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CBI software programmer arrested for developing illegal railway tatkal website

The CBI today arrested its software programmer for developing an illegal software to subvert the railways Tatkal reservation system, allowing hundreds of tickets to be booked in one go.Ajay Garg, an assistant programmer with CBI, worked with IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd) for four years between 2007-11 where he learnt the vulnerabilities of the railway ticketing system, sources said.Garg has been arrested along with close aide Anil Gupta, a private person who distributed the software to agents for a price. Besides, 10 agents — seven in Jaunpur and three in Mumbai — have been identified, the sources said.Garg, who joined CBI in 2012, exploited the vulnerabilities to develop the illegal software, which allowed agents to book hundreds of tickets in one go, leaving genuine passengers in the lurch, they said.”The vulnerabilities of the IRCTC system still exist,” an official said.A postgraduate in computer applications, Garg allegedly sold the software through Gupta.

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Government’s priority is rule of law: Yogi Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the government in a short period has succeeded to build a positive image of the state and has removed all roadblocks to attract investments. In an exclusive interview to DNA’s Sanjay Jog, Aditynath said his government will deal firmly with those indulging in hooliganism and disturbing law and order. He spoke at length on a number of issues after a meeting with industrialists.Until recently, investors were reluctant to invest in your state. Has the situation changed?Investors were not enthusiastic about investing in Uttar Pradesh due to red tapism, inordinate delays taken in clearances and more importantly, law and order issues. This is not my view but it was an investors’ perception. However, the new government paid attention to law and order and the situation has improved. It Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill, 2017 to combat organised crime. The rule of law is the top priority of the government. For this, it is essential that those indulging in mafia activities are identified and a drive is launched against them.I have held four road shows for the Global Investors Summit slated for February 21 and 22. Investors have expressed satisfaction over the government’s commitment to bring about perceptible change in the law and order situation. Investors in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and several other places have shown interest to invest in Uttar Pradesh.What are government’s efforts to attract investments in the era of competitive federalism?The government has announced policies for various sectors including industry and employment, civil aviation, information technology, agro and food processing. The government is offering incentives. Besides, the government has put in place a single window system in a bid to improve ease of doing business. The government is committed to attract more investments which will help Uttar Pradesh register new highs.The government will also put in place by February next year land bank of 50,000 hectare for the benefit of investors. The government hopes to attract investments in across the sectors.What are government’s initiatives to boost infrastructure development?The government has launched number of infrastructure projects to create job pools. The government will build the Purvanchal Expressway and has received about three proposals for the development of Bundelkhand Expressway. This apart, the government has also received three proposals for the development of Jewar international airport. Besides, investors have shown interest to build a metro rail network across the state. Therefore the government is on the track to improve infrastructure.How confident is the government about meeting the target of 70 lakh jobs in five years?The government expects employment opportunities not only in government jobs but also in the private sector. Job creation will be possible through initiatives such as Start UP and Stand Up and skill development. The government is quite confident about surpassing the target.

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2G scam verdict: 700 old judgments paved way for acquittal

Special Judge OP Saini read over 700 old judgments which were given as case references by various lawyers before penning down the fate of all the 21 accused, including former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK leader and MP Kanimozhi in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.”I may note that I have carefully gone through the entire case law cited at the bar by the parties. I have also carefully gone through the written submissions filed by the parties. The case law would be referred to as and when required,” Special Judge Saini said.In the 1552 page judgment delivered by Saini, he mentioned all the case references by all the respective lawyers of the several accused. Altogether 608 case references of several cases were put forth by both the parties even though a few of them might be repeated. Besides 102 references were made as rebuttal.Advocate Vijay Agarwal, on behalf of his client RK Chandolia, gave the maximum numbers of case references during the proceedings taking the number to 134. It was again Agarwal who gave 97 references on behalf of his client Shahid Balwa. This was followed by 63 references made by the same lawyer for two of his clients Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal.A little behind Agarwal was Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover, who made 102 references during rebuttal. However, he gave just 35 references during the trial. The least number of references were given by advocate Deeksha Khurana for Swan Telecommunication who referred to just a single case.While 30 references were made for A Raja by his counsel Manu Sharma, 15 were made on the behalf of Kanimozhi by her counsel Amarender Sharan.Special Judge Saini repeated about the huge volume of records and documents involved in the case in the judgment.Even on Thursday, as he entered the court room to pronounce the judgment followed by his court staff carrying the huge pile of papers, he said, “Giving the huge records of the case, this is a very brief judgment I have written.”The judge also mentioned in his the judgment that lawyers of both the accused and the CBI filed written submissions running into 25,000 pages.”It may be noted that in view of voluminous record running into several lac pages and also technical nature of the case, oral arguments for the parties continued for about two years. Both the parties also filed written submissions in detail running into about twenty five thousand pages,” the judge said.He also appreciated the advocates for both parties for their hard work put during the trial of this voluminous, technical and complex case, the record of which runs into about three four lac pages.

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CBI, ED to appeal against verdict

Shocked over the special court’s judgement to acquit all the accused, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stated that they had been filing monthly status reports before the Supreme Court and the investigation was appreciated at every step. However, sources said they fail to understated why the judgement went against them. The agency decided to appeal against the court order.Also Enforcement Directorate decided to appeal against the order. ED said the Special Court appears to have failed to appreciate the money laundering offence that probed by it should have held ground and not linked to CBI’s corruption case.”Besides the observation and findings of the Supreme Court in this case appear to have not been considered by the Special Court,” the ED added.Sources in the CBI said, “Our key contention was not taken into account by the special court. We are going through it for as it is lengthy judgement. The key points which struck us immediately was that there written and documentary evidence and it was not given due to importance.”Sources further pointed out that the court has relied on oral evidence of the accused and also failed to see the bribe trail wherein Rs 200 crore ‘pay-off’ happened wherein a company take loan on 14 percent and given at 5 percent. “We had documentary evidence running into lakh of pages, the court relies on accused statements,” the source said.CBI in a statement said, “The judgement relating to 2G scam case today has been prima facie examined and it appears that the evidence adduced to substantiate the charges by the prosecution has not been appreciated in its proper perspective by the Learned Court. CBI will be taking necessary legal remedies in the matter. In due course, CBI will be filing an appeal.”In the meantime, ED pointed out that the Special Court prima-facie appears to have failed to appreciate the offence of money laundering as defined under Section 3 is, based on the term proceeds of crime.ED also said the special court has appreciated the material evidence qua offence of money laundering at the time of framing of charges against the accused persons but the same material appears to have not been considered while deciding the prosecution complaint under PMLA and the accused persons have been acquitted from the offence of money laundering only on the basis of no commission of offence and not the occurrence of criminal activity.”We have decided to move in appeal against the judgement of the Special Court on a number of grounds based on the facts as well as legal provisions,” the ED said in a statement.

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Don’t demolish jhuggies till winter is over: Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked all land-owning agencies in the capital to not demolish jhuggies and instead take a humanitarian approach till winter is here.The AAP chief told agencies to stop any demolition activity going around in the city even in future without organising ways to relocate or rehabilitate people.”Please do not demolish jhuggis till winters are over, say around February 28, next year. It’s very cold and take a humanitarian approach. Besides, no demolition should take place immediately without following the framework of the demolition policy,” said the CM in a statement issued by the Delhi government.However, the statement comes at a time when a number of homeless could be spotted sleeping on pavements in the open in the absence of enough night shelters in the city.The CM has also asked the land owning agencies to follow the protocol set for demolition in letter and spirit.”No demolition should be done in future also without proper rehabilitation or relocation of the slum dwellers. DUSIB will lay down the norms for demolition according to the notified Slum Policy and it will be applicable across the city and for all agencies,” Kejriwal said in the statement.The decision was taken in a meeting over slum policy on Friday, with the concerned departments including Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), Urban Development, Delhi Development Authority, and the three municipal corporations.The slum policy notified recently lays down guidelines for demolition and has made DUSIB the nodal agency for relocation/rehabilitation of the jhuggi-bastis.HomelessThe statement comes at a time when a number of homeless can be spotted sleeping on pavements in the open in the absence of enough night shelters in the city.

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DDA to expand sports facilities

In a good news for students and sports enthusiasts, the DDA is all set to improve and extend facilities of its premier sports complexes including the Siri Fort Complex. Besides this, the Authority will also be building new sports complexes for the disabled in far-flung residential areas.The renovation plans at its complexes include refurbishing of all swimming pools under it and ready by 2018.”All existing swimming pools would be renovated and their depths reduced to 1.35 m for public safety purpose. The renovation works would be completed in time for the swimming pools to be operational for the next swimming season from 1st April next year,” said a senior DDA official.The decisions were taken during a meeting of the Authority’s Sports Management Board (SMB) on Tuesday.Also, it was decided that all facilities at DDA sports complexes will be turned disabled-friendly on a priority basis.”Football grounds at DDA sports complexes would be converted into synthetic surface for intensive use of these facilities due to the rising demand for football fields in Delhi. The grounds at Siri Fort Sports Complex would initially be converted as a pilot project,” the officer said.School children are permitted to use DDA sports complexes on payment of entry charges of Rs 15. For facilities for which user charges are to be paid, school students would need to pay only 50 per cent of rates paid by members of the sports complexes.”To facilitate utilisation of facilities at DDA Siri Fort Sports Complex, for which there is always a huge demand, individuals who have taken three months temporary membership of the complex 10 times in the last five years would be eligible for annual tenure membership. Rates for one year tenure membership, including dependants would be Rs 5,000 for government category and Rs 8,000 for non-government category,” he said.Besides, work on construction of a new sports complex at Sector-17, Dwarka is also in the works.”In-principle approval was given for development of a state of the art basketball centre with four courts with change rooms, toilets, spectator sitting and proper lighting facility at DDAYamuna Sports Complex, Surajmal Vihar. Also, approval was given for the city’s first ‘Skate Park’ with facilities for skating, roller figure skating, roller hockey, speed skating track and separate rink for skate boards and BMX cycles would also be developed at the complex,” the official said.THE GRAND PLANThe renovation plans at DDA’s complexes include refurbishing of all swimming pools by 2018 To make all facilities at the centres disable-friendly For facilities for which user charges are to be paid, school kids would need to pay only 50 per cent of rates paid by complex members

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Short-staffed Rlys extends age limit for re-engagement to 65

In an attempt to handle exigencies in services, the Railway Board has decided to increase the age limit of retired employees for re-engagement from the current 62 years to 65 years.The move has come as Indian Railways is facing an uphill task to augment services at par with the increase in railway traffic and introduction of new routes and trains and facing the crunch because of staff shortage.Moreover, the railways also wants to play safe and arrest the mounting numbers of accidents. Accidents because of problem in tracks have seen an increase from 21 in 2014-15 to 24 in 2015-16 and 38 in 2016-17.There are about 1.25 lakh vacancies in Railways which are related to the running of trains and maintenance of tracks. Vacancies for profiles such as drivers, guards, gangmen and other technical staff such as supervisors and technicians involved in services like deep screening etc have not been filled. Besides, there is a shortfall of about 1.25 lakh non-mechanical staff such as clerks and travelling ticket examiners (TTEs).In an order to all the General Managers (Personnel), the Railway Board has also asked them to extend the validity of the scheme of re-engagement of retired employees from the existing validity till September 14, 2018 to December 1, 2019.Sources said, this would enable in smooth running of railway operations as the retired staff is well experienced and can deliver the results till the time new recruitment are mad and trained. The order will benefit existing railway personnel to re-engage and also those who are retiring.ACCIDENTS INCREASEPending vacancies (mechanical staff): 1.25 lakh Pending vacancies (clerical staff and TTEs): 1.25 lakh Number of accidents in 2014-15: 21 Number of accidents in 2015-16: 24 Number of accidents in 2016-17: 38

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No, Bandra-Worli Sea Link has not collapsed or closed due to Cyclone Ockhi

