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A happy New Year for 100 bureaucrats

The New Year brought good news for 100 bureaucrats as government approved of their promotion. In official orders released on late evening of December 31, 40 IAS, 44 IPS and 16 IFS were promoted.Following the promotion, two 86 batch IAS Deepak Utpreti and SK Agarwal were elevated to post of additional chief secretary from principal secretary at their respective departments. They along with Yaduvendra Mathur and Sanjay Dixit of the same batch have been promoted to chief secretary pay scale.IAS JagdIsh Chandra Desai had his designation changed from director to commissioner of Child Empowerment Department while IAS Suchi Sharma became commissioner ICDS from director earlier. They along with eight others have been promoted to super time pay scale. Of these, Jagdeesh Chandra Desai has received a double promotion.Promotions also shined on the police cadre and IPS Govind Gupta, Sunil Dutt and Amrit Kalash were promoted to additional director general pay scale from IG scale earlier.The promotions are expected to be followed with change in postings, even as except for six IAS the remaining officials have been asked to continue with their current designations till further orders.CS NC Goel conveyed good newsOn his first day at office, CS NC Goel was accompanied with the news of promotion orders. Before he left the office, he called up a senior IAS and told him of the promotions been approved by the chief minister. It was minutes after that the list was officially declared by department of personnel.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Rajasthan elections 2018: Rajasthan Kiska?

Rajpath – the road leading to Vidhan Sabha – is the smoothest driveway in Rajasthan. But in the coming year, the ‘Path’ ahead towards ‘Raj’ is a bumpy one for Vasundhara Raje; who faces the fiercest battle of all times.In fact, the 2018 elections will decide the political future of two stalwarts of Rajasthan politics. And for the one who loses, it may well be the end of the road or being relegated into ignominy.Raje, who turns 65 in the coming year, will have to give her best to comeback as chief minister for the second successive time. Similarly for former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who crosses 67, it will be the last chance to claim the state.For Gehlot, it is a fight on two fronts. One within the party for a consensus about him and secondly against Raje who enjoys an edge due to being in power.The young chief of Congress in the state, Sachin Pilot too has a nerve wrenching year ahead. He has to move out of the shadow of the glorious political legacy of his illustrious father Rajesh Pilot and prove his mettle. Keeping up the traditions, Sachin is a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, just as his father Rajesh Pilot was to Rajiv Gandhi.And this year’s electoral challenges begin in the first month itself as the three bypolls are scheduled for January 29. The poll momentum will escalate over the months to culminate in the assembly elections close to the end of year.However, Raje looks confident as the sun rises to salute the new spirit of the election year. Her path breaking initiatives and welfare schemes to especially benefit the destitute, the old and the women have gone down well with the public. All eyes will be on Raje’s dream projects that could easily help her win elections hands down.MILESTONES TO THE ROAD TO POWERRing RoadAfter years of inaction, the ambitious Ring Road is again back on track. Raje used her influence to bring in central road agency NHAI to take over this ‘contentious’ project. Her proximity with union surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari did the trick for the state.Dravyavati River FrontThis is again her ambitious project which is fast ‘galloping’ towards completion within the stipulated time. If it meets the target date, Drvyavati River Front will surely flow in votes for BJP government.Barmer RefineryThe Rs 43000-crore refinery, which is likely to be laid down this month by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be testimony of the grit and determination of Raje, who reworked the financials of the proposed refinery in favour of Rajasthan before taking it out of drawing board. The upspin in economic activities and employment generation with setting up of refinery will tilt the balance in favour of BJP.Air connectivityAfter giving super highways with investment worth thousands of crores, Raje looks sky wards. Aiming to conquer the sky, she has started air services connecting places of her importance like Jaisalmer, Kota, Udaipur and Kishangarh. She has more routes in her plans which would end up making a robust air connectivity to Rajasthan. Prosperity then would take an aerial route, covering the shortest distance.Jal SwavlambanAnother pet project for Raje, Jal Swablamban, aims to recharge ground water and revive old baories, will have to pass through summer test this year. If her efforts succeeds in weathering water deficit this season, Raje will have more chances to strategise meeting water requirements for 5 more summers.Stumbling BlockIf the projects fail, the poll equations might tilt in different directions. Also, it would much depend on how the chief minister handles farmers agitation and appease Gurjars who are again raising voice against the High Court’s decision which has barred them from getting 5% quota benefits. This year, as Raje has indicated in her interview after completing 4 years, will be more of implementation than fancy announcements.In a relay race, last leg is vital. If the athlete races, deficits in previous stretches not only get covered but also offer a chance to grab the Gold. Raje apparently is a firm believer of this.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

LED, renewable energy helps civic body save Rs 30.25 crore

The introduction of LED streetlights by AMC has helped it save 26 million units of electricity helping it reduce its power bill by Rs15.50 crore a year. With this measure, the civic body says the carbon dioxide emmission would be reduced by 2,900 tonne anually.Not only this, the wind and solar power initiatives by the AMC alongwith the LED will help it ease its wallet burden by a total of Rs 30.25 crore.”We have implemented energy conservation programme under which we have installed 1.35 lakh LED bulbs on 2,800 km of road network,” said Deepak Suthar, additional chief engineer, streetlight and project, AMC. He added that by the end of January 2018, AMC will replace 14,000 more conventional streetlights with LED bulbs. “To generate a kilo watt of energy from fossil fuel, 0.546 emission of carbon dioxide occurs. We don’t use that much energy, and it has been saved. We have calculated the consumption, hence we are saying that we will reduce emission of 2,900 tonne of carbon dioxide annually,” the engineer explained.Meanwhile, a 4.2 MW wind power plant has been commissioned by AMC at Nakhtrana in Kutch which generates 11 million units of energy, which saves Rs7.14 crore a year. Another 4.2 MW capacity’s wind power plant is under construction. Both will help AMC save Rs14.3 crore a year. The civic body has also installed 540 KW solar rooftop power system as a part of renewble energy which generates 6.5 lakh electricity units annually which will help it save Rs45.5 lakh.However, city based environmentalist Mahesh Pandya scrapped AMC claims: “Construction business is mushrooming here. There is a loss in tree cover. Even for the Metro rail project, more than 2,000 trees were chopped.”…& ANALYSISThe AMC’s green efforts which are also pocket savvy are laudable. Its effort to calculate its CO2 emission reduction by introducing LED lights and renewable energy measures is noteworthy. But, it is high time that the wealthiest civic body in Gujarat shifts its focus to calculate carbon footprint on a yearly basis regularly.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

OP Singh to be UP police chief

Indian Police Service officer Om Prakash Singh is all set to become the Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh. He will succeed incumbent Sulkhan Singh, whose tenure ends on Sunday. Om Prakash Singh is presently posted as Director General of Central Industrial Security Force, which guards important industrial and nuclear installations, civil airports and metro, and has joined the force on September 26, 2016.Singh, a 1983-batch officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, who was serving as the Director General of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), before being appointed to head the 1.48 lakh-strong force.Singh has held several positions of responsibility in UP and at the Centre. As chief of police at Lakhimpur Kheri, a Terai district bordering Nepal, he developed key competency of turnaround strategies to deal terrorism and successfully stamped out terrorist activities in 1992-93. As chief of police at Lucknow, he had then settled of long-standing Shia-Sunni disputes over religious processions, for which he was honoured by UP government in 1998.As Director General of National Disaster Response Force, he handled successfully major disasters like Jammu and Kashmir floods, Nepal earthquake, Cyclone Hudhud and Chennai Urban floods and meticulously galvanised his response teams to carry out rescue operations saving lives of thousands of distressed and marooned victims.During Nepal earthquake in 2015, Singh coordinated, oversaw and fast-tracked rescue and relief operations. The role of NDRF was highly applauded by Nepal government and United Nations.During his tenure, CISF became the first Central Armed Police Force to get Quality Excellence Award (2017) for Best Airport Security at World Quality Congress.He has been awarded with Indian Police Medal for Gallantry, Indian Police Medal for Distinguished Services and Indian Police Medal for Meritorious Services.While working in NDRF, he was given Distinguished Leadership Award for Disaster Resilience.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

