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Pune starts fire audit of properties post Kamala Mills tragedy in Mumbai

The civic chief has asked the chief of fire department to form various teams as per the requirement and start fire audit of all such properties immediately. The commissioner has also directed the chief engineer to issue orders to every assistant commissioner of his department to check for the unauthorised use of properties in his or her respective zones. Similarly, the health department head has been asked to issue orders to all the health inspectors to visit all such places where there is heavy footfall of visitors and check for any such unauthorised use of properties. The commissioner has warned of disciplinary action against the officials who will be found not performing duty diligently. ”
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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>Pune starts fire audit of properties post Kamala Mills tragedy in Mumbai Kamala mills fire
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByAnurag Bende <!–end of artlbotbor–>Saturday 30 December 2017 21:58 ISTMust readEx-CJI TS Thakur says no to AAP’s Rajya Sabha offerKamala Mills fire: Know the story behind this picture<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>On the backdrop of Kamala Mills fire tragedy, the Pune Municipal Corporation has decided to address the issue of illegal commercial use of properties. PMC commissioner has ordered a survey and fire audit of all such properties in PMC limits.In his order issued on Saturday, PMC commissioner Kunal Kumar has asked city engineer, health department head and fire chief to form teams to carry out the audit and has asked to submit consolidated report by January 15, 2018. “The incident of Kamala Mills fire was very unfortunate and in order to make sure that such incident does not take place in Pune, the PMC has decided to carry out the fire audit of those properties which has got no objection certificate from fire department, the properties where unauthorised commercial activities are taking place,” Kumar in his order has stated. The civic chief has asked the chief of fire department to form various teams as per the requirement and start fire audit of all such properties immediately. The commissioner has also directed the chief engineer to issue orders to every assistant commissioner of his department to check for the unauthorised use of properties in his or her respective zones. Similarly, the health department head has been asked to issue orders to all the health inspectors to visit all such places where there is heavy footfall of visitors and check for any such unauthorised use of properties. The commissioner has warned of disciplinary action against the officials who will be found not performing duty diligently.

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India successfully test-fires supersonic interceptor missile from Odisha’s Balasore

India on Thursday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) supersonic interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming ballistic missile in low altitude, from a test range in Odisha.This was the third supersonic interceptor test carried out this year in which an incoming ballistic missile target was successfully intercepted, within 30 km altitude of the earth’s atmosphere by an interceptor.”It was a direct hit and grand success,” Defence sources said after the test launch.The earlier two tests were conducted on March 1 and February 11, 2017, as part of efforts to have a full-fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system.”Today’s test was conducted to validate various parameters of the interceptor in flight mode and it was all success,” the sources said.The target missile– a Prithvi missile– was launched from launch complex 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near here.After getting signals by tracking radars, the interceptor AAD missile, positioned at Abdul Kalam Island –previously known as Wheeler Island — in the Bay of Bengal, roared through its trajectory to destroy the hostile target missile in mid-air in an endo-atmospheric altitude, defence sources said.The interceptor is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator, the sources said.The state-of-the-art interceptor missile has its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.

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UNICEF calls for action to end digital divide across the world

Only 15% people have access to the Internet in the least-developed countries, a UNICEF report has revealed.In developed countries, an estimated 81 per cent people use Internet, the report covering 24 countries, including India, in 2017 said.Digital divide do not merely separate the connected from the unconnected, they go deeper concerning how people, including youth and children, use Information and Communication Technology (ICT), a UNICEF spokesperson said after launching the report here last week.The report quoted data from world’s wealthiest countries to show that ICT experience has a huge impact on the wages of labourers in countries like Australia and US. Adults without ICT experience were likely to earn less.”Other studies of adult population in countries such as India and Tunisia reflect similar findings,” the report said.Also readHere’s how researchers are looking to provide high-speed internet at low costThe report said while about 29% of youth, in the age group of 15-24 years, (346 million individuals), don’t have access to the Internet, the situation is almost opposite in the case of children.Just about 30 per cent of children, below 15 years, have access to the digital media across the globe, the report said.Also readGoogle for India: Tech giant unveils ‘Oreo Go’ to drive Internet adoption”Children who are unconnected are missing out on rich educational resources, access to global information and online opportunities of learning. They are also forgoing ways to explore new friendships and self-expression,” it said.Calling it a digital divide, the report explained that the gap will amplify the advantage of children from wealthier backgrounds even as the poor and disadvantages ones remain deprived of opportunities.Referring to a digital gender gap, the report said, globally 12 per cent more men used the internet than women did in 2017.The report calls for faster action, focused investment and greater cooperation to protect children from the harms of a more connected world, the UNICEF spokesman said.West Bengal Women and Child Development minister Sashi Panja, who had attended the launch event last week, assured to take note of the findings and its implications on the kids here.”We will go through the contents of the report and take necessary actions based on the findings in our state,” West Bengal Women and Child Development minister Sashi Panja told PTI.

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Sabang bypoll: Seven-fold increase in vote-share for BJP augurs well for its future

Sabang, in West Midnapore district of Bengal, has been largely in the news in the past for occasional political skirmishes. A Congress bastion, it has been for long the pocket borough of senior leader Manas Bhunia. He retained his seat even when other Congress stalwarts fell by the wayside unable to withstand Mamata wave. Thus when he switched party this year, it was a foregone conclusion that TMC will win the seat. The party had nominated Manas Bhunia’s wife as the candidate, and she indeed won with a handsome margin of 64 thousand votes. The real toss-up was who would end up in the second spot. And, somewhat unexpectedly CPI(M) candidate Rita Mandal Jana ended up the first runner-up getting 41,000 votes. However, the BJP which invested a lot of man-power in this election wasn’t far behind with Antara Bhattacharya winning over 37 thousand votes. It’s a massive leg-up for the party in a rural seat like Sabang where it got only 5610 votes in last year’s assembly election. The party this time won 18.23% of the votes, up from 2.60% in 2016. Congress ended a poor fourth, with its vote bank virtually collapsing post the exit of Manas Bhuniya. While Sabang is a single assembly bypoll, but it leaves some important pointers for next year’s Panchayat polls in Bengal. The Left’s core vote is still intact in rural Bengal. It has depleted from its past highs but is still enough to earn sizeable number of seats in the Panchayat poll. The BJP undoubtedly is gaining ground rapidly in interior Bengal. After a promising performance in Kochbehar LS bypoll and Kanthi Assembly bypoll, the party has again punched way above its weight and narrowly ended third. The fact that Sabang is in South Bengal shouldn’t be missed. An impressive BJP show here means the party is now present in all the major regions of the state. Also readSabang bypoll: TMC wrests seat from Congress, Gita Rani Bhunia wins by 64 thousand votes Sabang was the first election after Mukul Roy joined the BJP. He was Mamata’s former close aide, who knows how to build organisation and run a successful campaign. He alongside Dilip Ghosh and Babul Supriyo did their best to canvass for the party, and managed a positive result in a place where the party has very little ground game. BJP can take lot of heart from this result and work towards becoming the second biggest party in the next panchayat polls. But it would find it difficult to match the organisational prowess of the ruling party. TMC is the party to beat in Bengal with very little indication of it being closely challenged in the upcoming polls. The race is firmly for the second spot in Bengal.

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Sabang bypoll: TMC wrests seat from Congress, Gita Rani Bhunia wins by 64 thousand votes

In a sign of TMC’s growing clout in West Bengal, it has wrested Sabang assembly seat from Congress. Sabang has been a traditional fortress of Congress, but this time it slumped to the fourth spot. The bypoll was necessitated after Congress MLA Manas Bhunia defected to TMC. He is currently a Rajya Sabha MP from TMC. TMC gave the ticket to his wife Gita Rani Bhunia. According to the final results, she has got 1 lakh 6 thousand and 179 votes. Her nearest rival, Rita Mandal of CPI(M) got 41,987 votes. Bhunia finally won by a margin of 64 thousand and 192 votes. BJP candidate Antara Bhattacharya was third receiving 37,476 votes, and Congress candidate Chiranjib Bhowmick got 18,060 votes.The opposition had accused ruling TMC of widespread violence during the Sabang bypoll. The ruling party however had rejected all such allegations. Reacting to the win, TMC MP Manas Bhunia hailed it a victory for Mamata Banerjee’s developmental politics. With agency inputs

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WB Mahila Morcha leader slams Mamata Banerjee over record

National president of the BJP Mahila Morcha, Vijaya Rahatkar on Wednesday criticised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and stated that in spite of being a woman, her state tops the list in atrocities against women.”According to the recent report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), West Bengal is ahead in violence against women. Domestic violence is the highest here and it also leads in the number of acid attack cases. Of the 283 acid attacks last year, Bengal alone accounted for 76 cases and affected 83 victims. In spite of there being specific Supreme Court guidelines in terms of storage and sale of acids, it is flouted rampantly in West Bengal and the state government has failed to check it,” she said after a day-long meeting with the Bengal BJP women’s wing.She also said that Bengal heads the list of cases of human trafficking. “Bengal shares its border with countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan because of which human trafficking is very high here. Of the 8132 cases nationwide last year, Bengal registered 3579 cases. The state has a woman Chief Minister and we expect her to be sensitive but we find the government here is insensitive,” she said.She also said that her instruction to the Bengal chapter was to put up a movement against this government.

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Mamata Banerjee to be new Opposition face, Hardik Patel new ally

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has made a bid to project herself to a more formidable role among the Opposition coalition. Trinamool Congress (TMC) spokesperson Derek O’Brien at Parliament on Wednesday said that Mamata has the best credentials to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.”If we speak about the future of the Opposition, then Mamata di has the best credentials; she’s experienced, credible, and has integrity,” O’Brien said adding, “Bengal will play an important role in 2019.”O’Brien said that Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel spoke to Mamata after Gujarat election results. He added that Jignesh Mevani also spoke to her. “We have been with these young leaders since the days of demonetisation. It’s just that we do not publicise these visits,” he said.Speaking to DNA, Patel said the TMC supremo had called him up on Tuesday to congratulate him for his work in the Gujarat assembly elections. In response, Patel said that he expressed the need for UPA to come back to power again in Lok Sabha polls 2019.”I also told her that all the opposition front should work together against BJP. I expressed my wish that may the alliance of opposition parties come to power in center again after Lok Sabha polls to be held in 2019,” Patel said.TMC leaders feel that with Sonia Gandhi stepping back, Mamata has the credibility to emerge as the tallest leader in the Opposition. In fact, in the dinner hosted by Congress leaders for Sonia Gandhi’s farewell on Sunday, three Opposition leaders were invited to share the table with congress president Rahul Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh and former vice-president Hamid Ansari. These leaders include TKS Elangovan on behalf of DMK’s MK Stalin, O’Brien on behalf of TMC, and D Raja on behalf of CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury.”Mamata ji called me up and praised for the agitation against the BJP government in Gujarat and different issues been raised addressing different class of people,” Patel said.In order to mobilise support for the OBC electorate, Hardik had been meeting Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. In fact, after he was let out of jail, he flew to Patna to meet Nitish. But with Nitish in the BJP camp, the Patidar leaders has been meeting the Congress leaders, apart from leaders in the Opposition.