As heavy rains lashed Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra on Tuesday ahead of Cyclone Ockhi’s landfall, the WhatsApp “fake news” machinery was at work, spreading rumours and creating panic among the people. One “news” that is making the rounds on the messenger app in Mumbai is that Bandra-Worli Sea Link has collapsed. Many took to social media that they have received such message from their loved ones, warning them to stay away from the bridge. Many shared that they have received messages on WhatsApp that the bridge has been closed after it was submerged under the water. A video of showing huge waves engulfing the Bandra-Worli Sea Link has been shared by many. Also readCyclone Ockhi: Don’t panic in case of alert, evacuate when asked, advises NDMAMany on social media, however, debunked the the video and the news. Fake news debunker SMHoaxSlayer took to Twitter to state that the video which was being widely shared as huge waves engulfing the Bandra-Worli Sea Link was actually shot in Lakshadweep a few months ago. Yogita Limaye, a BBC correspondent based in Mumbai, also tweeted that she passed the Bandra-Worli Sea Link twice in two hours and it was “not closed, not flooded and definitely has not been submerged by waves.”Besides this, there are many other rumours spreading around on social media to create panic. The fact is there are heavy rains but rail and road traffic is still working very much fine in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Disaster Management Unit of BMC has said that the cyclone will have no impact on Mumbai City. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said that minor damage will be caused to loose unsecured structures due to heavy rain and wind but people are advised not to panic in any case.The NDMA said people when asked to evacuate, should move to a designate cyclone shelter with safety kit and store dry food and water in abundance, keep torch and hurricane lantern/emergency light handy and keep listening to battery operated radio for latest information.
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Yogi Adityanath

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City’s air quality gets worse, AQI at 360

The air quality in the Capital deteriorated to 360 units on Thursday from 334 on Wednesday, remaining in the ‘very poor’ category for the eleventh day. The air quality index (AQI) at 360 is six times more than the permissible standards of 60.However, even as officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said the air quality is likely to improve by Monday with the winter setting in, some Delhiites complained of breathing difficulties and irritation in eyes.CPCB officials said that an increase in moisture and humidity in the winds has been the trigger for the spike.”The winter is still to set with winds coming in from the north. So far winds have been fluctuating making it difficult for pollutants to be dispersed. At present south-easterly winds are bringing in humidity which is trapping the pollutants further deteriorating the air quality,” said D Saha, head of air laboratory, CPCB.The AQI is expected to hover from 320 to 360 units until this weekend, said Saha. The air quality is measured against PM 2.5 — the most prominent pollutant in Delhi-NCR — in units of micrograms per cubic metre.However, even as the average air quality index in the capital remained in the ‘very poor’ category, NCR towns such as Ghaziabad, which is an industrial hub, continued to reel under ‘severe’ pollution levels.The Delhi government had issued a health advisory on Monday asking schools to avoid all outdoor activities including assembly, sports and other physical activities that are held in the early morning hours. Besides this, it also advised people to reduce their exposure to the air and stay indoors as much as possible.AIR QUALITY INDEXDelhi: 360 (very poor)Ghaziabad: 453 (severe) Gurgaon: 312 (very poor) Noida: 359 ( very poor) Faridabad: 322 (very poor)
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Yogi Adityanath

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CEA releases policy to promote power generation from paddy straw

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents from Delhi and the National Capital Region can now expect relief next year from the pollution caused due to the burning of stubble by farmers in Punjab and Harayana. The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) on behalf of ministry of power has framed up a policy for biomass utilisation for power generation through co-firing in coal based power plants.CEA estimates that 30 to 40 million tonnes of paddy straw that remains unutilised and burnt in north west India has potential to generate about 6,000 to 8000 MW and 45,000 million units of electricity annually by co firing it along with coal in existing power plants. About 2.5 to 3 lakh tonnes of biomass pellets are required for 7% blending in a thermal power plant of 1,000 MW capacity.Biomass co-firing has a potential to create a market for large scale consumption of agro residue and convert into electricity in eco-friendly and cost effective manner while mitigation problem of air quality deterioration. The policy envisages that the appropriate electricity regulatory commission will determine the compensation to be allowed in tariff for increase in cost of generation on account of using bio mass pallets. Besides, the appropriate commission will devise a suitable mechanism to ensure the use of bio mass.Already, the power ministry last week has asked the state run NTPC to float a tender to buy farm stubble at Rs 5,500 per tonne, which will yield an additional income of approximately Rs 11,000 per acre to farmers.Power Ministry officer told DNA,” The biomass pellets co-firing in coal power plants will eliminate or minimize burning of agro residue and create economic value of agro residue by promoting its use as fuel in power plants in co firing mode. It will improve the air quality index and encourage the establishment of decentralized pellets manufacturing units and generate job opportunities. The officer clarified that the existing power plant infrastructure cannot directly use raw and agro residue bio mass in a pulverised coal fired type boiler and it is required to be processed into dense bio mass in the form of pellets.According to the officer, the CEA will provide technical assistance to utilities on how to use bio mass pellets for blending with coal in coal based thermal power plants.

Over 210 government websites made details of Aadhaar beneficiaries public: UIDAI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 200 central and state government websites publicly displayed details such as names and addresses of some Aadhaar beneficiaries, the Unique Identification Authority of India has said.The Aadhaar issuing body added, in response to an RTI query, that it took note of the breach and got the data removed from those websites.It did not specify when the breach took place.It said Aadhaar details have never been made public from/by UIDAI.”However, it was found that approximately 210 websites of central government, state government departments including educational institutes were displaying the list of beneficiaries along with their name, address, other details and Aadhaar numbers for information of the general public,” it said.The UIDAI took note and got the Aadhaar data removed from the said websites, it said in reply to the RTI application.UIDAI issues Aadhaar — a 12-digit unique identification number — which acts as a proof of identity and address anywhere in the country.The central government is in the process of making Aadhaar mandatory for people to avail benefits of various social service schemes.”UIDAI has a well-designed, multi-layer approach robust security system in place and the same is being constantly upgraded to maintain highest level of data security and integrity,” the RTI reply said.The architecture of the Aadhaar ecosystem has been designed to ensure data security and privacy which is an integral part of the system from the initial design to the final stage, it said.”Various policies and procedures have been defined, these are reviewed and updated continually thereby appropriately controlling and monitoring any movement of people, material and data in and out of UIDAI premises, particularly the data centres,” the UIDAI said.It said security audits are conducted on a regular basis to further strengthen security and privacy of data. Besides this, all possible steps are taken to make the data safer and protected, the authority said.

After Zee exposé, demand for ban on Paan Bahar mounts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the Zee news expose of Paan Bahar, social activists and lawyers are seeking a ban on it. They are even preparing a blueprint to take the matter to the court.A report by Zee news last month had revealed dangerous substances found in Paan Bahar. Later, the health department also declared it unsafe for consumption. Now, there is demand for a ban on this paan masala, which can prove to be fatal.Senior advocate of Rajasthan high court A K Jain has sent legal notice to management of Paan Bahar, owners and director of the health department. If they don’t act, Jain has warned them of initiating legal action. He has attached a copy of the test report by office of chief food analyst chief food analyst on October 12. The report had found that materials used in Paan Bahar were harmful and could even cause cancer.Reminding the health department of its duty about not allowing spurious and harmful food products in the state to protect health of its citizen, Jain said that use of magnesium carbonate makes Paan Bahar unsafe food, therefore, selling it is a punishable offence under article 59 of food safety and standard act of 2004. Besides, action can also be taken under IPC sections 272, 273, 336 and 308.After legal notice, the health department has swung into action. But, it still remains to be seen if the department has taken any action against its owners and seizes the material already available in the market.

Sasikala’s nephew says no political motive in the IT raids

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala’s nephew and Jaya TV MD Vivek Jayaraman on Tuesday refuted allegations that Income Tax searches on his premises and other connected to his families that had lasted for five days had been carried out with a political motive.Jaya TV office was one among the 187 premises searched by the I-T officials in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and New Delhi for five successive days till Monday as part of its “operation clean money”.I-T officials said that they had detected undisclosed investment of Rs 1,450 crore from 10 assesses groups which were raided including those linked to Sasikala’s kin and their associates.”The officials queried about the documents of the companies —Jaya TV and Jazz Cinema, and I offered explanation in detail. Besides, they questioned about the jewels given to my wife during our wedding. I will submit the relevant accounts in the next two-three days,” Vviek told reporters here.When asked if the raids were politically motivated, Jayaraman said “it doesn’t seem so”. “They (taxmen) have done their duty and we are answerable (to them). Every citizen of the country has to pay income tax.. I am clear about that,” he said. It was the duty of a citizen to pay taxes and anyone found violating the law was liable to face action, Jayaraman said.

P Chidambaram gets relief in Madras HC, IT order quashed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a relief to P Chidambaram, the Madras High Court quashed an order of the Income Tax department seeking payment of tax by the former finance minister and his family on income from a coffee estate owned by them for 2008-09 financial year after re-assessing it. Justice T S Sivagnanam yesterday quashed March 31, 2016 demand notice and the consequential December 30 reassessment order issued by the assistant commissioner of Income Tax, Chennai, seeking payment of about Rs 6 lakh from Chidambaram and others.He was allowing petitions by Chidambaram and his family members challenging the notice and the re-assessment order. The matter relates to the petitioners claiming exemption of entire income from sale of coffee and pepper from their estate in Coorg in Karnataka in 2008-09 as agricultural income under section 10(1) of the Income Tax Act, which was allowed then. The I-T department had issued the demand notice saying there was reason to believe that income chargeable to tax had escaped assessment.Challenging this, the petitioners alleged that the I-T department’s action in reopening the assessment and reassessing the income for 2008-09 six years later was illegal and arbitrary and made only with an intention to defame them. Besides Chidambaram, the senior Congress leader’s son Karti, daughter-in-law Srinidhi and wife Nalini are the other petitioners.They submitted that income from the sale would attract tax only if they were involved in curing coffee. But they only sold raw coffee seeds and proceeds of sale of which was an agricultural income exempted under the I-T act.They further claimed there were several hundreds of coffee growers whose income had been exempted from tax on this ground. The reassessment order was issued without disposing of their objections to the reopening of assessment and without passing a speaking order, the petitioners contended adding this was in violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court. Justice Sivagnanam, in his order, said as stated in a Supreme Court verdict the obligation on the part of the assessee does not extend beyond fully and truly disclosing all primary facts and it was for the assessing officer to take an inference on facts and law based on such disclosure.The respondent’s submission that the reassessment was made since his predecessor did not come to a proper inference on the facts disclosed (on agricultural income) was no ground to reopen the matter, he said adding it only reflected a change of opinion. Further, there was no allegation against the petitioners that they had not disclosed fully and truly all material facts necessary for assessment for that year, the judge said. “The impugned proceedings, namely, the notice for reopening and the consequential assessment orders are held to be illegal, unsustainable and a clear case of change of opinion and the impugned proceedings are quashed,” he ordered.

Ease of Doing Business: MADC appointed a coordinator for fast track development of airports in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an effort to boost ease of doing business and facilitate smooth development of airports and connectivity, the state government has taken a crucial step to appoint Maharashtra Airports Development Company (MADC) as a coordinator and facilitator for existing 28 airports and development of upcoming ones.The government expects as a coordinator MADC will be best suited to link with various departments and agencies of the state government and the Centre and help curtail the time needed for clearances.In case of 28 airports, there are different owners and operators including Airports Authority of India (AAI), Ministry of Defence, MADC, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, City and Industrial Development Corporation and Reliance Group of Companies. Besides, the development of existing airports is currently being carried out by several departments thus creating an issue of coordination and possible delays.The government’s move comes after aviation experts and industry players had made series of representation for putting in place a special mechanism for hassle-free operations of all those 28 airports which will be helpful to boost the development of a respective region.Government official told DNA,”MADC as a coordinator will play a crucial role in an early completion of development works including up-gradation of the infrastructure. Besides, it will ensure a policy continuity while expediting the development works.’’This apart, the government has appointed MADC as the nodal agency on the lines of Airports Authority of India for the implementation of regional connectivity scheme (RCS) in the state.The state government has already inked an agreement with Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India for the development of 10 airports – Kolhapur, Shirdi, Amravati, Gondia, Nashik, Jalgaon, Nanded, Solapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg under the RCS which is a part of ambitious National Civil Aviation Policy, 2010. RCS aims at developing regional connectivity through fiscal support and infrastructure development from the Centre.The state government will reduce a tax on air fuel for a period of 10 years and will provide essential land free of cost. The proposed airports will be provided with roads, rail, Metro and waterway connectivity. The state government will also provide electricity, water, and necessary facilities at concessional rates.

