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The height of battle

It’s the terrain and weather that claim soldiers’ lives on the Siachen glacier, says Abid Hussain.

Karnataka: Over 3,500 farmers committed suicide in five years, says state report

As many as 3,515 farmers in Karnataka committed suicide between April 2013 and November 2017, out of which 2,525 were due to drought and farm failure, statistics provided by the State Agriculture Department said.”3,515 farmers were reported to have committed suicide from April 2013 to November 2017, and from April 2008 to April 2012, as many as 1,125 farmers were reported to have committed suicide,” it said.Out of the 3,515 suicide cases reported, agriculture department accepted 2,525 cases which were due to drought and crop failure, the data said.From April 2015 to April 2017, as many as 2,514 suicide cases were reported, of which 1,929 cases were accepted, it added.From April 2017 to November 2017, when the state received sufficient rainfall, as many as 624 suicide cases were reported. Of these, 416 cases were accepted, it said.Agriculture Director B Y Srinivas told PTI that as many as 112 suicide cases were pending for the want of ratification by a state government panel since 2013.”There are 105 pending cases this year till November, and seven cases the previous year,” he said.The highest number of suicides (1,483) were reported during 2015-16 and lowest (106) during 2013-14, Srinivas said.”Sugarcane growers top the list of suicides, followed by cotton and paddy cultivators,” he said.The government has taken relief measures asking banks not to force farmers to repay their dues and turn their short and medium-term crop loans into long-term loans with waiver of interest, he added.?Agriculture Officer Kumaraswamy said the government has registered cases against private money lenders, who give loans at exorbitant interest rates, ranging from 30 to 40 per cent.”As many as 1,332 cases have been registered against money lenders, of which 585 have been arrested in last three years,” he said.The government has also hiked compensation from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to families of farmers who committed suicide.Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had in 2015 made the announcement before a public rally in Ranebennur taluk.

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Schools await Gujarat HC order on govt fees stricture

The state high court will on Wednesday deliver its judgment on the Gujarat Self-Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act-2017, which has been challenged by self -financed schools affiliated with the state as well as the central education board.Following protests by parents’ associations, the state government had come out with the Act to cap fees levied by self-financed schools in April, which was soon challenged by the affected schools. More than 2,000 self-financed schools either individually or in groups and association had challenged the act. The CBSE-affiliated schools argued that since they submit accounts to the central board, the state can’t interfere in their administrative matters.At the same time, schools affiliated to the state board opposed the move saying that that the government had no say in their fee structure since they were non-grant-in-aid schools. Schools also argued that the charges included extra-curricular activities and only those who could afford the fees enrolled their children, so there was no question of exorbitant fees.Some self-financed schools run by minority trusts argued that their special minority status exempted them from state interference in setting fees. A PIL asked that school’s representatives be included in fees regulation committees. HC had granted relief to schools from filing their fee revision applications to the regulation committees till the matter was decided. On August 31, a first division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice Vipul Pancholi had reserved its order.POINTS OF VIEWThe CBSE-affiliated schools argued that since they submit accounts to central board, the state can’t interfere in their administrative matters. The schools affiliated to the state board opposed the move saying that that the government had no say in their fee structure since they were non-grant-in-aid schools.

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Maharashtra ups revenue target of registration and stamps department

Hard-pressed to meet its rising expenses due to the implementation of schemes like farm loan waivers and infrastructure projects, the cash-strapped state government is hiking the revenue collection target for the department of registration and stamps by 10 per cent, to about Rs 23,500 crore from Rs 21,000 crore.Stamp duty and registration charges on property transactions are the second-highest revenue source for the state government after state goods and services tax (SGST).”As on mid-December 2017, the collections through stamp duty and registration fees stand at Rs 16,668 crore, which is almost 80 per cent of the Rs 21,000 crore target. The highest percentage of revenue has come from conveyance deeds (54.8 per cent), followed by mortgages (12.3 per cent), leave and license agreements (10.3 per cent), power of attorney (4.7 per cent) and gift deeds (4.1 per cent). A total of 14,59,552 documents have been registered up to December 11,” the official said.The Mumbai region has also achieved over 70 per cent (Rs 6,487 crore) of its Rs 9,250 crore target.”Though we hope to achieve the revised target, real estate transactions have slumped in markets like Mumbai. However, since the new ready reckoner (RR) rates will come into force from April 1, 2018, we feel property registrations may surge in March on expectations of a rate hike,” the official noted.Officials said SRA and redevelopment projects in Mumbai were held up in areas like the Kurla taluka after the court’s ban on new constructions in Mumbai due to the failure in solving the problem of the city’s dumping grounds. This led to lower revenues being hit due to lower registrations of conveyance deeds of development projects.HELPS THE POCKETStamp duty and registration charges on property transactions are second-highest revenue source for the state government after state goods and services tax. Mumbai region has also achieved over 70 per cent (Rs 6,487 crore) of its Rs 9,250 crore target.

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Gateway of India revamp put on hold yet again

The beautification work near Gateway of India was put on hold after standing committee members of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) raised questions on the lack of maintenance in the previous beautification that was carried out. Now, the standing committee members will pay a fresh visit to check the status of previous works before approving new work.Makrand Narvekar, BJP corporator from Colaba raised the issue of poor maintenance of footpaths and public toilets near the Gateway of India. He attacked the civic administration for failing to maintain previous works while showing promptness in introducing new proposals.Narvekar recalled a survey that was carried out by the BMC in April 2017 wherein it was found that the city’s dirtiest toilet was the pay-and-use toilet near the Gateway of India. “Has the civic administration taken any action to improve the condition of the toilet,” asked Narvekar.Even other members of the standing committee alleged that the civic administration was busy introducing new proposals to benefit contractors. “The Gateway of India is a heritage structure and the civic administration needs to maintain the footpaths, lights and other street amenities in a proper way,” said another member.Ramesh Korgaonkar, the civic standing committee chairman, asked civic officials to pay a visit to the adjoining areas of Gateway of India to know the status of civic facilities. “The proposal of new work has been put on hold till the visit,” said Korgaonkar.

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2G spectrum case judgment today: All you must know about Rs 30,000 crore scam

(with PTI input)”

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Accused in the 2G spectrum case – DMK leader Kanimozhi and former telecom minister A Raja. (File photo) <!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Right_300x250_ATF –><!–bnr300–>Share

<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByDNA Web Team <!–end of artlbotbor–>Thursday 21 December 2017 8:59 ISTMust readDrug users can dance all night while alcohol consumers cannot, says Manohar ParrikarTamil Nadu: Crucial RK Nagar bypoll today, Jaya’s video in hospital triggers row <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The special CBI court at Patiala House is likely to pronounce the verdict in 2G scam case today.While the media reports at that point of time had put the loss to national exchequer at Rs 1,76,00,00,000,000, the CBI in its chargesheet brought down the scam to Rs 30,000-odd crore. The scam related to 2G spectrum allocation by then Telecom Minister A Raja in the UPA government. The CBI said the DMK leader was biased in allocating 2G airwaves to certain operators causing huge loss to the exchequer.Here’s the timeline of the case that will show you how the scam unfolded a decade ago:May 2007: A Raja takes over as Telecom Minister. Aug 2007: Process of allotment of 2G Spectrum along with UAS Licences initiated by Department of Telecom (DoT). Sept 25, 2007: Telecom Ministry issues press note fixing deadline for application as October 1, 2007. Oct 1, 2007: DoT receives 575 applications by 46 firms. Nov 2, 2007: PM writes to Raja to ensure fair licence allocation and proper revision of fee. Raja writes to PM allegedly rejecting many of his recommendations. Nov 22, 2007: Finance Ministry writes to DoT raising concerns over the procedure adopted. Jan 10, 2008: DoT decides to issue licences on first—come—first—serve basis (FCFS), preponing cut—off date to September 25. Later in the day, DoT says those who apply between 3.30 and 4.30 pm would be issued licences. 2008: Swan Telecom, Unitech and Tata Teleservices sell off a part of their stakes at much higher rates to Etisalat, Telenor and DoCoMo respectively. May 4, 2009: NGO Telecom Watchdog complains to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on the illegalities in the 2G spectrum allocation to Loop Telecom. 2009: CVC directs CBI to investigate the matter. July 1, 2009: Single judge of Delhi HC holds change of cut—off date as illegal. S—tel had moved the petition. Oct 21, 2009: CBI files FIR against “unknown officers of DoT and unknown private persons/ companies and others“. Oct 22, 2009: CBI raids DoT offices. Nov 16, 2009: CBI seeks help from Directorate General of Income Tax for information on lobbyist Niira Radia and records pertaining to middlemen in award of 2G spectrum licences. Nov 20, 2009: Information by IT dept shows role of corporate players in influencing policies of DoT via illegal means. Shows Radia directly in touch with Raja. Mar 31, 2010: CAG report notes “whole process of issue of licence lacked fairness and transparency“. May 6, 2010: Telephonic conversation between Raja and Radia made public by the media. May 2010: Government constitutes GoM for allocation of 3G spectrum, reducing DoT under Raja as mere implementing body. Aug 18, 2010: HC refuses to direct PM to decide on a complaint by Janata Party chief Swamy seeking sanction to prosecute Raja for his alleged involvement in 2G scam Sept 13, 2010: SC asks government, Raja to reply within 10 days to three petitions alleging a Rs 70,000 crore scam in the grant of telecom licences in 2008. Sept 24, 2010: Swamy moves SC seeking direction to PM to sanction prosecution of Raja. Sept 27, 2010: Enforcement Directorate informs SC of probe against firms suspected to have violated FEMA. Says can’t deny or confirm now Raja’s involvement in the scam. Oct 2010: SC asks government to respond to CAG report about the scam. Pulls up CBI for its tardy progress in probe. Nov 10, 2010: CAG submits report on 2G spectrum to government stating loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to exchequer. Nov 11, 2010: DoT files affidavit in SC; says CAG did not have the authority to question the policy decision as per which licence were issued to new players in 2008. Nov 14—15, 2010: Raja resigns as Telecom Minister. Kapil Sibal given additional charge of Telecom Ministry. Feb 10, 2011: SC asks CBI to bring under its scanner corporate houses which were beneficiaries of the 2G spectrum. Raja remanded to CBI custody for four more days by a special CBI court along with Balwa. Feb 17—18, 2011: Raja sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody. Balwa too jailed. Feb 24, 2011: CBI tells Delhi Court Balwa facilitated transaction to DMK—run Kalaignar TV. March 14, 2011: The Delhi High Court sets up special court to deal exclusively with 2G cases. March 29, 2011: SC permits CBI to file charge sheet on April 2 instead of March 31. Two more persons — Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal arrested. April 2, 2011: CBI files its first charge sheet. Names Raja, Chandolia and Behura. Reliance ADAG Group Managing Director Gautam Doshi, its senior Vice President Hari Nair, Group President Surendra Pipara, Swan Telecom Promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka and Managing Director of Unitech Ltd Sanjay Chandra made accused. Three companies — Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd — also charge sheeted. April 25, 2011: CBI files second chargesheet naming DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter and MP Kanimozhi, 4 others. Oct 23, 2011: Charges framed against all 17 accused. Nov 11, 2011: Trial begins. Nov 23, 2011: SC grants bail to 5 corporate executives — Nair, Doshi, Pipara, Chandra and Goenka. Nov 28, 2011: Delhi HC grants bail to Kanimozhi, Kumar, Morani, Asif and Rajiv. Nov 29, 2011: Special court grants bail to Shahid Balwa Dec 1, 2011: Chandolia gets bail from special court. Dec 12, 2011: CBI files third chargesheet. Names Essar Group promoters, its director (Strategy and Planning) Vikas Saraf, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan and her husband I P Khaitan. Also charge sheets Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding. Jan 31, 2012: SC says filing complaint under the PC Act is a constitutional right and the competent authority should take a decision on giving the sanction within four months. Feb 2, 2012: SC cancels 122 licences granted during Raja’s tenure. Directs auctioning of licences in 4 months. SC leaves it to the special court to decide on Chidambaram within 2 weeks. | Verdict Feb 2, 2012: SC refuses to ask CBI to probe role of Chidambaram in 2G case and leaves it to the Special Court to decide the matter. Feb 4, 2012: Special Court dismisses Swamy’s plea to make Chidambaram a co-accused. Feb 23, 2012: Swamy moves SC against the trial court order on Chidambaram. NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation also files application seeking probe against Chidambaram. Mar 1, 2012: Plea against Chidambaram and Law Minister Salman Khurshid for their alleged role in the 2G spectrum scam is listed for hearing in the SC. Apr 4, 2012: SC begins hearing plea against Chidambaram. Apr 24, 2012: SC reserves order on the maintainability of the plea for probe against Chidambaram in the 2G spectrum case. Aug 24, 2012: SC dismisses plea for probe against Chidambaram in the 2G case, says no prima facie material to show that Chidambaram got pecuniary benefits. December 9, 2013: Amid protests, JPC report on 2G tabled in Lok Sabha April 25, 2014: 2G kickback case: ED chargesheets Raja, Kanimozhi May 5, 2014: Court records statement of Raja October 31, 2014: Charges framed in 2G-linked case November 10, 2014: Final hearing from December 19 June 1, 2015: Kalaignar TV got Rs. 200 crores through 2G scam, says ED August 19, 2015: CBI files assets case against Raja September 30, 2015: SC dismisses Essar promoters’ plea November 3, 2015: SC rejects Kanimozhi’s plea to quash charges against her October 7, 2016: Entitled to be acquitted in 2G case: Kanimozhi April 19, 2017: Special court concludes arguments (with PTI input)

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Central min blames power plants for coal shortage in country

Ministry of coal has blamed the power plants for the shortage of coal across the country which happened recently. Notably, apart from other states, Rajasthan power plants also suffered a scarcity of coal which resulted in power cuts across the state during October month.In a reply in Lok Sabha , the ministry replying to question of scarcity of coal in the country, stated that primarily due to failure on the part of the power houses in maintaining stock of coal , as per central electricity authority (CEA) guidelines, during the lean power generation period and unexpected spurt in the demand of thermal power arising out of drop in power generation from other sources, like nuclear, hydro and wind energy during the 2nd quarter of 2017-18 there was a drop in the stock position with the thermal power plants.The ministry also added that abnormally heavy monsoon in mine areas affected production loading at mines and transportation of coal. With increased coal dispatch from coal India limited sources and continuous monitoring, the situation of coal stock improved at the powerhouses.The coal ministry has also informed that the despatch during the period April to December 2017, grew by about 9% as compared to despatch during the same period of 2016-17.This increased coal supply has been mainly responsible for the 4.7% increase in coal-based power generation. Notably, due to coal crisis in the state, electricity department had resorted to power cut of 2 hours in district headquarters, municipality areas and 3 hours in rural areas in October.There was power cut for two hours in district headquarters and municipality. The coal shortage had lead to a deficit of 3,000 MW of power per day in the state. This had created a serious imbalance in demand and supply of power which had forced electricity companies to resort to load shedding.