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Air quality in Delhi dips to ‘very poor’, US Consulate report raises concern over Kolkata’s pollution level

Delhi’s air quality dipped on Wednesday due to a drastic fall in wind speed, triggering rapid accumulation of pollutants and a grey haze, which affected visibility across the city.The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 359, marking the return of ‘very poor’ air after eight days. The AQI had turned ‘moderate’ on December 12 and since then had remained ‘poor’. CPCB scientist Dipankar Saha said the situation is likely to improve soon as winds blowing from the north will bring down temperature resulting in precipitation of fog. “We are witnessing calm conditions but good news is that wind is likely to come from north and we can expect drop in temperature, and fog,” Saha said.Due to precipitation of fog (liquid droplets turning into vapour), the level of particulates also fall. Vivek Chattopadhyay, a researcher with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said conditions are considered calm when wind speed hovers around 0.3 metres per second. “It makes the air more dense. Moreover, due to drop in temperature, the boundary layer, the layer where particulates and air mix, also comes near the surface,” he said.The concentration of PM10 was 408.8 ug/m3 at 8 pm after rising through the day. PM2.5, which are finer and deadlier particulates, was recorded at 256.2 ug/m3 as per the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management of the CPCB.Also readAnti-smog gun does little to curb pollution in national capital; breathing difficulties continueConcern over Kolkata’s air qualityAn air quality report by the US consulate here has shown that the PM 2.5 level at the city’s Park Street area has surpassed Delhi’s Chanakyapuri locality on Tuesday, with environmentalists and people here expressing concerns.Also readSoon, we might have pollution meters like light meters: Ravi Shastri on smog halting India v/s Sri Lanka TestThe particulate matter (PM) level — an important index in measuring pollution — in the Chanakyapuri area of Delhi had improved from 292 Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL) to 189 AQL between noon to 6 pm on Tuesday. In Park Street here, the count went up from 274 AQL to 288 AQL during that time, the consulate website report says. Expressing concern over the report, environmentalist S M Ghosh said diesel cars are the main contributing factor to the alarming level of pollution in the city.The West Bengal Pollution Control Board is doing very little to reduce the fleet of diesel cars, he alleged. The situation, however, improved this morning with the PM 2.5 level at 171 AQL, far higher than the minimum alarming level of 151 AQL (acceptable quality limit), the website said. In New Delhi, the AQL count shot up to 389 at 1 pm today, it added. WBPCB Chairman Kalyan Rudra, however, said there was no reason to panic as the report covers just one area and does not give a complete picture.The WBPCB is initiating a number of measures to ensure good ambient air quality for the people here, Rudra said. There are 14 WBPCB air pollution monitoring units in the city and their display boards have been put up across the thoroughfares here to give updates on Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) and PM 2.5. Environmentalist Ghosh, however, said three pollution monitoring devices in the city are lying defunct for months now. “The WBPCB is sitting on a proposal by environmentalists to increase the monitoring devices across the city from 14 to 25. They (WBPCB) would not admit but three of their monitoring units are lying defunct for several months,” he alleged.Debmit Dutta, a 39-year-old telecom engineer who works at an MNC in the Salt Lake area of the city, said he has ordered special air filter masks online considering the situation.”The situation is not very different here from that of Delhi, I feel. I have ordered masks online and hopefully it will protect us from the toxic air to an extent,” he said. West Bengal Public Health Engineering Minister Subrata Mukherjee said the situation here is better than Delhi and necessary steps are being taken to curb air pollution. Echoing similar sentiments, West Bengal Environment minister Sovon Chatterjee said, “I am yet to go through the contents of the US consulate report. But the government is taking every measure to reduce pollution level.

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Amidst Rahul’s rising stock, TMC says Mamata has finest credentials to take on BJP in 2019

Young leaders from across the country were reaching out to Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee for her guidance to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, party leader Derek O’Brien said today.A day after Banerjee reportedly had telephonic conversations with Patidar quota agitation spearhead in Gujarat Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, O’Brien said the young leaders were certain to gain from the TMC chief, who had the “finest credentials” to take on the BJP in 2019.”I am not surprised that young leaders from across the country are reaching out to her (Banerjee) for her guidance and to learn from her experiences. She has the finest credentials to take on the BJP in 2019,” he told DNA.According to O’Brien, the TMC chief was sure that the saffron party could be defeated in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls if all the anti-BJP forces came together.”Her experience, track record, role in people’s movements over the last four decades, the experience as a cabinet minister and the resounding mandate of last year (in the West Bengal Assembly polls) makes her the most credible face to take on the BJP,” The Rajya Sabha member said.”If we were to look at the future of the Opposition, Mamata Banerjee has the best credentials. She has the experience, credentials and integrity. Bengal will have an important role to play now and in 2019,” O’Brien added.Apart from Patel and Mevani, OBC leader Alpesh Thakore also played a crucial role in the Gujarat election in putting up a tough fight against the BJP, which had ruled the state for 22 years.Whereas Thakore won on a Congress ticket and Mevani won as an Independent candidate backed by the party, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), led by Patel, extensively campaigned against the BJP in Gujarat.With PTI Inputs

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BJP gears up to make a mark in states not won

In the midst of celebrations after retaining Gujarat and snatching Himachal Pradesh from the Congress, the BJP has not lost sight of the 2019 General elections. The party is now preparing to make deep inroads into Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and the East coast.After a ‘close shave’ in Gujarat, BJP has decided not become complacent. Realising that 2019 might not be a cakewalk for the party, it has renewed its efforts aiming at winning 120-odd seats, and called it Project Coromandal. These seats open a window to make up for the losses it might incur in the northern states.Though the project is a rough reference to a geographical area stretching along the east coast — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal — the North East too has been included in this as a logical political extension.”We cannot afford to be complacent. In UP, we bagged 71 of 80, and in MP we won 27 out of 29. But the point is that we might not be able to better these numbers in 2019 Lok Sabha elections; we may lose some. We need to expand to regions and states where we have not yet made inroads into and where there is scope of expansion. This way we would be able to make up for the losses in the states where we performed spectacularly,” said a senior BJP leader.In the six states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, out of a total of 190 parliamentary seats, BJP bagged only 15 in 2014 despite a saffron sweep in the rest of the country. The party wants to change that in 2019.BJP’S PERFORMANCE IN 2014 POLLSIn the six states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, out of a total of 190 parliamentary seats, BJP bagged only 15 in 2014 despite a saffron sweep in the rest of the country

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After saffron sweep in Assembly polls, Mamata trying to appease Hindus, alleges Bengal BJP

After BJP’s victory in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, Bengal unit of the party believes CM Mamata Banerjee is looking for an image correction. After a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said that Rs 17 crore has been allotted for the renovation of 74 ghats centred around Dakshineswar and Belur.“The decision has been taken in today’s cabinet meeting. It is a message to those who had been spreading canards about our party,” he said. He also said that a total of 1220 new posts have been created including 460 in the Home and Hill Affairs department, 82 in the Health and Family Planning department and 42 in the Finance department.With the panchayat election next year and BJP getting a shot in the arm in the shape of the defection of former TMC Rajya Sabha member Mukul Roy to BJP, TMC leaders have been trying their best to give out the message that they are for inclusive development of the state, irrespective of the person’s faith. At the district level too it is being used as a tool. In Birbhum district of West Bengal, a Brahmin Sammelan will be conducted on January 8, 2018. District TMC president Anubrata Mondal told DNA that it was being done in accordance with a party circular. “About 15,000 brahmins across the district will gather. They will perform pujas and each of them will be given a Gita, a religious shawl and a photograph of Ramkrishna Paramhansa and Saradha Ma,” he said and denied that it had any political connotation. “We had done this earlier at a block level but going by the party’s instructions, this year I am doing it at a district level,” he said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsBJP leaders, however, said that the Mamata Banerjee-led government was doing those out of fear that the party and the government was growing unpopular among the members of the majority community. “They had taken appeasement of the minority to such a level that members of the majority community was disturbed and sensing it, they have now turned to do some damage control but I don’t think these will work. I have also heard that ahead of panchayat polls the TMC will donate cows to people in the rural areas. I have have seen Mamata chant mantras full of mistakes on stage to show people that she is a Hindu,” said Rahul Sinha, BJP national secretary and former party state president. He alleged that Mamata had started the politics of division in Bengal and had she done politics on the basis of developmental work in the state, there would have been no question of appeasing members of any religion.

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How BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equations

The BJP’s victory in the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh has unsettled political equations in West Bengal and it was likely to have far-reaching consequences in politics of the state, say political leaders.Some leaders believe that the Mamata Banerjee-led party could tone down its shrillness in countering the saffron party whose win has given the BJP state leadership and cadres a strong footing to prepare ground for the next year’s panchayat polls.”The results would have a major impact in Bengal politics. It will kickstart a churn in state politics in days to come where BJP will be in an advantageous position,” BJP leader Mukul Roy said.Party sources said several TMC leaders were likely to join the BJP in the days to come and the ruling party would find it hard to keep its house in order.Roy, once the second-in-command of the TMC, joined the BJP last month.The West Bengal BJP leaders are also hopeful that the poll results would impact the Sabang assembly bypoll scheduled on December 21.Last night, the BJP took out a victory rally in Sabang to celebrate its success in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat where the party bagged 44 and 99 seats respectively.”Our next target is Bengal. And this victory for sure will galvanise the cadres at the grassroots level ahead of the Panchayat polls. We are confident that the people of Bengal want freedom from the misrule of this corrupt TMC government,” state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.The TMC, however, dismissed the BJP’s claims as baseless and devoid of any political logic.”The Gujarat poll results will not have any impact on Bengal politics. If you analyse the Gujarat results, you will see that the BJP’s Gujarat model of development has fallen flat as it faced a drubbing in rural areas,” TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy told PTI.However, a section of the TMC leadership, who preferred anonymity, expressed apprehension that the BJP might use central agencies like the CBI and the ED to corner TMC leaders whose names have cropped up in corruption cases.Yesterday, a senior TMC MP told PTI that the party would coordinate with other parties, if need be, in opposing the BJP for its anti-people policies, but would not show resistance on issues that did not affect the common man.”We will play the role of a constructive opposition in Parliament. We will not become a second fiddle to the Congress in opposing the government on each and every issue,” he said.The Congress, which is hoping to cash in on the party’s improved performance in Gujarat, said the TMC’s change in stance in Parliament was an indication that the party was going soft on the BJP to save its own leaders.”The TMC is known for its double standards. It knows very well that most of its leaders might be arrested in corruption cases. So, they are trying to please the BJP by trying to maintain distance with Congress,” Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Abdul Mannan of the Congress said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: It is a face-saving win but moral defeat for BJP in Gujarat, says Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said it was a moral defeat for the BJP in Gujarat and the people of the state have “belled the cat for 2019”.Congratulating the people of Gujarat for their “very balanced verdict at this hour”, Banerjee said it was a face- saving win for the ruling party.”It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people. Gujarat belled the cat for 2019,” Banerjee tweeted.The TMC chief had recently hailed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for “putting the BJP on the backfoot”.