Speak up Mumbai: Reasonable expectation or passing the buck?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After evicting over 20,000 hawkers from across the city over the past month, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now looking for support from citizens in ensuring that hawkers do not return to encroach the areas where eviction drives have been carried out — one of the reasons it has failed to curb the issue time and again.On November 5, members of a residents group called Friends of Dadar assembled near Shivaji Park and took a pledge to not buy the wares sold by hawkers anywhere in the city in a bid to discourage the illegal businesses which have repeatedly proven to be an impediment to the free movement of pedestrians.Civic officials in charge of the removal of encroachments have called it a welcome move and said that the participation of citizens is critical to rid public spaces of hawkers.While the BMC has been urging participation from citizens, DNA spoke to residents from across the city to find out whether they think their complaints about encroachments by hawkers have been taken seriously by the civic body.EXPERT SPEAKParticipation of citizens is crucial as there is a need to involve all stakeholders to solve the issue. It may not be possible to stop everyone from buying wares from hawkers so it is important that hawking zones are created and thereafter regulated by MCGM and the police. Other structures that obstruct movement on footpaths such as milk booths should be removed too.—Indrani Malkani, managing trustee, V Citizens Action NetworkThe authorities do not take the kind of action they should be taking against hawkers. Whenever we complain, they take some action but the hawkers soon return. Mostly action against those with political patronage is not taken. If we complain too many times, they move out for some time but come back again later. The action taken by authorities is not up to the mark.—Anandini Thakoor, civic activistVOICESConstant follow-ups with the BMC ward office are necessary to make public spaces free of encroachments. Just by writing a complaint letter or visiting the office once does not ensure immediate action. The civic officials need to be reminded repeatedly in order to ensure they have taken the necessary action.—Mehjabeen Barwani, JuhuBMC takes no cognizance of citizens’ complaints regarding hawkers. All the major roads near stations are occupied by hawkers, leaving no space for pedestrians. Barring designated hawking zones, hawkers should not be allowed in busy places. The corporation should take serious action against flouting the rules.—Sanjay Patil, BorivliWe complained about the issue of hawkers in our area about four months ago but the BMC ward office has not taken any action against a single hawker yet. In fact, more hawkers have joined in and started their business. We met the local corporator regarding the issue as well but the authority has failed to take serious action so far. BMC should probably increase the target of the collection of fines from illegal hawkers so that the ward officials take more action.—Dhaval Shah, AndheriThe BMC does take action against hawkers but only after repeated complaints and follow-ups. Besides, even if action is taken, the hawkers put up their stalls again the very next day. Why can’t the police or BMC have a system for patrolling in the days following an eviction drive if they are really serious about our complaints? The fact is that hawkers wouldn’t be able to run their businesses without the blessings from the police and BMC.—Nitin Nikam, ChemburIf people stop buying from hawkers, they will disappear. However, when hawkers are gone, shops encroach on footpaths. There has to be an easier process for lodging complaints as visiting the office every time is not possible. They should probably develop an app. Besides, people think that BMC won’t act and fear a backlash from those against whom the complaint is made in case the complainant’s identity is leaked.—Gaurav Worlikar, WorliResidents of Linking Road in Bandra and Khar have been complaining for years about the illegal hawkers menace in their areas. Despite this, the illegal hawkers are not evicted, they continue with their businesses and have created a mess for both pedestrians and motorists. Even though the BMC may have been successful in evicting hawkers from outside railway stations in the city, the civic body has not managed to evict illegal hawkers from these areas.—Sushmita Singh, BandraCan the BMC and other government agencies do anything apart from putting the onus on the common man? Being taxpayers, the least we can expect is knowing that the civic body is taking the initial steps to curb the menace. Thousands of complaints simply languish on their tables and no action is taken unless a major tragedy strikes. Citizens are ready to cooperate and support the civic body’s initiatives but the measures should be implemented without glitches.—Neeta Patel, VikhroliOne may complain to the civic body umpteen number of times but the issue always goes back to square one. The ironic part is that the hawkers are tipped off by the BMC office itself that they will be visiting with their van for an eviction drive so they are alerted beforehand. This is the most rotten form of corruption. Howsoever one complains, corruption is rampant. It’s really sad that eventually we, the taxpayers, have to suffer.—Krishna Gupta, Goregaon

Stationary Torture

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Mumbai’s local trains are often called the city’s ‘lifeline’, the 164-year-old rail system is struggling to keep pace with the 76 lakh commuters who now use the system daily. In the aftermath of the tragedy at Elphinstone Road station, several teams fanned across the city to audit railway stations.Shashank Rao takes a closer look at five of the city’s major stations to find out whether improvements, if any, have been made to the stations’ infrastructure only to find that not much has been done to plug the gaps to ensure the safety of commutersBandraBandra may be called the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’ and its station’s building may boast a ‘heritage’ tag but the condition of the rail premises in and around Bandra station are in dire straits. The Western and Harbour lines culminate at this station which caters to the commercial hub of Bandra-Kurla Complex on the east, and posh neighbourhoods and old villages on the west.While the platforms of the 19th century Victorian-styled station are wide enough to contain the high footfalls the station witnesses, the foot-overbridges (FOBs) that connect the west to the east are in poor condition.Over the past few weeks, the Railway authorities have rid the FOBs of hawkers. The station boasts the city’s first skywalk which is sadly occupied by hawkers.The FOB on the station’s south-end is incomplete, and connects only to the west. The other end leads to Harbour line platforms. Senior Western Railway (WR) officials claim they have begun the work of extending this FOB, and connecting it to the skywalk. “This work is expected to be complete by the end of this financial year,” said an official. The FOB on the station’s north-end is rarely used by commuters owing to the inconvenience it causes for hiring auto rickshaws.Plenty of food stalls dot this station, many of them near FOBs, blocking the free movement of commuters. Slums on both sides of the station lead to frequent instances of trespassing and people using the tracks for sitting and drying clothes. Besides, the slum dwellers often throw garbage on railway premises including the tracks which is one of the primary reasons for waterlogging of rail tracks every monsoon.The multi-disciplinary audit team, that was formed for both Western and Central Railway after the stampede at Elphinstone Road station, has proposed bar fencing as a way to prevent encroachers from using the fifth rail line on the east side of Bandra. The audit report submitted to the Railway ministry also states the need to demolish abandoned buildings on the station’s east side, provisions for proper lighting, cement-concrete boundary walls, and shutting down of unauthorized entry and exit points to the station.Daily Footfalls2016-171.41 LJogeshwariOwing to the ever-increasing crowd at Andheri station, Jogeshwari station too has grown in prominence over the past few years. Attention was drawn to the station’s poor infrastructure only after commuters went up in arms and resorted to ‘Rail Roko’ in the first week of October. The station is used by commuters to access area such as Oshiwara, Goregaon and Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road.The station’s infrastructure is poor considering its dual-discharge island platform for the slow line which caters to platforms 1 and 2. Trains to Borivli and Churchgate arrive here but fast trains to Churchgate also halt here during peak hours. In all, nearly 480 services halt at Jogeshwari everyday.”We do not have sufficient space to walk or wait for the trains on this island platform. The situation has worsened especially after the platform on the west side was broken down,” said Mansoor Darvesh, secretary, Passenger and Traffic Relief Association and a Jogeshwari resident.The platform has been demolished to accommodate two more tracks that are meant for the proposed Andheri-Goregaon Harbour line. WR officials agree that the cutting down of the 3-meter wide platform on the west side has left little space for commuters, especially during peak hours. New platforms have been built further north of Jogeshwari station where the Harbour line trains are slated to make their halt. This has a subway built for people to enter or exit the station premises and has been completely covered by an oval shaped roof.A new FOB and an elevated ticket booking office has been built but commuters claim that the office is too high and there is a need for escalators. As a result, commuters tend to trespass rather than climb the long flight of stairs. Besides, the platforms do not have roof-cover at the ends which the WR authorities are now working to install.Daily Footfalls2016-171.06 LWadalaApart from local trains connecting the Harbour line, this station has a truck terminal and a junction which connects freight and goods trains from the city’s Port Trust to rest of the country. It is also the station where local trains connect both Andheri on the WR and Panvel on CR. Apart from the four rail tracks for the suburban system, there are at least eight rail tracks meant for goods trains carrying coal, cement and other freight.The daily footfalls at Wadala station have increased owing to the several offices that have come up around the area. Not to forget the college-going crowd of nearby degree and engineering colleges. To cater to this increasing crowd, CR officials say they have increased the number of services on the Harbour line with additional halts at Wadala. From October 2, the CR added 14 suburban services on the CSMT-Panvel Harbour line and another 14 on the Thane-Vashi Trans-harbour line.This station too witnesses several cases of trespassing due to the several illegal slums and encroachments around the rail premises. For instance, there are several encroachments causing problems at the Raoli junction near the station. “The CR needs to ensure that encroachments are demolished and people are rehabilitated so that garbage from rail premises can be removed,” said Gaurang Damani, a Wadala resident.CR officials said that the FOBs on the Kurla-end of the station witness heavy congestion. During peak hours, the station witnesses instances of overcrowding due to inadequate entry and exit points. The audit report has advised replacement of the existing FOB with a wider one, and extending it to the Monorail station.There is a possibility of creating four more entry and exit points, apart from removing railway offices to provide wider exits. The shops outside the station too need to be relocated and the Railways are in talks with the BMC for the same.Daily Footfalls2016-1770,767MasjidThis is one of the stations that connects older and busy markets such as Crawford Market, Manish Market, Masjid Bunder, Mangaldas Market and the Mumbadevi Temple. Additionally, it connects both the Main and Harbour lines.While the CR demolished and built a new road-overbridge at Masjid around seven years ago, the condition of this station continues to remain dismal.Platforms 3 and 4 slope towards the tracks, making them dangerous for commuters boarding and alighting from moving trains.”The iron borders of the staircase jut out which could hurt commuters hurrying to catch a train,” said a railway official. The multi-disciplinary team in its report noted that the staircases are slippery.This station too suffers from heavy encroachment with hawkers having residential dwellings outside and next to the station. These lead to congestion during peak hours. As there is a huge market area nearby, many vendors and sellers carrying bulk luggage use the FOBs which further leads to congestion.The CR authorities are working on providing space for extension on the FOB’s east side till the deck, in order to ensure speedy clearance on the CSMT-end of the booking office. Sources said that on the Kalyan-end of the FOB, on the west hand side, there is a shop blocking smooth movement of commuters and so the BMC has been asked to relocate this shop.Meanwhile, the middle FOB witnesses the maximum number of commuters as it is closest to the markets. The CR authorities are working on arrangements for walking using a skywalk on the vacant space connecting east and west. The officials said that the BMC has agreed to provide landings for the same.Daily Footfalls2016-1755,800KurlaThis station is among the most crowded in the suburban railway network. It provides access to Bandra-Kurla Complex on the west and Nehru Nagar, Andheri-Kurla Road on the east. It connects Main and Harbour lines of CR, making it an important station.The station has three FOBs which are densely crowded. Over 245 people who trespass have died on the tracks at Kurla until November this year. This is a particular problem near the northern end of the station from where Harbour line trains ply. Besides, the width of these FOBs are a mere 2.44 meters, needing immediate replacement with wider FOBs, and modification to connect it with the skywalk. Several women commuters at this station complain of being wrongly touched. After nearly a decade, a new subway has been inaugurated and thrown open to the public by the BMC.”This subway is needed to have arms connecting the platforms instead of only going from east to west,” said Subhash Gupta, president, Mumbai Rail Yatri Sangh.There are several shops — illegal and legal — that need to be removed and relocated in order to provide better access to commuters. At present, it is a struggle to exit the station premises but after the Elphinstone Road tragedy several hawkers have been cleared. Auto rickshaws parked haphazardly outside the station make smooth transit a problem. The audit report mentioned the need to disallow vehicular traffic from coming close to the station premises on the west side.There is also a proposal of having an elevated three-line Harbour station above the eastern part of the sprawling Kurla station. The Rs 96-crore project entails the creation of a rail flyover, starting from north of Chunabhatti to the south of Tilak nagar stations right above the current platforms 7 and 8. The elevated Harbour line will have two lines that will move towards CSMT and Panvel while the third line will terminate at Kurla. The rail line below will then be used by freight trains coming from Mumbai Port Trust via Wadala.Daily Footfalls2016-171.58 LWe have taken several steps to ensure that there is no congestion on rail premises. We are also coordinating with the BMC to demarcate no hawking zones.—Ravinder Bhakar, Chief PRO, Western RailwayWe have started taking initiatives to reduce congestion at railway premises. Work to improve infrastructure of platforms and FOBs has also begun.—Sunil Udasi, Chief PRO, Central Railway