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Supreme Court’s decision helps drop case pendency

Supreme Court’s decision to hold Lok Adalat in every two months has immensely helped in reducing pending court cases. In 2017, five Lok Adalats were organised in which a number of cases resolved are more than cases disposed of by all courts in the state in last five years.The current year will be remembered for quick disposal of pending cases in the courts. The Lok Adalats were organised in February, April, July, September and December. On a call given by RALSA executive chairman Justice KS Jhaveri, even sitting judges of high court also heard matters in Lok Adalat. The move resulted in the clearing of 2.57 lakh cases in which awards to the tune of Rs 944 crore were passed.Apart from Lok Adalats, district legal service authorities have also contributed in a major way to reduce cases pendency. Cases were resolved in a speedy way in lower courts in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Tonk, Ajmer, Udaipur, Alwar and Kota. In Jaipur alone, five Lok Adalats decided 40,000 cases and passed awards of Rs 126 crore. Justice KS Jhaveri, who has taken a keen interest had also put in efforts in a big way, which have now begun to show results.

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BEST may get back AC buses via wet lease scheme

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has proposed a fresh bid to go for wet-lease scheme and get 225 buses. This would include 100 AC buses and 25 mini-buses in which the contractor will provide drivers and take care of maintaining the buses. This comes as good news as the undertaking will revive the AC buses that have been removed from service.The BEST has proposed to revive wet-leasing of buses wherein they will only reduce the overhead costs for a period of seven years. The 225 buses include 100 air-conditioned mini-buses, 100 non-AC mini-buses and 25 mini-buses which can easily go through narrow roads and can cater to more number of passengers.According to the proposal, the total contractual value for seven years would be Rs 305.95 crore wherein the lowest bidder has agreed to supply mini AC buses at a rate of anywhere between Rs 49 to Rs 50.45 per km, mini non-AC buses at Rs 41 to Rs 43.09 per km and midi-buses at Rs 45 to Rs 47.30 per km.Earlier, the BEST Committee had rejected their last proposal for wet-leasing and asked to bring in a fresh proposal. The BEST has assured a run of 3,500 kilometres per month for mini-buses and 4,000 kilometres for midi-buses.The BEST Undertaking is a financial crisis with losses to the tune of Rs 880 crore; so, its parent body BMC has suggested a few reforms to reduce expenditure.Apart from this, even its supply division is under stress. The Undertaking’s contract with Tata Power — for supplying power to the BEST, which is then distributed by the latter to 10 lakh daily consumers — will end in March 2018.The BEST wants to lower its supply expenditure and thus looking at competitive bidding. However, in the last few days, there have been a lot of problems.”We have asked to extend the power supply by another 6 months, and if even by April 2018 we are unable to get a new power supplier,” said Surendra Bagde, General Manager, BEST.THE PROPOSALAccording to the proposal, the contract for seven years will cost Rs 305.95 crore wherein the lowest bidder has agreed to supply mini AC buses between Rs 49 and Rs 50.45 per km

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Delhi court upholds man’s conviction for misusing Pepsi’s name to sell spurious drinks, modifies sentence to 14 days

A Delhi court has refused to set aside the conviction of a man for manufacturing and selling spurious soft drinks using brand names like Pepsi and Limca in 2001.District and Sessions Judge Asha Menon, however, modified the one-year jail term awarded to the man by a magisterial court and modified it to 14 days, the period he had spent behind bars since the onset of a trial in 2001.The order came on the appeal filed by convict Sant Ram against the conviction and sentence order of a metropolitan magistrate given on November 19, 2015, holding him guilty of applying false trademarks under the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act.”The analysis of the evidence by the trial court is well reasoned and calls for no interference by this court.”By selling spurious liquid as if they were manufactured by Pepsi, Limca and Campa, thus holding out to the public that the material in the bottles were qualitatively that of the company’s whose bottles were being used, the accused committed the offence punishable under the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act,” the district and sessions judge said.However, while modifying his jail term, the court weighed the aggravating and mitigating factors.On the one hand it considered a report of the probation officer which said he was remorseful of his act and that he needed to be with his daughter, who was in class 12 and at a crucial age.On the other hand, the court observed that spurious materials were manufactured for consumption by innocent people which in itself was a serious matter.”Balancing the aggravating and extenuating circumstances, this court is of the view that in the present case a term in jail other than what has been undergone need not be imposed,” the court said.According to the prosecution, Pearl Drinks Ltd, a franchisee of the PepsiCo India for manufacturing and distribution of all beverage brands of the PepsiCo, had received an information that spurious soft drinks were being manufactured at Mandi, Mehrauli here, and a complaint to the deputy commissioner of police (South) was made in this regard.Pursuant to this complaint, on the intervening night of April 30, 2001, and May 5, 2001, a police team, along with an officer of the Pearl Drinks Ltd and other employees of the company, conducted a raid and found Sant Ram engaged in manufacturing of spurious soft drinks.During the raid, spurious drinks filled with six bottles of Pepsi, four bottles of Limca, 16 bottles of Campa and 64 crates of bottles of different drinks were seized besides bottle crowns and other material.In his appeal against the conviction and sentence order, Sant Ram had claimed that he was innocent and there was no independent witness in the matter when the bottles were seized.

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Complaint of overcharging against Fortis Gurgaon and the Park Hospital

A Gurgaon patient’s family today lodged a complaint of wrong treatment and overcharging against the Fortis Memorial and Research Institute (FMRI) and the Park hospital here, a senior health department official said.Civil Surgeon BK Rajora confirmed the receipt of a complaint against both the hospitals and added that it was being looked into.The complaint filed with Rajora alleged that FMRI charged Bhim Singh (60) Rs 36.68 lakh after he was referred there with abdominal pain due to a stone in his gall bladder by Park hospital.Singh underwent treatment at the FMRI for 42 days, following which he was left bed-ridden. The treatment also affected his intestine and a kidney, the complainant alleged.Singh was initially admitted to Park hospital in Sector 47 here on April 27, 2016, with severe stomach pain. He was then referred to Fortis hospital on May 1, 2016, after his condition deteriorated, his son Jagdish said, adding that doctors found a 14-mm stone in his gall bladder. Jagdish works in the defence sector and he took his father to Park hospital as it was on the panel of insurance.But he was referred to Fortis, which was not on the panel, and hence the family had to bear the entire treatment cost.”My father had been admitted in the hospital for 42 days and the hospital gave us a bill of Rs 36.68 lakh which we paid by selling a piece of land. Despite the costly treatment, my father is still unable to walk,” Jagdish said.Rejecting the allegations, the FMRI, in its statement, said the patient was brought in a critical state and admitted directly to the ICU, where he underwent prolonged treatment for life-threatening complications.”The complications arose due to a faulty procedure performed earlier at a different hospital… which were managed astutely at FMRI,” it added.The patient had since been under regular follow-up of the treating physician at FMRI with the last follow-up being as recent as October 13,2017, it said.”The final billed amount of Rs 23.27 lakh for the patient Bhim Singh, who continues to be under follow-up at the hospital, is not for management of a simple renal stone as is being erroneously reported.”Rather, it is reflective of the effective clinical management of multiple life threating complications which arose due to procedures carried out at another hospital, requiring intensive treatment, surgical and non-surgical procedures, multi-disciplinary involvement and extended ICU stay of 42 days,” the statement added.

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Mumbai: Government, Opposition at loggerheads over Shiv Jayanti at state assembly

The state assembly witnessed uproars with members from both Opposition and the Treasury benches rushing to the Well of the House when a BJP MLA raised the issue of birth date of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It was BJP MLA Suresh Halwankar who raised the issue soon after the question hour. Raising the issue through point of propriety, Halwankar said that despite the fact that Shivaji Maharaj is revered to every person of Maharashtra, his birth anniversary is celebrated on two different days. Halwankar said that state Government should decide it for once and all by appointing a committee of expert historians so that birth anniversary is celebrated on a single day through out the state. Soon Halwankar raised the issue, NCP MLA Jitendra Avhad and Veerendra Jagtap objected to it and rushed to the Well of the House. Ajit Pawar, Dilip Walase-Patil and leader of Opposition in state assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil also rose from their seats and Vikhe-Patil demanded removal of Halwankar’s remarks from the proceedings of the House.It was senior MLA Yogesh Sagar who was in the Chair but soon after pandemonium, Speaker Haribhau Bagade took charge and maintained that Halwankar’s remarks would not be removed from the proceedings. Avhad and Nitesh Rane said that the state would not tolerate any insult to Shivaji Maharaj and Halwankar was trying to create yet another controversy. Walse-Patil and Vikhe-Patil said that raising such issues would result in fomenting communal tension. MLAs from both the sides rushed to the Well of the House and started giving slogans. Members were in the Well of the House for almost 15 minutes and House could not transact any business during this time. It was Ajit Pawar who made a brief speech and said that Halwankar has expressed his views and Speaker has made it clear that every member has right to express his opinion, he has done it. Pawar said, `every year Chief Minister of the state pays his tribute to Shivaji Maharaj on February 19’th, the birth anniversary which was decided by an expert’s committee appointed by Government. If Halwankar has any issue, he can talk to Chief Minister since Halwankar is a BJP member. But I appeal everyone not to raise issues which would lead to controversy.’Speaking to media persons outside state assembly Halwankar alleged that committee was appointed during the tenure of Chief Minister Manohar Joshi but Congress-NCP Government which came to power started celebrating Shiv Jayanti on February 19’th. He said that there was no consensus among the historians on the issue of accurate birth date of Shivaji Maharaj and there are people who celebrate birth anniversary on April 8’th since they believe that birth date of Shivaji Maharaj falls on April 8’th, 1627. Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu made it clear that Shiv Sena would continue to celebrate Shiv Jayanti on his birth date as per Hindu calendar.

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RK Nagar by-poll: Madras HC dismisses plea to disqualify AIADMK and DMK candidates

The Madras High Court today dismissed as not maintainable a plea for disqualifying candidates of AIADMK and DMK and Independent TTV Dhinakaran in the RK Nagar Assembly by-poll for their alleged electoral malpractices during the earlier cancelled by-election.A bench comprising justices TS Sivagnanam and K Ravichandrabaabu dismissed the plea by BSP candidate for the by-poll AC Sathyamurthy. He sought disqualification of the three candidates on the grounds of their alleged involvement in electoral malpractices during the April by-election, which was cancelled by the Election Commission. During the previous election, various articles, including sarees meant for distribution among voters, valued at over Rs 1.59 crore were seized by EC officials, he submitted.Over 40 cases were registered and 82 persons involved in such malpractices were arrested, the petitioner said. Besides this, various incriminating materials were seized in the raids conducted by the Income Tax department at the residence of health minister C Vijayabaskar and Samathuva Makkal Katchi founder R Sarathkumar, he claimed. Based on the complaint made by Income Tax department, the EC had on April 9 cancelled the by-election.The petitioner claimed that Madhusudhanan, Ganesh and Dhinakaran were also allegedly involved in such offences and wanted the EC to prohibit them from contesting the by-election scheduled on December 21. PTI CORR SSs

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Jisha murder case: Accused Amirul Islam gets death sentence

The accused in the Jisha murder case, Amirul Islam, has been awarded death sentence by the Ernakulam chief judicial magistrate court today.Earlier in the day, he was brought before the court for the quantum of punishment.Islam has been found guilty of raping and murdering law student Jisha.He has been charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376 (punishment for rape), 376A (punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of victim), 442 (house trespass), 449 (house-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offense, or giving false information to screen offender), 302 (punishment for murder) and charges on Dalit Atrocities Prevention Act.However, claiming innocence, Islam told ANI on Wednesday, ”I didn’t do anything. I don’t know who did it.”The chargesheet of the case revealed that Islam, a resident of Assam, murdered Jisha, following an attempt to rape her at the latter’s residence in Iringol near Perumbavoor in Ernakulam.The 29-year-old law student, Jisha was brutally raped and murdered on April 28 last year.Her body had sustained at least 30 injuries, including in her private parts.

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Inspect DLF Place mall: Delhi High Court to DDA

Delhi HC on Tuesday told the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to inspect the DLF Place, a popular mall in south Delhi to find out if the kiosks inside it posed a risk to public health or safety.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued the direction after it was informed that the authorities had inspected only the Select Citywalk mall following the orders of the court.The bench said that no orders are required to perform one’s duty.“You don’t need a court order to do your job. Go and inspect the second mall also,”the bench said. During the proceedings on Tuesday, the court also directed the DDA to file an affidavit on the inspection conducted at Select Citywalk and fixed the matter for April 18. Appearing for Select Citywalk mall, the counsel submitted that the petition was filed without any verification of facts. He stated that a “fishing inquiry was being conducted” and that the kiosks in the open areas were not unauthorised. The court was hearing a PIL alleging that commercial activities inside the open areas of the popular south Delhi malls — Select Citywalk and DLF Place — could pose a risk to public safety if there was a fire or an earthquake.