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Over 180 girls abducted daily in 2016: NCRB

More than 180 girls and women were kidnapped in India every day last year. The scarring data was revealed recently by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which also stated that nearly 100 of these women were kidnapped daily for marriages, while five a day were abducted for illicit intercourse.Also, the data revealed that the number of these victims has risen alarmingly by the year. In 2014, the number of victims of kidnapping or abduction, both male and female, was 77,250, which rose to 83,005 in 2015. The total number of victims in 2016 stood at 88,008.In all, 66,525 girls and women were kidnapped in 2016. The data further classified that 33,796 or 37.7 per cent girls or women were kidnapped only for marriages.Of them, 14,539 were aged between 18 and 30 years and 2,320 victims were aged between 30 and 60 years.Also, of the total kidnapped and abducted victims, 16,937 were children, and 1,853 victims were abducted for illicit intercourse. The data also read that 111 of the total victims were forced into prostitution.Commenting on the report, Priyank Kanoongo, a member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), said that the drastic rise in number of kidnapping or trafficking victims was largely because more cases were being registered now and more victims were coming forward to seek help.”In order to bring down these numbers, we require to enhance skill development among women in bordering areas, specially in West Bengal, Assam, and nearby states that share international borders,” he said, adding that the Commission is taking measures in this direction.Kanoongo further said the NCPCR in West Bengal, which recorded the highest number of trafficking cases last year and surpassed Assam, is organising a workshop to spread awareness, especially among adolescent girls, in order to develop their development skills to make them independent.”The commission is working constantly to curb such crimes against children and to make them aware of their rights. We have also talked to our resident commissioners in various states regarding the issue and post-trafficking guidelines for rehabilitation are also being set up,” he said.NUMBING NUMBERSOver 180 girls/women kidnapped every day in 2016 Nearly 100 of them kidnapped for marriages Five girls a day kidnapped for illicit intercourse In all, 66,525 girls and women kidnapped in 2016 33,796 (37.7%) abducted for marriages 1,853 kidnapped for illicit intercourse 111 kidnapped for prostitution Total abductions (male and female)2014: 77,250 2015: 83,005 2016: 88,008

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Rajasthan hacking: Rs 2.75 lakh deposited in Shambulal Regar’s wife’s account before being frozen

Police in Rajsamand district have frozen a bank account in which 516 donors had transferred Rs 2.75 lakh for fighting the court case of Shambhulal Regar, who is in custody for hacking a Muslim migrant labourer to death, burning the body and filming the barbaric act.Two local businessmen were also arrested for allegedly circulating images on social media of receipts acknowledging their donations to the account of Regar’s wife, police said.”Rs 2.75 lakh was deposited into Sita’s bank account, details of which were circulated on social media. 516 people from across the country deposited the money for fighting Regar’s case. Police have frozen the account,” IG (Udaipur Range) Anand Shrivastava said.Also readRajasthan hacking: “We only know our father was a hero of the family, don’t know what love jihad is”SHO, Bhim police station, Gyanendra Singh said two businessmen, Prakash Singh and Dinesh Singh, were arrested under relevant sections of the law for circulating receipts of donations on social media.The administration has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in Rajsamand after some right-wing groups announced to take out processions in support of Regar today.Also readMamata Banerjee to labourers wishing to return: Will give 200 days’ work”All processions, rallies and protests have been banned and those who defy the rule of law will be dealt with accordingly,” Shrivastava said.Regar, 36, had hacked Mohammed Afrazul to death and burnt the body on December 6.Also readRajasthan hacking- If people want to return to Bengal, will provide assistance to set up business: Mamata BanerjeeAfrazul had migrated to Rajsamand from West Bengal for work.Regar had roped in his 14-year-old nephew to film the killing.After the barbaric act, Regar posted videos of the killing with inflammatory and communal comments to defend the act.

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Month after joining BJP, Mukul Roy to be state election committee chief, to look into panchayat polls

Former TMC leader Mukul Roy, who joined the BJP last month, is all set to become the BJP state election committee chief in West Bengal.Sources told DNA that the formalities were almost complete and national president Amit Shah would soon officially appoint Roy. “Mukul Roy had been engaged in looking into the TMC election process for years. BJP wants to use his experience in this field in wake of the ensuing panchayat polls that will take place in 2018,” said a senior party leader, who also added that state party president Dilip Ghosh sometimes takes suggestions from Roy regarding the Panchayat elections.At the same time, state BJP leaders are also of the opinion that people Roy, given his organisational skills should also coordinate and look into the defection of leaders from not only TMC to BJP, but also from other parties such as the CPI(M) and Congress. Roy is also believed to be in negotiation with such leaders to persuade them to switch to BJP.Also readWhy Mukul Roy is getting ‘Y-plus’ security? Trinamool leader files plea in Calcutta High Court “Roy is getting the framework ready with his network to pitch about 72,000 candidates across the state. He will play one an important role in the finalising the list of candidates for panchayat election,” a party insider said. He added that so far the party central leadership is satisfied with the way Roy had been functioning and if he could pull off the panchayat polls successfully he would be handling the election process of the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 and the Assembly elections in 2021, in West Bengal.

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SC pulls up UP & WB govt. for ‘lack of concern’ over shelter to urban homeless

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up governments of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal for showing “lack of concern” over the issue of providing shelter to urban homeless in their states and asked their chief secretaries to appear before it.The top court, after going through the affidavit filed by Uttar Pradesh, observed it was quite clear that the state was unable to provide shelter to urban homeless and implement the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) scheme.A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta expressed anguish that West Bengal government has not filed an affidavit giving all particulars, including a road map on the issue, despite the apex court’s direction.When the lawyer appearing for West Bengal government told the court that they would file the affidavit on Wednesday, the bench observed, “this is total lack of concern for urban homeless.Your state has not done it. This cannot go on. You tell us one thing and your state government do something else.” The bench directed the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to appear before it on January 10 to inform it as to how these states proposes to implement the NULM scheme.At the outset, the apex court referred to the affidavit filed by Uttar Pradesh government and said that state has no plans on urban homeless and it was not possible for it to implement the scheme.”It is impossible for you (Uttar Pradesh) to implement the scheme,” the bench said, adding, “look at your roadmap. It is zero, nothing is there”.”It (scheme) started in 2013. For four years, you have done nothing. You admit it that you cannot do it. You do not have land, money and perhaps you do not have the will,” the court told the counsel representing Uttar Pradesh Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioner, argued that the court should crack the whip on these states.”Land is given to big capitalists but land is not available to provide shelter for poor people. You (court) have to crack the whip,” he said, adding that something drastic has to be done.Meanwhile, the bench referred to an affidavit filed by the Centre and said the Union of India has suggested the court to appoint a committee in each states to deal with the issue of urban homeless.The Centre also apprised the court that a special audit has been directed to look into the aspect of utilisation of funds by Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal given under the scheme.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Haryana, placed on record a vision document on urban homeless in the state along with a road map and timeline.The bench pursued the document placed by Mehta and asked the Centre to circulate it to other states as well.The apex court had on November 23 directed these states to place before it a roadmap on implementation of scheme for urban homeless, saying it was the government’s “obligation” to help these poor people.The petitioners had earlier referred to the report of the apex court-appointed committee headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice Kailash Gambhir and said the number of shelter homes in these states were much less than what was required.The court is first dealing with the status of three states — Haryana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh — among 11 and two Union Territories which have been highlighted by the apex court-appointed committee to oversee implementation of NULM scheme across the country.

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After Centre and Bengal’s affidavit, Delhi HC disposes of Mukul Roy’s plea alleging phone tapping

The Delhi High Court today disposed of former TMC leader Mukul Roy’s plea alleging phone tapping, after the Centre and the West Bengal government said his numbers were not being intercepted.The order was passed by Justice Vibhu Bakhru after he perused the affidavits filed by the two governments. The court, however, gave Roy the liberty to approach it again if he finds any concrete evidence substantiating his allegations.Former Trinamool Congress MP, who has now joined the BJP, had sought a CBI probe into the alleged surveillance and tapping of his phone by the West Bengal police. Roy has alleged that while he was in West Bengal, he always found that the local police were monitoring his movements.Also readBiswa Bangla row: Mukul Roy summoned by court after Abhishek Banerjee files defamation caseThe plea has claimed that similar apprehensions were put on record by several other persons, including union minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo.

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The rage and hatred behind a public murder

A video of a Hindu murdering a Muslim man in the name of “love jihad” has left most Indians stunned.

Rajasthan hacking: Bengal Congress accuses Mamata Banerjee of trying to reap political dividend

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury on Tuesday alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was trying to reap political dividend after the ‘hate murder’ of Bengal-based labourer Md Afrazul Khan in Rajasthan.“In the wake of the brutal murder, Mamata had taken an unprecedented step by organising a political meeting right at the doorstep of the deceased, the very next day after his body arrived when the entire family of the victim, according to the rituals of condolence, was reciting the Holy Quran. I think Mamata herself is not acquainted with the established religious Muslim rituals after death. I found that Trinamool was over-enthusiastic in expressing their grief and sorrow while ignoring the rituals of the Muslim community,” he said talking to DNA . He further added, “While speaking in that political programme under the guise of condolence, even the ministers were simply harping on the magnanimity of Mamata Banerjee which does not have even scant relation with the murder. Certainly, it is garnering political dividend out of the brutal death. It was found that Mamata had virtually started campaigning for panchayat polls in that area.”Also readRajasthan hacking- If people want to return to Bengal, will provide assistance to set up business: Mamata BanerjeeAdhir said that while the Rajasthan government had paid Rs 5 lakh to the family of the victim, the state government should have paid at least 10 lakh. Referring to the on-going Gujarat polls too Chowdhury dealt barbs at Mamata saying that there was no message from her to people of Bengal who worked in Gujarat. “Speaking at the Shahid Divas platform, she had said that it was necessary to strengthen Sonia Gandhi’s hand for fighting against the BJP’s communal force but active as she always is on social media, she could have sent a message via Facebook or Twitter to Bengalis who lived there to vote for secular partes,” Chowdhury said.

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Rajasthan hacking: "We only know our father was a hero of the family, don’t know what love jihad is"

A daughter of the 48-year-old Muslim labourer Mohammad Afrazul from West Bengal who was hacked and burnt to death in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand, has termed her father as a hero of the family and said that she doesn’t know what love jihad means.Afrazul was killed by Shambu Lal Raigar who was seen in the videos ranting against “love jihad”, a term used by sections of Hindu activists to describe marriages between Hindu women and Muslim men, who they claim seek to propagate Islam.“Our father was always away, but used to call us everyday. We were sad that he was never home but we knew he was doing that to feed us,” Afrazul’s second daughter Rejina told Indian Express.Also readRajasthan hacking horror: Victim’s family haunted by his screams; say animals are treated betterStating that she doesn’t know what love-jihad is, she added, “All I know is that my father was a family man who worked hard for us.”According to report, Afrazul left home at the age of 14 and worked as daily wage labourer for three decades and educated his family members.Also readRajasthan murder is a criminal incident, not a case of love jihad: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi”He has always sacrificed just to keep the family running. He is the hero of the family,” said Afzarul’s elder brother Muhammed Tafazzul Hussain Khan.“There was no factory here then… there still isn’t. So the only way left for him and us was to leave the state,” says Tafazzul.Also readRajasthan murder: Woman denies she was ‘rescued’ by accusedAfrazul’s younger brother said that hard he was a hard-working man who ate less and saved for the family.In his videos, Shambu Lal Raigar had referred to a woman he called his “Hindu sister who he had tried to save from love jihad”. That woman, however, has denied any link, saying that she went to West Bengal with one Mohammed Bablu Sheikh, a resident of Malda, in 2010, but returned to Rajasthan in 2013 on her own.Meanwhile, the Rajasthan Director General of Police (DGP) said the prima facie reports cited the man seen in the video was not a ‘normal human being’, and a further investigation has been initiated in the matter.The Rajasthan government also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the victim, while the West Bengal government provided widow pension to the deceased’s wife and assured employment to the kin.

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Rajasthan hacking horror: Victim’s family haunted by his screams; say animals are treated better

In his videos, Regar had ranted against â??love jihadâ?? and Islam. He had referred to a woman he called his â??Hindu sister who he had tried to save from love jihadâ??. That woman, however, has denied any link, saying that she went to West Bengal with one Mohammed Bablu Sheikh, a resident of Malda, in 2010, but returned to Rajasthan in 2013 on her own.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByDNA Web Team <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 10 December 2017 10:50 ISTMust readWhat’s wrong with Vande Mataram? If not mother, will you salute Afzal Guru, asks Vice President Venkaiah Naidu DNA EXCLUSIVE: Guj High Court asks EC to clarify on VVPAT counting by Dec 12<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>
The family of the Bengali migrant worker who was hacked to death and murdered has said that they have not been able to sleep. A viral video of Mohammed Afrazul getting murdered in the name of love jihad had sent shock waves across the country. The main accused, identified as Shambulal Regar, was seen attacking Afrazul with a sickle, pouring kerosene on his body and setting him ablaze before fleeing the spot. Regar was eventually arrested. Afrazul’s widow Gulbar Babi told The Indian Express that she and her daughter have been unable to sleep since the video went up on Wednesday. His screams haunt them, they said. According to Bibi, even animals were not treated so badly. The report adds that the locals from the West Bengal village that is located around 350 kilometres from Kolkata have contacted their menfolk in Rajasthan urging them to return as soon as possible. In his videos, Regar had ranted against ‘love jihad’ and Islam. He had referred to a woman he called his “Hindu sister who he had tried to save from love jihad”. That woman, however, has denied any link, saying that she went to West Bengal with one Mohammed Bablu Sheikh, a resident of Malda, in 2010, but returned to Rajasthan in 2013 on her own.