Odd-Even will be ineffective: Bhure Lal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Aam Aadmi Party government announced to run during Monday-Friday its road rationing scheme Odd-Even as an emergency measure under a Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) given by the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).But EPCA chairman Bhure Lal said there will not be much effect through the scheme in which odd and even numbered private vehicles ply on alternate days to encourage public transport use.”The government does not have enough number of buses to start the scheme, and with exemptions on two-wheelers, it will not have much effect,” he said.Lal said the announcement of the scheme was not suggested at present, as smog is expected to clear by November 13. “The government needs at least 2,000 (more) buses to start the third round of Odd-Even. The announcement was done without any consultation with EPCA. It will create unnecessary panic among the public at large.””The measure was suggested under GRAP during emergency levels while we are expecting the conditions to improve by Saturday,” said Lal.The former bureaucrat, who has been heading EPCA for the last 10 years, added, “Besides, exempting two-wheelers, which are even more polluting than cars, will not help the situation.”The government should have waited for EPCA to think over it before announcing the measure, he said. The city has over 60 lakh two-wheelers; these should have been included in the scheme with better planning if the government had to bring back the scheme at all, he said.The scheme like in the last year exempts women and two-wheelers. The first two editions were launched by the AAP government in 2016. Then restrictions were in place from 8am to 8pm. GRAP was notified last year and has an advisory for every category of pollution levels. Odd-Even is to be implemented during emergency pollution levels.The AAP government assured that there will be no surge pricing by Ola and Uber during the five days of Odd-Even.

Migrants in Gujarat solidly back BJP: CR Patil

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CR Patil, BJP MP from Navsari in Surat, originally hails from Jalgaon in Maharashtra. The party also has one MLA, and ten corporators in Surat-Udana Municipal Corporation who originally hails from Maharashtra’s Khandesh region. Patil, who commands influence over a sizeable chunk of migrant population, has been given responsibility of these voters. He spoke with DNA’s Sudhir Suryawanshi, when he expressed confidence of BJP bagging 120-125 seats of a total of 182 seats.Rahul Gandhi has been raising issues such as education, health, and Tata’s Nano factory…The Opposition will be raking up some issue. But Gujarat’s migrant population are with the BJP. The party has done a lot for them, be it jobs, roads, electricity, pure water and proper drainage system and road connectivity. The migrant population has secured their future in Gujarat.Is Khandesh population unhappy with GST implementation?Not only textile traders, but spinners, twisters, embroidery workers etc also come under GST. But it has impacted only a miniscule of traders. The big traders in fact are happy. PM Modi has also cut GST on textiles from 18% to 5%. Now people have got refunds, and the anger against GST has come down.Has costly health services made people unhappy?In each village, government health centres are providing free treatment. Besides, people are insured under Ma Amrutam Health scheme where upto Rs2.5 lakh expenses are taken care of, while under Ma Vatsalya scheme, delivery services have been made free.What of the forceful acquisition of farmers’ land?Land and development are interconnected. Without land, we cannot have development. We have mostly acquired salt pans. We are giving them good compensation that is four times that of market rate.Patidar leader Hardik Patel, OBC leader Alpesh Thakore and Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani have joined to defeat BJP…Congress has been out of power in Gujarat for last 22 years. Its leaders are desperate and are resorting to dirty caste politics.

Faster services at IGI soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Passport reading machines, web cameras, additional e-visa counters, and computers with additional manpower, will give travellers a better and hassle free travel experience at the immigration counters of IGI airport, by the end of this month.The step has been taken to ease congestion at the immigration counters during peak hours following repeated complaints from travellers.Sources said that following regular complaints, a meeting was recently held under the chairmanship of the Union Home Secretary where officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) were also present. According to sources, it was discussed in the meeting that technology upgradation, introduction of modern equipment and additional space, along with added manpower, is what the immigration department need to be lanced with, without any delay.In order to implement the discussion on the ground, a team of home ministry officials visited the immigration counters at the IGI airport on Tuesday. Sources said, DIAL will provide additional space for at least 10 more immigration counters at the departure area by November 15 and these counters will be made operational by January 2018.”The Bureau of Immigration will provide manpower and other equipment like passport reading machines, computers, web cameras, to make counters functional by November 20. At least ten e-Visa counters would also be made for electronic visa facility for foreigners by November 30 this month. Furthermore, 25 more counters will be made functional by January 2018,” a senior officer said.In addition, the Bureau of Immigration will also provide additional manpower of 1,800 personnel for improving immigration services by filling up vacant posts. “These would include personnel from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and also some ex-servicemen,” the officer said.Home ministry officials said the increase in passengers due to grant of e-visa to citizens of over 160 countries in the recent past which led to the arrival of a large number of tourists, was one of the key reasons that led to overcrowding of counters demanding immediate attention. Besides, there have been allegations that many immigration officers leave counters in rush hours for tea/ lunch/dinner breaks and that some of them were not well trained.

3,550 VVPATs found defective in first level checking

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 3,550 Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines out of the total 70,182 allotted to Gujarat were returned after they were found defective during the first level checking (FLC) conducted by the EC.It means 5% VVPAT machines were found to have some fault or defect. The Chief Electoral Officer in Gujarat, BB Swain, said, “Several machines were found having some physical or other kind of defects and have been returned for repair. The EC is very sensitive over such issue and the machines will be used only when they are fit. We can see that against the total units allotted, the number of faulty or defective units is very less.”Besides VVPATs, 29,07 ballot units (BUs) and 5,242 Control Units (CUs) were found faulty. The EC has sent 75,196 BUs and 62,666 CUs for Assembly polls in Gujarat.”The FLC is being conducted to ensure that every unit goes through the eyes of the returning officers or Block Level Officers (BLOs). One should not get the understanding that fault or defect means vote cast to one went in favour of another. There were several minor defects like missing buttons or cracks among others,” Swain added.There are 50,128 polling booths across the state, which goes to polls on December 9 and 14, and as per the standard procedure of EC, BUs should be 150% of the total number of booths, CUs should be 125% and VVPATs should be 140% of the total number of booths. The EC has also allotted additional 4,150 VVPAT machines in Gujarat.

Euthanasia case: Centre opposes ‘living will’ in SC, says it can be misused

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court’s Constitution bench on Tuesday commenced hearing on a plea favouring euthanasia. A five-judge constitution bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra,is hearing the case. According to ANI, Centre opposed the living will & told SC’s five-judge Constitution bench that it could be enormously misused. A living will is when a patient can give consent which allows withdrawal of life support systems if the individual is reduced to a permanent vegetative state with no real chance of survival. SC during the hearing advised Centre to set up permanent medical board to deal speedily with cases of passive euthanasia. Besides the CJI, the bench also comprises justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.The court had in February 2014 referred to a Constitution bench a plea favouring voluntary passive euthanasia or mercy killing in cases where a person is suffering from a terminal illness and has no chance of revival and recovery as per the medical opinion. The court will consider the plea of an NGO, Common Cause, to declare ‘right to die with dignity’ as a fundamental right within the fold of Right to Live with Dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. With ANI inputs

Zee Entertainment to acquire 100% stake in 9X Media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leading global content company, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) is set to acquire a 100 per cent stake in 9X Media Pvt Ltd and its subsidiaries in an all cash deal valued at Rs 160 crore. A definitive agreement has been entered into by ZEEL to acquire the entire stake currently held by New Silk Route and other shareholders, thereby paving way for their exit.Punit Goenka, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ZEEL, said, “Continuing with our strategy of expanding into regional markets and niche genres, we are pleased to announce this acquisition which strengthens our music portfolio. Music is an integral component of consumer’s entertainment pie and we will offer our consumers a wider array of choices through these channels. 9X channels enjoy leading market shares in their respective segments and will benefit immensely from our network’s strength to achieve higher growth potential and cost synergies. I am confident that these channels will make our entertainment bouquet even more compelling for the audience.”9X Media, along with its subsidiaries, operates a bouquet of six music channels – 9XM (Latest Bollywood), 9X Jalwa (Evergreen Hindi), 9X Jhakaas (Marathi), 9X Tashan (Punjabi), 9XO (English), 9X Bajao (Hindi Classics). On completion of the acquisition, these channels will be added to ZEEL’s current portfolio of 33 channels.The acquisition, ZEEL said in a statement, is in line with the company’s strategy to cater to diverse audiences by offering targeted products. Besides significantly expanding its Hindi music portfolio, it gives ZEEL access to the regional music genre. It also increases its regional footprint with foray into the Punjabi market.”9X Media’s bouquet of channels have established a strong viewership on the back of the unique brand identity created over the years. In addition to strengthening ZEEL’s television bouquet, these channels will complement the music label and movie production businesses. 9X Media’s popular Bollywood news portal, SpotboyE, will also be a part of the transaction. The company is confident of utilising network synergies to bring down the costs and significantly improve the profitability of these channels,” ZEEL said in the statement.

Esplanade guarded 24/7 by cops, cameras

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 3.5-kilometre Marine Drive stretch is secured by surveillance cameras and round-the-clock police patrolling on foot, segways, bicycles or in vans.The cops are deployed at crucial spots. There are also dozens of plainclothes policemen deployed to keep a close eye on suspicious activities, people and vehicles. “Other than 24/7 patrolling, announcements are made during high tide to warn tourists and the general public to be keep a safe distance from the seashore,” said a senior police officer, adding that they do not allow any kind of vehicles, not even cycles, to ply on the promenade. Besides, check posts are set up to put a stop to drag racing.The authorities feel that even though there is heavy police presence and several precautions in place to avoid vehicles from accessing the promenade, installation of barriers between the promenade and the road is key. As it would also keep reckless drivers at bay.RECENT ACCIDENTS​On September 28, an Ola cab lost control and drove onto the pavement, before landing on the tetrapods near Haji Ali. Four passengers sustained injuries in the incident.In April, 53-year-old Harishchandra Kadge, a resident of Fanaswadi, Girgaum, who had gone for a walk at night with his son Pravin and granddaughter Kavya, 3, on Marine Drive died after a motorcyclist rammed into him.

DNA Exclusive: Yavatmal farm deaths may be due to drugs, liquor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fresh information collected by the state government has revealed that the deaths of 18 farmers in Yavatmal district were likely due to abuse of drugs and country liquor, and not because of spraying of insecticide, as was originally reported in sections of the media.Information collected by the Maharashtra government has also thrown up a widespread illegal drug racket in the Yeotmal district, which is notorious for its high number of farmers’ suicides.Further, it was found that the drug-and-alcohol-induced deaths have been taking place for almost two months but hadn’t been reported by district authorities.Fadnavis is said to have taken the deaths seriously and expressed his displeasure over the lack of communication from the concerned departments to his office or at the level of Mantralaya in general.On Tuesday, the state cabinet cleared aid of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of farm labourers on humanitarian grounds and announced a probe to be headed by the additional chief secretary (Home).”There seems to be lapses and criminal negligence on the part of concerned staff of the departments of home, agriculture, rural development, public health and medical education,” said a senior bureaucrat, who briefed the state cabinet on the issue on Tuesday.”Neither the office of district superintendent of police nor the district health chief send report immediately to Mantralaya on these deaths or those affected.”Besides, blood test reports have not been given to the relatives as the possibility of some mischief cannot be ruled out,” he added.Agriculture development officers at the Zila Parishad are empowered to issue license for spraying pesticides as well as drugs to control rat population in the fields.”The probe will now reveal whether or not the permission was granted or whether the farmers illegally used poisonous pesticides. Inhalation may have caused restlessness or dizziness but death looks quite unusual. Henceforth, the rules to sanction permission for use of pesticides will be made strict,” this official added.Need to knowIt was found that the drug-and-alcohol-induced deaths have been taking place for almost two months but hadn’t been reported by district authorities.Agriculture development officers at the Zila Parishad are empowered to issue license for spraying pesticides as well as drugs to control rat population in the fields.