MSBTE told simplify process of duplicate mark sheets

The state Right to Services Commission (RTSC) has asked Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education (MSBTE) to simplify the duplicate mark sheet procuring process and make it “user friendly”. The directives were given when an applicant, who was told that his duplicate mark sheet was delivered “by post”, did not receive it for nearly five months.Prathamesh Sorte, an applicant seeking a duplicate mark sheet, had applied to MSBTE. His application was made online on June 28, 2017. When he did not get any information, he filed the first and then subsequently a second appeal. Since no decision was given, a third appeal was filed with the RTSC.While Sorte received the duplicate mark sheet before the hearing of his third appeal, the commission was informed during the hearing that he made four applications to get a copy of it.As per the information provided by MSBTE officials, the commission was informed that the applicant was told that he would get the mark sheet “by post”. However, “by post” means it is sent to a designated officer of the technical education and not to the home of the applicant, as assumed by many applicants.”The applicants assume that they would get their mark sheet at home when they read that it would be sent by post. What they have to do is go and collect the mark sheet from the place where the board sends it to. This tends to create confusion among many. Hence, we have asked for improvement in the format. We have also asked that the system of getting mark sheets be made more user-friendly,” said Swadheen Kshatriya, Chief of RTSC.Kshatriya passed the order on December 11, 2017 and directed Secretary, MSBTE to do all that is necessary.DNA could not reach Secretary of MSBTE.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Terrorists storm CRPF camp, 5 personnel killed

A group of heavily armed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists stormed the highly secured Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) training facility in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Sunday, and killed five soldiers, including an officer, while injuring three others. Two holed-up terrorists have been neutralised so far.The outfit has claimed the responsibility for the attack. A JeM spokesman called up local news agencies to stake the claim. He also ridiculed the Operation All Out, launched by the security forces earlier this year to eliminate terrorists.The incident took place at 2 am. A group of terrorists cut the barbed wire fence of the 185th CRPF battalion, by the isolated hillside. They then lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately. Three soldiers were injured after the terrorists stormed the facility and took refuge inside one of the three blocks to engage the troops.Security forces immediately rushed in reinforcements to track down the holed-up terrorists and rescue the soldiers trapped inside the training facility.Several people were rescued before the forces took on the terrorists inside the facility. Fierce gunfight between the two sides continued throughout the day. Five CRPF soldiers, including an inspector-rank officer, were killed and three others were injured in the gunfight. Four of them died due to gunshot wounds and another one died of a cardiac arrest during evacuation. Two terrorists were also neutralised and efforts are on to neutralise other terrorists hiding in the facility.”We have recovered bodies of two terrorists. When the room intervention (room by room sanitising operation) was on to retrieve the third body, security forces came under heavy fire from the hiding terrorists. The exchange of fire is currently on,” said Rajesh Yadav, CRPF spokesman for Kashmir.The attack comes days after JeM vowed to avenge the killing of its midget chief, Noor Mohammad Tantray alias Noor Trali, by security forces in the Samboora village of Pulwama district.”I think the inputs had been coming for the last two-three days. They had been trying. They probably could not get a place and time earlier. So, they struck last night. The challenge has always been there but as long as our neighbour (Pakistan) keeps sending people like this, my police, security forces, and the people of Kashmir have to go through this. This is unfortunate,” said Dr Shesh Paul Vaid, Director General of Police.Situated on a hillock, the 185th battalion CRPF camp is a huge complex used as a training facility for jawans and officers inducted for counter-insurgency purposes. The facility also houses the police component. The complex consists of an office and administrative block, residential quarters, and a control room.”The terrorists took shelter in the quarter block. There was no hostage-like situation. Of the four soldiers, one each is from Kashmir and Rajouri district of Jammu. Two others are from Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh,” Yadav said.Calling the terrorist act dastardly, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said violence has taken a heavy toll on the society in the state, in terms of death and destruction, tearing apart of social fabric, massive economic, academic, and social losses, besides the irreparable loss of human lives.The terrorist attack on CRPF facility comes almost three months after the security forces repulsed a Pathankot-type terror attack and killed three JeM terrorists, soon after they stormed a highly fortified Border Security Force (BSF) camp neighbouring the Srinagar International Airport and the Air Force Station on October 3.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

SC collegium gave age criteria a miss while clearing names

When it finalised the draft of the new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), the document that guides appointments to higher judiciary, the Supreme Court collegium — headed by (then) Chief Justice of India JS Khehar — had decided that no lawyer below the age of 45 years and above the age of 55 years should be considered for appointment as Judge of a high court.Apart from then CJI Khehar, other members of the collegium who decided this included current CJI Dipak Misra and Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur. All, except Justice Khehar, who is now retired, are members of the larger SC collegium now.However, even as the new MoP is yet to be notified — it is pending with the government since March — the collegium has shown that it isn’t too keen to stick to its own resolution.Minutes of meeting of the three-member Supreme Court collegium show that the CJI-led panel is not immune to violating the age limit.Take for example the December 4 decision of the collegium while clearing names for Calcutta HC.The High Court collegium had recommended names of six advocates, including Sabyasachi Chaudhury and Sakya Sen, who weren’t 45 at the time their names were recommended.However, the SC collegium has recommended Sen’s name for elevation to the bench in “relaxation of the age criterion”. As for Chaudhary, he completed 45 years of age during the intervening period when his name was recommended by the HC collegium and cleared by the SC collegium.But, Madras HC lawyer AV Radhakrishnan, whose name had been recommended by the HC collegium, wasn’t so fortunate. “… He is more than 57 years of age. Even on the date of recommendation of the High Court Collegium he had crossed the maximum age limit of 55 years prescribed for Advocates recommended for elevation to the High Court Bench. Having regard to above, he is not found suitable for elevation to the High Court Bench,” the SC collegium decided on the same day when it ignored the age criteria in two other cases.Incidentally, it was on the Centre’s insistence that the SC collegium first agreed to include the age clause in the MoP. The Justice Ministry is of the view that such a cause will ensure uniformity and transparency in the appointment process and also rule out the possibility of members of the collegium adopting different yardsticks while recommending names.But it isn’t the age criterion that the SC collegium has refused to stick to while making appointments.It cleared the name of another lawyer of Calcutta HC – Ravi Krishan Kapur – who had failed to submit the undertaking from his lawyer-father as is mandated under existing rules. In doing so, the SC collegium also ignored the objection raised by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice on this subject, saying the undertaking was based on “mere administrative instructions and is not a mandatory requirement”.In yet another departure from rules, the SC collegium decided to clear a candidate – advocate Arindam Mukherjee – even though he had not submitted adequate number of reported/unreported judgments.”In our view, number of reported/unreported judgments is just one of the factors and not the only factor to determine suitability of a recommendee for purpose of elevation,” the collegium noted.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

No New Year celebrations for people in Assam as they wait for first draft of NRC with bated breath

At the stroke of midnight today, the Assam government will release the first draft of the much-awaited National Register of Citizens (NRC) with names of 2.24 crore bona fide Indian citizens.Of the 3.28 crore people who had applied for inclusion in the registry, 2.24 crore have found a place in the first draft following verification of their documents. The rest will be considered in the next two drafts, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told mediapersons yesterday.”As per hon’ble Supreme Court’s order, there will be two more drafts of the NRC and the names of all genuine citizen claimants whose names do not feature in the first publication will be included in it after verification of the pending documents,” Sonowal said.Also read’Indian citizens excluded in draft NRC will get enough chance to prove credentials’ Dispelling apprehensions over security, Sonowal said no untoward situation is expected to arise as the district administrations have been conducting public meetings and campaigns to explain to the people the updation procedures.The chief minister also said the media have an important role to play in disseminating correct information to the public.Also readAASU demands error free NRC, says ‘no Bangladeshi coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay'”Social media will be monitored closely for misinformation on the NRC draft and strict action will be taken against those attempting to create trouble,” he said.Asked about a tentative date for release of the final draft, Sonowal said, “The Assam government is conducting the NRC updation process with the state government machinery, the district deputy commissioners’ offices mobilised for it on the orders of the Supreme Court… The complete draft will be published after verification of all documents of those who had applied for inclusion.”The state coordinator for NRC, Prateek Hajela, asserted that “genuine” Indian citizens need not panic if their names have not appeared in the first draft as verification process is yet to be completed.”If the name of any genuine Indian citizen does not appear in the first draft, it means the verification process of that person is yet to be completed,” Hajela said, adding there will be scope for making claims after the final draft is published.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, during his visit to the state, had also said there will be an opportunity for claims and objections after the release of the third draft.”Those who do not find their names in the first draft need not worry as there will be opportunities for subsequent investigation and document verification,” Gauba had said after reviewing the NRC updation process in Assam.The office of the State Coordinator for NRC has made elaborate arrangements for people to check their names in the first draft at NRC sewa kendras across the state from 8 am on January 1. They can also check for information online and through SMS services.Assam, which faced influx from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.According to the Assam government’s official website, “The NRC is a register containing names of Indian citizens.The only time that a National Register of Citizens (NRC) was prepared was in 1951 when after conduct of the Census of 1951.”It was prepared by recording particulars of all the persons enumerated during that Census, the website said.The issue of updating the NRC of 1951 was first raised by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) more than three decades ago. The students’ body had submitted a memorandum to the Centre on January 18, 1980, two months after launching the anti-illegal foreigners Assam Movement.On November 17, 1999, at an official-level tripartite meeting to review the implementation of the Assam Accord, a decision was taken that the NRC would be updated and the Centre sanctioned Rs 20 lakh for the purpose and released Rs 5 lakh of it to start the exercise.The final decision to update the NRC was taken on May 5, 2005 when the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting to review the implementation of the accord.Thereafter, the government created a directorate for updating the NRC and the process of computerisation of the voters’ list up to 1971 and the NRC of 1951 began.A pilot project that was launched in two revenue circles of Barpeta and Chaygaon was suspended after a violent protest by a few organisations. The state government then formed a group of ministers (GoM) to hold talks with different organisations to draft modalities for updating the NRC.The updation process finally gained momentum after the Supreme Court started monitoring its progress and set December 31 midnight as the date for publication of the first draft of the NRC.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Indian superstar Rajinikanth tells fans he is entering politics

The film superstar says he will form a party to “change the political system” in Tamil Nadu state.