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Mamata Banerjee declares compensation, job for victim’s kin

"Very sad incident happened in Rajasthan. Afrajul Khan of Malda of our state was brutally killed. His family is totally helpless," she tweeted. She added that she is sending a team of ministers and MPs to visit the family in Kaliachak in Malda district on Saturday. A team of five comprising three MPs – Sudip Bandopadhyay, Sougata Roy and Kakali Ghosh Dastidar and two ministers – Suvendu Adhikari and Firhad Hakim, will reach Khan's residence at Kaliachak in West Bengal's Malda district on Saturday morning. Khan's body will be brought late on Friday evening to his residence for the last rites.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByArshad Ali <!–end of artlbotbor–>Saturday 9 December 2017 6:25 ISTMust readWhat’s wrong with Vande Mataram? If not mother, will you salute Afzal Guru, asks Vice President Venkaiah Naidu India admits its drone lost contact and crossed into China<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh and a job for the family of Md Afrazul Khan, victim of alleged ‘love jihad’ in Rajasthan.”Very sad incident happened in Rajasthan. Afrajul Khan of Malda of our state was brutally killed. His family is totally helpless,” she tweeted. She added that she is sending a team of ministers and MPs to visit the family in Kaliachak in Malda district on Saturday. A team of five comprising three MPs – Sudip Bandopadhyay, Sougata Roy and Kakali Ghosh Dastidar and two ministers – Suvendu Adhikari and Firhad Hakim, will reach Khan’s residence at Kaliachak in West Bengal’s Malda district on Saturday morning. Khan’s body will be brought late on Friday evening to his residence for the last rites.

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Love jihad wasn’t the motive, indicates Rajasthan police’s preliminary investigation into Md Afrazul’s death

Preliminary investigations have ruled out ‘love jihad’ behind the gruesome killing of a 48-year-old Muslim labourer in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, police said today.Mohammand Afrazul from West Bengal was hacked and burnt to death in Rajsamand by Shabhu Lal Raigar, who was seen ranting against ‘love jihad’ in a video that was shot and uploaded on the internet by his minor nephew.Raigar was today sent to three days in police custody and his nephew to a juvenile home by a court in Rajsamand even as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded “exemplary action” against him for killing Afrazul.The Bengal government has announced Rs 3 lakh and a job to the labourer’s family.”The accused, Shabhu Lal Raigar, said that he committed the crime over ‘love jihad’, but it has not been established so far that any such theory was behind the killing of the labourer,” Inspector General of Police, Udaipur, Anand Srivastava said.The police is interrogating Raigar to ascertain the motive, the officer said.”Nothing conclusive can be said at the moment, but preliminary investigation suggest that there was nothing like ‘love jihad’. However, the matter is being thoroughly probed on all angles to find out the motive,” Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar said.Also readMamata announces Rs 3 lakh and job for kin of labourer killed in Rajasthan, accused gets three-day police custodyThe video of the gruesome incident went viral on social media on Wednesday and a day later Raigar was arrested and his nephew detained. He is seen raving against ‘love jihad’, a term used by sections of Hindu activists to describe marriages between Hindu women and Muslim men.”Raigar was produced in the court of chief judicial magistrate of Rajsamand. The magistrate remanded him in police custody for three days. He will be produced in the court on December 10 again,” SHO Rajnagar Ramsumer Meena said.Also read’I am a normal person,’ says accused in gruesome Rajasthan murder videoHis minor nephew was sent to a juvenile home by the court, he said.Meanwhile in Kolkata, Banerjee asked the West Bengal director general of police to speak to his Rajasthan counterpart and ensure security to nearly 3,500 labourers from West Bengal working in that state.”This is a very sad incident… Cannot even think of this. There must be strong and exemplary action against those responsible for the heinous crime,” Banerjee said.Senior TMC leaders, including ministers Firad Hakim and Suvendu Adhikary, and party MPs are slated to go to Malda district tomorrow to visit the labourer’s family, who have described Afrazul as their sole earning member and demanded strict action against Raigar.

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Cyclone Ockhi: Impact has not affected crops in Tamil Nadu, Kerala

The impact of cyclone Ockhi on crops so far has not been significant in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other coastal areas, Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak said today.However, the coastal states/UTs have been asked to assess the damage and send a detailed report to the centre. The extent of damage would be known after the assessment, he said.”The damage on crops has been slightly, not much. The cyclone has fizzled out by the time it reached Gujarat. We are still assessing the damage,” Pattanayak told PTI.There has not been significant impact on crops in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and parts of Maharashtra. “However, we have alerted them to send a detailed report,” he said.Last week, cyclone Ockhi battered the coastal areas of the southern states, flooding farmland and damaging houses.Also readCyclone Ockhi effect: Veggies and foodgrains to see a price 10-15% hike for next week in MumbaiThe cyclone storm brought heavy rains and some areas suffered extensive crop damage due to strong wind that uprooted coconut trees and other plantation crops.According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Ockhi has weakened into a deep depression early this morning and lay centred over west-central part of Bay of Bengal near Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.Also readCyclone Ockhi: DMK Prez MK Stalin urges Nirmala Sitharaman to find out number of fishermen missing”It is likely to maintain intensity of deep depression for about 12 hours and weaken gradually into a depression during subsequent 12 hours,” it said in a statement.IMD said it is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts around December 9 morning as a depression, it added.

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‘Want murderers to be hanged in public’: Rajasthan victim’s wife

The labourer, Md Afrazul Khan, who was accused of love jihad and brutally murdered in Rajasthan, hailed from a village at Kaliachak in Malda district of West Bengal and family members of the 47-year-old said he has been falsely implicated before being hacked to death.The rest of what remains of the family, Khan’s wife and three daughters, had been shell-shocked since the phone call they received at about 3 pm on Wednesday, informing them about his murder.“He was murdered because of his faith and they had spun a yarn around the murder to justify it. I want the murderers to be hanged in public,” said his wife Gul Bahar Bibi.Also readAfter labourer from Malda is murdered in Rajasthan, Mamata Banerjee condemns inhuman killingShe said that he used to work there as a labourer. He had had his last conversation with his family back in Malda, on December 5.He is survived by his wife and three daughters – Jyotsna Khatoon, Rejina Khatoon and Habiba Khatoon – of whom, Jyotsna and Regina are married and the youngest one is a student of Class IX of a local government school. He was supposed to fix the marriage the youngest one later this month.Also readThose who butchered my father should suffer in the same manner: Rajasthan victim’s daughter“It is part of a big conspiracy. The fact that his brutal murder was taped and circulated on social media is proof enough. The murderer butchered him while he kept on crying for mercy, doused him with kerosene and set him ablaze. Our relatives in Rajasthan are in touch with the police and we hope administration works towards unearthing the truth,” Rejina said.Khan had been working there intermittently for the last 12 years and as soon as he would gather some money he would return to his native place. He had returned about three months ago.Also readRajasthan: Man arrested for murdering Muslim, burning corpse in suspected love jihad caseSince early morning, friends, relatives and neighbours had been coming over to their place offering solidarity and enquiring about when the body would be brought over for the last rites. “He was the only earning member of the family. If the government doesn’t help them, soon the mother-daughter duo will have nothing to eat,” said a 50-plus neighbour.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too had condemned the act. ‘We strongly condemn the heinous killing of a labourer from Bengal in Rajasthan. How can people be so inhuman? Sad’, she tweeted.District police authorities have alerted Kaliachak Police Station and they were trying to ensure that there is no flare up after Khan’s murder. “So far, the situation is under control, but we are extremely alert. It is a very sensitive issue,” said an official of Kaliachak PS.
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Centre stopped releasing minority funds for Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, speaking at an event organised by the Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education Department of the state government, said that the Centre did not want to release funds for minority welfare.”The Centre had stopped funding projects but they have especially done it for projects relating to development of minorities. Perhaps they don’t want me to work for the minority here. What they don’t understand that minority doesn’t comprise Muslims only. It has Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs and others as well,” Mamata said.She said that those sitting in Delhi wont be able to dictate who she would talk to and what she would do. “You will sit in Delhi and tell me that I should talk to Ram and not Rahim or Felix or Satnam and you think I will listen to such instructions? Have you brought me up and fed me? We are proud of everyone here. I want to warn people of a handful who are going around with money to befriend you and to create a Hindu-Muslim divide resulting in a riot. Don’t pay heed to these people,” she said.Hitting out at the Centre she said that a country’s leader is such who would take everyone along with him irrespective of their religion. “Those who are trying to divide the country they are only leader for the love of the chair. I am a Hindu myself and Hinduism doesn’t ask to divide people on that basis of their religion. I will not allow that in Bengal as long as I am here. Those who want to divide the people are not Hindu themselves. They have a destructive attitude,” she added.Replying to the allegations levelled by BJP MP and Union minister Babul Supriyo on Monday regarding the misappropriation of funds to the state by the Centre she said that it was part of the state’s money itself which the Centre was paying. “I have heard some persons saying that the Centre was giving so much money to Bengal. As if it was their ‘zamindari’. The Centre takes away Rs 40,000 crore in terms of different taxes and gives in return Rs 15000 to 20000 crore. If they stop taking taxes from us we would have been self-sufficient. We don’t need any alms from them,” Mamata lashed out.Referring to the alleged sexual assault on the four-year-old student of GD Birla Centre for Education she said for a few teachers the entire teacher community should not be blamed and taking a dig at Roopa Ganguly who visited the school on Monday said that outsiders should not take advantage of the situation. “Teachers are our pride, guardians and guides. For one or two individuals, the entire community should not be blamed. Offenders should be isolated,” she added.‘Don’t blame all’Referring to the alleged sexual assault on the four-year-old student of GD Birla Centre for Education she said for a few teachers the entire teacher community should not be blamed
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Bengal’s fund frozen as state has failed to give utilisation certificate for money given: Babul Supriyo

As West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Monday afternoon that the Centre was yet to release Rs 13,714.32 crore to the state under several welfare projects, BJP MP and Union minister of state for heavy industries and public enterprises Babul Supriyo said at a separate press conference in the evening that funds were frozen because the state had failed to give utilisation certificate (UC) for the money that had been allotted so far. “The state government should submit the UC first and then say these,” he said.He alleged that the state government had not only renamed Central government projects as its own but had also failed to submit an account of usage of those funds. “The Chief Minister has been touring the districts saying that she had been giving people rice at Rs 2 per kg but the truth is that Food Corporation of India (FCI) was buying the rice at Rs 33 per kg of which, the Centre was providing Rs 29.67 per kg, the state was paying Rs 1 per kg and consumers were paying Rs 2 per kg for the rice. In spite of the Centre paying 91 per cent subsidy for such foodgrain, the state government did not even mention the Centre’s contribution,” he said. Similarly, he said that wheat was procured by FCI at Rs 24 per kg of which the Centre was paying Rs 21.45 per kg and consumers were paying Rs 2 per kg for it. “The state government has no contribution to this but is trying to take all the credit,” he added.He also held some printed documents saying how much money was allotted in different housing, NREGA and Swachh Bharat, Amrut projects of the Central government. “We will raise the issue at the parliament,” Supriyo said.
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ED seizes city hotel in Rose Valley case

