLAs and MLCs and senior party leaders in Bihar will also attend the event.”Bhagwat and Nitish’s public interaction is a first in recent times, and the latter, in fact, had lashed out at the Sangh chief over his comments on “reservation policy” just before the 2015 Bihar Vidhan Sabha polls when the RJD-JD (U) combine was taking on the saffron party.

On Gandhi Jayanti, Nitish vows to eliminate dowry, child marriage from state in 2 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following the “successful” enforcement of total prohibition, Bihar on Monday launched a mega-campaign to wipe out the twin evils of child marriage and dowry as tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 148th birth anniversary on October 2.Launching the campaign at newly-built “Bapu Sabhagaar” at Patna’s Samrat Ashok Convention Centre, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, “Bihar is a land of knowledge, yet some social evils are prevalent here. There are laws against it. Once we spread awareness and reach out to people, these will be removed.”Citing stats, Nitish said 39 per cent weddings in Bihar were child marriages and 987 cases were registered deaths due to dowry in 2016. “Almost 10,000 cases of dowry related atrocities were registered in the state in 2016. In fact, Bihar is number 2 after Uttar Pradesh, in dowry related crimes in India. We want to bring about a change as was brought by similar social campaigns alcohol and other drugs,” he said.More than 5,000 girls, who were present on the occasion, also took a pledge to fight child marriage and dowry. The CM also launched a Mobile-based application and flagged off an awareness vehicle as a part of the campaign. The government departments and voluntary organisations will collaborate to take the campaign further.The CM urged people to come out on roads on January 21, 2018, and form a human chain against the twin social evils. “I will request leaders to cut across party lines and participate in it,” Nitish said, urging people to shun such weddings.The government has set its eyes on a two-year time frame to eliminate dowry and child marriage. The state may also mull on fixing the responsibility on “Mukhiyas” or local Panchayat representatives, if any case of dowry or child marriage was reported in their area, as was suggested by deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi.

Tejashwi misused power for mall construction, says Sushil Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Continuing his exposé against Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)’s first family, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday alleged that his predecessor and RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav’s younger son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav misused his position and started the construction of his Rs 750 core mall without getting its building plan approved.”They filed for the approval of the mall’s building plan almost 10 days after the soil scam came to light on April 4, 2017, even though its construction was already underway,” Modi said at a news conference in Patna on Tuesday.He said, “The building plan, which was filed in a haste, was returned by the approving authority citing lack of documents such as land receipts, NOCs from NGT and fire department, site photographs and signature of the land owner. Despite that, the construction work was not stopped until the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests ordered the same due to lack of clearances.”The senior BJP leader’s “relentless” attacks alleged Rs 1,000 crore Benami deals of Lalu and his family was one of the reasons for disintegration of the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar in July.

Tejashwi Prasad Yadav held office of profit while deputy CM: I-T dept

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income-Tax department has cornered Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad Yadav’s younger son and MLA Tejashwi Prasad Yadav over holding an office of profit during his tenure as the deputy CM of Bihar and also expressed dissatisfaction over his replies during the seven-hour questioning in Patna on August 29.A report submitted by the I-T sleuths in Patna to their officials in Delhi mentions that Tejashwi “officiated as the director of AB Exports Private Limited till February 2016, even though he had resigned from the post on November 9, 2015, before taking oath as a Bihar minister”.The I-T officials cited the evidence of a February 9, 2016, cheque found at one Vijaylal Tripathi’s house during raids, which was signed by Tejashwi in the capacity of the director of AB Exports, where he holds 98 per cent shares. “This makes it clear that he still worked as its director even after assuming the office of the deputy CM of Bihar,” the report said.The Yadav clan came under the lens of the I-T department after senior BJP leader and deputy CM of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi made a series of “expose” against the family’s alleged Rs 2,000 crore Benami deals in April-May this year.The I-T sleuths quizzed Tejashwi over disproportionate assets, Benami deals and post-demonetisation transactions of companies he was associated with. “He failed to give satisfactory replies… he said he didn’t remember the answer to most questions. He even gave a false answer for one question,” said a source in the Patna office of the I-T department.The department officials, who had earlier sealed Tejashwi’s house (D-1088) in New Friends Colony under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, said, “The house was the only asset of AB Exports, a company that has never carried out any business transaction. Its financial records were also irregular and transactions untraceable. Hence, it has been attached.”The problems of the Yadav family don’t seem likely to end soon, with a fresh legal notice slapped against Tejashwi and Lalu for making “objectionable comments” against CM Nitish Kumar. Bihar State Disaster Management Authority member Uday Kant Mishra has sent a notice seeking public apology for levelling personal allegations against Kumar and himself in Bhagalpur last week.