Heavy security in Kolkata as Durga idol immersion to start today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With most of the household Durga puja idols set for immersion on Dashami on Saturday, Kolkata Police as well as civic authorities have made elaborate security arrangements for peaceful processions at the various ghats on the Ganga in and around the city.Immersion of Durga idols will continue on all days from Saturday, including on Muharram day on Sunday till October 3.Apart from manning the riverfront and preventing onlookers from getting too close to the water, senior officers Kolkata Police will be conducting special vigil from watch towers constructed near the ghats.”We are keeping strict vigil at the ghats. Also there will be several police personnel posted on the way to them to check any untoward incident during the immersion process. We are not taking any chance,” a senior Kolkata Police officer told PTI.Teams of river police and personnel from disaster management have been deployed to patrol the river, he said.”Besides, closed-circuit television cameras and drones will also be used at certain ghats too to keep a tab on the immersion process there. Our officers will also be there in plain clothes,” he said.The administration has put up additional lights at the ghats and cranes have been employed to bring out the remains of idols, flowers from the river water to avoid pollution.Around 3500 community pujas were held in the city this year, while over thousands more are observed in the suburban towns and villages across West Bengal.The Calcutta High Court had allowed immersion of Durga idols on all days from Vijaya Dashami according to the Hindu almanac, including on Muharram on October one.The high court had also directed the West Bengal government to make necessary security arrangements in this connection.The state government had earlier imposed restrictions on Durga idol immersion on September 30 after 10 pm and had disallowed it on October one.

Find ways to stop waste burning, MCDs told

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to curb air pollution this winter, the Environment Control Pollution Authority (EPCA) on Tuesday asked the municipal corporations of Delhi-NCR to make a strategy to put a stop to burning of waste in the open as well as to monitor construction sites.The EPCA, a Supreme Court (SC)-mandated body to check air pollution in the Capital, directed the civic bodies to file action taken reports (ATR) on a fortnightly basis. The move has come just ahead of the implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The plan will be implemented in the city from October 15.”We have directed the civic bodies to prepare contingency plans to tackle instances of blazes at landfill sites, all of which are operating beyond their saturation points. We will have to ensure monitoring and vigilance throughout this period, to prevent a repeat of November, 2016, smog,” said Bhure Lal, a former bureaucrat who heads the Authority.Besides, the corporations have also been told to form vigilance teams to conduct intensive patrolling in their respective areas and submit reports of the same with the authorities concerned as well as with the EPCA.Delhi Environment Secretary Keshav Chandra, who attended the meeting, said fire from landfill sites, fireworks during Diwali, and burning of garbage were the major factors that contributed to a spike in pollution levels during winter.The environment body made it clear that no fireworks should be coming to Delhi from the NCR. Besides the NCR areas including Gurgaon and Faridabad, which do not have an organised garbage collection system , to have a mechanism of proper collection and disposal of waste by December.According to the GRAP, measures under the ‘severe’ and ’emergency’ categories include stopping heavy goods vehicles (except those with essential commodities) from entering the city. The Transport Department and the Traffic Police will be responsible for identifying alternative routes for these vehicles.Also, the corporations and government agencies will be tasked to identify construction sites across the city. “All construction will be stopped, in case of air quality reaching severe levels. District-level committees will be formed to monitor construction sites,” he said.Under the GRAP, each category — emergency, severe, very poor, and moderate to poor — comes with it own advisory. Besides, Pollution Under Control (PUC) test centers will be monitored by the state transport authority and the government’s task force.

Gujarat eyes 6 crore tourists by 2020; young travellers targeted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat is eyeing over six crore tourist footfalls in the state by 2020 on the back of promotions and is mainly targeting the youth looking at short vacations.The western state is looking at a whole range of tourist activities to achieve the ambitious target.”Last year, we received 4.2 crore tourists in Gujarat.We have set a target of six crore footfalls by 2020 for which we are promoting our festivals and developing new destinations. Our main focus segment is the young people with spending power who go for short vacations,” Jenu Devan, MD of Tourism Corporation of Gujarat, told PTI here.He said for the youth Gujarat offers a host of attractions, including adventure, eco, beach, festivals, heritage and border tourism.Foreign tourists comprises only 2 per cent of the overall visitor footfalls in Gujarat, he said.”We are promoting Gujarat on the international platform, including Italy, east Europe, Japan and South Korea among others.”We have hoping to increase the inbound tourist footfalls to 5 per cent by end of 2020,” he said adding the state will continue to strengthen its top source markets, the US and the UK.Gujarat has attracted over Rs 9,000-crore investments for 220 tourism-related projects, the official said. “We have received investment commitments of over Rs 9,000 crore for developing and creating infrastructure for 220 projects for the period 2015-2020.”The government spends Rs 200 core every year for promotion and branding of Gujarat tourism at various domestic and global platforms, Devan said.Devan said Gujarat tourism is targeting metro cities like Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad besides tier II places like Pune and Indore, where there is a high level of young working population with good spending power.”We are looking at a mix of tier I and II cities, which have a good young population with spending power.” Devan also said Gujarat is developing two new circuits heritage and Buddhist to add to the existing offers for holiday-makers.”To attract travellers to visit Gujarat again and again, we keep developing new tourism products. We are developing two new circuits – heritage and Buddhist circuits.”Besides we are also mulling over creating several other circuits like Jain, Sufi and tribal,” Devan added.The state is also bullish on medical tourism and Bollywood, for which the tourism department will facilitate support in terms of incentives, including single clearance window and transport, among others, Devan said.​

Government staring at `35,000 crore burden

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From the ‘Rani of Reforms’, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje may don the robe of Santa Claus as assembly elections closing in. With 15 months left into her second tenure, she would be under electoral compulsion to try and make every segment of the society happy including government employees.The most likely fallout of her expected populist measures could be burden of Rs 35,000 crore on the state exchequer. While government employees are expecting bonanza in form of 7th pay commission recommendations; the common man reeling from high oil prices also eagerly awaiting some relief by the state government. Besides, there are demands from farmers particularly hope of a loan waiver up to Rs 50,000.With high stakes on the assembly elections next year, the state government will have to come true on everyone’s expectation more over those of government employees and farmers. The biggest drain on the exchequer would be 7th pay commission, which is expected to be around Rs 10500 crore but this could increase if the government becomes benevolent and decides to pay arrears from January 1, 2016.Honouring agreement with farmers would be even bigger burden. If the government waives loan of up to Rs 50,000, the outflow could be anywhere around Rs 20,000 crore. Apart from 7th pay commission, the government has to sort out matter of grade pay. For the ministerial employees the finance committee will take a call on grade pay of Rs 3600. Even if there is agreement on grade pay of Rs 2800, the additional chief secretary (Finance) D B Gupta has assessed financial burden of Rs 248 crore though employees claim it would be much lower.Another grade pay issue is related to recommendation by Govind Sharma committee according to which those receiving grade pay of Rs 1900 to 2100 were to receive Rs 2400 as grade pay while those in Rs 2400 grade pay were to get Rs 2800. After passing through scrutiny of various committees, the currently it is pending with a committee of Transport Minister Yunus Khan. A decision in favour of employees would cost Rs 4800 crore.However, chief minister who doubles up as finance minister has her task cutout due to revenue deficit. Major reason behind that is falling crude price, which has significantly reduced royalty received from crude oil production in Barmer. Revenue from petroleum has dipped to Rs 1200 crore against estimate of Rs 1300 crore. Besides, the government took burden of Rs 1 lakh crore accumulative losses of three DISCOM’s under ‘UDAY’ scheme. A huge sum is being paid as interest on this. The government also withdrew increased power tariff for agriculture sector taking a hit of Rs 500 crore.Between heightened expectations and depleted resources, it would be a challenge for the government to strike a fine balance. Although, being a seasoned politician and administrator, the chief would hopefully overcome with ease.

Tejas loses its shine for passengers, demand dips

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In May, the Central Railway authorities were excited about launching the premier Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express in the hope that it would be their gravy train, but the country’s first semi-high speed train seems to have quickly run out of steam. It has been running empty for days now, at what should be a peak time, and hasn’t seen many reservations even for the year-end months.Almost 90 per cent of seats in the 13-coach train, which has two power cars and an engine, were vacant for its past many runs, CR sources said. “During monsoons, trains are less crowded. But it is surprising that even in the months of October to December, full of festivals, the train hasn’t seen many bookings,” said a CR official on condition of anonymity. Besides, now is the time when Konkan region is said to be scenic and receive visitors, he said.When DNA checked seat availability for the coming days, we found there are at least 675-700 available seats in AC coaches and 30-35 in the executive AC coach, right till December. An executive-class coach in Tejas has 42 seats while each AC coach has 65 seats.CR officials, concerned about the drop in demand, complained that when quality services are provided at a slightly steeper cost, people shun them. “It feels futile to improve the condition of services, accessories and food quality inside premier trains,” an official said.In the month that Tejas Express was flagged off by former railway minister Suresh Prabhu, the train was running to capacity each way. But then, in June, demand from Mumbaikars heading for Goa dropped to 67 per cent, and further to 23 per cent in July, before picking up, at about 55 per cent, in August.Railway officials claim that demand during monsoon is normally low, be it railways or airways, but in this case, even the festive months of November and December haven’t seen holiday-goers line up for bookings.Built in the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, the train is capable of running at 200 kmph, but usually runs at 160-180 kmph due to track constraints.CSMT-Karmali Tejas Express: ReservationsMay 24-31: 100 per centJune: 66.57 per centJuly: 23.15 per centAugust: 55.08 per centKarmali-CSMTMay: 100 per centJune: 69.47 per centJuly: 24.74 per centAug: 33.9 per centFeatures :- Touchless water taps, soap dispenser, marble finish anti-graffiti coat, hand dryers- Vinyl-wrapped exteriors, secured gangways to reduce sound levels, dirt, water ingress- Electro-pneumatic air brakes, fire and smoke suppression system- CCTV cameras, GPS based public address system- Call bell integrated with berth reading light, digital destination boards- TV with touch control- Local cuisine and celebrity-chef menu

CBSE says Ryan school flouted guidelines

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Board Secondary Education’s (CBSE) report on the matter on Saturday revealed how the school flouted basic guidelines. Among the many security lapses that the report points out, one is of non-functional CCTV cameras in the school and no attendant being present at the toilets. It also mentions that non-teaching staff and children used the same toilet, which posed a threat to children’s safety.It also pointed out that the school building posed a safety threat, as the boundary wall did not have enough height as well as no barbed wires, as a result of which anyone could enter the school premises. Also, the school could not produce safety certificates as per Rule 8.5 of Affiliation Bye Laws. Besides, its fire safety certificate, too, has expired in May this year and the school had failed to renew it.The report stated that of the five floors in the school building, three floors are used for teaching-learning processes while remaining two floors remain unused. “Students can access these unused classrooms as these classrooms are not locked. Students can easily go to the building terrace/roof as it remains open and no locks were found. The electricity panel room is unlocked which is dangerous for the safety of the students,” the report stated.