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Enrolment to Std I in BMC schools sees sharp drop

Enrolment to Std I in civic-run schools in Mumbai has come down to 32,218 in 2016-17 from 63,392 students in 2008-09, according to a study by Praja Foundation. This is apparently due to fall in the quality of education provided by the BMC schools.Overall dropout rate was 8 per cent in 2016-17, down from 15 per cent the year before. English medium schools seem to be a better job on this front with a dropout rate of 2 per cent, shows the data released on Tuesday.Praja Foundation had commissioned the to Hansa Research which was conducted in March-April across Mumbai over 20,317 households. Out of this, a total of 3,081 households have children in the age group of 3-15 years and 2,768 households had school-going children. Nearly 400 households surveyed sent their children to municipal schools.If the current trend continues, the enrolment figure will come down to nearly half of the enrolments in 2008-09, says the survey.The study also reveals that compare to private school candidates appeared for scholarship and scholarship holders are very less in MCGM schools. If in private schools candidates appeared for scholarship are 14,690 in 2016-2017, then in MCGM that figure is just 3,276 candidates and scholarship holders in private schools are 10.9% then in MCGM schools are just 0.6% in same year.The total number of students appeared for Secondary School Certificate (SSC) in MCGM in March 2017 were 11,972 whereas this number in private schools are 135,392 and the pass percentage in MCGM is 68.91% whereas in private school is 91.81% shows the study. A fall in the total percentage of MCGM students passing the SSC exam points to a fall in outcomes for municipal school students.Nitai Mehta, founder and managing trustee of Praja Foundation said the BMC must push for penalising teachers for poor student performance. “However, it should ensure that teachers and principals are provided the necessary training, authority and capacity building mechanisms with reference to their school and students.”

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Jisha rape-murder case: Kerala court convicts migrant labourer, to pronounce quantum of sentence tomorrow

A court here today found a migrant labourer from Assam guilty of rape and murder of a 30-year-old Dalit law student in Kerala last year.Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court judge N Anil Kumar is likely to pronounce the quantum of punishment tomorrow.Muhammed Ameerul Islam was found guilty under various sections of the IPC including 302 (murder), 376 (Rape) 376 (A) (causing death or causes the woman to be in persistent vegetative state while committing rape).The accused, however, was not found guilty under 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) and various sections under SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) amendment Act 2015.The Court had on December 6 completed the hearing in the case and posted it for today for pronouncement of judgement.Islam, a migrant labourer from Assam and the lone accused in the case, was charged with brutally raping and murdering the woman, a law student, at nearby Perumbavoor on April 28, 2016.He was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules.As many as 100 witnesses were examined during the trial which commenced in April last.The prosecution has described it as a rarest of rare case.The victim’s mother had expressed hope that justice will be delivered in the case.She demanded capital punishment for the accused.The woman, who hailed from a poor family, was brutally assaulted using sharp-edged weapons before being murdered at her house.Islam, who had left Perumbavoor soon after committing the crime, was arrested from Kancheepuram in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, 50 days after the gruesome incident.The incident was in focus during the state assembly polls campaign last year with political parties attacking the then Congress-led UDF regime for ‘tardy’ progress in the probe and ‘failure’ to nab culprits.The LDF government, after assuming power on May 25 last year, changed the investigation team and entrusted the probe to ADGP B Sandhya in its first cabinet meeting itself.More than 100 police personnel had questioned over 1,500 people.Finger prints of over 5,000 people were also examined by the SIT personnel who went through over 20 lakh telephonic conversations before reaching Islam.Police have said a blood stained footwear found from a canal near the victim’s house was one of the key evidence in identifying the culprit.

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Jharkhand: JMM legislator organises kissing contest, BJP cries foul

Kissing maybe taboo in most of India society but it’s a hugely popular sport to celebrate love and romance in Pakur district in Jharkhand.Over 18-odd tribal couples locked lips in the presence of thousands of spectators in Dumaria village.The competition was organised by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislator Simon Marandi who organised the competition.He told: “Tribals are basically innocent and illiterate. Due to which, the family system is weakening. To make them aware of our social structure and responsibility towards the family, the idea of a kissing competition was conceived.”Marandi had beaten BJP’s Hemlal Murmu with 12,900 votes in the April 2017 by-election.Also readMajority of humans are hardwired to lean right when kissingThe Dumaria Mela is has been held for 37 years and has events like tribal dance, archery and running competitions are organised to entertain villagers. The kissing competition was added for the first time. “Earlier, the village competition was organised in a smaller space but this year it was held in a football ground where thousands of people from other villagers also took part,” Marandi said.The BJP however were not amused with the competition. Ramesh Pushkar, a senior BJP leader told IANS: “What is the JMM trying to prove by organising such a competition? There are many ways that could be adopted to end the hesitation of the tribal people. Simon Marandi has tried to make a mockery of the tribal culture and tradition.”Dumaria’s total population is 333 of which 169 are males and 164 are females as per the census report of 2011. The literacy rate however is only 25%.

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Debt-ridden Air India seeks Rs 1,100 cr loan to modify planes for VVIPs

Disinvestment-bound Air India is seeking loan worth over Rs 1,100 crore for modification of two Boeing aircraft scheduled to be acquired next month for ferrying VVIPs, according to an official document.The two Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft are to be delivered in January 2018 and the cost for “modification in its (planes) interior configuration” is estimated to be USD 180 million. At current exchange rates, the amount will translate to over Rs 1,160 crore.These planes will be used to ferry the President, Vice President and Prime Minister.Also readAir India seeks to raise short term loans around Rs 1500 croreIn a tender document, the national carrier said it would like to avail a bridge loan of up to USD 180 million to finance the cost of modification.”Government of India has indicated that they would issue its guarantee for the financing cost of modification of the two B777-300 ER aircraft for a period of 12 months or less,” the document issued last week said.Also readWant to make Air India vibrant, govt working on ‘alternative mechanism’: Ashok Gajapathi RajuThese planes will undergo re-configuration.The proposed loan amount will be availed during the period from January to April 2018. The first instalment of USD 135 million would be taken next month, while the remaining amount will be borrowed in a quantum of USD 15 million each in February, March and April, respectively.Also readAir India’s domestic, global ops to be sold together, says Jayant SinhaLast month, an Air India official had said after required modifications, the two planes will join the fleet used to carry the President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister.According to the airline, no commitment fee would be paid to the lender for the USD 180 million loan. “Prepayment/ short closure of the loan should be allowed without any extra cost to Air India as the loan would be repaid as soon as the funds are made available by Government of India,” it added.”The Indian Income Tax Act imposes withholding tax on interest payments to lenders outside India. The rate of withholding tax on interest payments will be considered in financial evaluation of the offers to determine the all-in cost of your offer,” the document said.Last month, Air India had sought loan to the tune of USD 535 million to finance the acquisition of three Boeing planes, including the two aircraft to be used for ferrying VVIPs. At that time, the amount was around Rs 3,460 crore.Air India has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore and these loans would further increase the debt level.In 2006, Air India placed orders with Boeing for 68 aircraft 27 Dreamliners, 15 B777-300 ERs, eight B777-200 LRs and 18 B737-800s. Of these, the state-run carrier has already taken the delivery of 65 planes. At present, the flagship airline has a fleet of 115 aircraft.The government is in the process of finalising the modalities for the strategic disinvestment of debt-laden Air India as part of efforts to revive the carrier.

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Since assuming power, Centre spent Rs 3,755 crore on ads: RTI

The Narendra Modi government has spent nearly Rs 3,755 crore in its three and a half years in power only on publicity, an RTI revealed on Friday.According to news agency IANS, the expenditure from April 2014 to October 2017 through electronic, print media and outdoor publicity is Rs. 37,54,06,23,616, according to the RTI reply by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.According to the information, the central government spent over Rs. 1,656 crore on electronic media advertisements, including — community radio, digital cinema, Doordarshan, Internet, SMS and TV.For print media, the government spent more than Rs. 1,698 crore.On outdoor advertisements, which include hoardings, posters, booklets and calendars, the central government has spent over Rs. 399 crore, the RTI reveals.In the RTI, the the Ministry gave a breakup of the expenditure according to which Rs. 448 crore was spent from June 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, and Rs. 542 crore and Rs. 120 crore spent from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 and April 1, 2016 to August 31, 2016 respectively.The expenditure was only for television, Internet and other electronic media and did not include expenditure on outdoor and print advertisements.In 2015, another RTI had revealed that the Centre had spent nearly Rs. 8.5 crore on newspaper advertisements for the Prime Minister’s monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat” till July 2015.

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NK Singh will head Finance Commission

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The central government appointed former expenditure and revenue secretary NK Singh as head of the 15th Finance Commission and former secretary of department of economic affairs Shaktikanta Das as India’s G20 Sherpa till December 2018 on Monday. Normally, the deputy chairperson of erstwhile Planning Commission represents the country at the G20 Summit. Das has also been appointed as a member of the Finance Commission to work with Singh.In a notification issued on Monday, the government said Singh, as head of the Finance Commission, will decide on the devolution of tax revenue between the Centre and the state governments. Other members will include Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Anoop Singh, Non-Executive Chairman at Bandhan Bank Ashok Lahiri and Niti Aayog Member Ramesh Chand. Arvind Mehta will be the Secretary to the commission. The Commission is set up every five years and reviews finances, deficit and debt levels of the Centre and the states.The panel also suggests devolution of taxes between the states and the Centre.The government has already set aside an amount of Rs 10 crore in the current financial year for the constitution of the Finance Commission. The 14th Finance Commission was set up on January 2, 2013. Its recommendations covered the period from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2020. “Normally, it takes two years for the Finance Commission to give its recommendations,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the Union Cabinet approved setting of the Commission on November 22. He said the 15th Finance Commission recommendation will be applicable by 2020.NK Singh was also a member of the Planning Commission as well as Secretary to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He was also elected to the Rajya Sabha as the member of JD(U) in 2008, but he quit the party and joined the BJP in the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha elections when JD(U) decided to contest separately.Earlier, he headed a committee to suggest a future fiscal roadmap by reviewing the fiscal discipline rules. He had recommended enacting a new Debt and Fiscal Responsibility Act after repealing the existing Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, and creating a fiscal council.As per Article 280(1) of the Constitution, the government is obligated to form the Finance Commission after every five years, or at an earlier time as the President deems necessary. The Commission is required to make recommendations on distribution of the net proceeds of taxes between the Centre and the states. The recommendations by the newly formed 15th Finance Commission are supposed to be in place before April 1, 2020.The 15th Finance Commission will also have to factor in the impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which was rolled out earlier this year on July 1, on the resources of the central as well state governments when it furnishes its recommendations for allocating tax resources.

L&T seeks additional funds from Telangana govt for delay in Hyderabad metro

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Larsen and Toubro has sought “additional financial support” from Telangana to cover cost overruns in the Rs 16,000-crore metro rail project that stemmed from delays in its implementation, sources privy to the development said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the first phase of the 72-km project on Tuesday, touted to be the world’s largest such project on public-private partnership in the sector.L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd, the developer of the project, has sought “additional financial support” from the Telangana government to cover the cost overruns due to delays in projects, leading to extension of time, the sources said.The cost overruns work out to over Rs 3,000 crore, the sources added.”The company is also learnt to have sought extension of period by two years,” an industry source said, adding that any decision is likely after consultation with the Centre as the urban development ministry is also part of the project.The project, which was originally slated to go on stream in July this year, was extended till November 2018 and Telangana minister K T Rama Rao recently confirmed it.Conceived in 2009, the 72-km project has overcome many hurdles such as default by first concessionaire Maytas Infra- led consortium and now, the present developer and subsequent developments, crucial land acquisition by the state government and logjam for sometime over route alignment, among others.L&T, however, did not respond to the queries in this regard.A senior state government official said, “There would be cost escalations as the project got delayed.” He, however, said the government issues will be settled in accordance with the concession agreement.The project has got stuck in delays as L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) had over three years ago written a letter to the Telangana government offering to quit the Rs 16,000-plus crore project as the last resort if “issues” were not resolved.When asked if L&T offered to hand over the project to the government, the then chief executive and MD V B Gadgil had replied: “In case, the issues do not get settled.” “That (to quit) is one solution we have told them in case both of us are not able to resolve,” he had said after a meeting with the chief minister and the chief secretary in 2014.L&T has also written a letter to the state government on the matter.L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) is an L&T subsidiary, which is developing the metro at a total cost is Rs 16,375 crore — Rs 14,132 crore for the metro rail system and another Rs 2,243 crore for the real estate development.According to available data, the concession agreement for the project totalling 72 km metro lines with 66 stations was executed in September 2010 while financial closure was achieved in April 2011.The first phase comprises 30 kms and 24 stations while the second phase of the remaining corridor barring a 6-km stretch — near Charminar — is expected to be commissioned by November 2018.

Despite bad service, MU pays MetritTrac over Rs 1.18 cr

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even after a series of goof-ups and delays, the University of Mumbai has cleared the payment of over Rs 1.18 crore to MetritTrac — the agency that was assigned the task of onscreen evaluation at the varsity. The response furnished by the varsity to RTI activist Anil Galgali revealed that despite a series of glitches which led to an unprecedented delay in declaration of results, the university paid the company.The response revealed that MeritTrac Services Pvt Ltd has raised 2 bills on the university, the 1st amounting to Rs 1,48,63,750 which was raised on 18 May, and the 2nd amounting to Rs 2,69,27,350 which was raised on 16 August, 2017. Of the Rs 4,17,91,100 claimed by the company, the varsity made a partial payment of Rs 1,18,17,404.“Despite the glitches in the working of the whole process due to the company’s inefficiency, the university has continued to pay the service provider. The office of the Governor removed the then VC, Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, from his post due to the result mess but has failed to take any action against the company so far. The company should be blacklisted immediately,” said Galgali.Earlier this month, another RTI response received by Galgali had revealed that the university passed the purchase order for awarding the contract to the company on April 27, 2017.