2008 Ahmedabad blast accused, two others arrested in Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three suspected terrorists, including the key accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blast case, were arrested on Wednesday in Bihar’s Gaya district, around 100 kms from the state capital, the police said on Thursday.”Based on specific information, two persons were apprehended from a cyber cafe in Gaya on Wednesday. During the course of interrogation, they were identified as Taushif Khan and Sanah Khan and their links to the Ahmedabad blasts came to the fore. When our intelligence agencies contacted their counterparts in Gujarat, it was confirmed that Taushif was wanted as the main accused in the 2008 case,” said Additional Director General of Police, Headquarters, AK Singhal.According to the ADG, Taushif was operating under the name Ateek and was working as a school teacher for the last nine years in Gaya’s Karmauni village under Dobhi police station. This has been his hideout since the July 2008 serial blasts, which claimed more than 50 lives. The third arrest by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of Bihar Police was of Sarwar Khan, whose name cropped up as one of their contact persons during preliminary interrogation.It was a cyber cafe owner who tipped off the police about the first two suspects. “When I asked for their identification cards, they didn’t furnish any, neither were they able to tell their names or what they did. I found something amiss and informed the police immediately,” the cafe owner said.Strict security arrangements are already in place in Gaya due to the ongoing “Pitripaksh mela”, where thousands of devotees from the country and abroad participate. However, following the arrests, security has been beefed up in Mahabodhi temple complex, too, which was targeted by terrorists in July 2013.”Other investigating agencies are interrogating the terror suspects, especially to find out if they were planning some other incidents, too,” said Senior Superintendent of Police, Garima Mallick, Gaya, and added that the district police was on alert. Police sources said the computer they were using at the cyber cafe and some other documents were also seized for investigation purposes.

Seven years later, Nitish Kumar accepts Gujarat’s flood aid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seven years after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had famously returned a Rs five crore cheque from then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi towards flood relief, Nitish on Thursday accepted an aid of the same amount from the Gujarat Government towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for rehabilitation of the 2017 flood victims.After handing over the cheque to Nitish, Gujarat Revenue and Education Minister Bhupendra Singh Chudasama said, “It was a pleasant meeting. Nitishji has happily accepted Gujarat’s largesse.” Chudasama thanked Nitish for giving his time and accepting the cheque.In 2010, Nitish had returned Gujarat’s aid for the rehabilitation of Kosi flood victims, after a full-page advertisement of a picture of Narendra Modi and him and the contribution had appeared in local newspapers here. When asked about the 2010 incident, Chudasama replied, “Time is powerful and it keeps changing. That was 2010. This is 2017. It is in Gujarat’s nature and Indian culture to help others during disasters.”Asked how the amount of Rs five crore was reached (as it was the same amount returned by Bihar in 2010), Chudasama said, “All BJP-ruled states are giving an aid of Rs five crore.”The opposition, however, was quick to draw a parallel between 2010 and 2017. Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said, “Why did he turn down the cheque in 2010 and why has he accepted it now?”

Rocky Yadav gets life sentence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A special court on Wednesday sentenced Rakesh Ranjan alias Rocky Yadav — son of a Bihar lawmaker — and two others to life imprisonment for Class 12 student Aditya Sachdeva’s sensational murder in a road rage case in Gaya 15 months ago.The court in Gaya also sentenced Rocky’s powerful businessman father Bindi Yadav to five years in jail for misleading investigations by furnishing false information and harbouring his son after the crime that had sparked widespread outrage.Gaya’s Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) Sachchidanand Singh had on August 31 convicted 31-year-old Rocky. His MLC mother Manorama Devi had been suspended by the party after the crime.The other two sentenced to life include Rocky’s cousin, Teni Yadav, and Manorama’s bodyguard, Rajesh Kumar.Rocky was found guilty under IPC Section 302 (murder) and Section 27 of the Arms Act, and a cash fine of Rs one lakh was also slapped on him.Aditya’s parents Shyam and Chand Sachdeva expressed satisfaction at the sentencing. “We have got justice. It is a landmark judgement which shows that no one is above law,” said the father. The mother said she was satisfied with the sentence saying, “A death penalty would not have brought my son back. It would only have separated another mother from her son.”Rocky’s lawyer Anil Sinha said they will move the Patna High Court against the lower court verdict. Aditya’s parents expressed hope that the state government will continue their fight in higher courts too.Following a public uproar over reports of the police going soft on the accused, the state government had put the case on speedy trial, and the chargesheet was filed within a month of the incident.The parents had lost hope of justice when Rocky was granted bail by the Patna High Court in October last year, and Aditya’s friends turned hostile. The police said it was Rocky’s Beretta pistol, mobile phone location and other circumstantial and forensic evidence which solidified its case.