Rs 1 lakh crore for 508 km: 5 facts about India’s ‘almost free’ bullet train project

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ‘bhoomi poojan’ of the prestigious Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project shows India’s giant leap.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese couterpart Shinzo Abe inaugurated the high-profile project near the Sabarmati river on Thursday.Seen as highlight of Indo-Japan bilateral ties, the project is almost free for New Delhi.“Ek prakar se muft mein ,” PM Modi said after the bullet train launch ceremony.As the two Asian powers join hands for a the mega infra project, here are five facts you must know about India’s first bullet train:1: The 508-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project would be made in an estimated cost of Rs 1,10,000 crore with a loan of Rs 88,000 crore from Japan. The interest on this loan would be as low as 0.1%. The loan would be given back within 50 years. The grace period of another 15 years has also been given by Japan for the project.2: The bullet train would cover a stretch of 508 km between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The stretch would have 468 km of elevated track with 27 km inside a tunnel and the rest 13 km on the ground. Besides, the train would also pass from the country’s biggest tunnel of 21 km. It would also run 7 Km under the sea.3: At present 12 stations have been proposed, they are Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.4: According to railway ministry officials, the operating speed of the bullet train will be 320 kilometers per hour and maximum speed will be 350 kilometers per hour. By making its stop at all the above mentioned 12 stations, the train would take 2 hours and 58 minutes.5: The train will make 70 Ahmedabad-Mumbai rides. Reportedly, a total of 24 high-speed trains will be imported from Japan and then rest of the rakes will be manufactured in India. Also, the officials stated that the reason behind giving this project to Japan is that the nations has been running the trains since many years without a single accident that ever happened on its bulet trains.

L-G reviews waste mgmt measures

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Monday reviewed sanitation and waste management measures with the three municipal corporations in the city. The corporations told Baijal that they aim to make areas under Open Defecation Free scheme by October 2. Baijal stressed there is a need to re-engineer the design of dhalaos (community bins) in such a manner that garbage does not spill over from these sites.The cleaning of dhalaos assumes importance after the recent incident of a portion of Ghazipur landfill that caved in in east Delhi, killing two people. He also asked the corporations to explore scaling up the compactors-model deployed in certain areas of SDMC. The L-G also re-emphasized the need to rope in RWAs and the larger community for their contribution to neighbourhood initiatives. Besides, the L-G directed all the municipal commissioners and DDA to explore the possibility of creating more multi-level stack parkings and surface parking in their areas for the smooth implementation of the government’s upcoming “Parking Policy”.Also, the corporations have been asked to oversee the maintenance of municipal assets such as parks, flyovers, open gyms et cetera. Further, they should undertake regular field visits.The Urban Development department was also directed to compile and furnish a consolidated list of assets and liabilities of the three corporations. The LG was apprised of the status of mechanical sweeping machines, trash cans, maintenance of parks and Gram Sabha lands for parks.

Mumbai: 29-year-old Bengaluru pianist Karan Joseph commits suicide in Bandra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 29-year-old musician committed suicide by jumping off the 12th floor of a building in Mumbai on Saturday. The victim has been identified as Karan Joseph, a resident of Bengaluru.According to the police, Karan had been living in the 12th floor of Concord building Bandra for the past one month. He was staying with his friend Rishi Shah.On Saturday morning, while Shah and some other friends were watching television, Karan suddenly got up rushed to the window and jumped off. His friends immediately called the police. Karan was rushed to Bhabha Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.”An Accidental Death Report (ADR) has been registered at Bandra police station. Besides, his mobile phone will also be sent to the forensic lab. We are carrying out initial inquiry in the matter,” said Rashmi Karandikar, Deputy Commissioner of Police and Mumbai police spokesperson.Karan’s parents have been informed, to take custody of his body.A number of stalwarts in the industry paid tribute to him. “Karan Joseph was a genius. Should have been far more celebrated than he was. It’s really unfair, how the music scene works in India,” tweeted Vishal Dadlani.

This Malad mandal ‘ropes’ in a novel way to celebrate Ganpati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The eight-feet tall Ganpati idol at the Raipada Mitra Mandal in Malad has kept up with the eco-friendly celebrations in the city this year by creating the idol with rope. “This year too we decided to use ropes to make the Ganpati idol,” said Sandeep Birvatkar, president of Raipada Mitra Mandal. In the 30 years of the mandal’s Ganpati celebrations, it has gone the eco-friendly way in the last eight years. In the last two years the mandal has been making eco-friendly Ganpatis of bamboo and paper cups.“A 1,000-metre long rope was used along with grass, wooden frames and cotton cloth pieces to support the idol. It took nearly a month to make the idol,” said Siddhant Naik, the artist who made the idol. Naik who is an alumnus of JJ School of Arts made only one Sarvajanik (public) Ganpati this year. “Such idols take time and devotion to be made. We could not make more because of time constraints,” he said.“The idea is to ensure that the idols are biodegradable and dissolve fast,” said Naik. The mandal spent around Rs 55,000 for the idol. A similar idol in plaster of Paris would have cost up to Rs 30,000. Besides promoting eco concerns, the mandal is also creating social awareness related to pregnancy. “There have been a lot of news reports lately about pregnancy and the problems around it. We decided to make people aware about the precautions to be taken before and after delivery,” said Birvatkar.After 10 days, the idol is immersed in an artificial pond. “We would rather dissemble and give away the rope, but the older generation is against it. Hopefully in the future we will be able to convince them about it,” said Birvatkar.

C’garh govt forms panel to review arrangements at cow shelters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chhattisgarh government today formed a cabinet sub-committee to review the arrangements at cow shelters following death of large number of cows in some state-aided facilities. The panel will have four ministers and its mandate is to take stock of the arrangements and facilities in the cowsheds across the state, Urban Development Minister Amar Agrawal told reporters. The decision to constitute the committee was taken during the Cabinet meeting held at Mantralaya here, he said. Besides Amar Agrawal, the other minister-members of the panel are Brijmohan Agrawal (Agriculture and Animal Husbandry), Ajay Chandrakar (Panchayat and Rural Development) and Premprakash Pandey (Higher Education). The Raman Singh government has come under sharp attack from the opposition Congress over the death of large number of cows at “gaushalas” in two districts of the state. One of these state-aided shelters was run by BJP leader Harish Verma in Durg district. According to the state officials, over 200 cows died in three gaushalas located in Durg and Bemetara districts last week due to “starvation and lack of care”. Four persons, including Verma, have been arrested in connection with the deaths.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Lavalin case was politically motivated, says Kerala CM on being acquitted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on being acquitted in Lavalin case, on Wednesday said that the case was politically motivated. ?The case was politically motivated. I am happy that the truth has won,? Vijayan said in a press conference. The Kerala Hight Court on Wednesday acquitted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and two others in Lavalin case. The court said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is unable to prove that accused had gained from the alleged deal. The High Court also found no evidence against Vijayan. Vijayan was accused of hatching a criminal conspiracy while he was serving as the electricity minister from May 1996 to October 1998. He, along with others named in the case, was accused of awarding the contract for the renovation and modernisation of few hydroelectric projects to a Canada-based company SNC-Lavalin at exorbitant rates, thereby causing a loss of Rs. 374.50 crore to the state. Besides Vijayan, six others discharged in the case were senior executives of the Kerala State Electricity Board.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Take domestic flights from revamped Terminal 2, this October

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From October 1 onwards, Delhiites might have to board their flights to selected domestic destinations from the newly renovated Terminal 2 of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport.Domestic carriers operating at the existing domestic Terminal 1D have been asked to shift one third of their operations to T2, so that expansion work of 1D, that has been handling footfall almost beyond its capacity now, can undergo expansion. They have been given a deadline of August 31 to do this.This is considered to be the first step towards expansion of T1D, which is a part of the IGI’s masterplan. This was announced during an official unveiling of the master plan on Tuesday, at the Delhi Airport, according to which DIAL aims to make the IGI airport one of the swankiest in the world by 2034. The plan includes inter-terminal walkalators for passenger movement, metro connectivity between terminals for swift transition among other infrastructural advancements.DNA had reported in March this year that Terminal 2, renovated at a cost of more than Rs 100 crores, missed its fourth tentative deadline in February 2017 to be made operational. The terminal, was initially to be declared open on January 1, 2017, by the airport operator DIAL.However, the deadline was postponed to mid January and then to February starting. The terminal then missed another tentative deadline of being declared open on February 15, after which the ministry of civil aviation had said that it would find a solution within a week.However, unveiling the master plan on Tuesday, I Prabhakara Rao, CEO, DIAL, said, the departure Terminal, T1D and arriving Terminal, T1 C will be merged into one and expanded to accommodate 40 million passengers per annum. “This includes modification of apron to meet future aircraft demand equipped with modern facilities like bridge mounted equipment (BME) and visual docking guidance system (VDGS), he said. The modified T1 will also have 22 Aerobridges,” Rao said.The expansion works will be carried out along with the normal operations at T1. Certain areas of the terminal and city side will operate at a lower capacity. However the overall capacity of the airport in view of T2 operationalisation will be maintained at around 70 million passengers per year. Besides, a fourth runway will also be built parallel to runway 11/29. The fourth runway will be constructed by 2021. This will ease out future pressure on other runways and will be constructed parallel to runway 11/29.

Merger of AIADMK factions won’t benefit people: DMK MP Kanimozhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The merger of two AIADMK factions would in no way be beneficial to the people of Tamil Nadu, DMK MP and the party’s women’s wing leader Kanimozhi said on Monday. Replying to a specific question on the merger, she told reporters at the airport here that it would benefit only the leaders and not help in solving the problems of the people. Moreover, the people had not voted for these leaders and the continuation of the government itself was doubtful, she said. When it was pointed out that Tamil film star Rajinikanth was being projected as an alternative force to the AIADMK and DMK by Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam leader Tamilaruvi Maniyan, Kanimozhi said he had projected many persons in the past also.Meanwhile, Viduthalai Chiraithagal Katchi president Thol Thirumavalavan said the fate of the state government would depend on the decision taken by the group of MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran. Though the two factions have officially merged, unity and discipline in the merged party would be a question mark, he told reporters at the airport. Besides, there was the possibility of a splinter group emerging from within, leading to another political confusion, he said, adding modalities and formalities might have been settled before the merger and formation of the new ministry.

Merger of AIADMK factions won’t benefit people: Kanimozhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The merger of two AIADMK factions would in no way be beneficial to the people of Tamil Nadu, DMK MP and the party’s women’s wing leader Kanimozhi said today. Replying to a specific question on the merger, she told reporters at the airport here that it would benefit only the leaders and not help in solving the problems of the people. Moreover, the people had not voted for these leaders and the continuation of the government itself was doubtful, she said. When it was pointed out that Tamil film star Rajinikanth was being projected as an alternative force to the AIADMK and DMK by Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam leader Tamilaruvi Maniyan, Kanimozhi said he had projected many persons in the past also. Meanwhile, Viduthalai Chiraithagal Katchi president Thol Thirumavalavan said the fate of the state government would depend on the decision taken by the group of MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran. Though the two factions have officially merged, unity and discipline in the merged party would be a question mark, he told reporters at the airport. Besides, there was the possibility of a splinter group emerging from within, leading to another political confusion, he said, adding modalities and formalities might have been settled before the merger and formation of the new ministry.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PM Modi, Amit Shah to meet CMs of BJP-ruled states in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah will meet the Chief Ministers and Deputy Chief Ministers of all party-ruled states today to discuss core issues like development and social welfare work including the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Besides 13 Chief Ministers and six Deputy Chief Ministers, a few cabinet ministers may also attend the meeting. This will be Prime Minister Modi’s third meeting with the Chief Ministers after the BJP swept to power in 2014, but the first such exercise since it formed a government in Bihar by joining hands with the JD(U). The meeting is called days after Shah met party leaders in New Delhi to discuss the strategy for 2019 elections. During the meeting, which was attended by eight Union Ministers, Shah set a target of 350 plus seats for BJP in 2019 polls.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sleepless in Khatauli: Local community galvanises into action