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India desperately needs new antibiotics as the country has some of the highest resistance rates.

Former BHU VC is likely to be the next chairman of UGC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University DP Singh, who is currently the chairman of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), is in the race to become the next University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman, sources in the government said. The appointment has been due since April.According to sources in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, five names, including that of DP Singh, were sent to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) last week. Other names include ADN Bajpayee, who was removed from the post of Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University over corruption charges and BA Chopade, current Vice-Chancellor of Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University. Sources said the chances of DP Singh being selected by the ACC are high. Once the ACC, which has the Prime Minister and Home Minister as members, decides on a name, appointment will be made official. Singh was the VC of BHU from 2008 to 2011, he was also a part of a number of UGC committees on various issues as well as a governing body member of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU). He also happens to be a classmate of RSS leader Krishna Gopal.Yoga therapist HR Nagendra-led search-cum-selection committee (SCSC) had shortlisted 10 candidates for the post in May, which was then forwarded to the HRD ministry. Girish Chandra Tripathi, who recently demitted office as BHU VC, was also among those selected by the panel. However, after the recent controversy, his name was not considered further.Ved Prakash retired as UGC chairman on April 3 and the process of selection of the new chairman has been going on since then. The appointment assumes significance in the light of the latest policies of the ministry of giving more autonomy to colleges and restructuring the council.

Delh HC pulls up AAP govt for not appointing regular teachers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Monday rapped the AAP Government for not following its directions on appointing regular teachers in its schools.”Enough is enough, nothing has been done since 2011… As appointment of guest teachers is in fashion, so you (government) are also following it,” Justice A K Chawla said. The court said its direction for appointment of regular teachers has been “frustrated” and the rush was only to recruit guest teachers. The judge said the court’s directions are not to be taken “lightly” and asked the Delhi government to begin the process of appointing regular teachers soon.The court said its earlier orders were not being implemented and the government’s “only concern was that contract teachers are to be appointed in the form of guest teachers”. Delhi government standing counsel Ramesh Singh said it was a policy decision which has to be taken by the Lieutenant Governor before whom the issue whether to give extra weightage to guest teachers was pending. It was up to the LG whether he can consider the request of the government or take a different view, he said, adding that the experience of guest teachers should not wasted that is why weightage was being given.The court said it was due to the weightage criteria that everything has been put on hold. “The entire process has been held up due to the weightage criteria. Something needs to be done on this,” it said.The court then asked the government’s counsel how much time will the LG take for a decision and asked him to inform about it on November 22. It also asked Singh to bring an office file relating to the appointment of teachers.The Delhi government had recently informed the court that there was a shortage of over 27,000 regular teachers in government schools here while the present sanctioned regular posts of teachers was 66,736. The court was hearing DoE’s plea to vacate the September 27 stay on the process of appointing guest teachers and promoting those appointed since 2010 in government schools so that it could fill nearly 9,000 vacancies. It had said its interim order of stay will continue.The government had said the stay was causing problem to students who were suffering due to shortage of teachers. The AAP government has filed the application in a pending contempt plea filed by NGO Social Jurist, represented through advocate Ashok Agarwal, seeking a stay on the order of the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) withdrawing a notice on appointment of 8,914 school teachers.The court had stayed the appointment process after it was informed that the authorities have not complied with the high court’s 2001 order. The court was also informed that a bill was recently passed in the Delhi Legislative Assembly to regularise all guest teachers appointed since 2010.The NGO’s plea said after a high court order of April 11, the DSSSB issued vacancy notice on August 7 inviting applications from candidates for 8,914 teaching posts in the DoE of the Delhi government and for 5,906 teaching posts in the three municipal corporation schools here. It alleged that the DSSSB, without informing or seeking permission from the court, had on August 24 “abruptly withdrawn the advertisement” regarding these vacancies.

Oil’s well: PM to lay Barmer refinery foundation in Dec

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of Barmer Refinery-cum-Petrochemical complex in December, Union minister for petroleum and natural gas, and skill development and entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan informed the media while visiting Bharatiya Skill Development University (BSDU) on Friday.“The refinery project has got environment clearance. We have sought time from the Prime Minister and most likely its foundation will be laid by him next month,” Pradhan said, claiming that India is moving fast in the direction of skill development and Modi himself monitors the schemes under it.The Raje government is in war-footing mode to launch the project at the earliest. The reason is previous Gehlot government, which claims the refinery its brainchild, had signed an MoU with HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited) before the Assembly elections in 2013 but failed to turn into reality.When Raje came into power, she said that state needed to renegotiate the project. After almost three years of negotiations, the state government signed a new MoU with HPCL in April this year for setting up the complex.As per the agreement, the HPCL has a 74 per cent stake while the state government holds a 26 per cent stake in the new firm which is called HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Limited (HRRL). The total cost of the project is Rs 43,129 crore. Raje at the time of signing MoU claimed that new agreement led to significant savings of Rs 40,000 crore. Also, the state would receive 12 per cent Return On Investment instead of earlier 2 per cent mentioned in Gehlot’s agreement.After the MoU, the cordial relations between Raje and Pradhan speeded up the project. Pardhan’s ministry was entrusted to get clearance from ministry of environment which has been done. Modi also gave consent to lay the foundation stone on the request of Raje as well. It will be his second visit to Rajasthan in four months after Udaipur in August. The state machinery is also in full swing to prepare for the stone foundation ceremony of the project which will change economics of Rajasthan and boost employment. “The formalities for the foundation laying ceremony of the refinery are being worked out. The industries department has allotted 4,563 acres of land in Pachpadra to the Rajasthan HPCL limited. The lease deed draft has been finalised by the district collect of Barmer as well,” says a knowledgeable source in the state’s mines and petroleum department.FactfileAfter prolonged negotiations that lasted over three years, Rajasthan government on April 19, 2017 signed a revised MoU with HPCL for a 9 million metric tonne crude oil refinery at Barmer that would require investments of Rs 43,129 crore and produce fuels meeting BS-VI specifications.Announcing the details, Union minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan said the deal will save the state Rs 40,000 crore with annual viability gap funding of Rs 1,123 crore for 15 years instead of Rs 3,736 crore as per the previous MoU that former CM Ashok Gehlot signed with HPCL.The super success of Pradhan has made him face of BJP in Odisha also where the saffron party is trying to outperform Naveen Patnaik’s BJD, once an ally of BJP. The state when goes to polls, in every likelihood BJP will try to cash in his achievements and connectivity with masses to triumph in Odisha.

Alwar Lynching | Don’t have enough manpower to control every situation, says Rajasthan Home Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the body of a 35-year-old man was found near railway tracks in Rajasthan’s Alwar district, with activists alleging that he was killed by cow vigilantes, Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said that there is not enough manpower to control every situation.The body of Umar Khan, hailing from Ghatmika village in Bharatpur district, was recovered near Ramgarh.”We don’t have enough manpower to control every situation in all cities in time. Police is investigating and other culprits will soon be arrested,” said Gulab Chand KatariaHowever, he also said that a strict action would be taken against the culprit, even if he is a Hindu, reported ANI.The minister also informed that one person has been arrested, adding five others could also be involved in the incident.This is second such incident in Alwar in past seven months.In April this year, 55-year-old Pehlu Khan was lynched by suspected cow vigilantes in Alwar while he was transporting cattle, triggering a nationwide outrage.Meanwhile, the victim’s uncle has urged for justice. “I don’t know who killed him but he was not a cow smuggler. He had 3 cows of his own. We want justice for him,” he said.The Mewat region is known for rearing cows and now ‘self-proclaimed cow sympathisers’ of various right-wing outfits are targeting those who rear cows, the social activist said.The head of Meo community panchayat, Sher Mohammad, said that even if Umar Khan was involved in cow smuggling, there are laws to deal with smugglers. “Who has given the cow vigilantes the right to take the law into own hands. Police should act against cow vigilantes,” he said.

Speak up Delhi | Up in smog: Delhiites question Odd-Even as a viable solution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government called off the Odd-Even road rationing scheme for the time being, after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked them to cut back on the exemptions, people across the city have mixed reactions to the idea.According to experts, the scheme which helps decongest the city, in absence of a robust public transport system, does not have the planning or means to tackle the large volume of commuters.The city has over 60 lakh registered two-wheelers, which are more polluting than cars. During the last two editions of the scheme, people relied on two-wheelers for the daily commute.However, studies conducted on the effects of the scheme suggested that pollution levels did not show any major improvement during the implementation.Even as the Delhi government is all set to bring back the odd-even road rationing system due to rising pollution levels, environment experts and scientists claimed that there was no ‘concrete evidence’ of air quality improvement in the city.A study conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) —an independent think tank — during the first trial of the policy in January 2016 stated that there was no ‘conclusive evidence’ to prove if the air quality of the city has improved during the fortnight.However, an air quality analysis done during both the odd-even implementation — January 2016 and April 2016 — by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) showed that there was a slight improvement in levels of air pollution. However, it depended on the meteorological conditions to a large extent.”While there was a decrease in pollutant concentrations in the first week of January, farm fires in neighbouring states led to a spike in pollution levels again in the second week. Also, weather conditions such as the wind speed responsible for the dispersal of pollutants was very low during this period. The air quality, however, showed improvement during the second experiment in April, as meteorological conditions were favourable,” the CSE report stated.The government had earlier announced the revival of the third round of odd-even between November 13 and November 17 (Monday-Friday). The scheme, however, like its previous two editions exempts two-wheelers and vehicles driven by women (with only women passengers and children under the age of 12 years).ODD-EVEN SCHEME IN NUMBERSJanuary 2016First phase of Odd-Even scheme was implemented by the AAP government19,140 challansIssued by the government during the first phase, collecting over Rs 1.82 croreVOICESThe government has put emphasis on the use of public transport in view of the crisis in the city. However, buses are already very crowded. Travelling in DTC buses and the metro in peak hours isn’t comfortable and it is a major reason why people are switching to private vehicles. Also the recent hike metro fare hasn’t helped matters. Improving services is a better alternative to this.—Harsh Yadav, stuent, University of DelhiThe scheme reduces pollution up to an extent when almost half the vehicles are not allowed on the roads. But the government should shift its focus towards a more permanent solution. Every year, chaos is created by neighbouring states due to stubble burning. These issues need to be settled to avoid such conditions in the future.—Dr Priyanaka Meena, NoidaFor someone who travels occasionally to Delhi, it’s really hectic to manage things due to this Odd-Even scheme. It affects people’s daily lives and their work schedules. The government must look into building a robust transport system before conducting these experiments. Also, they need to work all through the year to cut down on pollution levels.—Vishal Meena, engineering student, NoidaThe Stubble burning in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and the presence of industries inside Delhi are bigger contributors to air pollution. A few years ago, industries were shifted to Bawana but new illegal industries have cropped up again. The Delhi government should take care of all the factors rather than just implementing the scheme which targets only one reason for pollution.—Naveen Kumar, DelhiEven if two-wheelers are to be banned, we will support the government. We want the air to be safe for our children. But it becomes difficult to commute as Delhi does not have a very good public transport system. If this problem can be addressed, then cab services such as Ola, Uber and private vehicles will automatically reduce. Other issues too should be should be given attention rather than targeting only one cause.—Kamal Gupta, DelhiThe condition of Delhi is severe. The Odd-Even scheme failed to prove its purpose. It was only effective in decreasing traffic on the roads, which worked for a while. The government needs step up and find effective measures to curb pollution in the city.—Anoop Singh, DelhiEXPERT SPEAKThe Odd-Even scheme is one of the measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to be taken during ’emergency’ levels of air pollution. However, it can only be of any impact if the public transport system is strengthened. The objective is to discourage people from using private vehicles. The administration has to work all through the year to make this happen. Besides, the exemptions for two-wheelers, which are way more polluting than cars, renders the scheme meaningless.—Bhure Lal, former bureaucrat and chairman, EPCA (Environment Pollution Control Authority)

Alwar: Man shot dead for transporting cows, alleges family

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In another case of cow vigilantism, a Muslim man who was transporting cows near the Rajasthan-Haryana border was shot dead allegedly by goons while two of his aides were injured after being thrashed. The incident took place in Fahari village near Govindgarh in Alwar district of Rajasthan on November 10. Sources said Ummar Khan and the two others were transporting cows from Mewat in Haryana to Bharatpur in Rajasthan but they were intercepted by the mob and assaulted. According to reports, his bullet ridden body was found on railway tracks. His body was identified by his relatives on Sunday morning. Khan was a dairy farmer by profession. His family has lodged a formal complaint alleging death in hands of gau rakshaks. Khan’s uncle has been quoted by TOI as saying, ” The deceased and two others were transporting cows inside a pickup truck. As soon as they entered into the limits of Govindgarh, a mob of about 7 people waylaid their vehicle and began harassing them”. One of Ummar’s associate is currently missing, while another one, Tahir Khan is currently in hospital after surviving bullet shots in the shoulder.According to the police, they found an abandoned pickup van at the place, where they found five cows including one dead one. Later information, about a dead body lying near the railway station was obtained by the police. But the person couldn’t be identified immediately.
ALSO READ Civil society collective releases report; highlights lapses in police’s investigation in Pehlu Khan’s murderIn April this year, Pehlu Khan, was beaten to death by cow vigilantes in Alwar, which led to a national outrage.