Gujarat: Deputy CM Nitin Patel to take charge of ministries today

Earlier, a day after expressing his strong displeasure about significant portfolios being taken away from him for his second stint in the Vijay Rupani government, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel stayed home on Saturday, meeting with supporters at his residence. Days after being sworn into office, Patel had refused to take charge of the portfolios allotted to him. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByDNA Web Team <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 31 December 2017 11:30 ISTMust readEx-CJI TS Thakur says no to AAP’s Rajya Sabha offerKamala Mills fire: Know the story behind this picture<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>After showing his displeasure earlier, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Sunday announced that he would assume the charge of his office around 11: 40 am. “BJP chief Amit Shah talked to me in the morning and assured me that I would get all the departments back,” Nitin Patel said. “I have no complaints or dismay now,” he added. He also said that he never crossed the line of discipline in the party.Nitin Patel thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, the Patel community and leaders “who showed support and solidarity for him”. Earlier, a day after expressing his strong displeasure about significant portfolios being taken away from him for his second stint in the Vijay Rupani government, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel stayed home on Saturday, meeting with supporters at his residence. Days after being sworn into office, Patel had refused to take charge of the portfolios allotted to him.

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What the Indian economy in 2017 can tell us about the year ahead

This was Narendra Modi’s toughest year on the economic front, writes the BBC’s Sameer Hashmi.

Confident of meeting asking rate: NC Goel

Q) What will be your priorities now as a Chief Secretary?A) There isn’t a single priority of the CS. The government’s priorities and visions are on top of my agenda. Infra projects, includings roads, energy, drinking water, irrigation will be my priority. A lot of public money is being spent for these and the same will be concluded on time.Q) You have been with JDA and have played an important role in Jaipur Metro, what will be your focus related to Jaipur?A) JDA is currently working on many fronts and is doing good work, My focus will surely be on timely completion of Drvayavati and Ring road projects.Q) You will have to bring the refinery project ASAP. How do you plan to do that?A) Spadework has already been done in this regard. After the new MOU, the state will have less financial burden. The environment clearance has already been taken. I will ensure that there is coordination between officials for the timely completion of this project .Q) You have done a lot of work in tourism and forest department. Is there any project which needs completion even as you have been elevated to this position?A) Govt job is a continuous process. There are works which are in progress or are at the concept stage. I am happy that the number of tourists coming to the state have increased. Last year, there was increase of 17% and going by the inflow of tourists this year, the number is likely to go up.Q) Have you spoken with CM Vasundhara Raje?A) Chief minister Madam called me during the day to wish me. I thank her for this responsibility.Q) Your father is extremely happy with your success? What has been his role in your achievements?A) He was always there for me. Like a rock. He accompanied me to all IAS examinations and interviews.

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Goel Nihal ho Gaye!

Chief minister Vasundhara Raje didn’t want to take risk in election year. She wants all her dream projects to complete before the state goes to poll. For selection of her chief secretary this time, she had limited choice, either to go with seniority or reward the merit. She preferred the firebrand top class executioner of infra projects to be at the helm. 1982 batch IAS officer Nihal Chand Goel perfectly fitted the bill. Goel’s expertise in infra projects made CM pick superseding five officers senior to him. Recently, while selecting the top cop also she gave weightage to merit over seniority picking OP Galhotra.People still remember Goel’s stint as JDA Commissioner. The way he completed first phase of Jaipur Metro against all odds, it just stamped his passion for infra development. In his current assignment as tourism department chief, he developed several tourism infra besides promoting tourism at global level.Popular among his peers as a ‘Go Getter’, this officer from Haryana has the charisma to put all Raje’s dream projects on fifth gear. Be it Ring Road, Refinery or Dravyavati River Front, he has the capability to accelerate at his own speed. He has four months left before retirement. But people who know his working style vouch for his efficiency.”That is the reason why Madam has considered him for the top post. N C Goel has the ability to fulfill CM’s promises. If he gets a start Madam wants, who knows he may also get an extended term like the former chief secretary CS Rajan,” said a senior bureaucrat. Rajan had got extension twice as chief secretary in this tenure of Raje before getting assignment as vice-chairman of CM Advisory Council.Meanwhile, all this while, Goel’s dad Prem Chand was present with his son and the Goel Parivar had a gala time which coincided with the year-end.

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Hardik Patel asks Nitin Patel to join Congress

Amid the crisis in BJP sparked by Deputy CM Nitin Patel’s refusal to take over his ministry, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel had asked the senior politician to reconsider his political affiliation. Hardik said that if Nitin Patel join Congress, he would hold talks with the party to make him the Chief Minister.The Congress MLA from Lathi constituency, Virji Thumma, also said the same words. Hardik Patel was in Botad town of Saurashtra to attend the Chintan Shibir of PAAS. Before attending this meeting, Hardik said, “This is all because of Amit Shah as he never wished any Patel leader in BJP to bear any importance in the party. I invite Nitin Patel to join Congress. If he is ready, I will negotiate with Congress leader and he would become the chief minister also. What BJP has done with Nitin Patel is a sheer insult of the leader who spent many years in party and made many sacrifices.”Hardik Patel also said that he would meet Nitin Patel at his residence on Sunday. Hardik also claimed that three to four MLAs of BJP were in his contact on the issue of Nitin Patel.Hardik’s remarks Nitin Patel denied to leave BJP but on meeting with Hardik Patel he said, “My doors are open for all who wish to come to meet me. I am courteous enough to welcome the guest, who so ever it may be.” On the other hand, Congress MLA from Lathi in Amreli, Virji Thummar, said, “Nitin Patel is a leader of the Patel community. If he joins Congress, the Patel legislators would help him becoming the Chief Minister.”Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki reportedly reprimanded Virji Thummar for the offer to Nitin Patel. State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi also said that the invitation to Nitin Patel by Thummar to join Congress was done in individual capacity and did not represent the party’s stand.

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Ahead of New Year’s Eve, Jaipur civic body cracks whip

In light of Mumbai’s Kamala Mills fire tragedy on Friday, the Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) swung into pre-emptive action and on Saturday, as its firefighting cell conducted a surprise inspection of more than two dozen hotels, restaurants, multiplexes and shopping malls; in it, six notices were issued. This surprise inspection will continue on Sunday, too. Additionally, the JMC has issued an advisory to prevent fire accidents on New Year’s Eve.Due to the weekend and New Year’s Eve falling together, and the ongoing winter season, a large number of tourists are expected to descend on the city and pay patronage at hotels, restaurants, clubs etc. In such a situation, to prevent another Mumbai-like tragedy, the civic body issued the firefighting advisory wherein all commercial establishments where a large gathering is expected have been instructed to keep the fire-fighting system fully-functional.To that end, if any event is being organised for the New Year’s celebration, then they will have to obtain the fire NOC from JMC and action will be taken if found lacking.On Saturday, two civic body teams conducted surprise checks at different locations in the city. “Both the teams made surprise visits to more than two dozen hotels, restaurants and other places. During these visits, the fire fighting system, entry and exit gate and the fire NOC of the programme were examined,” said Jalaj Ghasia, JMC’s Chief Fire Officer, adding, “During this time, the exit gate of some hotels and restaurants were found closed and were opened only when pointed out. Some establishments had not procured the fire NOC for their upcoming celebrations. Therefore, a notice was issued to such establishments.””Fire-fighting staff will be available 24 hours at all 11 fire stations. Apart from this, the reserve staff has also been kept ready,” he said.