There were apprehensions that the money earned from Rose Valley Chit Fund scam was used to buy this hotel, which is situated on 2533.7 square yards. For the moment, the ED action would not hamper its functioning but if the provisional attachment is verified, the hotel would become property of the government of India. General Manager Manvendra Tomar refused to comment on the ED action, saying that only the corporate office is authorised to comment. The Rose Valley Chit Fund scam was worth Rs 1950 crore in West Bengal and Odisha and some TMC and CPM leaders have been accused of involvement.work taken up by the Raghubar Das government in Jharkhand.”
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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>ED seizes city hotel in Rose Valley case Enforcement Directorate
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByVimal Kothari <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 1 December 2017 6:50 ISTMust readDon’t treat people as files, CM Vasundhara Raje warns officials‘Snubbing HC order’, Vasundhara Raje government all set to bring regional, urban planning act<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Enforcement directorate on Thursday seized Hotel Park Prime near Statue Circle. Jaipur staff of ED provisionally attached the hotel after receiving an order from the Kolkata office. Hotel’s local administrators signed the attachment copy and another was pasted on the entrance gate of the hotel. The action was taken under the prevention of money laundering act.There were apprehensions that the money earned from Rose Valley Chit Fund scam was used to buy this hotel, which is situated on 2533.7 square yards. For the moment, the ED action would not hamper its functioning but if the provisional attachment is verified, the hotel would become property of the government of India. General Manager Manvendra Tomar refused to comment on the ED action, saying that only the corporate office is authorised to comment. The Rose Valley Chit Fund scam was worth Rs 1950 crore in West Bengal and Odisha and some TMC and CPM leaders have been accused of involvement.work taken up by the Raghubar Das government in Jharkhand.
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Cyclone Ockhi claims 4 lives in Tamil Nadu

Four persons were killed when heavy spells of rain accompanied by squally winds lashed Kanyakumari district in Southern Tamil Nadu under the influence of cyclonic storm Ockhi on Thursday.A deep depression in the Bay of Bengal intensified into cyclone Ockhi in the Comorin area, about 70 km south of Kanyakumari on Thursday morning, said Director, Regional Meteorological Centre, S Balachandran told reporters.The storm is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and to move west-northwestwards towards Lakshadweep Island in the next 24 hours, he said, adding the cyclone is expected to have a wind speed of 65-75 km per hour and that the sea will be rough.With several trees uprooted by the squally winds, the normal life in Kanyakumari district came to a halt. The power supply has been disrupted in most parts of the district with snapping of the electricity cables by the uprooted trees. A couple of trains, originating and passing through this district suffered partial to full cancellation, even as some of them were rescheduled, Southern Railway officials said. Local administration employed personnel to remove uprooted trees even as the movement of vehicular traffic was affected.Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami assured all assistance to the cyclone-affected people at the earliest. “The state government is taking all the measures to ensure relief reaches the affected people as soon as possible. People need not worry as the ministers and seniors officials are deputed to oversee the relief works,” he said in a statement. He also noted that to carry out the relief works on the war footing, two teams of National Disaster Response Force comprising 60 members each and a team of State Disaster Response Force comprising 70 members have been rushed to the district.Superintendent of police of Kanyakumari district M Durai said all the four persons including a woman was killed by uprooted trees in different parts of the district.People living in low-lying areas have been shifted to temporary shelters. The Collector has asked residents to stay indoors and also requested fishermen not to venture into the sea.Sajjan Singh R Chavan, Kanyakumari Collector, said that people from low-lying areas have been shifted to shelters. He also dismissed rumours on tsunami. “Because of the cyclone, the wave height has been higher. We have already clarified that there is no chance of tsunami as some rumours doing the rounds suggested. We have already told fishermen not to venture into the sea. We have evacuated people from low-lying areas into shelters and also asked people not to leave their homes,” he said.Tsunami rumoursAfter rumours of cyclone triggering tsunami started doing the round, Kanyakumari Collector SSR Chavan clarified that though the wave length is higher, there is no chance of any tsunami.
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Gujarat tops in fake Rs 2000 note seizures

A total of 39,725 fake Indian currency notes (FICN) were seized from Gujarat in 2016, the second highest number of seizures among states, behind Delhi, where 1.4 lakh notes worth Rs5.65 cr were seized.As per the NCRB data, Gujarat seized the maximum number of fake notes of Rs 2000, with around 1,300 notes, followed by Punjab (548) and Karnataka (254).The Gujarat police registered a total of 68 complaints related to FICN in 2016, and a total of 83 accused were nabbed.Of the 39,725 fake notes seized, 1300 were of Rs2000 denomination, 11,706 were Rs1000 notes, 15,900 were Rs500 notes, 9,561 were of Rs100, 231 were of Rs50, 13 were of Rs20 and 14 were of Rs10 denomination.FAKE NOTE COUNT2.8L worth Rs15.92 cr seized across the country 2016 1.1L worth Rs5.65 cr: Delhi 39,725 worth Rs2.37 cr: Guj 32,869 worth Rs2.32 cr: West Bengal 14,541 worth Rs92L: AP 14,228 worth Rs80L: K’taka
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Bengal BJP writes to HRD Ministry complaining about ‘anti-national’ maps in schools

In a letter written to the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) minister, the West Bengal state BJP has alleged that maps circulated recently during school examination in the state showed parts of Jammu and Kashmir as belonging to China. State BJP general secretary Raju Banerjee in his letter has alleged that the maps given to students of Class X not only showed parts J&K incorrectly, it also excluded Arunachal Pradesh from India. ‘The map has been authorized by West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE), a board now run by members nominated by Government of West Bengal and works under Department of Education. The water mark of WBBSE is evidently present in the backdrop of this anti- national map. It is informed that this map has been supplied to the schools by Teachers Cell of Trinamool Congress’, the letter read.The letter further alleges that ‘anti-national’ map was not a clerical error. ‘We feel this is a quite planned action to spread divisive idea against the integrity of the country. The young school students can be the best target to teach them wrongly(sic) about the map of the country. We, therefore appeal to you, to take up the issue with the Government of West Bengal’, the letter read.State education minister Partha Chatterjee, however, refuted the allegations and said that BJP leaders were showing maps that had been tampered with. He showed a map of the WBBSE and said it did not have any such mistakes and added that other than the watermark, all WBBSE maps have a unique code.“I have asked WBBSE to initiate a probe into it. They would get in touch with the schools concerned where the allegedly distorted maps are being circulated. The person alleging such changes will also be under the scanner of the investigation,” he said.
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Mamata gifts President Kovind a painting, he promises to hang it in Rashtrapati Bhavan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On his maiden visit to Kolkata after becoming the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, at a civic reception programme hosted by the government of West Bengal, was presented with one of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s painting. He said it would be displayed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.“Chief Minister gifted me a painting of her own today. I was really amazed to see her painting. This will surely be displayed at Rashtrapati Bhavan. At the same time the it will always remain close to my heart,” he said while speaking at the reception.In pure Bengali, Kovind also said, ‘Amar sonar Bangla ami tomai bhalobashi’ (I love you my golden Bengal). He praised Bengal and said people of Bengal had a big heart and that he was overwhelmed with the kind of welcome he received.
ALSO READ Someone like Sushma or Advani should’ve been nominated: Mamata surprised by NDA’s presidential candidate In his speech, he also added that Bengal had a great history, but all should ensure that it also had a great future. “This state was an early industrial and manufacturing centre in our country. Its economy must sing again in this age of digital and robotic technologies. It’s green fields and hard-working farmers must be equipped with the latest agricultural knowledge to allow them to realise their potential,” he said.Stating the importance of being a border state, Kovind said, “Being a border state gives Bengal certain advantages. It also gives it certain responsibilities. Forces of radicalism and extremism, some of them with cross-border linkages, seek to take advantage of our democratic spaces. We must guard against this.”
ALSO READ Blast from the past: When Ram Nath Kovind opposed reservations for Christians and MuslimsMamata too, showered praises for Kovind. She said she was honoured that the President had accepted her invitation. “I never knew he was a Rajya Sabha member when I was a Lok Sabha member. He had always maintained a very low profile. Please be the simple person you are,” Mamata said. She was also quick to point out that the post of the President was above all politics and that he was like a guardian and guide for everyone.None of the MLAs of either Congress or Left Front were seen at the event. It was found out that Leader of Opposition, Abdul Mannan was personally invited but he could not make it to the reception owing to some personal engagements and a senior Left MLA said that he had received the invitation 10 minutes ahead of the event, thus would not be able to attend the reception.

Centre mulls withdrawal of cap on traders storing sugar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Against the backdrop of recent cut in GST rates, the Centre is mulling to withdraw sugar stock limit imposed on traders from December 31. The move is aimed at providing further relief to the traders in the wake of falling sugar prices.Currently, traders cannot stock more than 500 tonnes of sugar in states other than West Bengal, where the limit is 1,000 tonnes. The government had imposed sugar stock limits for both mills and traders from July this year. Subsquently, the Centre has removed stock limit on sugar mills from November 1 while the traders have not been exempted yet.In view of the stock limit, traders are not coming forward to take stocks from the mills. Sugar industry made a representation to the Union ministry of food last week with a plea to immediately withdraw stock limit on traders. The Centre has estimated sugar production of 25 million tonnes for the current crushing season.The National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories managing director Prakash Naiknavre told DNA, “Sugar mills are ready to sell but traders are not willing to buy especially when the prices are declining.”“The sugar industry has pleaded for the removal of stock limit on traders. This is necessitated as the sugar prices have dipped to Rs 3,350 per quintal against Rs 3,600 per quintal a month ago,” he said.