Rajasthan High Court unites couple, ensures extra cover

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur, has sent 22-year-old Payal Sanghvi, to live with her husband Faiz Mohammad. She has also been provided police protection as she told the court she feared for their safety. The case filed by Payal’s family has been in limelight. Payal’s family had alleged that Faiz had kidnapped her forged the nikahnama.The case was listed for hearing on Tuesday and the girl told the court she wanted to live with her husband Faiz Mohammad. She told the court that she was not under any pressure and wanted to go to her husband with her own free will. Incidentally, Payal had been living in the government-run nari niketan for the last one week. The court had sent her there after the previous hearing. Meanwhile, an FIR has been registered against Payal’s husband Faiz that will been investigated by a senior official of the rank of an Ad SP.Speaking to DNA after the court order, Mahesh Bora, advocate for Faiz Modi said, “The court on Tuesday heard the issue and asked Payal what she wanted. She told the court she wanted to live with her husband Faiz and court had ordered that she be sent there and also be provided protection. Other issues related to conversion and authenticity of marriage certificate could probably be scheduled for hearing tomorrow.”Payal’s father Narpat sounded crestfallen at the turn of events and said, “The two know each other since school days, but it was not a love relation. We still feel they have done some jadu tona on our daughter to get her under their control.” expressed disappointment Speaking to DNA an emotional Aijaz Modi, Faiz’s father said “I am satisfied with the turn of events on Tuesday. My son’s wife has come home. The last few days had been very tense for us.”Speaking to DNA Faiz said, “I am happy to get my wife back after the court’s intervention. I have known her for 10 years and we love each other. We are both major and have married as per our will. The police can investigate all they want. I am sure to get justice. The court cases will also end soon.”Payal had gone missing from her home on October 25 and her brother had filed a habeas corpus. He had accused the police of not registering his FIR.The court had heard the matter and asked the police to lodge an FIR and investigate the matter. Judges Gopal Krishna Vyas and Manoj Kumar Garg had on the last hearing also sought a reply from the state government on its handling of religious conversions and asked whether there is any law regulating conversions in Rajasthan.Payal had appeared in court in a burqa on that hearing on November 1 and told the court that she had married Faiz on her own free will in April this year. The court had sent her to a government run nari niketan till the case came up for hearing on Tuesday.Payal’s family had alleged that she had been kidnapped and blackmailed. They had also alleged that her marriage certificate was forged. He brother Chirag Sanghvi moved court and acccused the police of refusing to lodge his case. He said the police had told him that his sister had given in writing that she had married one Faiz Mohammad on April 14 this year.

2G scam court likely to announce verdict date today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Special CBI Court is likely to announce the date for the judgment in the 2G case on Tuesday.Over a week ago, the court also issued production warrants to two accused Karim Morani and Sanjay Chandra for November 7 and asked all accused to be present on the date.In its charge sheet filed against former telecom minister A Raja, DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi and others in 2011, the CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs. 30,984 crore in the allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum.In April 2014, the ED filed a charge sheet against 19 people, including Raja and Kanimozhi in connection with a money laundering case relating to the scam.

Assam: Rhino, calf killed in Kaziranga national park; horns taken away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A female rhino and her calf were shot dead and their horns removed by poachers at Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in upper Assam last night, a forest department official said.This comes three days after another adult female rhino was killed in the park.The rhino and her calf were gunned down near Tunekati Forest Camp under Burapahar Range of the Park yesterday, KNP Divisional Forest Officer Ruhini Ballab Saikia told PTI.The security personnel had heard gunshots around 11.30 pm and launched a search operation only to find the bullet-riddled carcasses of the rhinos lying near each other this morning, Saikia said.Several empty cartridges of AK-47 assault rifle were recovered from the spot, he added.With yesterday’s deaths, the toll of rhinos killed in Kaziranga this year rose to five.Poachers had slaughtered two rhinos earlier this year.While one was killed at Hatibali Chapori in KNP’s sixth addition area in February, the other was killed at Burapahar Range of the park in April, a forest official said.Last year, 18 rhinos were killed by poachers at the national park.

Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial cost goes up to Rs 622 cr

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The construction cost of the 350-foot long Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial has increased for the fourth time in the past two years from Rs 435 crore to Rs 622 crore. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) on Saturday said that the construction cost has partially increased due to special steel being used for the construction of the memorial.The MMRDA on Thursday re-floated bids for its construction after receiving a poor response in the bids floated earlier in April 2017, in which the current cost is Rs 622 crore.In consecutive years, the construction cost of the project has seen a steady increase. While the initial cost of the project was estimated to be Rs 435 crore, in 2016, it was estimated to be around Rs 500 crore.Further, in April 2017, the bids were floated at an estimated cost of Rs 550 crore, and the same was revised to Rs 591 crore in the last week of June.UPS Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, told DNA that the cost escalation is due to special steel requirement. “It must be because of the special steel requirement. Last time, the amount was enhanced at the time of a pre-bid meeting,” Madan said.With the memorial being close to the Arabian Sea, the chances of corrosion are high. MMRDA had also sought the opinion of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-B) regarding the use of stainless/anti-corrosion steel.This will also mean that the MMRDA will miss the deadline set by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who had recently during a review meeting, said that the work order for construction of the memorial would be given by November 15, 2017.OVER THE YEARS2015 Rs435 crore2016 Rs 500 croreApril 2017 Rs 550 croreJune 2017 Rs 591 croreNov 2017 Rs 622 crore

All unwelcome physical contact not sexual harassment, says Delhi High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All unwelcome physical contact cannot be called sexual harassment unless it is in the nature of a sexually oriented behaviour, the Delhi High Court has said.Justice Vibhu Bakhru, who made the observation, also said that even an accidental physical contact, though unwelcome, would not amount to sexual harassment.”Similarly, a physical contact which has no undertone of a sexual nature and is not occasioned by the gender of the complainant may not necessarily amount to sexual harassment,” the court said.The observations by the bench came during the hearing of an appeal by a CRRI scientist challenging the clean chit given by the complaints committee and disciplinary authority to her former senior colleague, whom she had accused of sexual harassment.Both of them were working in the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) which is a part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).The allegation pertained to an incident of April 2005 when the man had entered the laboratory where the woman was working and had snatched samples from her hand, thrown the materials and pushed her out of the room.The woman had contended that any unwelcome physical contact would amount to sexual harassment.The Complaints Committee after examining her complaint had concluded that “it was a case of altercation in the background of the uncongenial environment prevailing in the division”.Terming the man’s conduct as deplorable, it had also said that while there was evidence of physical contact by the man, “the same was not a sexually determined behaviour but was in the nature of an altercation”.The disciplinary authority had accepted the committee’s report and passed an order in October 2009 giving clean chit to the man accused of sexual harassment.Agreeing with the committee’s finding, the high court said, “Undoubtedly, physical contact or advances would constitute sexual harassment provided such physical contact is a part of the sexually determined behaviour. Such physical contact must be in the context of a behaviour which is sexually oriented.”The court also rejected the woman’s challenge to the constitution of the committee and the disciplinary authority, saying that it finds no infirmity in their set up.

Rajasthan High Court seeks govt answer on Religious Conversion Law

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The case of a Hindu girl marrying a Muslim guy by changing the religion of the girl has turned heads in the city. Rajasthan High Court has asked the state government to answer whether there is any religious conversion law in the state or not. Meanwhile, Pratap Nagar Police presented the girl in the court in tight security. Some of the documents presented in the High Court have also been found to be fake. On this, the High Court sent the girl to Nari Niketan till Monday and both the families have been barred from meeting her.On Wednesday, Senior Advocate MR Singhvi presented the facts in the court and simultaneously cited the laws of Gujarat, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. When it was told in court that the girl got married after accepting Muslim religion on the 10 rupees stamp paper, Justice Gopal Krishan Vyas remarked saying that tomorrow I could also say that I am Gopal Mohammed. How can anyone change his religion? What is the rule about it? On this, the government lawyer told them that there are rules about Religious conversion in some states, but this rule is still stuck in files in Rajasthan. On this, the judge ordered the state government to clarify the information about the rules for Religious conversion. Judge Gopal Krishan Vyas, while questioning the affidavit, asked the police to carry out a detailed investigation and submit a report.The family of the young woman had an objection that she took the affidavit in her name in which she mentioned herself as Afrana, and nikah date as April 13. However, Date of April 14 is mentioned in the nikahnama. There is a difference in the name of the three witnesses mentioned in the affidavit submitted by the woman and the three witnesses in the nikahnama. The girl was also living with her family till last month. The court asked the police to complete the investigation of the nikahnama and submit the report on November 6.What’s the case?Advocate Nilkamal Bohra and Gokulesh Bohra filed habeas corpus petition on behalf of a youth who lives in Narpat Nagar area of ​​Pratapnagar police station and told the court that the petitioner’s sister lives with her. She has completed her M.Com and was preparing for RAS exam. When she used to go to college, then accused Faiz’s son Ejaz Modi, a resident of Shanti Nagar, Kamla Nehru Nagar, used to harass her. He clicked some of her photographs and threatened to make it viral on social media. In return, he also demanded some money and despite taking money, did not give the photograph and started blackmailing. It was told in the petition that one day she was going to college, and then Faiz and his friends kidnapped her and forcibly took her sign on some papers and made fake marriage document.

Week after surgery, separated twin is off ventilator

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A week after an operation was conducted to separate them, conjoined twins from Odisha, Jagga and Kalia are stable and their health has improved, doctors said on Wednesday. Also, while Jagga has been taken off the ventilator, Kalia will remain attached to the machine for two more weeks. Both toddlers have been kept under observation.According to a statement released by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS): “Jagga has been taken off the ventilation. He is conscious and recognises and responds to his mother. His cardiac and kidney functions have improved. If he remains stable, he will be shifted to a private ward after 48 hours. Kalia is still in ventilation and his condition is stable. All his parameters are normal but he will be kept in ICU for a longer period.”In one of the rarest surgeries in the country, performed over 18 hours, the craniopagus twins (with fused heads) were separated by a team of 30 specialists. The surgery started at 9 am on October 25 and finished at 3 am the next day. On October 19, Jagga had showed some abnormality in his heart function and his condition had started to deteriorate, following which the surgery was planned.The 28-month-old kids from the Milipada village in Kandhamal district of Orissa were born in April, 2015, with their heads fused together. Both were immediately shifted to a medical college, where they lived for the first five months.They were then sent back to their village, where they lived with their grandparents, uncle, aunt, and parents.UNITED EFFORTSIn one of the rarest surgeries in the country, performed over 18 hours, the craniopagus twins (with fused heads) were separated by a team of 30 specialists. The surgery started at 9 am on October 25 and finished at 3 am the next day

DMK leader moves Madras High Court over bypoll

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK’s RK Nagar bypoll candidate Maruthu Ganesh has moved the Madras High Court seeking compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the losses he suffered due to cancellation of the April 12 bypoll by the Election Commission of India (ECI).When his plea, also seeking an interim injunction against the ECI from notifying the by-election came up for hearing, Justice Ravichandrabaabu after recording the submission referred it to the First Bench headed by the Chief Justice. The bench in an earlier order had expressed its hope that the ECI would hold the bypoll to the seat by December 31 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.The Judge also recorded his hope that the ECI would not precipitate the matter any further till the First Bench takes up the petition for hearing. It may be recalled that the ECI had cancelled the bypoll three days before the polling following complaints of large-scale distribution of money to voters by the ruling AIADMK.

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.

Centre advocates talk as it gains time in SC over Art 35A

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre on Monday bought itself a few months time in the issue pertaining to the constitutional validity of Article 35A that grants special status to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted that the Centre had recently appointed former Intelligence Bureau (IB) director Dineshwar Sharma as the interlocutor in the valley and sought an adjournment for six months.In August, the top court indicated that matters challenging the validity of Article 35A is an issue that should be decided by a five-judge bench. The apex court’s observations were made in response to a petition filed by a Kashmiri woman Dr Charu Wali Khanna, who is settled outside the state of Jammu & Kashmir.Article 35A empowers the state legislature of J & K to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them. Under this article, Indians, except the original inhabitants of the state, are barred from acquiring immovable property in the state or obtain jobs under the state government, and availing state-sponsored scholarship schemes.In her petition, Khanna contended that Article 35A of the Constitution read with Section 6 of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, related to inheritance of properties by non-state subjects, violates the fundamental right to equality guaranteed under Article 14.Khanna challenged the April 20, 1927, notification issued by Maharaja Bahadur of Kashmir, where widows and wives, who lived outside the state had no rights which are otherwise available to state subjects.In 1954, the 90-year notification was given Constitutional sanction under Article 370 by the Jawaharlal Nehru-led government and issued by President Rajendra Prasad.A Delhi based NGO — We the Citizens — filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the scrapping of Article 35A claiming it to be unconstitutional and violative of fundamental rights. The PIL pleaded that a new article to the Constitution cannot be simply aided by a presidential order as has been done in 1954. According to the law, only Parliament can amend the Constitution. In its plea, the NGO has contended that taking refuge behind the provisions of the article, J&K has been discriminating against non-residents.So far, the Centre has avoided taking a stand. In an earlier hearing, A-G Venugopal submitted, “A conscious decision has been taken not to file any counter affidavit in this case, because the issues which are raised for adjudication, are pure questions of law.”