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CM Mehbooba Mufti urges voters to not shun panchayat polls

Days after separatists linked the recently announced Panchayat polls with the Kashmir issue to enforce a voter boycott, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday again called on the people to vote in large numbers to strengthen the grassroots democracy in the restive state.”The government is committed to empowering the grassroots level institutions. The proposed elections to the Panchayats and later to be followed by the urban local bodies polls are a major step in this direction and will fully empower the basic democratic institutions,” Mehbooba said.Seeking larger participation of the people in the Panchayat elections scheduled to be held from February 15, Mehbooba said her government had made a commitment on the floor of the House in June 2016 that the elections to the rural and urban local bodies would be held at the earliest.She added that the State’s Election Authority would formally set the process into motion after the Rural Development Department issues the requisite notification in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act.Mehbooba’s statement comes two days after Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL)of separatists called upon the people to boycott the Panchayat polls and claimed that India is using the election to negate Kashmiris demand for “self-determination and freedom”.JRL is an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik.

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Kamala Mills Fire: Eatery owners fear loss of business

The Kamala Mills fire has soured the last day of the year, feel many restaurant owners. The fear of losses that they may incur is slowly rippling through the sector. According to the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), many restaurants in the city have already accepted the fact that there will be a huge business loss on New Year’s eve. They claim that patrons will have the Kamala Mills fire, which killed 14, in mind.”The loss of lives is so fresh in everyone’s mind. It happened on Thursday night and made the front pages everywhere. On Friday itself, many restaurant owners expressed the fear that they will suffer a loss of up to 20 per cent as people might not turn up on New Year’s eve,” said Niranjan Shetty, Chairman of MCGM committee of AHAR.According to the association, on December 31, a lot of people venture out and it is a very important day in terms of business. People visit restaurants where they are regulars, and also get guests including friends, family and relatives, which helps the restaurants earn extra bucks.Another restaurant owner said, “We are hoping for great takeaway orders at least. People normally go out, but then visiting a restaurant after the Kamala Mills fire wouldn’t be the first thing on their minds. So we are prepared for lesser business in terms of walk-ins. But we may see a larger business in terms of takeaway or home deliveries.”Apart from this, authorities have started visiting restaurants and action has been started. The associations have asked their member restaurants and hotels to cooperate. “We have directed all hotel and restaurant owners to not create any hassles and let the authorities do their work and cooperate. If they have any doubts, they should seek the help of authorities and understand what should be done to rectify the issue,” said Shetty.FALSE ALARM?After the fire engulfed the restaurants in Kamala Mills, a series of messages started doing the rounds. One such message was about parties at restaurants beings called off and it was signed by Congress leader Charan Singh Sapra. When contacted, Sapra denied sending out any such message and said it was a mischief and should be ignored. Even AHAR denied sending out any message about any party cancellation and asked people to not pay attention to rumours.PARTY STILL ONImmediately after the fire, Riyaz Amlani of Social had said that there were no party cancellations. “The parties are mostly personal ones and we cannot cancel any parties until the person who booked the place, does,” said Shetty. According to both of them, New Year’s eve will be celebrated as every year in the city too. However, till Saturday night, there were some restaurants and pubs that sent out messages about party cancellations but they were related to action taken by authorities.

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Nirbhaya Fund not being used for women, alleges mother

"The Nirbhaya Fund should have been used for women security and empowerment but it is being for works like road construction," Asha Devi said at a programme in her village Maderwa Kala to mark the conclusion of the Nirbhaya Jyoti Yatra which had started from Lucknow. "The fund needs to be used in setting up schools and hospitals," she stressed. She also said her pleas for an appointment with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the past two months had proved futile.”
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Saturday 30 December 2017 18:31 ISTMust readEx-CJI TS Thakur says no to AAP’s Rajya Sabha offerKamala Mills fire: Know the story behind this picture<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–> The mother of a woman whose gang-rape in a moving bus and subsequent death in 2012 triggered a nationwide outrage has alleged that the Nirbhaya Fund set up in her daughter’s name was not being used for security and empowerment of women.”The Nirbhaya Fund should have been used for women security and empowerment but it is being for works like road construction,” Asha Devi said at a programme in her village Maderwa Kala to mark the conclusion of the Nirbhaya Jyoti Yatra which had started from Lucknow. “The fund needs to be used in setting up schools and hospitals,” she stressed. She also said her pleas for an appointment with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the past two months had proved futile.

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LG Kiran Bedi functioning like a leader of opposition,says Puducherry CM Narayanasamy

Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy today alleged that Lt Governor Kiran Bedi’s “style of functioning is more like a leader of opposition than an administrator” of the Union Territory.Addressing reporters here, Narayanasamy said although he had written to the Lt Governor asking her not to “overstep her constitutional and statutory limits” and not to “interfere in the routine working of the elected government,” she had been doing so.”I have written letters to her on more than 15 occasions registering protest against her style of functioning. But, she keeps functioning more like a leader of opposition than an administrator,” he said.Also readPuducherry governor Kiran Bedi bans business class air travel by officialsThe Congress leader also minced no words stating that, “Bedi has not contributed for the economic development of Puducherry and in implementation of progressive schemes.” Condemning the “autocratic style of working” of the Lt Governor, the chief minister said, “It is really a sad development that she (Bedi) held meetings with the police officers yesterday to draw up a plan of police deployment in view of the flow of tourists into Puducherry on the eve of New Year Day.”Also readKiren Bedi slams Puducherry Govt for poor quality of education in government schoolsNarayanasamy claimed that Bedi has held meetings with police officers though he had arranged one with police officers to finalise the security plan for maintenance of law and order with the Chief Secretary in charge, A Anbarasu being a coordinating officer.The chief minister maintained that “time is not far for the current situation to come to an end.” Since Bedi assumed office last year, the Congress government in Puducherry and she have been at loggerheads over several issues including medical admissions, civic problems and induction of three nominated MLAs.

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Kargil martyr’s widow dies after Haryana hospital denies treatment without Aadhaar card, Centre orders probe

Widow of a Kargil martyr died in Haryana’s Sonipat after a private hospital allegedly denied her treatment in absence of Aadhaar Card, prompting the Centre to launch a probe into the matter. The son of the woman, Shakuntala Devi, alleged on Friday that he brought her ailing mother to the hospital for the treatment but the hospital refused to treat her as she did not have the original copy of the Aadhaar card.Shakuntala Devi was suffering from throat cancer and was also a heart patient. “With her condition worsening, my brother-in-law Ravinder Kumar and I took her to the ex-servicemen contributory health scheme (ECHS) hospital in Sonipat and got the referral slip for Tulip Hospital on Wednesday evening,” her son Pawan Kumar Balyan said. “I brought my mother in a serious condition to the hospital. They asked me to get the Aadhaar card, but I didn’t have it then so I showed them a copy in my phone. I said that I will get Aadhaar in an hour or so, meanwhile begin with the treatment but the hospital refused to do so,” he said.However, Tulip Hospital in Sonipat denied the allegation levelled by the victim’s son saying that the Aadhaar card was mandatory only for documentation process and not for treatment.”We never denied them treatment. Please note that he never got the patient to the hospital. We have never stopped any treatment due to Aadhaar card ever,” said a doctor at the hospital.She was the wife of Havaldar Laxman Dass who was posted with the 8th Jat Regiment in Muskoh valley near Kargil and died of bullet injuries during a gun battle with intruders on June 9, 1999, according to a Times of India report. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Saturday said that a probe would be conducted by the ministry into the death.He added that all states were asked to implement the ‘Clinical Establishments Act’ to avoid such incidents in future.”The state government should take this matter seriously. Our ministry will conduct a probe into it. The Centre has also asked all states to implement ‘Clinical Establishments Act’ which will help us reduce such incidents,” Choubey said. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also promised to punish the guilty. “I have received information about it. We will conduct an inquiry and punish those found guilty,” he told reporters on Saturday. (With ANI inputs)

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‘Join Congress, bring 10 BJP MLAs with you’: Hardik’s offer to ‘sulking’ Gujarat Dy CM Nitin Patel

Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who actively campaigned against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recently-concluded Assembly elections in Gujarat, on Saturday attempted to woo the ‘sulking’ Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. Hardik said the Deputy CM, who is believed to be be ‘unhappy’ with the portfolios allotted to him, should join the Congress party, if he can manage to bring along 10 BJP MLAs.”If Nitin Patel is ready to leave the BJP with 10 MLAs then I will talk with the Congress about giving him suitable post in the party,” Hardik Patel, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener,​ said. Hardik also exhorted BJP’s Patel leaders to back the deputy chief minister.”If the BJP is not respecting Patels, then they should leave the party and should accompany Nitin Patel,” he said.Also readGujarat: Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quitThe deputy chief minister is reportedly said to be sulking after finance, urban development and petroleum portfolios were taken from him. He is yet to take charge of the portfolios alloted to him, with a source in the BJP saying he has conveyed his displeasure to the party leadership over the departments allotted to him.The senior BJP leader wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday evening listing his demands. He has reportedly threatened to resign if he is not given all the portfolios he possessed in the previous government. “In his letter, Nitin Patel, mentioned that he felt insulted as he has been given less significant portfolios. He has told the PM and Shah that he should get all the portfolios, including Finance and Urban Development, within two to three days or else they should accept his resignation,” said a BJP source.Also read’Sulking’ Nitin Patel keeps off officeHowever, Patel has denied writing any such letter, but accepted that he has expressed his disagreement.Speaking to DNA, Patel said, “There is nothing wrong in asking for my portfolios back as it is about my self-respect. What is the point of being the deputy chief minister if I hold less important portfolios. I have aired my disagreement to the right person. I do not want to talk much on the issue, but will reveal everything when the time is right.”In the previous government, Patel used to handle important portfolios like finance and urban development. However this time, he has been allotted charge of departments like road and building, and health.Apart from these two, he has also given the charge of medical education, Narmada, Kalpsar and capital project after the portfolios were allotted on December 28.Also readGujarat: Vijay Rupani to continue as chief minister, Nitin Patel named his deputyThis time, the finance portfolio was allotted to Saurabh Patel, while Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has kept the charge of urban development department with himself.(With agency inputs)

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Victims of Bipolar disorder are also human beings: Shreevatsa Nevatia

Q. How was the experience of writing the book on the disorder given that you yourself is afflicted from it?I think if someone is not a writer, and then he writes a book about bipolarity, that is brave. For someone who has always wanted to write, writing this book, was, more than courageous, it was cathartic. I felt much better after having written about my experiences. I felt I could make sense of it. One thing I have learnt is that the more you talk about things, the more you try and give it a guise of a story, the more are people able to participate in your narrative.Q. Do you think it is important to talk about the disorder?I don’t think people who want to keep it private, should be forced to make it public. I am blessed with a support system, a social circle, that allows me to talk about my condition and not judge me for it. There might be people who are bipolar, who do not want to talk about it because their support system might not encourage them to do so. One must keep in mind that not everyone has a luxury to talk. I am blessed to have a support system.Q. What are the ways in which they can be helped?More than coming out, it would help if you talk about it and see if you can find a kind and patient hear. If you find one such person, sometimes that might just be enough for you to come out of whatever it is that you might be suffering from. A medical or a therapeutic help is something that you should seek.Q. What can be done to understand a person suffering from the disorder?I would quite simply say, create spaces so that people can talk and you can listen. People who are bipolar, or afflicted with any kind of mental disorder, all they require is, their narratives and stories to be given some validity. Don’t just dismiss them as mad or as strange. Try to see whether you are able to detect, from what they say, a certain amount of logic. Like everyone else, they can also teach you that life can be lived. They are as human as anyone else.Coming to terms:Taking about the most difficult part of the book to write, Shreevatsa Nevatia said, “It was talking about my child sexual abuse that was most difficult.”“That was certainly hard because I have never stopped to think about to or give it some form. However, having written about it, I felt I had drawn a line. It does not bother me as much any more. It doesn’t define me,” he added.KNOW THE AUTHORShreevatsa Nevatia is the editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveller India. The book, How To Travel Light, maps Nevatia’s journey as he deals with mania and depression. Progressing through his life, as a victim of child abuse Nevatia was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2007. The book is an insight into the mind of a maniac and gives the reader an insight into the life of the one suffering from the mental illness and yet coming out to the world as a fighter.“I would not want to be a manic again, but I am certainly not embarrassed about my mania now,” Nevatia said.

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8 MLAs, including 5 from Congress, resign from Meghalaya Assembly to join BJP ally NPP

Eight MLAs in Meghalaya, including five of the ruling Congress, resigned from the state assembly today to join NDA constituent National People’s Party (NPP), just a few months ahead of elections.Those who put in their papers are former deputy chief minister Rowell Lyngdoh, Sniawbhalang Dhar, Comingone Ymbon, Prestone Tynsong, and Ngaitlang Dhar of the Congress, Remington Pyngrope of the United Democratic Party and Independents Stephanson Mukhim and Hopeful Bamon, Assembly Principal Secretary Andrew Simons told PTI.The five Congress legislators had earlier rebelled against Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and the party leadership.Also readTwo juveniles held for vandalising church in Meghalaya on Christmas DayFour of the five Congress MLAs were part of the state cabinet and were sacked by the chief minister on the grounds of “incompetence”.Rowell, a veteran Congress leader, later announced that all the eight MLAs, would join the NPP, also an alliance partner of the BJP in the Manipur government, at a rally next week.Also read4 ex-MLAs join BJP in Meghalaya ahead of next year’s Assembly ​pollsThe NPP, led by Conrad K Sangma, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, has two MLAs in Meghalaya at present.With today’s resignation, which comes days after another MLA, PN Syiem, quit the Congress, the number of party MLAs in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly has come down to 24 from 30.However, there is no immediate threat to the Congress government as it has support of nine Independents which takes its tally to 33.The term of the current House expires on March 6.Elections in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura are due early next year.An elated Conrad Sangma said the decision of the five Congress MLAs to resign and join the NPP next week was a big boost for the party.”It is a big boost for the NPP ahead of the elections in the state … We will felicitate their joining the party next week. We welcome their decision and we are confident to form the next government in Meghalaya,” Conrad Sangma told PTI.He said their leaving the Congress and joining the NPP indicates that the party was the only alternative available to the people in the state.The NPP chief said: “More than 10 per cent of the Congress MLAs have resigned. This implies that the leadership under Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has failed.” The 79-year-old Rowell had to leave the Congress following a leadership tussle with Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and he was sacked from the cabinet last year.Rowell had contested all the nine elections in the state and was elected an MLA for the sixth time in 2013.”Eight MLAs submitted their resignation to me at the office of the Speaker today. The Speaker was on a tour and was not available at his office,” Assembly Principal Secretary Andrew Simons told PTI.He said the resignation letters have been sent by email to Speaker Abu Taher Mondal.”We are joining the NPP on January 4 at a rally at Pologrounds,” Rowell told reporters.He said it was a difficult decision to leave the Congress but he was compelled to do so “because of the people”.Hitting out at the chief minister, the former deputy chief minister said, “The autocratic style of functioning of the chief minister had made it difficult for me and others to function in the government.”Rowell said the decision to set up a medical college in the state capital Shillong on PPP mode and another one in Tura to be funded by the state government, was taken without consultations in the cabinet.He also slammed the state Congress president DD Lapang, who he alleged gave into the diktats of the chief minister and went ahead and dissolved the block Congress committee in many constituencies.Senior Congress leader and former cabinet minister Prestone Tynsong said the prospects of the Congress in Meghalaya will be badly hit.

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Kamala Mills fire: 14 killed in inferno during birthday bash, BMC suspends 5 officials after Fadnavis promises action