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Their screams broke the calm of this sleepy town,” recalls local resident Manoj Baliyan, who after regaining his senses, rushed to the aide of the passengers, some of whom were left perilously caged in mangled train coaches. “In few minutes, we saw the tracks splattered with blood. Passengers were crying in agony, we took small cutting equipment, whatever we could manage, in short time and went to help them,” he said. Incidentally, Baliyan, shared the tragedy as the facade of the entrance of his house was shattered by a mangled coach which had rammed into it. It was pulled away this evening by the railways team, capping a day of dramatic events. Sumir Kumar, a labourer, said, he heard a deafening thud and soon realised it was a train accident. “I and my friend were retiring from work when we realised what had happened. We went there with cutters and soon many people rushed to the site, with gas cylinders to help in cutting the mangled coach,” he said. But, it wasn’t just the injured and shocked passengers they were bringing succour to, many local youth were helping in guiding traffic or offering water and refreshments to authorities, NDRF rescue teams, and media persons, all of whom spent a sleepless night, even as the town continued to come to terms with the tragedy today. In hours of disasters, human beings are known to have risen to the occasion, tiding over narrow differences, they may otherwise have. And, this is precisely what happened when the tragedy struck. The Hindus of Jagat Colony and Muslims from Islamabad village pitched in together in rescuing the injured, thus becoming a shining symbol of harmony and unity, in this hour of distress. Ajay Kushwaha, 31, a local resident, was seen offering water to people the whole night and returned at the break of dawn to watch the track clearance work. Besides, people trickled in from neighbouring Meerut too, some brought food, while others medicine, which they distributed at the hospital. And, it was not just the authorities having a sleepless night here, almost the entire city seems to have lost sleep due to the sheer magnitude of the tragedy, that has befallen this town. On the fateful Saturday evening, 13 coaches of the Haridwar-bound train derailed near Khatauli station. A huge crowd gathered around the site of the accident, as people from all faiths, congregated, signifying the coming together of a society for one cause.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

New metro policy ‘anti-people’: Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BSP president Mayawati today said the Centre’s new metro rail policy was “anti-people” and alleged that it would adversely hit metro projects in Uttar Pradesh. A day after the Union Cabinet approved the new metro rail policy, which opens a big window for private investments across a range of operations, Mayawati said it would make setting up of metro projects impossible. “The new metro policy announced by the Narendra Modi government is anti-people. It will become impossible to set up metro projects, especially in Kanpur, Varanasi and Allahabad … Besides, it will endanger the expansion of the ongoing Lucknow metro project,” she said in a statement here. The new policy has made “participation of private players and capitalists necessary” in metro projects. The government is running away from its reponsibilities, Mayawati alleged. She claimed the Centre was reducing its share in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. “The Centre’s aim is to somehow get ‘prime minister’ afixed with all the schemes to gain mileage and publicity,” Mayawati alleged, without elaborating further. She also charged the Yogi Adityanath government with betraying farmers in the name of loan waiver.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Indian rape victim, 10, gives birth by Caesarean section

The rape victim, who was not allowed to have an abortion by the Supreme Court, delivers a baby girl.

Delhi Police’s 20 dogs guard the Red Fort

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the hustle bustle of 71st Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort, three-year-old Maru lying on the grass stood up in attention as the national anthem was played. The labrador was among the 20 sniffer dogs that were deployed for security at the Red Fort.He was on his toes at the instance his master stood up. “He has been on the duty for more than eight hours that is why he is tired. Also, it is too hot for her to open her eyes,” said her trainer.A senior police official said the Delhi Police has 60-70 dogs in service at present.”About 40-43 are sniffer dogs and 15 of them are trackers. About 20 canines were deployed at the Red Fort today, while the rest were stationed at public places such as stations and markets,” he said.Besides the Delhi Police, paramilitary forces too had put their dogs into service.Phantom, a 10-year-old dog attached to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), was among those guarding the venue.An official said, “We either take in dogs when they are six-to-nine months old and then train them or we get them from the Army Veterinary Corps in Meerut, where dogs undergo a training for 15 months or so.”During the 2010 Commonwealth Games, 110 dogs were on duty, he said. Besides Labradors, the Delhi Police also has German Shepherds and other breeds.

Portion of old building collapses in Kolkata, 8 evacuated

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A portion of an old dilapidated building in central Kolkata collapsed today following whcih eight persons were evacuated safely. “No one is hurt or trapped inside,” a senior police official said. The front portion of the building collapsed at around 2.30 pm today, the police said. The incident happened when the central wall measuring around 100 sq ft, running from the third floor to the ground floor of the building at 65 Burtolla Street in Posta police station limits collapsed, he said. “All the eight inmates of the building have been safely evacuated,” the police official said. The building is used both for residential and commercial commercial purposes, he said. Besides personnel from Kolkata Police Disaster Managemnt Group, Kolkata Municipal Corporation officials also rushed to the site.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Amarinder warns against censorship by cable operators

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today warned against censorship by cable distribution companies, saying action would be taken against those indulging in such activity. He said his government will not indulge in political vendetta and would take strict action against any media or cable organisation found engaged in censorship of any channel or information. The chief minister’s statement comes at a time when Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has been vociferously speaking against the “cable mafia”, pitching for a level playing field and targeting the SAD-BJP’s “favorite” private multi-system operator. Amarinder also lashed out at SAD leader and Union Food Processing Minister Harsmirat Kaur Badal over her statement, accusing the government of misleading the people over debt waiver. “She obviously has no clue about what she was talking about and was trying to befool the people of Punjab,” the chief minister said, quipping “she should restrict herself to food processing, which was what she had been entrusted with”. On whitefly infestation of cotton crops, Amarinder pointed out that he had personally visited Mansa and met the affected farmers, who had been impacted by poor quality seeds and bad weather. He said fields with problems had been isolated and strict monitoring was being done of the situation by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), which had undertaken spraying pesticides at its own cost. The chief minister blamed the SAD for “ruining” the farming community during its 10 years of “misrule”. “It is unfortunate that farmers were still committing suicide,” said the chief minister. He reassured farmers that their loans up to Rs 2 lakh had been waived by his government and there was no need for them to take the extreme step. Noting that this was the first time that a chief minister would be hoisting the flag in Gurdaspur, Amarinder dismissed opposition charges that he was not touring the state. He said one had to go with a purpose, especially considering the huge amount of work his government needed to do to bring the state’s economy back on track. To a question, the chief minister claimed that his government’s campaign against drugs had been “highly successful”, with over 6,900 dealers and suppliers already in the police’s net. He said huge quantities of drugs including 95 kg of heroin had been seized. “The big players in the trade are being chased by the police and would be arrested soon”, he said, adding that many of the “so-called big fish in the trade had fled the state”. Amarinder said as many as 20 major industrial houses, along with countries like China and Russia, had shown interest in investing in the state. For the first time the government was organizing a ‘Job Mela’ at Mohali to provide opportunities of employment to the youth, he said. His government, said Amarinder, would provide all possible assistance to the encourage investment and industry in the state and take initiatives to generate employment for the youth of Punjab. To a question on former Vice President Hamid Ansari’s statement that minorities in India were feeling “insecure”, he said that there was no insecurity among any of the communities in Punjab. Expressing concern over the depleting water table, the chief minister said he would discuss the issue of water conservation during his visit to Israel next month. Besides drip irrigation, his government was studying hydroponics and aeroponics as ways to conserve water, he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Gaj Yatra’ to secure elephant corridors launched in Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to raise awareness about the shrinking space for wild elephants in the country, a ‘Gaj Yatra’ campaign has been launched in Mumbai. The campaign was yesterday launched by NGO Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) at the Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi area where Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu was present. The ‘gaj yatra’, partnered by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), will take the form of a roadshow that will move through 12 elephant range states over the next 15 months, with elephant-sized artworks created by local artists and craftsmen as the centrepiece, a statement issued by the trust said. Besides, ‘gaj mahotsav’ will be organised at different venues along the way, with concerts, parades, street plays and activities for children in particular. On the occasion, noted actor and WTI’s brand ambassador Dia Mirza said that for the gaj yatra to succeed, it must be a people’s movement. “I hope that over the next 15 months it will capture the country’s imagination, corporate India and people to come together and help secure 101 corridors for India’s wild elephants,” she said. India has about 30,000 wild elephants, which constitute over 50 per cent of the species’ estimated global population, the release said. The growing resource needs of India’s human population have led to the destruction and fragmentation of wild habitats across the country, depleting the area available for elephants to roam and causing the loss of their traditional migratory paths, it said. Elephant corridors are vital natural habitat linkages that enable the pachyderms and other wildlife animals to move through the degraded habitats lying between larger protected forests freely, without being disturbed by humans, it said. WTI has been working with the Government of India’s Project Elephant, state forest departments, and national and global NGOs to secure and protect the country’s 101 identified and mapped elephant corridors, the release said. Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and WTI CEO Vivek Menon were also present at the campaign launch.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

TN Guv, CM greet people

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and Chief Minister K Palaniswami today extended their independence day greetings to the people of the state. “Let us salute our freedom fighters and the valiant soldiers for their courage, bravery and sacrifice for our nation’s freedom. The land we live in and the traditions we live by constitute the character of our country,” Rao said. In a Raj Bhavan statement, he called for promoting patriotic fervor and carrying forward “our rich culture and tradition, develop a national outlook and commitment to attain excellence in all spheres to make our nation a global leader.” Palaniswami recalled the sacrifices of many freedom fighters. He also recalled the AIADMK government’s various welfare measures for freedom fighters and their families, including hiking their pension. Besides, a number of memorials have been erected for freedom fighters in different parts of the state, he added. He urged one and all to transcend differences relating to religion and caste and work towards creating a strong India. TNCC president Su Thirunavukkarasar and BJP state president Tamilisai Sounderrajan also extended their independence day greetings.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Clerics divided on UP govt’s order to madrassas to videograph

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision to record Independence Day celebrations in madrassas (Islamic Schools) of Uttar Pradesh for the first time has evoked a mixed response from Muslim clerics. While one section of Muslim clerics is of the view that it will enhance “transparency and trust”, another feels that the “unusual order” questions the patriotism of the minority community. The Uttar Pradesh government recently directed all madrassas to hold celebrations on Independence Day and videograph the event, according to minority welfare minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary. According to an official circular, on Independence Day, flag hoisting and recitation of the national anthem should take place at 8 am. Following this, tributes should be paid to the martyrs of the freedom struggle. Students will sing songs on nationalism and will be told about the history of August 15 and freedom fighters, it said. Besides, cultural programmes will be organised on the theme of national unity, along with sports activities. Sweets will be distributed at the end of the session. The circular asks minority welfare officers to direct all madrassas to ensure that Independence Day is celebrated with zeal and all programmes mentioned in the directive are organised. Reacting to the directive, All India Muslim Personal Law Board member Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahli said the community has been celebrating Independence Day since 1947 in madrassas, hoisting the national flag and singing the national anthem. “What is the intention behind the order?” he wondered. “If you (the UP government) have issued the same order and directives for all the schools, colleges and edcational institutes, then we have no objection. If it is only for madrassas, then it seems to be an unusual order. If it is only in madrassas, does it mean that our patriotism is being suspected?” he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Hasan Ali Money Laundering: ED raids 4 places

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Enforcement Directorate (ED), on Thursday, raided four locations in Mumbai in connection with a money laundering investigation against Pune-based stud-farm owner Hasan Ali Khan. The agency had booked 62-year-old Khan and some of his associates under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) . The action against Ali and his associates comes after a lull of almost six-years when he was first booked by the agency in 2011. Ali was also arrested in March 2011 on charges of anti-money laundering charges. He came out on bail in August, 2015.Earlier this year, the CBI had registered a case against Hasan on charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption and interrogated him in a case of financial irregularity in Pune. “In an alleged collusion with the income tax officials, Khan had lowered the value of his illegal assets and wealth ” a CBI official said.Khan, who also deals in scrap material, owes a tax of Rs 1.65 thosand crore — a staggering debt that is the largest recovery amount case in Indian tax history.According to the 16th report of the Standing Committee of Finance presented before the Lok Sabha on July 31, Khan owes Rs 1,65,665 crore as tax arrears. This is more than three times owed by share market scamsters — Harshad Mehta, Ketan Parikh and BC Dalal — who together have tax arrears of Rs 40,986 crore. The four, whose cases are pending in different courts, together owe over Rs 2 lakh crore.Alarmed by the rapid rise in tax arrears, the committee observed, “Recovery on these cases by operation of income tax alone is not possible.” Besides, even assets of these scamsters do not tally with what they owe to the tax department.Khan’s tax liabilities amount to 25% of the total direct tax arrears of Rs 6.74 lakh crore.The IT department had raised a demand of Rs70,000 crore against the Hasan Ali group in 2007 on the basis of three transactions with the UBS bank. Khan, the son of an excise official, made headlines in December 2006 when the Mumbai IT investigation wing raided several Khan’s premises, including Kolkata, on suspicion of a huge money laundering racket.