University of Mumbai says all results out but diploma students still wait

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the University of Mumbai announced that it has declared the results of all the courses under it a few days ago, hundreds of students enrolled under the various diploma courses in law are still awaiting their results.The university is yet to declare results of several postgraduate diploma courses in Law including Diploma in Labour law, Diploma in Taxation Law, Diploma in Cyber Law and several such short term diploma programmes over six months after it conducted the exams for these courses.Over the last few days, students who have taken up these courses are running from pillar to post only to be told that their results would be declared ‘soon’. Gurunath Satale, a student of Diploma in Labor law said that the delay in declaring the results has left thousands of students like him in lurch. “Most of these diploma courses are of advanced level and students who take them up are often working in government jobs looking to benefit in their careers and promotions with these diplomas. We have written our final exams in the month of April and have been waiting for our results for over 6 months now. Even as the university claims to have declared all results all the students pursuing various diplomas under law are still awaiting results,” said Satale.Another student who has taken up taxation law said: “The university is just playing with our lives by being indifferent to the delay. Even colleges are not willing to take responsibility for the mess and are asking students to approach the university.”Dr Arjun Ghatule, Director, Examinations and Evaluation did not respond to queries despite calls and messages. Students under various courses who were allotted zero marks due to a technical error are still awaiting their results. Several such students are now planning to protest at the varsity’s Kalina campus on Tuesday. “A lot of students who have got zero marks due to a technical error in the system are still awaiting their results months after the error was brought to the notice of the university. We are going to stage a huge protest with these and several other students whose results are still held in reserve,” said Abhishek Bhatt, a law student.

Bihar: Suspected hooch tragedy claims four lives

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four persons have died in a suspected case of spurious liquor consumption in Rohtas district of Bihar, where the sale and consumption of alcohol had been banned more than a year ago.The deaths were reported from Danwar village under Kachhwa police station late last night.Six others, who fell sick, are undergoing treatment at various private hospitals, Superintendent of Police, Rohtas, Manavjit Singh Dhillon said.He said angry villagers were staging a demonstration at Danwar and demanding action against those responsible for facilitating hooch trade in the area.”The matter is being investigated. Only after the post-mortem reports are out, can we say with certainty that the deaths have been caused by consumption of illicit liquor,” he added.DIG, Shahabad Range, Mohd Rehman said “I am leaving for the spot. If the consumption of spurious liquor is established, action will be taken against all the erring officials, including the SHO of the police station concerned”.Acting on a poll promise made during the Assembly elections of 2015, the Nitish Kumar government had imposed prohibition in Bihar in April last year.

After surgery, conjoined twins’ parents want to take them home

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It has been 72 hours since Bhuyan and Puspanjali Kanhar saw their sons, Jagga and Kalia, going into the operation theatre. In what has been one of the rarest surgeries in the country, the twins from Orissa, who were joined at the head, were separated in an 18-hour long surgery, which involved a team of 30 specialists. The surgery which started on Wednesday at 9 am only concluded the next day at 3 am.The 28-month-old kids from Milipada village in Kandhamal district of Orissa were born in April 2015, with their heads joined. The farmer family said that though initially they were shocked, they loved, accepted and pampered the kids and a result the boys remained happy and cheerful.”Except for the delay in the language development, they have been very playful and happy kids. They have shown strength during their time in various hospitals,” shared a source.The twins were shifted to a medical college 24 hours after birth where they lived for first five months. Five months later, both were sent back to the village where they lived with their grandparents, uncle, aunt, and parents.”It was difficult to take them out of the house due to their condition, the only time they went out was when they had to go to the hospital,” said a source from the family. The time in hospital has not been easy for the family. Bhuyan, a BPL card-holder, has been a farmer and a part-time auto-rickshaw driver back in his village. Spending time in hospitals for the last 28 months, ever since his children were born, has affected his work, he says.Meanwhile, the family says that twins were first brought to AIIMS in July when all major tests were conducted and they were put on high nutrition diet to build-up strength to handle the major surgeries that would follow. Doctors said that their high protein and high iron diet ensured that they gained weight and the first surgery was conducted on August 28.On October 19, however, Jagga had some heart ailment and his condition started to deteriorate, after which on a semi-urgent basis, the surgery was planned.Even though Jagga was the stronger one among the two, currently he is critical and his heath status will be confirmed on Saturday morning, when the twins are expected to come out of anaesthesia. Meanwhile, their parents stay glued to the waiting room.

Defamation case: AAP leader’s plea dismissed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party leader Deepak Bajpai. The petition had challenged the summoning and framing of notice in a criminal defamation case filed by Union Minister Arun Jaitley against Bajpai and other AAP leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.Justice I S Mehta observed that Bajpai had failed to give a valid explanation of the delay in filing the revision petition and hence his plea “lacks justifiable and bonafide grounds”.Sources also said that the plea was rejected citing “misuse of process of law” and “consequently the revision petition is also dismissed”.The court’s order came on a plea which challenged the lower court’s separate orders summoning and framing notice against him for the alleged offence of defamation case filed by Jaitley in a controversy surrounding the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).Bajpai had also challenged another order by which his application seeking to be heard on the point of notice was also rejected.In an 18-page order, the court said that Bajpai had not challenged the lower court’s order initially. But later he challenged them just to avail a fresh process under the garb of his application under the Limitation Act which “factually is misuse of process of law”.”The court noted in its order that while Bajpai had received certified copies of documents in the trial court on April 25 this year, he claimed in his application for condonation of delay that he had got the copies in June.Bajpai’s contention that he was not heard by the trial court before framing of notice against him was opposed by Jaitley’s counsel who had submitted that in a summons case, there was no concept of hearing an accused at the stage of framing of notice or before that.Advocate Prashant Mendiratta, appearing for Bajpai, had said the AAP leader resides outside the jurisdiction of the trial court and cannot be summoned by it without an inquiry under the CrPC, which was not done in this case.However, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Jaitley, had said there was a gross delay in filing the petition and the application for condonation of delay does not comply with the proposition of law under the Limitation Act which says that each day’s delay must be explained.HC’s observationsThe court noted in its order that while Bajpai had received certified copies of documents in the trial court on April 25 this year, he claimed in his application for condonation of delay that he had got the copies in June.

State to hike price tags of hard liquor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After beer, it might be Indian Made Foreign Liquor’s (IMFL) turn to become costlier. A senior state excise department official said that the department is planning to hike the excise duty on hard liquor, which covers alcoholic drinks such as whiskey, gin, rum and brandy, to generate more revenue.”At present, the tax structure for IMFL is three times the manufacturing cost declared by the producer or Rs 300 per proof litre of alcohol, whichever is higher. We are planning to hike these rates,” he said. The official said the quantum of the increase was being finalised. An official noted that Maharashtra followed a pattern of discouraging consumption of liquor by ensuring high prices through a heavy tax structure.This had led to the brew being smuggled in from neighbouring states and union territories such as Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Diu and Daman, and even from far off Punjab and Haryana where the excise duty regime is more liberal. A hike in duty rates and consequent rise in MRPs may add to the margins for those involved in the trade, which necessitated better enforcement by the department and the police.”The increase in excise duty may also lead to a fall in sales,” he added. This month, the department hiked the excise duty on mild and strong beer by 25% and 35%, which may increase the MRP by Rs 5 and 6.5 per 650ml bottle respectively.Incidentally, liquor sales have shown a decline this year.From April to September 2017, country liquor sales in Maharashtra stand at 1,469.63 lakh bulk liters (LBL) as against 1,591 LBL for the same period in 2016 – that’s a fall of 7.63%. IMFL offtake stands at 14.33% less at 795.46 LBL against the previous 928.53 LBL. Beer and wine sales have declined by 16.52% and 13.04% respectively to end at 1,425 LBL and 25.88 LBL versus 2016’s 1,707.28 LBL and 29.76 LBL.The State excise department is the third highest revenue source for the Maharashtra government after State Goods and Services Tax (GST) and stamp duty and registration fees. For 2017-18, the state excise has a target of Rs 14,340 crore of which just 39.46% (Rs 5,659.1 crore) has been met by September.In 2016-17, beer sales fell by 0.95% to end at 3,285.78 lakh bulk liters (LBL) against 3,317.32 LBL in the previous fiscal. IMFL sales increased by 2.99% at 1,930.53 LBL compared to 1,874.51 LBL in 2015-16 and CL consumption rose by 2.41% to 3,254.51 LBL against 3,177.83 LBL. Wine sales grew from 61.57 LBL to 64.70 LBL (5.09%).

State sees dip in liquor sales

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Liquor sales in Maharashtra have shown an unprecedented decline with beer consumption falling by 16.52 per cent and demand for Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and wine plunging by 14.33 per cent and 13.04 per cent respectively.The demand for country liquor, consumed by the working class and accounts for huge volumes, has dipped by 7.63 per cent between April and September 2017 compared to the same period in the previous year.The steepest fall has been recorded in Thane district, where sales of country liquor, beer, IMFL and wine has reduced by over 80 per cent.In Mumbai, country liquor and beer sales increased by 5.69 per cent and 4.35 per cent, while IMFL consumption reduced by 1.65 per cent. Sales of wine, which is seen as the drink of the upwardly mobile, have shown a marginal 2.83 per cent rise.In the Mumbai suburban district, sales of country liquor, beer and wine have increased by 6.65%, 8.03% and 5.99% while IMFL consumption has reduced by 0.08%.State excise officials attributed this to a slowing economy with falling disposable incomes, smuggling of cheaper liquor from neighbouring states, the proliferation of duplicate brands, and the impact of the Supreme Court’s restriction on liquor vends at a 500-metre distance from national and state highways.”This is an unprecedented fall. It is perhaps for the first time in recent years that liquor sales volumes have shown a sharp reduction,” said a senior official from the department.”For a few months after April, permit rooms had to shut down due to the SC order… While the purchasing power of consumers is reducing, liquor prices are increasing,” noted Adarsh Shetty, President, Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR).The only bright spots in country liquor sales are the Mumbai city and suburban districts, Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli and Washim where the demand has risen. The only district where IMFL sales have grown (7.42%) is Nandurbar while beer and wine consumption have risen only in Mumbai city and the suburbs.A state excise official said that the ban on liquor vendors at a 500-metre distance from state and national highways had led to the initial fall in demand but subsequent court judgements and de-notification of highways had mitigated the impact.

A recap to Odd-even scheme

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The odd-even scheme, which is all set to make a comeback in the Capital, was first implemented by the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government in 2016 – from January 1-15 and again between April 15-30. The scheme was intended to combat pollution if the air quality enters the ’emergency’ category.The road rationing scheme is intended to take almost 50 per cent vehicles off the city roads by restricting vehicles with number plates bearing odd and even numbers to ply on alternate days. The scheme was only applicable to cars while people were free to use two-wheelers.The fortnight-long exercise, besides having fewer vehicles on road, focuses on measures such as encouraging commuters to take public transport, car-pooling and using environment-friendly modes of transport such as cycling to work.The traffic police have a major role to play during the exercise for monitoring of vehicles.During the first stint, the scheme was enforced with much enthusiasm in the Capital with the deployment of traffic personnel and civil defence volunteers in large numbers. During the trial, a total of 9,140 challans were issued to violators collecting over Rs 1.82 crore as the compounding amount by the traffic police and the transport department.The AAP government claiming the experiment proved to be successful had got the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) – an independent think tank – to conduct a study on its effects.The CEEW, in its report, stated that there was no conclusive evidence to support if odd-even helped to improve the air quality of Delhi.However, the report revealed a definite increase in the use of public transport and two-wheelers. There was a 138 per cent rise in the number of people using buses, 22 per cent in taxis, 12 per cent in auto-rickshaws and 17 per cent in two-wheelers.

No concrete evidence of improved air quality

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Delhi government is all set to bring back the odd-even road rationing system, in case of pollution levels increasing, environment experts and scientists claimed that there was no “concrete evidence” of air quality improvement in the city.While a study conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) – an independent think tank – during the first trial of the policy in January 2016, stated that there was no”conclusive evidence” to prove if the air quality of the city has improved during the fortnight.However, an air quality analysis was done during both the odd-even implementation – January 2016 and April 2016 – by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) which showed that there was slight improvement in levels of air pollution, however, it depended on the meteorological conditions to a large extent.”While there was a decrease in pollutant concentrations in the first week during January but then farm fires were high and pollution levels again spiked in the second week. Also, the weather conditions such as the wind speed responsible for disbursal of pollutants was very low during this period. The air quality, however, showed improvement during the second experiment in April, as meteorological conditions were favourable,” said Vivek Chhatopadhyaya, senior scientist and project manager, Air Quality Campaign, CSE.The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) also showed a fall in pollution levels after January 8.In its analysis of the same week as compared to previous year, CSE reported that despite hostile weather conditions, peak pollution during odd and even scheme had been much lower.”This proves reduced traffic volume has arrested the peaking of pollution and validates the importance of emergency action,” the report stated.

UDH to bring new land regularisation rates soon

Earlier, 25% of the residential reserve price or Rs 1500 per square yard, whichever is higher in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur, Bikaner, Alwar, Bharatpur, Bhilwara and Bhiwadi <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>People will have to cough up more money for regularisation of their residential plot on government land.Paving way for regularisation of residential colonies, the state government has finalised rates but on the higher side than five years ago. The Urban Development Department (UDH) had previously fixed rates for regularization on September 21, 2012. However, these rates were valid only till April 1, 2017.Since, the validity of these rates ended, the regularization process was held up.Now, the department has prepared draft to decide new rates, which have been approved by the finance department. This will now be sent to the law department and once cleared, the new rates will be implemented.THEN AND NOWEarlier, 25% of the residential reserve price or Rs 1500 per square yard, whichever is higher in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur, Bikaner, Alwar, Bharatpur, Bhilwara and Bhiwadi. Now 25% of the residential reserve price or Rs 2000 per square yard.
Previously in these cities for regularization of commercial plot 25% of the commercial reserve price or Rs 5000 per square yard, whichever is higher. Now 25% of the commercial reserve price or Rs 6,500. Rest of the towns with more than 50,000 population regularisation charges for residential plot, 25% of reserve price or Rs 750, whichever is higher in the past.
Now, 25% or Rs 1000 in these towns for the same purpose.