A massive fire swept through a plush rooftop pub in downtown Mumbai during a birthday bash before swiftly raging through the building, leaving 14 people dead and 21 injured, officials said today.Among those killed was Khushbu Bansali, the woman who was celebrating her 29th birthday at “1 Above” pub in upscale Parel’s Kamala Mill compound, and several of her friends.Two American brothers of Indian origin, and their aunt, who had gone to celebrate Khushbu’s birthday, were also among the dead.The blaze, the cause of which is not clear yet, started after 12.30 am at the 1 Above pub on the terrace, resulting in collapse of its bamboo-propped canopy, as towering flames leapt metres into the dark sky. It also engulfed the Mojo’s Bistro pub a storey below.Most of the victims died of asphyxiation, said Avinash Supe, dean of the KEM hospital where the injured and dead were brought.Also readKamala Mills fire: Know the story behind this pictureThe mirth and merriment of the party gave way to mayhem as people, screaming and scamparing, looked for exit doors, toppling and trampling over each other.Some escaped to safety, while others found their way blocked by fire and suffocating smoke.Many panicked patrons took shelter in a toilet, and got asphyxiated to death. Some could make it out alive.Teams of fire brigade and police rushed to the spot and 35 injured people were pulled out from inside the pub and taken to hospital, a police official said.Several media outlets, including TV news channels Times Now, ET Now and TV9 Marathi, have offices in the complex.Harish Pathak, head of the forensic department at KEM Hospital said most of those who lost their lives in the tragedy were brought dead.Police have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under various charges including cuplable homicide not amounting to murder.They have also been charged under IPC sections 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).Two of those booked have been detained. The civic body of the megapolis-BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation–suspended its five officials belonging to various branches over their role in the incident.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed anguish over the tragedy.”Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.Also readKamala Mills tragedy: Pub claims fire emanated from ‘adjoining quarters,’ rejects cops’ version on safety violations Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner to hold an enquiry and submit a report within 15 days.”Five (civic) officials have already been suspended and appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code will be invoked against the owners of the pub, making them responsible for the loss of lives. The guilty won’t be spared,” Fadnavis said.Business rivals–1 Above and Mojo’s Bistro–that bore the brunt of the inferno, claimed all fire safety measures were in place at their premises.However, 1 Above claimed Mojo’s Bistro did not have an emergency exit, leading to overcrowding of its escape avenues.”1 Above has all its fire safety regulations, licences, procedures and norms in place. We’ve been able to help save many lives thanks to our fire safety protocols,” the statement claimed.A statement from Mojo’s claimed the facility had all its fire safety norms, certificates and procedures in place.The staff, it said, was “thoroughly trained” in fire drills due to which the guests could be evacuated.Some patrons of ‘1 Above’ casually took selfies of the massive flames and plumes of smoke that soared into the sky, while a few others lay immobilised in drunken stupor, delaying evacuation, eyewitnesses and rescuers said.”At around ten minutes past midnight, I got out of my office after hearing commotion. A sea of people came rushing at me. They were basically running wherever the pathway led them to,” Mahesh Sable, who works for a private security agency and helped evacuate around 150 people from the Trade House Building, told PTI.”We could hear calls for help, glasses were breaking, bottles were falling down, the entire place was in flames and engulfed by smoke. I could not go in again after getting the injured people out,” he said.His colleague Sanjay Giri, who was also on the night shift, said he was on the ground floor and rushed up to guide the patrons who were stuck.Also readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral Giri said initially the drunken stupor of some of the patrons and an obsession with getting videos of the rooftop pub engulfed in fire delayed rescue efforts.”I guided whoever we could see. It was later, after we went down, that they told us about their relatives and friends being stuck in the toilet. A few voice and video calls were also made,” Giri added.One of the survivors told a TV news channel that her friend, who had got locked inside a toilet, called her up on the mobile phone desperately seeking help. She could not be brought out alive.Dr Sulbha KG Arora, a Mumbai doctor, told NDTV news channel, she was at the 1 Above restaurant.”There was no time for anyone to reach out because the fire spread so rapidly. The staff members of the restaurant were trying to help the customers as much as possible,” she told NDTV on the phone.”There was a stampede and someone pushed me. People were running over me even as the ceiling above me was collapsing in flames,” she said separately in a tweet. “Still don’t know how I got out alive.”

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Kamala Mills fire: 5 BMC officials suspended, one transferred

Five Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials were today suspended after a fire in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound that killed 14 people. The assistant commissioner of the ward has also been transferred.Earlier, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had directed BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta to conduct an inquiry and “to take strong action against erring officials immediately”. The fire that started at “1 Above”, a rooftop pub, and spread to Mojo pub on the third floor one level below in the Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound in Lower Parel area, a popular night spot as well as commercial hub housing several offices including national television channels. The fire that spread after midnight also injured 21 people. Also read5 factors that show Mumbai’s Kamala Mills fire was a tragedy waiting to happenThe massive blaze engulfed the entire building in about 30 minutes and took several hours to be put out. The cause of the fire is not known.Teams of fire brigade and police rushed to the spot and 35 injured people were pulled out from inside the pub and taken to hospital, a police official said.Also readKamala Mills Fire: Two young men enter into death trap to save aunt, never to come backPolice have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under various charges including cuplable homicide not amounting to murder.They are also charged IPC sections 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).Also readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral Two of those booked have been detained.There have been allegations that civic authorities have turned a blind eye to construction irregularities and violation of fire safety norms in the compound.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed anguish over the tragedy.”Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.BJP MP Kirit Somaiya said he had asked Fadnavis and the BMC commissioner to order a special fire audit of all such pubs and hooka parlours in Mumbai.”Several such establishments at the Mills compound are illegal, part of which was regularised lately. The place where the blaze took place was illegal,” he claimed.

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Massive Mumbai Fire | PM Modi, President Kovind and Maharashtra CM Fadnavis extend condolences to victims

Hours after a massive fire claimed 14 lives at Mumbai’s Lower Parel area, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed shock over the incident and paid his condolences to bereaved families.”Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly,” Prime Minster Modi tweeted.President Ram Nath Kovind also paid his condolences to the affected families and wished fast recovery of the injured.”Disturbing news about the fire in Mumbai. Condolences to the bereaved families and wishing the injured an early recovery. Commend the valiant efforts of fire-fighters and those in rescue ops,” he tweeted.Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an in-depth probe into the tragedy.Also readUpdate | Mumbai: Major fire at Kamala Mills compound kills 14, PM Modi extends condolences“Disturbing to know about the loss of lives in unfortunate Kamala Mills fire incident in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the families who lost their loved ones and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. Directed the BMC Commissioner to conduct an in-depth enquiry,” Fadnavis tweeted.“BMC Commissioner has visited in the midnight itself and has taken stock of the situation. Asked him to take strong action against erring officials immediately,” the Chief Minister said in another tweet.Also readMumbai Fire | ‘Don’t know how I got out alive,’ survivor recalls inferno horrorIn the early hours of Friday, a massive fire engulfed Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound in the Lower Parel claiming 14 lives.Confirming the number of dead and injured, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also informed that among the injured, two are in a critical condition.The postmortems reveal that all the deaths were due to suffocation, confirmed Doctor Rajesh Dere of King Edward Memorial.Meanwhile, transmission of the TV channels ET Now, Mirror Now, Zoom and TV9 Marathi, who also use the compound, have also been affected due to the fire.

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CM Vijay Rupani retains Home, Dy CM cut to size

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani retained General Administration Department (GAD), Industries and other key departments, while his deputy Nitin Patel seemed to have been cut to size in allocation of portfolios, which was announced late on Thursday.Eight cabinet-level and 10 state-level ministers kept waiting for five hours for the CM and his deputy to arrive for cabinet meeting. The two were in a meeting for hours at the CM’s official residence.There were signs that all was not well, and there were differences over allocation of cream portfolios. The meeting, which was to begin at 5 pm, finally started at 9 pm.State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani also joined the big Two at the meeting, and it is believed that calls were made to party’s central leadership owing to differences in allocation of ministries.The Cabinet meeting ended shortly before 10 pm, after which the CM announced the portfolios.Finance and Urban Development, two key departments which Nitin Patel was handling in the previous government, were allocated to others. While Rupani kept Urban Development for himself, Finance went to Saurabh Patel, who was not a part of Rupani’s first government, and was making a comeback in the ministry.Nitin Patel has been allocated Road & Building, Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education, Narmada, Kalpasar, and Capital Planning.Not surprisingly, Patel didn’t come across very happy while sitting next to the CM when the list was made public.Giving the reason for delay, Rupani said, “All our central leaders were busy with discussions on the triple talaq bill debate which was going on in Parliament today. That is why we could not consult them on portfolios and the process got delayed. No one is disappointed nor is there any disagreement on portfolio distribution. Nitinbhai is also happy.”However, Nitin Patel avoided media persons. The CM also informed that ministers and officials, during the meeting, discussed purchase of groundnut from farmers at minimum support price and a Gujarat High Court order related to the Fee Regulation Act.Besides Urban Development, the chief minister has kept GAD, Industries, Home, Ports, Mines and Minerals, Information, Petroleum, Planning, Climate Change, and Science & Technology.Former state BJP chief RC Faldu, a first-time minister, has been given charge of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Road Transport.Bhupendrasinh Chudasama retained Education, Higher and Technical Education, Law & Justice, Parliamentary Affairs, Salt, Cow Conservation and Civil Aviation.Kaushik Patel, making a comeback to the Cabinet after ten years, has been made Revenue Minister.Besides Finance, Saurabh Patel has also been given charge of Energy, the ministry he handled for over 14 years.Ganpat Vasava has got Tribal Development, Tourism, Forests, and Women and Child Welfare.Jayesh Radadiya will be the minister for Civil Supplies, Cottage Industries, Printing and Stationery.Dilip Thakor has been assigned Labour and Employment, Disaster Management, and Yatradham Development.Ishwar Parmar, the junior-most among the Cabinet ministers, has been made minister of Social Justice and Empowerment (SC welfare, SEBC welfare).Among ministers of state, Pradipsinh Jadeja retains Home. He will also be MoS for Energy, Parliamentary Affairs, Law, Judiciary, and Police Housing, and hold independent charge of police Housing, Border Security, Civil Defence, Gram Rakshak Dal, Jail, Excise & Prohibition, NRG and Protocol.Parbat Patel has been given independent charge of Irrigation and Water Supply, while Parsottam Solanki has been given fisheries.Bachu Khabad will hold charge of Rural Housing, Rural Development, Animal Husbandry and Cow Conservation.Jaydrathsinh Parmar will be MoS agriculture, and hold independent charge of Panchayat and Environment.Ishwar Patel has been given independent charge of Cooperation, Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities. He will also be MoS of road transport.Vasan Ahir is MoS for SEBC Welfare.Vibhavari Dave, the lone woman in the ministry, has been given Women and Child Development, Education (primary and higher education), and Yatradham.First-time minister Raman Patkar has been given Forests and Tribal Development, while another debutant Kishor Kanani has got health and family welfare, and medical education.