Putting bounty on Deepika Padukone’s head is wrong, BJP’s Union Minister Babul Supriyo comes in defence of Padmavati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Babul Supriyo, who has seen a successful stint as playback singer in Bollywood before joining politics, has come out in defence for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much-awaited magnum opus — Padmavati. Talking to WION’s Kartikeya Sharma, Supriyo voiced his concern over the violent protests against Deepika Padukone and why he feels that 2019 belongs to BJP. Here are the edited excerpts from the interview.Q: How do you look at the Padmavati controversy?A: Creative freedom exists in our country. The entire noise which exists around the film Padmavati is not desirable and lot of people have taken freedom of speech for granted. Whatever has happened is sad and shouldn’t have happened. Obviously, the CBFC is looking into the matter. The Information and Broadcasting ministry has made it very clear that matter should be left to the Censor Board. Controversies like these invites people to make comments out of turn. Only way to resolve the issue is through process and dialogue.Q: So, is it about creative freedom which artists enjoy?A: That is fair enough. I cannot give you an answer from an extreme point of view. Let’s take Padmavati aside for a moment. The debate on artistic freedom has been age-old worldwide. In France, a piece of art became controversial and it was removed. The debate about good cinema and bad cinema continues. Padmavati is a huge film. There are many people who want to see the film but there are some question marks on it too. People who have not seen the film are raising the questions. There are apprehensions and I feel dialogue is the way forward. We can celebrate the life of the queen without hurting the sentiments, which also needs to be looked into.Q: Deepika Padukone and other actors are being threatened?A: That’s not correct. Deepika is just an artist who portrayed the character. She did what she was told. Film is a director’s medium. Threats are deplorable and no one subscribes to it. Deepika Padukone is a beloved artist. The law of the land applies to everyone. There were lot of controversies around ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil,’ that subsequently got resolved. I’m sure this too shall be resolved despite all the noise. It is going to find a good closure.Q: Do you think that in the word of internet, the bans work?A: I would say that let process take its course. Even if the CBFC doesn’t agree, filmmakers will still have tribunals to look into the issue. People have the liberty to approach other bodies. Artistic disagreements can happen with the CBFC and other bodies. I think it should be resolved peacefully. Music is about peace as it provides reprieve from the grind of daily life. I just hope that at the end, good for everyone shall prevail.Q: Should films be judged from the positions from community’s honour?A: The CBFC has to do the job. Life is not what is happening to you but how you react to it. Film is a huge process. Any good form of art it goes through its metamorphosis. I’m sure it will find its own way to reach people. As an artist, I pray for it and don’t want to take sides by adding fuel to the fire. For an example, with MF Hussain there were many controversies and I would see him at Lokhandwala but no one would attack him. We aren’t living a dream. People have their own apprehensions but I hope Padmavati reaches people in most beautiful manner. Cinema is about beauty.Q: Is the BJP well-placed in Gujarat?A: I’m certain that the BJP will surmount problems in Gujarat. Unless and until you move into a house you cannot decide what to do with it. The GST is only having teething problems which is being addressed properly and at regular intervals. GST is the biggest reform. The debate will continue. If you don’t bring larger section into the tax net it would not work in future for India. Modi has belled the cat and shown the courage to take reform agenda forward. Lot of praise should go to the Prime Minister Modi. We will win Gujarat. The debate only makes the follow up of the election very interesting.Q; How do you see Rahul Gandhi’s campaign. The economic policy of the Centre has become an issue.A: If Rahul Gandhi choses to take the side of the tax evaders, he will obviously find support. Lot of people wouldn’t like to pay taxes. But lot of people also pay taxes. Honest people pay taxes. They pay taxes for the country as poor needs to be subsidized. The government needs to meet those goals. Rahul has a lineage and people will listen to him. But he is confusing people. All state elections in past have shown that the mandate has been for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Congress by promising reservations to Patels is akin to fooling people as our senior leadership has pointed out.Q: Why couldn’t this be solved by the local BJP leadership?A: In a party, you cannot have six or seven Narendra Modi. He is the biggest leader and he will be at the centre stage. His move to centre from the state has not weakened the state unit. His vision is being implemented. You cannot have his replacement yet others are doing their job. He will be missed in key areas in the state but it doesn’t mean that job is not being done.Q: Why is the BJP importing leaders from other parties like Mukul Roy?A: Lot of people are getting convinced by our ideology. What is wrong in people joining us. People change with times and get attracted to other ideologies. Don’t people in corporates move. Don’t people want to do better in life. Coming to BJP is a promotion and I welcome them. When you are trying to do better in life then the better place to go is BJP. They are doing the right thing.Q: What were the hits and misses of BJP campaign in West Bengal?A: Trinamool Congress and the Left for a long period of time have practiced different kind of politics. In remote areas, they have done nothing. Votes were purchased. 100 rupees also make a difference in some areas. They have given cycles in the name of government schemes.Q: But BJP was not able to funnel its support into seats?A: BJP has not been traditionally present in West Bengal. It was Left and Congress and then TMC. We are taking steps. Mamta out of 30 minutes spends majority of time attacking BJP. We will do very well in 2019. We have the space in West Bengal.Q: Is BJP prepared for 2019 elections?A: There will be few hits and misses but in the end, we will come out stronger. Our party has done exceedingly well under the Prime Minister. The reform agenda will continue.

Mamata Banerjee meets all parties, lauds restoration of peace at the hills

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after chairing an all-party meeting on Tuesday at Pintail village in Darjeeling thanked all political parties for their help in restoring peace at the hills. She also announced compensation packages for the dead and injured during the violence.”I was asked for compensation to those affected in the violence. Those who were not involved in spreading violence will be compensated. Families of each of the dead would get Rs 2 lakh and a member of the family would get an employment provided there is no pending cases against them. Those who suffered serious injury would get Rs 50,000. There is also a proposal of including Nepali language in West Bengal Civil Service (WBCS) Examinations. We will consider it,” she said after the meeting.Eyeing a better foothold in the region, she also announced a slew of developmental projects including a 100-bed hospital, a bus stand at Mirik, a college at Kurseong, and several other projects. These projects are to be executed jointly by the state government and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).Other than Trinamool Congress, representatives of parties such as Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) were also present at the meeting. GNLF leaders said that about one dozen people were killed and dozens were injured in the 104-day long agitation at the hills in demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.The administration, however, refuted claims that the deaths were owing to police firing, saying that people died because of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) cadres.In another development, one day after Supreme Court ordered a stay on the arrest of GJM chief Bimal Gurung until the next hearing of the case, Gurung released an audio clipping from an undisclosed location.”I thank the Supreme Court for giving me a relief of 15 days. I have been implicated with false charges. I will go to Delhi and file petitions for others who have been similarly framed,” he said in the clip.He also said that conspirators such as Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa would try to instigate them but the people of the hills should not fall into the trap.COMPENSATIONThe CM announced compensation for the families of the victims of the unrest.
Family members of those who dies will get Rs 2 lakh and those injured will get Rs 50K.

Kolkata police arrest three with links to Al-Qaeda

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three persons allegedly with links to Al Qaeda have been arrested by Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata Police, on Tuesday.Deputy Commissioner, STF, Murlidhar Sharma said that the three – Samsad Mia (26) alias Tushar Biswas, Riazul Islam (25) alias Riaz alias Suman and Manotosh Dey (46) had been arrested from Kolkata Railway Station in north Kolkata between 2.30 and 3 pm. One of them even possessed a fake Aadhaar card.It was found that Samsad and Riazul were Bangladeshi nationals and members of banned Bangladeshi group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) also called Ansar Bangla and had come to purchase arms and chemicals used for making explosives. “ABT is responsible for the murder of several bloggers in Bangladesh and has direct links with Al-Qaeda network in the Indian sub continent. Samsad occupy a a senior position in the ABT hierarchy. A fake Aadhaar card of Samsad has also been recovered where he is named himself Tushar Biswas. We are trying to find out where and how did he get the Aadhaar card done,” said Deputy Commissioner, STF. He said that there were specific inputs from Central Intelligence Bureau about their movements. “We were told by Central IB during the final phase of Durga puja here and while the U-17 FIFA World Cup was on, that 2-3 persons from Bangladesh have or will soon come to Bengal from some other part of the country. Acting on that input, in the last 20-25 days we started combing operation at various stations, bus stands and also intelligence network was engaged. We had come to know that they had come to purchase arms,” Sharma added.Sources said that they had come here to engage people to join their module and might have had plans for some terror activities here as well as since hand written papers with names such as ‘Esplanade Bus Stand’ and ‘Eden Gardens’ written on it have been found. Sharma said that other than a 7.32 mm pistol, a single shotter pistol, a laptop, a number of pen drives, several magazines were recovered related Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. “One of the magazines described how to make explosives while another said how to conduct a recce of a place. There was also literature on religious speeches,” he said.It was found out that they had been visiting various chemicals shops and were enquiring about chemicals specifically used to prepare explosives. Many visiting cards of such shops had been recovered from them. “We have come to know that the two have illegally entered India and had met Dey who is a resident of Basirhat and is an arms dealer. They met him today after deferring the meeting for the past few days with the intention of buying arms and Dey had come with two samples. The duo said that they had been staying in India for the last one and a half years. We will have to interrogate them thoroughly to find out what their intentions were and will have to verify all the statements which they had given so far. They have said that they had not been staying in any hotels but spent the nights at railway stations, passenger restrooms and other such places,” Sharma added.In September 2016, six suspected Jamaat-ul Mujahideen (JuM) members had been arrested from West Bengal and Assam for their involvement in several terror activities including the Burdwan blast in 2014.

Bihar: Five of orchestra party electrocuted while performing

Updated: Nov 21, 2017, 01:04 AM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Five persons, including two women, of an orchestra party were electrocuted while two others suffered burn injuries while performing in Bihar’s Gopalganj district on Monday, police said.All the seven members of the orchestra party, hailing from West Bengal, were performing on a moving tractor trolley at Kalyanpur village when they came in contact with a high-tension wire. Four of them died on the spot while another person succumbed later during treatment at a hospital, Hathua Sub-Divisional Police Officer Imtiaz Ali said. The two other injured are being treated at the hospital in Bhore.

Delhi HC issues notice to Centre, West Bengal govt on Mukul Roy’s plea seeking probe into ‘phone tapping’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to Centre and West Bengal government and asked them to file reply a reply on Mukul Roy’s plea seeking probe into alleged ‘phone tapping’.The court has also asked telecom service providers Vodafone to file a reply and granted them two weeks time.The former Trinamool Congress MP, who left his old party to join the BJP earlier this month, alleged that his movements were constantly tracked during his stay in Kolkata and Delhi in the last few months and sought a CBI probeThe plea sought directions to MTNL and Vodafone, Roy’s telecom service providers, to produce before the court directions, if any, issued by the Centre or the state government to intercept telegraphic messages originating from or received by the leader or any of his relatives.Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured Roy of appropriate action after examining his complaint that the West Bengal government was monitoring his movements.

Man held with fake notes worth ‘Rs 7 lakh’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Special Cell of Delhi Police has arrested a man in possession of counterfeit currency in denomination of Rs 2,000 notes amounting to around Rs 7 lakh rupees. The currency was being pumped in through Malda, West Bengal and Nepal and alter circulate in Delhi, UP and Bihar. The accused Kashid said that he has been indulging in transportation and circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) for the last 15 years. Kashid told the police that after demonetisation in 2016, supply of FICN had stopped but from the last four to five months, the supply of counterfeit currency has once again pumped up. The currency is pumped through bordering states and being adjacent to neighbouring countries Malda has become hub of FICN. The accused stated that many persons in Malda are indulging in the circulation of FICN. Recently the NIA also apprehended a resident of Malda with FICN worth about Rs 9 lakhs. He also revealed that he procured the supply of FICN from a person from a neighbouring country who delivers the consignment at the border, by throwing the consignment packet above the wire fencing.

West Bengal: BJP leader Babul Supriyo lashes out at TMC govt over dengue management in state

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Babul Supriyo lashed out at the West Bengal government of discreetly instructing hospitals to not write ‘dengue’ in prescriptions or in death certificates. Supriyo’s daughter, who studies in Mumbai, has contracted the disease and his undergoing treatment in the island city. “My elder daughter who lives in Mumbai has contracted dengue. She has been admitted to a private hospital where her blood platelet count is being monitored and I am given constant feedback over phone. But over here in West Bengal, neither the private hospitals nor the pathological laboratories are allowed to write dengue in prescriptions,” Supriyo said at a public meeting in Asansol, the constituency from where he is a BJP MP.He added that the state would not have to spend a lot of money even if dengue is detected. “I have come to know it lately after my daughter contracted the disease that dengue treatment doesn’t involve administrating a lot of medicines,” he added.Meanwhile, the Calcutta High Court has asked the state government to produce the latest report with exact figures of dengue deaths on Thursday.On Tuesday, a division bench of acting Chief Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharyya and Justice Arijit Banerjee asked the exact number of dengue-related deaths. The state government had earlier on October 4 said that 19 dengue-related deaths had been reported from state-run hospitals, but authorities were unable to give data on the number of deaths in private hospitals.Upon hearing several petitions by individuals and political parties High Court directed on Tuesday that the state needs to produce an updated report on dengue on Thursday when the case would be put up for hearing.Counsel for the petitioners, Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya said that a senior doctor who had put up a post on dengue on his Facebook profile had been suspended.