Patna faces snarls as sand miners protest ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Traffic movement was disrupted on several highways in Bihar on Tuesday when sand miners took to the streets and effected a “chakka jam” in many districts to protest ban on sand mining during monsoon and the new sand policy proposed by the government.Sand miners, traders, transporters and labourers simultaneously blocked several national and state highways and bridges including Mahatma Gandhi Setu, JP Setu, Bhojpur-Chhapra bridge, Digha-Sonepur rail route, Muzaffarpur-Chhapra rail route and Hajipur-Lalganj road, virtually cutting off Patna from the rest of north Bihar.The protesters parked trucks and dumpers on the highways. “At some places, they turned violent pelting stones at cops, burning tyres and raising slogans against the administration. However, the police has seized several vehicles and detained some nuisance creators to control the situation. The traffic situation has also improved in many places,” said a senior officer in the Bihar Police Headquarters in Patna.The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned sand mining in the rivers during the monsoon for environment and flood protection. However, it is the first time that the NGT directive has been strictly enforced in Bihar. “The enforcement was sudden, because of which we could not get time to stock up as per demand. Our business has been badly hit as sand prices have shot up and people have stopped all construction activities,” said a licensed miner based in Patna.Bihar police has recently upped its crackdown against illegal sand mining, which has also caused unrest among miners. “Several of the licensed miners dig in much larger areas than permitted. Hence the crackdown to check revenue loss has resulted in resentment,” the cop added.Sources also hinted at a political motive behind the protests. Recently, deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi had alleged links between RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav and a section of the sand mafia and asked relevant agencies to probe it.The RJD, meanwhile, has said it will launch an agitation against the ban. “The ban mining has rendered several labourers unemployed. We will fight for their cause,” said a senior RJD leader in Bihar.Bihar is a sand surplus state where around 15 lakh cubic feet of sand is mined every day except during the monsoon.POLITICAL TUSSLEThe National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned sand mining in the rivers during the monsoon for environment and flood protection.
Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi had alleged links between RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav and the sand mafia and asked for a probe.
The RJD said it will protest against the ban.

Rats caused floods, claims Bihar water minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rats are at it again in Bihar. Four months after Bihar Police officials claimed that rats had guzzled several lakh litres of seized alcohol a Bihar minister has now blamed them for the devastating floods that have killed more than 510 people in the state this year.Following a review of the flood situation in the state, Bihar Water Resources Department (WRD) minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh blamed the rodents for damaging embankments, which ultimately led to flooding in the nearby areas.The minister cited the example of River Kamla Balan that originates in Nepal. “The river is far from the embankment and the villagers residing in nearby areas usually store their foodgrains on elevated platforms built over the embankments. The rats create holes to reach the grains and that causes seepage in the embankments,” Singh said.Interestingly, while Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had said heavy rains in Nepal and silt in rivers were responsible for the floods that affected 1.71 crore people in 8,300 villages of the state, RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav had called it a manmade disaster, caused due to incompetent engineers and ill-preparedness of the government.Singh’s statement has given fresh ammo to the Opposition and Lalu immediately took to Twitter to take a dig at the government. “Incredible! Do you know Bihar floods have come due to rats? No? Then find out. Nitish will tell how rats have brought flood in Bihar.””Sometimes the rat is drinking liquor. On other instances, it is making holes in the embankments… these are only excuses. There is a lot of corruption in the water resources departments. What type of flood preparedness had they done by spending so much money?” RJD legislator Shakti Singh Yadav said.”The government had said the embankments are safe. Then how come the floods happened? Action should be taken against the officials responsible for it,” a BJP MLA said, declining to be named.

I-T seeks details of RJD’s mega rally funding

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after the Income-Tax (I-T) Department officials grilled the family members of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad Yadav over alleged Benami deals and disproportionate assets, the taxmen have now slapped a notice on the party, seeking details of the source of funds spent on organising the August 27 anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) mega rally. According to sources, the I-T sleuths have asked the RJD to furnish details of the expenses incurred for the party’s ‘BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao’ rally.RJD’s Sunday rally had witnessed the presence of representatives from at least 17 political parties, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav, rebel JDU leader Sharad Yadav, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and C P Joshi, and lakhs of RJD supporters.The preparations for the grand event were underway for the last several months. RJD leaders in the know said that the party pumped in huge resources to ensure that it was a success, especially after the fall of the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar in July.Earlier on August 29, the I-T sleuths had quizzed Lalu’s wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi, son and ex-deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, and daughter and MP Misa Bharti, in cases pertaining to disproportionate assets, Benami deals, and post-demonetisation transactions.The RJD, however, was in the attack mode on Friday, with Tejashwi alleging that senior BJP leader and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi turned his black money into white by using his brother’s money laundering company. It may be recalled that it was Modi who made the allegations that the Yadav clan indulged in Rs 2,000 crore Benami deals, which ultimately led to the split in the Grand Alliance in Bihar.”He has been hurling accusations at my family, but the truth is that Modi himself is the owner of Benami properties worth crores. His brother R K Modi is a big builder, who owns many shield companies, through which he bought a flat for Rs 14 lakh in 2006. It was sold at Rs 85 lakh in 2010, but the method of payment while buying the flat was not made clear,” Tejashwi said.In response, Modi said: “I had taken a loan of Rs 10 lakh and rest of the payment was made through a cheque. The details are present in my election affidavit and I am ready to reveal all my income sources. However, will Lalu be able give an account of the properties that the family has amassed during their regime in Bihar?”

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