Board cancels Dahisar school registration

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Mumbai division of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher secondary education (MSBSHSE) has cancelled the registration of Dahisar based school Isra Vidyalaya a few months after 516 answer sheets of Class X board exams went missing from the school.The board has recently cancelled the registration of the school after it found several inadequacies during inspection including lack of security, irregular appointments of teachers etc. “We have cancelled the school’s registration after finding several inadequacies.As a team from the board went to visit the school, it was found that several norms with respect to teacher appointments were flouted,” said SY Chandekar, Chairperson of the Mumbai divisional board.A total of 516 answer papers of Hindi medium history, science and Sanskrit examinations were stolen from the principal’s cabin at Dahisar’s Isra Vidyalaya on April 3. While the answer sheets of 330 students were found by the Dahisar police on April 15, remaining students were given ‘average marks’ by the board as the police failed to recover the remaining papers. The police had also arrested two persons and detained two minors for stealing answer sheets from the school after which the accused had confessed that they had done the crime to earn some quick money.

Andhra Pradesh: Two years after PM Modi laid foundation stone for capital, not a single brick has been laid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for Andhra Pradesh’s new capital city Amaravati exactly two years ago, not a single brick has been laid for the development of the capital so far.Over the last three years, timelines had been set and reset for the capital, but the construction process has not even crossed the designing stage.The Chief Minister’s Office Real-time Executive dashboard says, till date, 2,27,100 people have donated 56,66,596 ‘bricks’ (Rs 10 per brick) for building the capital city.It was on October 25, 2014, that the Chandrababu Naidu government had announced that the new capital city would be constructed within five years, but three years have since elapsed with only the ‘temporary’ structures of the Secretariat and Legislature to show.On October 9 last year, Naidu had written an open letter to the people of the state promising to give a “definite shape” to Amaravati “by Vijaya Dasami next year” (that fell on September 30 this year).However, not even the 18.3-km main seed access road that leads to the capital has been completed till date.In fact, the government announced in February this year that the capital construction will begin in July and be completed by December 2018.Municipal Minister P Narayana, on February 2, had given specific dates for the works: “Construction of the Secretariat will start on May 10 and be completed on December 25, 2018.”Building of the Legislature complex will commence on July 20 and completed by October 4, 2018 and the High Court works will begin on August 17 and completed on April 3, 2019.” On March 25, 2016, the Andhra Pradesh government selected Maki Associates as the master architect for Amaravati (Administrative City), but vacillated till December before scrapping the contract.Britain’s Foster+ Partners was subsequently chosen as the master architect and fresh timelines were set for the construction of the capital.Foster+ Partners was supposed to submit its master plan and designs in April this year.It indeed completed its task, though a couple of months late. However, the chief minister “approved” the designs one day and found them “not impressive” another day.And, with Chandrababu insisting that “Baahubali” director Rajamouli’s “inputs” be taken for the designs, the entire process is being re-done now.”When we are building a world-class capital city, things cannot happen in a haste. Hence, the delay in the works,” Principal Secretary (Infrastructure and CRDA) Ajay Jain said.In fact, the chief minister himself has also been claiming in the recent days that they were “in no hurry” since they were going to build “one of the top five cities in the world”.The government of India has so far released Rs 1,500 crore for the construction of government buildings, like the Secretariat, High Court, Legislature complex and Raj Bhavan in Amaravati, but the state apparently spent the money on “other purposes”.Since it had to submit utilisation certificates to the Centre for the money already released, the state government has shown the temporary Secretariat and Legislature buildings as the actual structures.”These buildings (temporary Secretariat and Legislature) are also part of the capital. So, we have utilised the (Centre’s) money on them,” Narayana justified.But now, the state has been searching for funds to build the actual Secretariat and Legislature, which could cost more than Rs 1,000 crore.For over a year and a half now, the government has been claiming that the World Bank “agreed in principle” to lend USD one billion for capital development, but not a single dollar has actually been sanctioned till date.The Municipal Minister, however, denied that funds crunch was holding up the capital construction.

Post GTB eye fiasco, UP woman shuffles between hospitals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Six months after the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital eye fiasco where 20 patients were injected with contaminated injections; Farhat Nabi, 25-year-old woman from Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh, who is one of the victims, is still looking for treatment which was promised to her and is visiting the hospital every month in this regard.While the other patients received further treatment at AIIMS and recovered, the hospital staffers had failed to even inform her of their blunder in the first few days.”I still go to Delhi almost every month for check-ups but neither has there been any improvement in my eye, I still see the black spots, nor I have been referred elsewhere. On this recent visit, after I had an argument with the staff, they signed a referral and hand it over to me but still refused to give me the necessary documents. This was their fault and now they have left me to be on my own with a referral paper,” says Nabi.On April 1, Nabi was given Avastin injection at the GTB Hospital. The medicine is used to prevent blindness due to aging, diabetes, hypertension, and rupturing of blood vessels. Soon after being administered the injection, she fell unconscious and was later sent home and asked to visit for a follow-up.Even though she kept complaining of excruciating pain and a dark spot in her eye, she was sent back after a routine check-up and asked to visit on April 7.At the same time, other patients who were administered this contaminated injection were called back the next day and referred to AIIMS, where surgeries were conducted in eight critical cases. The hospital authorities, however, did not make any such calls to the Nabi family.”Her vision is still the same, she can still read as much as she could before the blunder. Hers is a progressive disease and will have to come for follow-ups all through her life. We are analysing the issue regarding her eye and referred her to AIIMS because she wanted to go there,” says Dr. Sunil Kumar, Medical Director, GTB Hospital.Another patient had alleged that even though surgeries were conducted at AIIMS soon after, the hospital had refused to return the last OPD papers, which had the doctor’s prescription of the medicine.The fiasco had also led to the death of a 70-year-old woman, Gyanwati, who had to stop taking her medicines after she was put on different ones when she developed blurred vision. She later suffered a cardiac arrest.

Cops who let accused roam freely, suspended

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seven Delhi Police officers from the third battalion, including an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), two Head Constables and three constables, have been suspended for allowing an accused to roam around freely at a mall in Bengaluru where he was taken for court hearings. The accused man, Sukesh Chandrashekhar, was arrested in April for allegedly taking a bribe from AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran to bribe the Election Commission officials in connection with the party symbol.The suspended police officers are ASI Rajesh, head constables Jeevan and J George, and constables Nitin, Keshav, Dharmendra, and Pushpendra. The officers were accompanying Chandrashekhar for court hearings in Mumbai, Coimbatore, and Bengaluru. The court hearings were scheduled from October 9 to October 16.”The Delhi Police officers were directed to escort him for court hearings in three cities. An inquiry has been initiated and all the alleged police officers have been suspended. The strictest possible action against the policemen will be taken. The Delhi Police stands against all such intolerant practices,” said Dependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police.In a report submitted by the Income Tax Department to the Commissioner of Delhi Police, Chandrashekhar was allowed to roam freely while he was in Bengaluru with the police officers. Reportedly, he was even carrying out his business deals and shopping at one of the malls in Bengaluru.THE CASEThe accused, Sukesh Chandrashekhar, was arrested in April for allegedly taking a bribe from AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran to bribe EC officials.

Metro-1 grapples with technical faults

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) claims to have been consistently maintaining punctuality of 98-99 per cent on the Versova -Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro-1 corridor. But, in the meanwhile, it has been grapling with several other issues like increasing technical failures in the Chinese rolling stock (coaches). In the first six months of this year alone, these technical failures have almost doubled when compared to the corresponding period in 2016.While a total of 24 failures in rolling stock were reported in 2016, the figure touched 22 in just the first six months of this year.According to data from the monthly reports prepared by the Independent Engineer (IE) of Metro-1, a joint venture between Sener and ACPL, there were around 13 failures in the Chinese Rolling Stock in the first six months of 2016 between January and June. In the second half of 2016, the number of failures in Chinese rolling stock went down to around 11 failures.However, the number of failures doubled in the first six months of 2017, between January and June, to around 22 failures.The failures were many — sudden incidents of automatic doors of the Metro failing to open or close, non-operational headlights, the emergency mode setting off on its own, leaking battery cells etc.In one such incident, both headlights of a Metro car were found to be not working. In one of its monthly reports, the IE recorded that one trip was delayed as the pilot on February 19, 2017 reported that both headlights were not working.”Even after resetting, the fault persisted. Hence, walkway lights were switched on and train was moved with restricted speed in available visibility condition,” the Monthly Report for February 2017 reads.The highest number of Rolling Stock failures between the period of January 2016 and June 2017 was in the month of June 2017. Around six technical failures were witnessed in Rolling Stock of Metro-1. Doors failing to open and train brakes not releasing, trains not getting traction above 5-kmph were few of the reasons for the highest number of failures.A total of 10 trips were delayed, and two trips were cancelled in June 2017 owing to approximately six failures related to Rolling Stock. The lowest number of Rolling Stock failures was one in February 2016, March 2016, July 2016, August 2016 and October 2016.The Rolling Stocks for Metro-1 were procured from M/s CSR, Nanjing China. The configuration of each Rolling Stock is of four coach rakes, extendable up to six coaches in future, and the fleet size is 16. The air-conditioned Rolling Stock of Metro-1 is designed with a speed limit of 80-kmph and the operating speed to 50-kmph.Punctuality maintained at 98-99 per cent despite problemsDespite the technical glitches or failures in its rolling stock, signalling and telecommunications the operations of Metro-1 have not been affected. The Metro-1 has maintained a punctuality average of 98-99 per cent in terms of running actual services when compared with planned services.Between January 2016 and March 2016 around 31,019 services were planned to be operated, and MMOPL ran one surplus service in the same period, that is 31,020 services.Further between April 2016 and June 2016, MMOPL ran 31,311 services against the planned 31,320 services which means a deficit of running nine less services.Between July 2016 and September 2016, MMOPL ran a total of 31,548 services whereas the same number of services were planned to be run between the above mentioned period. Between October 2016 and December 2016, MMOPL ran a total of 31,558 services .
Signalling failures double but escalator troubles dip this yrNot only failures of the rolling stock, the Metro-1 corridor has also been hit by technical failures that are crucial for the operation of the Metro corridor. These include signalling failures, telecommunication failures, faults in the escalators and lifts on the Metro station, along with failures of the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) gates.According to the data accessed exclusively by DNA, there were around 45 failures relating to the signalling of Metro-1 between the period of January 2016 and June 2016. These failures doubled in the second half, with 103 signalling failures between the period of July 2016 and December 2016.In the first half of 2017, there were around 93 signalling failures reported between the period of January 2017 and June 2017. This takes the total number of signalling failures between January 2016 and June 2017 to around 241.The highest number of signalling failures were reported in the months of October 2016 and June 2017, with the total failures being around 35 and 28 respectively. The lowest number of signalling failures reported were around three in May 2016.Further, there were around 675 telecommunication failures reported between January 2016 and June 2017. Between the same period, around 74 failures were reported in the radio of Metro pilot that is part of telecommunication failures. The radio is used by the Metro pilot for contacting and coordinating between the Metro stations and Metro control room.The highest number of 10 failures in the radio system were reported in September 2016, and the lowest of two failures in March-April and May 2017. Around 448 failures were reported in the CCTV cameras that are installed at Metro stations and depot.Topping the list of failures are the automatic fare collection (AFC) gates, which is where the commutes swipe their tokens or smart cards for accessing the way towards the Metro.Birds snapping overhead wire a major issueThe services of Metro-have been affected several times due to birds snapping the overhead wires that supply power to the rolling stock.According to the data given by IE for Metro-1, 86 failures due to bird snapping were reported between January 2016 and October 2016. The highest number of 23 failures were reported in April 2016.In one such case, on February 23, 2017, 38 Metro services were cancelled and two were delayed after a breakdown of overhead wire was reported near Azad Nagar Metro station. “The overhead wire breakdown was due to the bird fault between the return conductor and anti-creep wire, which resulted in parting of both conductors,” reads the monthly report prepared by IE in March 2017.”Anti-bird devices/ methods maybe developed and implemented on experimental basis,” reads one of the suggestions given to MMOPL by the IE.’Our process ensures that faults don’t become failures’While the IE’s monthly reports term them technical ‘failures’, MMOPL maintains that these are ‘faults’, all of which are recorded irrespective of magnitude, so that they can be rectified immediately.When contacted, A Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), spokesperson said, “The number of faults depends on the traffic, and MMOPL is taking corrective action for the same. If the number of faults has gone up over last year, it is solely on account of the heavier footfall and the increased number of trips the Metro is undertaking. These faults have not turned into service-affecting failures except in the odd case just because of our stringent processes that ensure that faults don’t graduate to failure. Even if one were to take the number of faults reported over the systems usage, it is clear that their occurrences range from 2-5 faults per million operations.”The spokesperson, added, “A case in point is AFC failure. A total of 1,249 AFC failures/faults were reported between January ’16 and June ’17, as per the report. The total number of passengers who travelled during this period is 13.22 crore. Each passenger uses the AFC twice (one Entry & one Exit). On that basis, the fault rate comes to 4.7 per million operations, which is in fact a performance any metro system would like to boast of.The spokesperson further added, “We accord uncompromising priority to commuter safety and performance standards. Our robust and pro-active reporting regime is geared towards identifying each minor fault and undertaking immediate remedial action so that these do not graduate to service-disrupting failures. This is how MMOPL manages to maintain its performance of 99.9 per cent punctuality and 100 per cent availability on continuous basis.MMOPL has achieved 100 per cent punctuality continuously for all days of a particular month several times in last 39 months of its operation.”