It’s official: Rasgulla belongs to West Bengal, not Odisha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced that the state had been granted geographical indication (GI) status for rasgulla.”Sweet news for us all. We are very happy and proud that #Bengal has been granted GI ( Geographical Indication) status for Rosogolla,” Banerjee tweetedGIs are signs used on products that possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods in 2003.In 2015, a report of Bengalis and Odiyas sparring over the origin of the sweet went viral on social media. The fight got so intense that the Odisha government even set up three committees to look into matters relating to the origin rasgulla.The first committee would look into facts and evidence regarding the origin of Rasgulla in Odisha, the second would study the ground, based on which West Bengal is making its claim. The third would collect necessary documents to support and validate Odisha’s claim.However, two years on, and West Bengal can finally claim that the rasgulla is officially theirs.

Mukul Roy to approach Delhi HC with allegations that TMC tapping into his phone conversations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former TMC MP Mukul Roy is likely to approach the Delhi High Court with claims that his phones are being tapped by the West Bengal government.Sources say that Roy is likely to move court on November 17. “It is not only in my case. If you talk to political leaders across all parties, many will tell you that it is true. Even leaders of the ruling disposition are not spared from this, but nobody will admit it on record,” Roy had said earlier. Political analysts say that since Roy had been the second in command in the TMC for a long time, he knew of what was happening inside the party. “It will be easy for him to make attacks such as these,” an analyst said. TMC leaders, however, were not ready to put too much importance on allegations of Roy and termed them publicity stunts. “He has left the party and is trying to be afloat by saying such things. He has to be in news and prove his worth it to the party he has recently joined. He has to eat, hasn’t he?” said party national secretary general on the sidelines of the rally put up by north Kolkata district youth TMC on Monday.Interestingly, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had levelled similar charges several times in the past. When she was at the Opposition she said that the then government had tapped her phone lines, and after becoming CM, she alleged that the Centre was indulging in phone tapping to intercept information.

WB CM’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee sends defamation notice to Mukul Roy for levelling graft charges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, who is also nephew of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Monday sent a defamation notice to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukul Roy for levelling corruption allegations against him.On November 3, Roy during a public meet alleged that Banerjee, owned ‘Biswa Bangla’, a brand promoted by the state government. He further added that All India Trinamool Youth Congress national president owned the party’s mouthpiece ‘Jago Bangla’.Banerjee’s defamation notice comes days after Mukul Roy accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of indulging in ‘minority politics’ in the state.”In West Bengal, Durga Puja and Laxmi Puja have stopped. Mamata Banerjee is indulging in minority politics,” Roy had said while addressing a rally here. He further said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would come into power in West Bengal in 2019. ?A change will come. The BJP will come into power in Bengal in 2019,” he said.Roy added that Mamata Banerjee had changed, adding that before coming to power, the Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) slogan was change, and not revenge, but six years later, the party’s slogan changed. Explaining his reasons for leaving the TMC, Roy asserted that the promises made by the party were not fulfilled. ?The TMC is no longer a party, but a limited company. So I could not stay longer in the party,” said Mukul Roy. Mukul Roy quit the TMC and joined the BJP on November 3.

Opposition cries foul as Mamata embarks on visit to UK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition parties in West Bengal have criticised Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her official visit to the United Kingdom terming it a pretext for health benefits. Mamata has been invited to London to unveil a commemorative blue plaque in the memory of Sister Nivedita on Monday. Former Trinamool Congress MP Mukul Roy, who recently joined the BJP, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury and CPI(M) MP Md Salim were among the leaders who attacked Mamata.The CM is expected to unveil the plaque at Sister Nivedita’s residence in Wimbledon, where she lived before moving to India in 1898. On Wednesday, Mamata is scheduled to visit Scotland to meet prospective investors to attract investment in West Bengal.Chowdhury told DNA: “It is nothing but her annual tour to restore her health and disposition at the cost of the exchequer. We all respect Sister Nivedita, but the CM should not have concocted such a cock-and-bull story to justify her trip.”Salim said the people of Bengal can’t be fooled anymore. “Haven’t we seen such trips before? To Rome, London, Singapore and Dubai. What is the result? Is this how a business meet is done? Without any preparation and homework?.”Lack of infrastructure in the state is one of the main reasons for the government’s failure to attract big-ticket projects, said BJP national secretary and former state president Rahul Sinha. “Just like these trips, the Bengal Global Business Summit and the trip to Mumbai had all failed to bring in even a rupee.”There should be an environment of setting up business so that people would automatically want to invest in Bengal, he said. “Earlier it was the CPI(M)’s red flags that shut down industries and prevented investment and now it is the extortionist TMC leaders who repel investment and investors,” said Sinha.Earlier on November 10, Roy had compared Mamata’s foreign visits to the ones taken by former chief minister Jyoti Basu. He said they never materialised in any gain for the state.

WB dengue crisis: BJP writes to JP Nadda seeking central intervention

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> BJP West Bengal president Dilip Ghosh has written to Union Health Minister J P Nadda seeking his intervention to tackle the state’s dengue situation which, he said, has become an ‘epidemic’.In a letter to Nadda, Ghosh alleged that hospitals and health centres of the state are inadequately equipped to treat patients and are sending them home without meaningful treatment. “Under such precarious situation where common people are victims and state government is busy subverting the facts, I am compelled to request you to kindly intervene in this ‘dengue epidemic situation’ in West Bengal immediately and please take necessary steps to provide relief to the people,” he said in the letter.The BJP leader also accused the Mamata Banerjee government of discreetly instructing the hospitals not to write dengue in prescriptions or in death certificates and has created fear psychosis among doctors. “The CM, who is also the health minister, has declined to accept that there is any epidemic of dengue in Bengal and said ‘it is a conspiracy of the opposition political parties’,” Ghosh said. Alleging that there is a huge shortage of dengue test kits in state-run hospitals, he wrote to the union minister that the number of dengue deaths in the state were much more than the state government’s claim of 18.The number of dengue cases have crossed 50,000 while the health department is saying it is only 18,000, he claimed in the letter written on Thursday, a copy of which was made available to the media today. When contacted, Ghosh told PTI that the state government is unwilling to solve the situation and that is why it is trying to suppress facts. “Lives of the common people hold no value to this government. The Mamata Banerjee government has lost the trust of the people,” he said.

Mumbai: Anti Extortion Cell suspects fake notes came from Bangladesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three days after the Anti Extortion Cell of Mumbai police arrested two people from Mumbai’s Dongri for possessing counterfeit Rs 2000 denomination worth Rs 4.8 lakh, the police suspect that the notes have been smuggled into the country from Bangladesh.Police had received a tip-off that the duo would be at Dongri, following which a trap was laid. On their arrival, they were apprehended and subsequently arrested.After seizing the currency, the police found that the duo, who hail Malda district in West Bengal were coming to Mumbai every fortnight. They would pose as labourers, but would distribute the notes. According to the police, the seized notes are of high quality and it’s difficult to come to conclusion that they are fake, without seeking the opinion of an expert.However, the same serial numbers on the notes raised suspicion of police. “The accused hails from Malda, which is close to the Indo-Bangladesh border. We suspects that the currency which is of superior quality may have been smuggled from Bangladesh. The modus operandi of the accused was that, they would go at the crowded market places and would distribute notes there. Due to the quality of the currency, it is difficult to determine whether the notes are authentic or fake,” said a senior police officer.

West Bengal: Veteran doctor suspended over Facebook posts on dengue situation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> West Bengal health department has suspended a doctor for alleging in Facebook posts that the state government is suppressing facts relating to the dengue menace in the state.Arunachal Dutta Choudhury’s posts on the social media amount to “misinterpretation in the public and (are) derogatory to the hospital administration,” the suspension order issued by the state health department yesterday read.The doctor, an MD, was posted at Barasat District Hospital in North 24 Parganas district. He claimed in the posts that 500 people were admitted at the hospital on October 6 and wrote about his struggle to diagnose the patients many of whom were lying on the floor.According to the health department, there have been 19 deaths in state-run hospitals since January and over 18,000 cases were reported in various government clinical establishments. Opposition parties have been alleging that the Mamata Banerjee government is trying to suppress the number of deaths because of dengue in the state.

Bandhan Express: For first time since 1965 war, India-Bangladesh launch new train service between Kolkata and Khulna

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a gap of more than five decades, India and Bangladesh resumed train service between Kolkata and Khulna on Thursday.Bandhan Express was flagged off jointly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladeshis couterpart Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee via a video conference.This is the second train service launched between the two countries after the introduction of Maitree Express between Kolkata and Dhaka in 2008.The connectivity between Kolkata and Khulna by trains was stopped in 1965 owing to the Indo-Pak war.There was a trial run of the train on April 8 this year. The train comprised 10 air condition coaches.Bandhan Express will be a weekly train leaving from Kolkata every Thursday at 7.10 am. It would reach Khulna in Bangladesh at about 12 noon, IST. The return journey would start from Bangladesh at 1 pm (IST) and reach Kolkata at 5 pm.In India, immigration and customs check would take place at Kolkata International Passenger Terminal and Benapol Border Station for Bangladesh side.In order to reduce the journey time, ministry of railways, with the coordination of department of immigration and customs has opened an International Rail Passenger Terminus at Kolkata Station with the required infrastructure and facilities to end-to-end immigration.PM Modi spoke a few lines in Bengali greeting the people of India and Bangladesh. He said that the close connection and understanding between two countries required connectivity between the people across the border and that Maitree Express and Bandhan Express trains would bring more connectivity between India and Bangladesh and strengthen further bonding.Hasina assured that all the services between India and Bangladesh which existed prior to 1965, along this route, would be started again.Calling it a historic day, Mamata Banerjee said that with the initiation of the new train service the bonding between the two countries will become further stronger. She also invited Hasina over to Bengal.

India nun rape case: Bangladeshi man jailed for life

A Bangladeshi man is also found guilty of attempted murder during the West Bengal assault in 2015.

Mamata Banerjee wishes L K Advani on his 90th birthday

Updated: Nov 8, 2017, 01:05 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday greeted senior BJP leader LK Advani on his 90th birthday, wishing him a healthy and long life.”Wishing a very happy birthday to Lal Krishna Advani Ji. Health and happiness for a long life,” Banerjee wrote on her Twitter handle this morning.Advani is currently the chairman of BJP Parliamentary Party.The former deputy prime minister is a seven-term MP from Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

Demonetization’s aim was to convert black money to white: Mamata Banerjee attacks Modi govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Launching a fresh attack on the Narendra Modi government over demonetisation, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today alleged note ban was a big scam and was announced to help vested interests convert black money into white money.Banerjee’s remarks came on the eve of the first anniversary of demonetisation.”Demonetisation is a big scam. I repeat, demonetisation is a big scam. If a thorough investigation is conducted, this will be proved,” the chief minister alleged on Facebook.”Demonetisation was not to combat black money. It was only to convert black money into white money for vested interests of political party in power (sic),” she alleged.Neither it brought back black money stashed abroad nor it could combat terrorism or help the country develop, Banerjee claimed.”In all practical sense, it yielded a big, big zero,” she said.Due to demonetisation, “the country has already lost GDP worth nearly Rs 3 lakh crore. Crores of workers, particularly in the informal sector, lost their jobs. Farmers were left to starve. Over 100 people lost their lives”, the CM claimed.November 8 will be observed as Black Day to protest against demonetisation and the “unparallelled damage” it caused to the country and the economy, she said. PTI SCH SUN PR

Photo of burning elephants wins India award

The dramatic image captures the country’s human-elephant conflict, now routine in some parts.