Par panel endorses key amendment in inter-state river water

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A parliamentary committee today endorsed an amendment to a bill which provides for setting up of a tribunal on inter-state river water disputes with finality of authority. The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017, introduced in Parliament in March, seeks to set up a single, permanent tribunal to adjudicate all such disputes subsuming existing tribunals. The parliamentary panel, under the chairmanship of lawmaker Hukum Singh, noted the amendment in the bill entails that the decision of the tribunal bench will be final and binding on the parties to the dispute. It also noted that such decisions will have the same force as an order or a decree of the Supreme Court. About the provision to deal with the situation where the states and union territories fail to abide by the award of the Bench or Tribunal, the panel said the ministry has informed that they can be persuaded to do so. “Besides, the party states are expected to abide by the awards or else it amounts to breakdown of the constitutional machinery and there are provisions in the Constitution to deal with such eventuality,” the panel said in its report tabled in Parliament today. It said the Constitution debars any other court to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute under the ISRWD Act, 1956. However, the apex court has been exercising its jurisdiction under some articles of the Constitution for considering the matters related to awards given on inter-state river water dispute, it noted. “The Committee, therefore, endorses this clause — which seeks giving finality to the award of the Tribunal so as to avoid the endless litigation on the disputes. However, the Committee would refrain from interpreting any Constitutional provision in this regard,” it said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SDMC targets illegal bldgs for its image makeover

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid for image- makeover, the South civic body has started a full-fledged war with a drive against illegal constructions in the capital. South Delhi mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat on Wednesday took a meeting of all departments asking officers to change the perception of municipal bodies of being “corrupt”.The move has come after the Delhi High Court pulled up civic bodies for allowing illegal construction in the national capital. Earlier this month, South Corporation demolished seven such structures while sealing two others.”The engineering department must keep deliberative as well as executive wing abreast about their action plan for the coming two days. It is important that swift actions is taken against unscrupulous builders in order to create a deterrent against the practice,” said Sehrawat.This is not all. The civic body also suspended its three engineers in Chhattarpur area for not taking action against rampant unauthourised construction.The corporation’s building department conducted its demolition drive in the South Zone over the week in areas including Chhatarpur, Chirag Dilli, Khirki Extension, Krishna Park-Khanpur and Said-Ul-Ajaib, among others.As many as seven properties were demolished and were left in an uninhabitable condition. Besides, two properties were sealed in Khirki and Rajpur Khurd areas, respectively.The officers claimed that local residents created hindrance and protested against the demolition action.The demolition has been done under Building Control Regulations notified in the Master Plan-2021 and Building Bye-Laws- 2016.To further discourage illegal construction, other government departments including Delhi Jal Board and power discoms have been asked to disconnect the water and electricity connections of such properties.Recently, the HC had observed that illegal constructions are coming up in the city because some MCD officials might have connived with the builder. Instructions are given to demolish the buildings thereby resulting in the loss of the tax payers’ money.

Odisha expects Rs 20,000 crore as penalty from mines owners

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Odisha government today said its expects about Rs 20,000 crore penalty collection from mines owners who indulged in illegal mining and violated several laws including environmental clearance, forest clearance, mining rules and consent to operate norms. “We are expecting penalty collection of about Rs 17,575 crore towards violation of environment laws and another Rs 2,000 crore from violation of forest clearance, mining plan and operate to consent norms,” chief secretary A P Padhi told reporters after a review meeting. Besides Padhi, state advocate general and senior officials of the Forest and Environment department and Mining department attended the meeting to chalk out the modalities of the penalty collection from the mines owners as per the Supreme Court’s August 2 judgement. The meeting today resolved that the fresh demand notices would be served to the mines owners within 10 days for recovery of penalty from them on charge of violation of several laws. The state government had earlier issued notices to the lessees for recovery of more than Rs 61,000 crore. The Supreme Court relied on the 2014 final report of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) according to which the total number of leases granted for mining iron and manganese ore was 187 in three districts out of which 102 lease holders did not have requisite environment clearance under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 or approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. The Apex Court on its August 2 judgement had said that the mining companies in Odisha operating without environmental clearance will have to pay a 100 per cent penalty to the state on the price of illegally extracted iron and manganese ores with effect from 2000-01.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rahul Gandhi ‘missing’ posters appear in Amethi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents of Amethi have put up posters of Congress VP Rahul Gandhi missing from his own parliamentary constituencyPosters have levelled allegations against Rahul of ignoring his area development works and announced reward to anyone furnishing information on his whereabouts. Congress men in Amethi woke up to horror on Monday when they found posters of Rahul Gandhi missing from his own parliamentary constituency were pasted all over party offices in the town. Besides party offices, such posters were put up at markets and major thoroughfares across Amethi. The posters reads: “Honourable MP Shri Rahul Gandhi is missing from Amethi. Due to his disappearing act, development work has come to a halt. People of Amethi feel cheated due to his disappearance Anyone giving information on his whereabouts will be suitably rewarded.”Rahul Gandhi, who is member of parliament (MP) from Amethi since 2004 and has made a hat-trick after his 2014 win, has not been to his constituency for the past six months. “He comes only during elections. Once he wins, he disappears. We had high hopes from him that he will speed up development works in Amethi but nothing has happened. Amethi only remained a VVIP constituency but as far as development is concerned, we do not even have basic amenities,” rued Kakku Sharma, a local resident.The Amethi District Congress President Yogendra Mishra, however, denied the charge. He claimed that the Gandhi family has done a lot for Amethi and Rae Bareli by bringing in many projects, constructing roads and making available power, drinking water and irrigation facilities for the people of the area. “The poster war is handiwork of BJP and RSS to malign the image of our youth icon. Rahul Gandhiji is party Vice-President. He represents entire nation due to which it is not possible for him to stay in Amethi more often,” he clarified.

Naveen tops on Twitter in Odisha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today emerged as the most sought after politician in the state having above half-a-million followers on the microblogging site Twitter. Patnaik is closely followed by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan having 4.56 lakh followers and BJD MP Baijayant Panda’s 2.7 lakh followers. “The CM’s twitter followers crossed a major milestone with half-a-million followers today, one of the most popular in terms of growth and activities,” a communication received from the chief minister’s office said. Patnaik had joined the microblogging site on September 09, 2015 with @Naveen_Odisha handle. His first tweet was Jai Jagannath Patnaik followed 14 persons including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee and Union Minister Suresh among others. Besides twitter, Patnaik too handles a Facebook account and Instagram.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

All India Imam Organisation demands nationwide ban on cow slaughter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demanding a nationwide ban on cow slaughter, chief imam of the All India Imam Organisation (AIIO) Umer Ahmed Ilyasi today said that cow should be declared as a “national animal”.He also said that religious sentiments of a group towards cow should be respected.”Beef is openly consumed in Kerala, Goa and northeastern states, whereas there is a ban on it in some states. We want that there should be a uniform law in the country that will ban the slaughter of cows. Besides that, cow should be declared as a national animal,” Ilyasi told reporters here.”Cow is a matter of faith for a religious group and all other communities should respect it,” he added.He, however, condemned the recent mob fury and lynchings over the suspicion of carrying/consuming beef, and said that taking the law into one’s hands was not good.Talking about Bihar Minority Welfare Minister Khurshid alias Feroz Ahmad chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ in the state assembly premises recently, Ilyasi said, “Chanting or not chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ is a matter of personal faith. But I believe that ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ or ‘Jai Sri Ram’ chants are acclamation of their victories,” Ilaysi said.”I don’t find anything wrong in someone’s glorification.We should come out of such petty mindset,” he added.He said the controversial Ram temple issue should be resolved through a dialogue between the members of Hindu and Muslim communities as has been suggested by the apex court.The imams and priests should be engaged in these dialogues as well, he said.Slamming Pakistan for sponsoring terror activities against India, Ilyasi said 25 crore Muslims in India were enough to deal with Pakistan.”If the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir want to toe Pakistani line, they should go to that country immediately,” Ilayasi said.To a query on the practice of ‘triple talaq’, he said that it could not be overlooked that women have faced injustice.”Instead of going for talaq, the society needs to strengthen the bonds of nikah,” he said.To press his point, he said that imams had met in Delhi and advocated for incorporating an interlocutor in nikahnama (Muslim marriage contract) to iron out differences between husband and wife.

Civic body demolishes 7 illegal structures

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swinging into action after the Delhi High Court pulled up civic bodies for allowing illegal construction in the national capital, the South civic body demolished seven such structures while sealing two others.The civic body also suspended its three engineers in Chhattarpur area for not taking action against rampant unauthourised construction.The corporation’s building department conducted its demolition drive in the South Zone over the week in areas including Chhatarpur, Chirag Dilli, Khirki Extension, Krishna Park-Khanpur and Said-Ul-Ajaib, among others.”As many as seven properties were demolished and were left in an uninhabitable condition. Besides, two properties were sealed in Khirki and Rajpur Khurd areas, respectively,” said a senior officer.The officers claimed that local residents created hindrance and protested against the demolition action.”Despite the locals putting pressure on the demolition squad, the action was taken successfully. The drive will create a deterrent for unscrupulous builders who have been violating the laws,” the official said.The demolition has been done under Building Control Regulations notified in the Master Plan-2021 and Building Bye-Laws- 2016.To further discourage illegal construction, other government departments including Delhi Jal Board and power discoms have been asked to disconnect the water and electricity connections of such properties.”In a surprise inspection, the team found that rampant unauthourised construction was going on. Consequently, one Executive Engineer (Building) Ashok Kumar, Assistant Engineer SK Jain and junior engineer BM Sharma have been suspended pending enquiry,” the official added.

Flood situation in Odisha’s Jajpur, Kendrapara dists grim

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The flood situation in Odisha’s Jajpur and Kendrapara districts continues to remain grim today. The people in several villages under 14 gram panchayats of Pattamundai Block in Kendrapara district and eight GPs of Aul block continue to remain marooned. In Kendrapara district, the situation is grim as Brahmani and Kusabhadra rivers are flowing above the danger level at Patrapur, Alava and Indupur. Seven person had lost their lives in the floods with three deaths reported in Jajpur district and two each in Kalahandi and Malkangiri districts. Over two lakh people have been affected in the flood in Brahmani river, official sources said. A report by the sub-collector and the block development officer (BDO) of worst hit Bari block in Jajpur district, said that the water level in Brahmani river has receded by two- feet, but water logging in habitations is there due to breach of the river embankment. The Special Relief Commissioner’s (SRC) office said free kitchen is being opened at 35 centres in Bari to feed the people evacuated from their houses. Green fodder has also been given for cattle, they said, adding that the power supply to the affected villages remained disrupted in Bari. The administration was planning to provide power boats to ferry the people from marooned areas in Manpur in Aul block and Srirampur in Pattamundai block. Besides, steps have been taken to supply drinking water in the flood-hit areas.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Landslides lead to brief closure of Jammu-Srinagar NH

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was today briefly closed for traffic following multiple landslides triggered by incessant rains. Rains caused multiple landslides at Mehar and Seeri and triggered shooting of stones from a hillock at Panthyal, forcing closure of the highway early this morning, a spokesman of the traffic control room said. He said men and machines of the BRO were immediately pressed into service and the highway was opened for traffic around 1030 hours after few hours of closure. “Srinagar-bound light passenger vehicles, which were stopped at several places, were given priority and cleared for travel on the highway, the spokesman said. He said the vehicles included those carrying Amarnath pilgrims to the Valley for undertaking the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine. Since the highway has been restricted to one-way as a precautionary measure, only Jammu-bound vehicles would be allowed to ply on the highway today. A police spokesman said 173 pilgrims, the lowest number as far as this year’s yatra is concerned, left the Baghwati base camp here amid tight security. The pilgrims including seven women and 36 sadhus. While 85 of the pilgrims preferred the traditional Pahalgam route in Anantnag district, 88 others would be undertaking the yatra through the shorter Baltal track in Ganderbal district. The 40-day yatra commenced from the twin routes on June 29 and so far over 2.54 lakh pilgrims have paid their obeisance at the cave shrine. Besides Katra, the highway towns of Udhampur and Ramban have been lashed by rains since last evening, he said. The spokesman said Jammu city recorded 17 mm of rainfall since last evening.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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