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Farm distress, unemployment cost BJP votes: JN Singh

Farmers’ distress and lack of employment opportunities led to voters going against the ruling party in Gujarat, Chief Secretary JN Singh said on Thursday. Singh was speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of the office of Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) in Ahmedabad.Singh said that the move will address the dual concerns of giving farmers remunerative returns and providing jobs to youth and women.Addressing apparel makers at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and industry (GCCI), Singh said the recent Assembly poll results have sent out two strong messages for Gujarat legislatures — One is that farmers across Gujarat, particularly Saurashtra, felt that things are not remunerative. The second is unemployment among the youth and women, said Singh.The Chief Secretary said the apparel sector has a lot of potential in Gujarat, as it is the largest producer of cotton and Man-Made Fibre (MMF) in the country. However, garment making has not been taken up in substantial manner.Previous policies have tried to address these issues, the proof being that Gujarat has raised its capacity in spinning and weaving. “The development of the garment sector will further boost the growth of other segments in textile value chain. It will also lead to better utilisation of cotton and MMF produced in the state,” Singh said. Combined with the state government’s policies and efforts to set up the garment sector, Gujarat can become a major garment hub.

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BJP gets into huddle mode, discusses bypoll candidates

State BJP discussed the names of probable candidates for Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha and Mandalgarh assembly by-elections. The state election committee has prepared a panel of three probable candidates on the basis of feedback from party office-bearers. This panel will now be sent to the BJP central command to have final say.For bypoll preparations a meeting of state election committee was organised at a hotel on Thursday which was chaired by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, BJP state in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna, state president Ashok Parnami, state general secretary (organisation) Chandra Shekhar and national joint secretary (organisation) V Satish.In this meeting, feedback was taken on probable candidates from party office-bearers of all the three constituenciesMandal and district presidents, MLAs, Ministers, UIT Chairmen and other senior leaders were invited from Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha constituencies and Mandalgarh assembly constituency in the meeting. In the meeting, names of probable candidates were discussed for the by-election from the party workers. Firstly the opinion was taken in the name of probable candidates for the Ajmer Lok Sabha by-election. This was followed by opinion from the party office-bearers of Alwar Lok Sabha and the Mandalgarh Legislative Assembly area. During the meeting senior leaders asked the names of the three probable candidates from these local leaders on the basis of their win-ability in by-election. Organisation had asked the names of three probable candidates on a slip from these office-bearers. Based on their preference, all the officials present in the meeting wrote names of three-three probable candidates on the slip. The BJP will now form a panel of top three candidates on the basis of slips received. This panel will be sent to the central BJP. BJP’s parliamentary board will thereafter select candidate for these by-elections. During the meeting, CM Raje and state in-charge Khanna instructed the party workers to mobilise the preparation for the byelections. Raje said that like in the Dhaulpur byelection, the party will also win in the three by-elections by the record margin.Probable candidates’ namesAjmer Lok SabhaFormer MP Sanwarlal Jat’s son Ram Swaroop Lamba, Ajmer District President BP Saraswat, Pushkar MLA Suresh Rawat and Deepak Bhakar.Alwar Lok SabhaMahant Balaknath, MLA Ramhet Yadav, minister Jaswant Yadav, former MP Ghasiram’s daughter Ritu Yadav, Sanjay Sharma.Mandalgarh AssemblyBhilwara District president Shakti Singh Hada, Sanjay Dhakad

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AAP, NDMC reply sought on plea to seal illegal constructions in Chandni chowk

The Delhi High court has sought the reply of the AAP government and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) after a plea was filed to seal and demolish illegal construction in the historic Chandni Chowk area and prosecute violators.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Delhi Government, North Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Police Commissioner on the petition which said that an effective mechanism be devised to check rampant unauthorised construction in Chandni Chowk.The PIL filed by Himanshu Bansal, a trader in Chandni Chowk, gave details of seven properties where alleged illegal construction was carried out and said other similarly placed properties in the the area be also inspected.Appearing for Bansal, his counsel stated that despite various orders of the Supreme Court and High Court, it has not worked as a deterrence and unauthorised construction has become a continuous problem.The plea had sought direction to authorities to forthwith seal and demolish the unauthorised or illegal construction carried out in Chandni Chowk and to prosecute builders and those responsible for violating the law.It alleged that illegal construction activities are being carried out in complete violation of environment laws and has increased the congestion in the area, endangering life and properties of local inhabitants and public at large.It also contended that authorities be directed to ensure that the rich cultural heritage of Chandni Chowk area is preserved on the lines of the master plan Delhi 2021 by devising an effective mechanism of checking rampant unauthorised construction and illegal use of properties in the area as well as ensuring swift action against violators and offenders.THE PLEAThe plea sought direction to authorities to forthwith seal and demolish the unauthorised or illegal construction carried out in Chandni Chowk and to prosecute builders and those responsible for violating the law.

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Arvind Kejriwal launches SMC app for coordination of schools with parents, students

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday launched the School Management Committee (SMC) App, in a bid to help schools, parents and students for better coordination and management.Addressing the gathering of around 1,600 SMC members from across the government schools in the Capital, Kejriwal said, “It is certainly going to help the SMC functionary for effective delivery and will also decrease the paperwork and bring efforts at an ease. This app will help in making the process more transparent, and is going to be an effective help for all stakeholders by all means.”As per the Right to Education Act, 2009, the SMCs are formed to bridge the gap between the community and the school. “We have done an experiment towards democratisation of the school education system in Delhi. Our effort is to make the SMC members realise that they are the owners of the schools and will contribute their services for the betterment of education quality in the schools,” he added.Elaborating on the role of SMCs, the chief minister said that the Committees should be provided with some funds to carry out essential and need-based works in the schools, apart from giving power to the SMCs to fill up the vacant post of teachers in the schools on emergent and on hiring basis.Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia, who was also present at the event, said that a separate fund would be given in the ensuing budget for the SMCs to carry out the needy and essential works in the schools. “SMCs were created with the vision that it would transform the educational atmosphere of the schools for the betterment of teaching and learning process. Education without the active participation of the community is considered a one-sided activity,” he added.

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Vasundhara Raje briefs officials ahead of PM Modi visit

At Pachpadra, where the refinery will be set up, the construction of the boundary wall is under way. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 29 December 2017 1:57 ISTMust readJaipur-Agra Shatabdi to improvise under project ‘Swarna’In Ajmer, Congress playing waiting game<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Barmer where he is expected to lay the foundation stone of a refinery-and-petrochemical complex on January 14, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting with top officials including chief secretary Ashok Jain and DGP OP Galhotra at Alsisar Haveli hotel here. The CM instructed the officials to make foolproof arrangements for the PM’s visit, as the government intends to make it a grand event, like the Udaipur even in August when Modi laid the foundation stones of infra projects worth Rs 15,000 crore. As bypolls in three seats in the state approach, the PM’s visit is politically important. Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan will be present on the occasion. A team of top officials may also visit the venue in the first week of January.At Pachpadra, where the refinery will be set up, the construction of the boundary wall is under way.