‘Hell is here and now’: The real story of an elephant and her calf’s disturbing escape photo

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The disturbing, yet powerful photograph of an elephant and her calf trying to flee from mob in West Bengal’s Bankura has won the prestigious Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards.The photograph shot by Biplab Hazra not only stunned everyone but also won him the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017, which was declared on Sunday.The cruelty of man-animal conflict comes out in its most brazen form as one sees the calf and the mother elephant caught on tar road mid-way even as the humans clap and jeer the pachyderm.Titled ‘Hell is Here’, the photographer talks about how these majestic animals have to bear this ‘humiliation’ as ‘flaming tar balls and crackers fly through the air to a soundtrack of human laughter and shouts.’Home to over 70 per cent of jumbo population the the entire world, India is the world’s stronghold for the Asian elephants.But this achievement rings hollow as vital elephant habitats and routes continue to be ravaged, and human-elephant conflict escalates to a fatal degree.Not just Bankura in West Bengal, other elephant-range states of Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu, among others have also witnessed the disturbing trend.This year, the competition drew over 5,000 entries from across Asia, beating all previous records.The panel of judges including Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Asia; Steve Winter, National Geographic conservation photographer; Ganesh H Shanker, fine-art nature photographer; Kalyan Varma, conservation photographer and filmmaker; Dr Anish Andheria, conservation photographer and President, Wildlife Conservation Trust; Nayan Khanolkar, educationist, naturalist and wildlife photographer; Dr Parvish Pandya, Head, Science, Natural History and Photography, Sanctuary Asia and Lakshmy Raman, Executive Editor, Sanctuary Asia shared that they had a tough time choosing winners in several categories.

Ponzi scheme: SOG probes political links of main accused

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Did Manoranjan Roy, the accused in the Rs56 crore fraud, enjoy support from political parties and if so, which ones?These are some of the questions the SOG officials are trying to find an answer to. Interestingly, highly-placed sources in the department said that Roy has confessed to his closeness to stalwart politicians in West Bengal. “He has claimed closeness to politicians. However, whether they knew about his fraudulent practice or were involved in this has not come to light as yet. If any involvement comes to light an appropriate action would be taken,” officials said.But did Manoranjan Roy cook up the entire scheme on his own? Manoranjan Roy may look like the mastermind but the real brains of the organisation was his close confidante – Raghu Shetty, another accused arrested with Roy.Highly-placed sources said that Shetty was actually the mastermind behind the fraudulent schemes. “Shetty used to work on a managerial level post for a renowned bank prior to 2013. During this time, he got a letter of credit issued by copying the signature of a senior official for his own benefit. This resulted in a scam of crores. CBI investigated the issue and filed a chargesheet against Shetty,” officials said. Interestingly, the investigative teams even questioned Roy in the matter but in absence of any evidence against him, no action could be taken.However, from 2013 onwards, when Shetty lost his job, he started working for Roy and handled the accounts department. “It was he who thought of the entire schemes right down to the minute details. Right from where the money would come from and where it will go. Even the new and attractive schemes were being meticulously planned by Shetty,” sources said.And what of Rs 56 crore which investors deposited with the company and never got back? Interestingly, sources say that the man has claimed he would return the money. But is it the entire amount under the fraud. The SOG officials think otherwise. “So far we have looked into the account of just five branches from which the mammoth amount has come to light. There are six branches still left and the accounts of these would be investigated. We suspect the amount could swell to over hundred crores in Rajasthan,” officials said. And what about the remaining amount Rs 1500 crore? “The SOG will write to various state police in which the companies have operated to take action in the matter. Most branches were found in Uttar Pradesh while other areas where the branches were opened are Chattisgarh, Bihar etc,” officials said.

BJP very close to power in Bengal, join if you want real change: Mukul Roy urges TMC workers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a grand welcome by West Bengal state BJP on his first visit to Kolkata after being formally inducted into BJP, former TMC second-in-command Mukul Roy held a bunch of printouts as a forewarning to the ruling dispensation said he would have a lot to say at the public meeting on November 10.“There are so many political things which I need to say. BJP workers have called for a public meeting on November 10 in Kolkata. I will say those at the meeting because there will be many BJP workers there for whom there should be something new to say,” he said on Monday while interacting with mediapersons, without giving a hint about what the papers were about.The 63-year-old former TMC Rajya Sabha member who had been used to slogans of ‘Ma Maati Manush’ around him was greeted with ‘Jay Shree Ram’ at the airport and was brought to the state BJP office at Muralidhar Sen Lane in a hoodless car, flanked by state BJP leaders and workers on bikes and cars.On his arrival, among the first things that he said was that he would be working under state BJP president Dilip Ghosh. “Nationally my captain is Amit Shah and in Bengal my captain is Dilip Ghosh. I will work under him towards winning power in West Bengal. They have done a lot of positive work in Bengal and are very close to coming to power. I am sure the next step for BJP would be to come to power here,” he said. He also urged all from TMC to join BJP. “BJP is very close to reaching its target. We had struggled while working with TMC to bring about a change but the intended change had not been brought. If you want a real change, come to BJP,” he said.Asked by DNA if he had joined BJP under pressure from central investigating agencies, he said, “Does that mean whoever is summoned by CBI will join BJP?” Interestingly, Ghosh had, on Sunday, compared Roy with pickle and said, “Pickle adds taste rice and lentils. We have the rice and lentils ready. So pickle will make the meal better.”Trinamool national secretary general Partha Chatterjee said they were too busy to notice what Roy was up to. “We are busy with our developmental work and protest programmes against the Centre on issues like demonetization and GST. There is no time to waste on who is saying or doing what,” he said.

Having returned Z+ security, Mukul Roy gets Y+ category day after joining BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A ‘Y+’ category of armed VIP security cover has been accorded by the Centre to Mukul Roy, a day after he joined the BJP after quitting Trinamool Congress.The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been entrusted with the task of safeguarding the former railway minister under the UPA regime, official sources said.”A contingent of armed CRPF commandos will take charge of the new protectee in the next few days. Roy will have about three to four commandos with him, whenever he is in West Bengal,” a senior official said.He said a threat analysis report, prepared by central intelligence and security agencies, favoured granting of such a cover to Roy.The CRPF has a special VIP security wing and it secures around 70 dignitaries.Recently, the higher category of ‘Z’ cover of CRPF commandos was extended by the Centre to newly appointed special representative on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma.Roy, a founder member of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), was inducted into the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) yesterday.He had resigned from the Rajya Sabha and quit the TMC earlier this month.The former TMC ledaer was suspended from the party for six years for indulging in alleged anti-party activities after he announced that he would quit the party.

Chennai floods: Even as death toll hits 14, CM Palanisami maintains situation under control

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Chennai was recovering from the impact of 30 cm of rain on Thursday night, the downpour that began on Friday evening made life difficult for people living in low-lying areas.Chennai’s Nungambakkam’s weather station recorded 65.8 mm rain till 8.30 am on Saturday while Meenambakkam, which is near the airport, received 62 mm.The showers have been attributed to a low-pressure area that lies over Southwest Bay of Bengal off the Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu coast and extends up to 3.1km above the mean sea le­vel. The weathermen have predicted that heavy rainfall is expected to continue over Chennai and its adjoining areas for at least two to three days.The death toll due to rain-related incidents mounted to 14 as on Friday evening. Schools and colleges were remaining shut for the fifth successive day on Saturday in Chennai and its adjoining districts.With the heavy rain continuing to lash on Saturday, the situation has become, particularly, worse in South Chennai and its suburbs where the overflowing lakes flooded those localities. Several parts of the southern suburbs from Velacherry to Tambaram face a flood-like situation.In Mudichur and Varadharajapuram, several residents were seen leaving their homes to the relatives and friends places for safety as the continuing rain increasing the flood water level. “In the 2015 floods, the water entered the first floors in our localities. It is still fresh in our minds. As the rain continuing for the sixth day, the water level will increase anytime,” said K Saravanan of Rayappa Nagar in Mudichur.Heavy rains did not spare the core city areas as well. Low-lying upscale areas like Boat Club and RA Puram were inundated. Parts of Pudupet, Egmore, Choolai, Vysarpadi, Pattalam, Tondiarpet, RK Nagar and Anna Nagar West were also batting inundation.Chennai Corporation commissioner D Karthikeyan assured that the civic body was prepared to face the monsoon and all the men and material are in place to provide relief at the earliest from rains.With the active North East Monsoon, the drought hit Cauvery delta districts – Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur – was battered by incessant rains on Friday night. Talaignayar and Tirupoondi in Nagapattinam recorded 27 cm and 24 cm rains respectively till Saturday morning. Apart from the flooding of the houses, over 1500 hectares of paddy crops were destroyed.Tamil Nadu government continued to maintain there was no reason to panic. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami visited flood-affected areas on Friday and assured that all the steps were taken to ensure that floodwaters drain at the earliest. He also claimed that his government had handled the flood situation better than Bengaluru and Mumbai.

DNA Exclusive | Ready to be Didi of the Nation: Mamata Banerjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst the Opposition’s move to put up a united front against the BJP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says she does not mind taking up responsibility in Delhi as ‘Didi of the Nation’. She spoke to DNA while on a visit to Mumbai, during which she met up with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, and his son Aditya; as well as Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani. Mamata was in the city to drum up investment in her state and invite city-based business people to attend the West Bengal’s Global Business Summit in January.”I was an MP for 23 years and have also served as a minister in the cabinet,” said the president of the Trinamool Congress. “Delhi is very close to me; it is also not that far physically but there are far too many traffic jams and the weather is too harsh. But the politics is totally run by outsiders, not insiders.”Mamata also interacted with young professionals from YPO (formerly known as the Young Presidents’ Organization) in the city on Wednesday. And though she hinted at a readiness to move to the Capital, she would not be pinned down.”I cannot tell you right now what the future will be for me,” she said. “As an MP, I have established contacts with each and every leader across the country. I have best of relations with leaders from various states.” She emphasized that her current priority was to increase the pace of development and transform West Bengal.”These are crucial times,” she said, referring to demonitization and the introduction of Goods & Services Tax. “People are facing a lot of difficulties; the unorganized sector has suffered the most. Young people are losing jobs as the industry sails through rough weather. If this situation continues, it will be time for the government to come to a decision and provide much-needed relief to the people.”The West bengal CM clarified that she was not against any particular leader or party, but was merely raising issues faced by citizens. While speaking to young professionals, she emphasized on how the state had grown economically and in infrastructure during her six-year-rule. She said the state had transformed completely, and for the better. “We have restored the work culture,” she said. “During 34 years of CP(M)-rule, the state lost 78 lakh man-days; this has now reduced to zero.” She says this was the result of a series of reforms that set the ball rolling”The state’s GDP stands as at 12.5%, as against the national GDP of 7.1%,” she said. “We are at the top when it comes to skill-development. The government is implementing pro-development policies that have helped spur the growth of agriculture, industry, and MSMEs. Enough attention is being paid to upgrading of infrastructure and you can see results on ground.”She informed that the government has been providing rice at Rs 2 per kg to 8.50 crore of the total population of 9.10 crore. “Besides, scholarship is given to students up to university level,” she said. “This is despite the government having to shell out over Rs 40,000 crore annually towards debt repayment and interest payment. This is the legacy we have inherited from the CP(M) government.”

Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray call on Mamata Banerjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here, fuelling speculations in the political circles.The Sena chief, accompanied by son Aaditya Thackeray, paid a visit to Banerjee in the afternoon at a south Mumbai hotel where she is staying. Both Sena and Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) have been at loggerheads with the BJP and the Narendra Modi government on a host of issues, including demonetization. Banerjee, who is in the city since Tuesday and expected to return to Kolkata tomorrow, met top industrialists and bankers here yesterday as part of a roadshow, ahead of the fourth edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit, to be held in Kolkata in January.The Shiv Sena had last year teamed up with the TMC in a bid to take on the BJP over the issue of demonetisation. Thackeray had told mediapersons in November last year that if there was nothing wrong in Prime Minister Modi meeting (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar, then there was nothing wrong if the Sena held talks with Banerjee on a crucial issue.

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