Punjab: Killing of RSS leader is eighth murderous attack since 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The killing of RSS leader Ravinder Gosain in Ludhiana today was one in a series of high-profile murderous attacks on activists belonging to religious or right wing organisations that Punjab has witnessed in recent times.Two unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants shot dead 60-year-old Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leader Gosain in the Kailash Nagar locality in Ludhiana, the police said.Gosain was returning home after attending a morning drill (RSS shakha) when he was attacked, they said. He died on the spot while the attackers fled, according to police officials.The crime was the eighth such incident in the state since 2016.In June this year, a pastor, Sultan Masih, was shot dead by two motorcycle borne persons at the Peerubanda Mohalla in Ludhiana. The assailants fired multiple shots at the pastor, killing him on the spot.On the evening of February 25, two unidentified gunmen shot dead two Dera Sacha Sauda followers –Satpal (65) and his son Ramesh Kumar (35) when they were working at the sect’s canteen at Jagera village, about 55 km from Ludhiana.The duo were shot in their heads from close range.On January 14 this year, two unidentified motorcycle borne assailants shot dead the leader of an organisation called ‘Hindu Takhat’, Amit Sharma, near the Durga Mata Mandir in Ludhiana.Last year, on August 6, RSS leader Brig Jagdish Gagneja (Retd) was shot at in Jalandhar. He later died at the DMC hospital in Ludhiana.This incident led to question marks being raised over the law and order situation under the previous SAD-BJP regime.When Punjab Police failed to crack the case, it was handed over to the CBI by the then Parkash Singh Badal led government.In May 2016, a Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale was attacked as some youths opened indiscriminate fire at his cavalcade in Ludhiana. Though Dhadrianwale had a miracle escape, an aide died in the attack.In the month of April, Durga Prasad Gupta, chief of the Shiv Sena’s labour wing in Punjab was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne assailants at Khanna near Ludhana.85-year-old Mata Chand Kaur, wife of late chief of the Namdhari sect Satguru Jagjit Singh, was also shot dead by bike-borne assailants at Bhaini Sahib complex near Ludhiana in April month last year.The previous dispensation handed over the high-profile murder case of Mata Chand Kaur to CBI.In January 2016, RSS volunteer Naresh Kumar was attacked in Ludhiana when bike-borne unidentified persons opened fire at him. However, he escaped unhurt.

Transforming Indian economy through an innovation stimulus

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Disregarding the role of various global and national factors, man-made or climatic, in slowing down of economy, we can convert a crisis into an opportunity. Recently in a meeting with Niti Aayog, I pleaded that we use this occasion for large scale disruptions in our system of developmental governance which in normal times may not get traction. Societal mood is generally less rigid when it tries to come out of a slow down phase. It is, however, true that even with a slowdown, it will still be one of the fastest growing major economies of the world.What we can do is gain a still higher growth path. We need to make our workforce healthy and agile. Our productivity must increase. Without a good health case, this cannot happen. There are young biotech and other entrepreneurs (like Accuster) who can provide around 40 diagnostic tests in less than Rs 250 at the community level. Can we get all the 250 million people engaged in MNREGS, a) tested for heath conditions, b) get them advice for preventive health, c) organise curative care through on line pharmacies (like pharma easy) and blend of both ayurvedic and allopathic doctors? One adverse health episode, give years savings of poor people are gone.Even today in rural India, almost half the people don’t have access to institutional finance and in eastern India, it more than sixty percent. The health insurance coverage is even marginal. All of them need to be covered under health insurance to cover at least a week or ten days of hospitalization if need be. They should also be given health card to get services from PHCs. Inventory of drugs in PHCs be pooled on line so that what is needed at one PHC in higher quality does not lie unused at another health centre and sometimes expire. We need to also give at least two herbal soap cakes to each worker for personal hygiene. The nexus between malnutrition due to high load of intestinal worms and poor hygiene has to be broken among children but also adults.Do-It-Yourself kits for cleaning water using sand, charcoal, coconut fibre and pith, and other flocculants and cleaning agents must be made available to all workers. The pesticide industry must be obliged to ensure that every worker spraying toxic chemical is using safety gear and are looked after in every case of inadvertent hazard. All of their CSR funds must be allocated only for workers’ health care and safety of use of toxic chemicals by farmers.Twenty million people travelling by train every day must be educated about preventive health, nutrition, small savings and other benefits of continuing education. In fact passengers should be encouraged to register for various life enhancing skill courses while buying tickets through Open Schools and University like IGNOU.I have said it umpteen times but I will still repeat. All schools in 650,000 villages must be provide high quality multi-media, multi-language content made by brilliant students through a massive educational volunteers program at all IITs, IIMs IISERS and other institutions of excellence. It can be done by April next year. It may be accompanied by a national helpline as was started for farmers, managed by brilliant students ( who can even be paid per hour basis) to answer the questions not clear to children in government schools. Educational apartheid in vogue during the last 60 years will be overcome in one year.All the tanks, farm ponds and water bodies will be desilted (and silt be distributed by village communities to enrich soil) by April 2018. Praying that monsoon is good next year, the experience of Saurashtra will be replicated all over the country. I have seen how Vidharbha suffers from drought when similar conditions have been almost completely prevented in Gujarat through on farm conservation of water.I am sure that we can do a lot more but all these investments will generate massive employment, create demand for gods and service and increase the mass happiness index. In the process the economic growth will also pick up. More ideas next week.Get ready for Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Ignite Awards nu Honey Bee Network, and National Innovation Foundation for children to be announced tomorrow, Oct 15, the birthday of revered Dr Kalam. What can be a greater tribute to his memory if children in all schools are assured a better future through free access to high quality material and free online tutoring to unleash their potential.The author is founder of Honey Bee Network & visiting faculty at [email protected]

Last minute tweaking in specifications brought AgustaWestland into fray: CBI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Former Deputy Chief of Air Staff J S Gujral had tweaked operational requirements for VVIP helicopters from “should be twin engines” to “at least twin engines”, paving the way for AgustaWestland’s entry into the bidding for the 12-helicopter deal, the CBI has alleged.The agency, in its charge sheet filed before a special CBI court last month, has alleged that in a meeting on April 1, 2005, attended by the then defence secretary, the operational requirement of the VVIP helicopters was decided to be of “twin engines”.The CBI has alleged that during the meeting there was no suggestion for any amendment in the requirements that the helicopters “should be twin engined”.It has alleged that helicopters having more than twin engines and one engine were not eligible for the bids.”However, by adding the word ‘at least’ before ‘twin engined’ the helicopter EH-101 (subsequently known as AW-101) was dishonestly and fraudulently made eligible to participate in the bids with the approval of Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi,” the CBI has alleged.The changes were made without assigning any reason, the agency alleged.”As per the directions of Air Marshal (Retd) J S Gujral, Air Cmde M Matheswaran added the word ‘at least’ before the words ‘twin engined’…,” the CBI alleged in the charge sheet.Gujral discussed these revised requirements with the then air chief S P Tyagi and Vice Chief S K Malik and obtained “oral approval” of Tyagi, it claimed.He gave a note that the “above (matter) was discussed” during PSOs conference, the CBI said.”Investigation has established that Air Marshal J S Gujral has taken false plea that the revised ORs (operational requirements) were to be thoroughly discussed and to be put up accordingly,” it said.It is amply clear that the word “at least” was inserted by Air Commodore M Matheswaran on the instructions of Air Marshal J S Gujral in furtherance of the criminal conspiracy with other persons in order to favour and accommodate EH-101 for participating in the bidding process, it alleged.”Investigation has revealed that the exact copy of the said revised ORs approved by the Chief of Air Staff on April 13, 2005, has been recovered by Swiss Police from the house of Haschke’s (one of the European middlemen) mother during search. The same has been received in the execution report of LR from Italian authority,” it said.LRs are Letters Rogatory or judicial request in which investigation agency of one country requests agency of another country to conduct probe in their jurisdiction. These requests are routed through the court of one country to another.The agency has alleged that there was an estimated loss of 398.21 million euros (approximately Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010, for the supply of VVIP choppers worth 556.262 million euros.Seventy-two-year old Tyagi is the first chief of the IAF to be chargesheeted in a corruption or a criminal case by the CBI.Others named in the charge sheet are — Gujral, Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev alias Julie, advocate Gautam Khaitan, alleged European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel, Guido Haschke, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and former Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi.They have been chargesheeted for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC in the case relating to alleged bribery of Rs 450 crore.

BMC byelection: BJP beats Shiv Sena in Bhandup to close gap

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP narrowed its tally gap with Shiv Sena in the Mumbai civic body as its nominee today won the BMC bypoll from Bhandup, beating the bickering ally’s candidate by 4,792 votes.The BJP candidate, Jagruti Patel, polled 11,129 votes in ward no. 116, while the Sena nominee, Minakshi Patil, got 6,337 votes, an official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said. The by-election was necessitated after the death of Congress corporator Pramila Patil on April 25. With the latest victory, the BJP’s tally in the 227-member BMC has risen to 83, while that of the Sena remains at 84.The election was held yesterday and saw an aggressive campaign by both the BJP and the Shiv Sena. The Congress had fielded Pramila Singh as its candidate.

No more marks moderation: HRD tells all boards

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following the CBSE marks moderation fiasco in April this year, all states and boards have been asked to stop spiking marks from the coming session. The decision has been taken by the Inter Boards Group constituted early this year.All boards including CBSE had in April this year in a meeting with officials from Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) had decided to do away with marks moderation just ahead of the board results. The decision, however, was challenged in court by parents of students taking exam. After the court’s decision, CBSE had to follow the marks moderation policy which led to a dealy in publishing the results. Marks moderation is a policy in which boards increase marks upto a certain level to bring all results to a certain level.Following the fiasco, this time a decision on the issue has been taken in advance. HRD Ministry has on Friday sent a communication to all states and central boards including CBSE and ICSE to do away with the policy of marks moderation. The ministry has, however added that moderation can be done in certain cases.”Practice of awarding moderation marks should be done away with, except in cases of ambiguity in the question paper, inter-set variation in difficulty level (if multiple sets system exists in the Board) and vagaries in the evaluation process based on statistical analysis. Bunching of marks and their spiking should be completely avoided,” the ministry said in its letter.It added that the practice of giving grace marks should continue to pass borderline cases and the policy should be disclosed on their website.The weightage of extra-curricular activities should be same across all the Boards. Boards should show performance of students in extra-curricular activities separately on the marks statement rather than adding them in their scholastic performance, the letter said.Secretary school Education Anil Swarup, in the letter written to all boards has asked them transparent implementation of the policy. “This will help in bringing uniformity in evaluation process, parity of results and improve quality of education with emphasis on learning outcomes,” he said in the letter.All boards have been asked to implement the policy and submit a report in this regard by the end of this month.Delayed stepAll boards had in April this year decided to do away with marks moderation in a meeting with HRD Ministry. The process was postponed after facing court challenges from parents and students.

Good & Simple Tax Tries To Be Better & Simpler

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Narendra Modi government on Friday made sweeping changes to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to provide relief to small & medium businesses and exporters — both facing difficulties because of some complexities in the three-month-old national indirect tax — and cut rates on as many as 27 common use items.The GST Council, headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, raised the turnover threshold for a composition scheme from Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1 crore. The scheme allows traders to pay 1 to 5 per cent tax without going through tedious formalities.Briefing reporters after a marathon eight-hour meeting, Jaitley said that businesses with turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore — which constitute 90 per cent of the taxpayer base but pay only 5-6 per cent of the total tax — are now allowed to file quarterly returns as against monthly filings.Exporters will start getting refunds of their input credit for July from October 10, and for August from 18th of this month. Exporters will have e-wallets from April 1, 2018, for refunds.Small and medium enterprises are crucial to the government’s plans to create jobs, which has emerged as a major challenge amid a growth slowdown. Exporters have also been facing working capital squeeze due to delayed tax refunds. Exports account for nearly 20 per cent of India’s GDP.The announcements come two days after PM Modi said that the government will graciously accept criticism on the economic front, and will review GST procedures and remove all bottlenecks. GST was launched in July as India’s biggest tax reform since Independence to turn all states and UTs into a single market.Jaitley said that items, including, khakhra, plain chapati, food packets, used in the Integrated Child Development Services scheme, and unbranded namkeen will now be taxed at 5 per cent instead of 18 per cent.GST rates on unbranded medicines have also been reduced from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. Tax on parts of diesel engine has been reduced from 28 to 18 per cent. To contain the cost of irrigation schemes, involving high amount of labour, GST rate has been brought down to 5 per cent.PM Modi had said last week that traders across the country are “positive” about GST and accepting the new tax, but they need “handholding”, and asked officers to ensure they adapt to the new system.The Finance Minister said, the GST Council has formed a Group of state Finance Ministers to look into other issues. The Council also constituted a panel to consider rationalising GST rate for restaurants.The decisions also came in the run-up to the elections in Gujarat, where trading classes are an influential voting bloc. The Centre was facing attacks from the Opposition over their plight.The government expects that the decisions will address the primary concerns of traders, more so the textile industry, which is quite influential in poll-bound Gujarat. GST rate has also been brought down for Gujarati dishes like khakhra.The business community has been a traditional vote bank for the BJP and there has been inputs that it was upset with certain GST provisions.Last Saturday, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had asked the government to not allow informal sectors such as small and medium enterprises, self-employing cottage industries, and agriculture to suffer.RELIEF FOR SMALL BIZTurnover threshold for SMEs raised to Rs 1 crore to avail of composition scheme. Previous limit was Rs 75 lakh
Businesses with turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore allowed to file quarterly returns as against monthly filings
Panel formed to consider rationalising of 18% GST on AC restaurants with turnover of more than Rs 1 cr RELIEF FOR EXPORTSe-wallet for each exporter and notional amount as advance refund will be given. To start on April 1, 2018
For July, refund cheques to be processed by Oct 10 and for Aug exports, the same will be done by Oct 18 GST RATE REDUCED ONSome stationery items, diesel engine parts. From 28% to 18%
Unbranded ayurvedic drugs. From 12% to 5%
Food items like sliced dry mangoes, khakra and chapatti. From 12% to 5%

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