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It is NCP’s turn to call out BJP’s ‘irrigation scam’

In the run-up to the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had accused the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of a Rs 70,000 crore irrigation scam. The campaign, which catapulted BJP to power, now seems to be turning against it. NCP says that under the pretext of project escalation cost, BJP has skimmed off Rs 40,000 crore through revised administrative approvals for 307 irrigation projects across the state.The NCP spokesperson has accused the BJP Irrigation minister of the scam in his three-year tenure.”Going by BJP’s yardstick,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Mallik, “their Irrigation minister Girish Mahajan, has executed a Rs 40,000 crore irrigation scam in his three-year tenure.””Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, as an Opposition leader, was at the forefront when allegations were made against us. He should now answer our allegations, which are supported by facts.”Malik said that most of the projects – that were revised and the costs were escalated – have been awarded to BJP members and well-wishers. “Some of the contractors are BJP MLAs, ministers and even MPs in the Rajya Sabha. We want in-depth inquiry,” Malik demanded.Giving an example of how project costs have been escalated by BJP, Malik cited the Gosikhurd irrigation project in Vidarbha. “In 2005-06, the estimated project cost was Rs 5,659 crore,” said Malik. “After coming into power, BJP additionally approved Rs 12,835 crore, taking the total cost of the project to Rs 18,494 crore. Additionally, it sought Rs 12,000 crore more from the Centre, which was denied. We want to understand, where exactly the BJP government plans to spend the money.”According to Nawab, the escalated costs of all irrigation projects amounts to Rs 40,000 crore. “We will raise this issue in the upcoming Assembly sessions,” said Malik, “If the government doesn’t heed us, we will take the fight to the people.”When contacted, Mahajan, was not available for comment. However, a government notification dated September 2016 mentions that the state government knew that the cost of the project had been raised but it decided to approve it in the interest of east Vidarbha’s development.

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JNU teachers raise concern over mandatory attendance of students

A day after the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) made attendance compulsory for all the regular students from January next year, the university’s teachers association on Thursday wrote to the members of the attendance committee raising its concerns.According to a circular issued by JNU’s assistant registrar, Sajjan Singh to all centers on December 22, the decision for making the attendance mandatory was taken during the Academic Council (AC) meeting in December.However, the JNUTA claimed that no such decision was taken during the 144th AC meeting. “Please note that the circulars notifying compulsory attendance, as well as the constitution of your committee, were issued before the date for receiving comments on the AC meeting was over i.e December 27,” the JNUTA said.During the meeting, the V-C had reportedly mentioned about the formation of a committee to ensure provisions of compulsory attendance for School of Language (SOL). However, the JNUTA claimed that it was not even part of the agenda and was opposed by the majority of members.”No such proposal has been made by any board of studies and if it were to be made, it would be applicable to the school only,” JNUTA said.Claiming that there is no tendency of “absenteeism” among the students, JNUTA president Ayesha Kidwai said,”We don’t want our classrooms to be turned into the last outposts of chief proctor office, because the notion of discipline in classrooms is strictly from the current dispensation’s notion of the disciplined conduct by students.”This will be the first time when JNU will maintain a record of student attendance. The university, however, has not yet specified the exact percentage of attendance that would be required to be maintained by the students and said that detailed guidelines will be issued shortly.The move also rapped by the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU), that termed it “irrational” and “unreasonable”. “We are adults. If we choose to miss classes and mess up our future, then that is on us. We are not in schools or gurukuls that we need to answer a roll call every day. This is an absolutely absurd regulation,” said JNUSU vice-president Simone Zoya Khan.

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Manish Sisodia visits Nand Nagri, takes stock of delivery of services

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday visited the district magistrate’s office in Nand Nagri to take stock of delivery of services to the people and to take their feedback.Sisodia interacted with a large number of people standing in long queues at the office. The people were waiting to get their pending work done at the government office.”People are tired of paying money to touts, long queues and numerous visits to government offices for a single job,” he said while interacting with the residents.The residents told the deputy chief minister that they have to stand for long hours in the queues and have to visit the office time and again to get their job done; this makes them either spend a lot of time on visiting the office numerous times, or have to pay to the touts to get their job done fast.”There is no point having online services when we still have to visit these offices. Even the senior citizens who are unable to walk need to go to the offices. These services should be delivered at home,” said Rani Kumari, one of the residents.Discussing the scheme, Sisodia informed an elderly citizen about the Doorstep Delivery Scheme.”He was very happy to know about it and said that a huge sum of money is spent in commuting to government offices to get the job done. The scheme should be implemented so that we get the services at home,” said one of the officers present during the visit.After interacting with the people at the DM office, Sisodia said, “Delhi government had formed a scheme, ‘Doorstep Delivery of Services Scheme’, so that the residents of Delhi get their jobs done sitting at home. A resident will only be required to make a call on the helpline number and an executive will come and do all the paper work. The beneficiary resident will not be required to visit the government office which is called doorstep delivery.”

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LG vs AAP govt: Anil Baijal decries ‘misinformation campaign’ on doorstep delivery of services

The duel between the AAP government and the Lt Governor over doorstep delivery of public services continued on Thursday with the LG denouncing the “misinformation campaign” on the issue.The government chose to take the matter to the public with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia visiting a district magistrate’s office to get feedback from people flocking government offices to get their work done.Lt Governor Anil Baijal sought to counter Sisodia’s parallel between doorstep delivery of pizza and public services by stating that public services, which are already being delivered online, may contain “sensitive information”, unlike the former.”Further, unlike e-commerce, which is a B2C (Business-to- Consumer) transaction, government has to be more sensitive and responsive to safety and security concerns in the proposed system which would be a G2C (Government-to-Consumer) transaction,” the LG House said in a statement.It added that the fact people continue to queue outside departments despite online availability of services, is the reason why the LG has advised to plug gaps in the online delivery system and increase access by facilitating setting up of Internet kiosks by unemployed youth.”The proposed system of delivery through thousands of mobile sahayaks who will collect facilitation fee’ will only introduce an unnecessary layer with all its attendant complications including chances of corruption,” the statement said.It quoted Baijal as saying that a “misinformation campaign” was being spread about issues related to the public delivery of services.Meanwhile, Sisodia visited the district magistrate’s office in Nandnagri to take stock of delivery of services and interacted with people standing in long queues.He later said that contrary to the LG’s claims, doorstep delivery will end corruption by putting an end to visits of people to government offices to get their job done.”People are now taking leaves to visit these offices, they will not need any leave once doorstep delivery comes into effect. At present, people are paying touts to get their job done, this will be done away with once the scheme comes in effect,” he said.

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Two weeks after showdown with Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Rajeev Dhawan retracts statements; to resume practice

Senior Supreme Court advocate Rajeev Dhawan has written to Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, retracting his statement that he would be giving up legal practice.The move comes two weeks after Dhawan said he would give up practice, following a showdown with Misra.Earlier, upset over a “humilitating” exchange in the Supreme Court between him and Misra during the hearing on Delhi Vs Centre on statehood case early this month, Dhavan, in a strong worded letter, had announced that he has given up court practice.In the letter, he said: “After the humiliating end to the Delhi (vs Centre) case, I have decided to give up court practice. You are entitled to take away the Senior Gown conferred on me, though I would like to keep it for memory and services rendered”.Two recent run-ins of Dhavan with the Chief Justice were widely reported in the media. During the Ayodhya case, Dhawan, Kapil Sibal, and Dushyant Dave pleaded that the Supreme Court defer hearing in the Babri-Ram Janambhoomi case until after the 2019 Lok Sabha election.Also read’After humiliating end to Delhi case,’ SC lawyer Rajeev Dhavan quits court practiceAccording to reports, Dhavan shouted at CJI Misra during the arguments. In another matter of Centre vs Delhi, Dhawan while representing the Arvind Kejriwal government, wanted to further a few more arguments even though Supreme Court had reserved its order in the case.After these two instances, CJI Misara said the trend of lawyers raising their voices showed their “inadequacy, incompetence and the fact that they are not even eligible to become seniors”.CJI Misra said: “If the Supreme Court Bar Association does not regulate such members, we will be forced to regulate them”.CJI further said: “When lawyers argue in a manner, not in tune with Constitutional language, we will tolerate it, but for how long? ”

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School fees: State welcomes HC ruling, asks schools to comply

Day 1 of the new government in Gujarat turned out to be a celebration as the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday upheld the state government’s law to regulate school fees. Rejecting around 40 petitions opposing it, a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi upheld the Gujarat Self Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2017. The Bill was introduced by the BJP government early this year.Welcoming the judgment, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “This is a historic judgment. We will implement the judgment with immediate effect. We are happy that the court has also not entertained any kind of stay in this order.””Under the leadership of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the state government was firm to implement the Bill since the beginning. Now that the judgment has come, we will not let schools charge a heavy fee as per their wish,” Chudasama said.Through this judgment, middle-class families and students will benefit a lot. Schools who were pressurising parents for higher fees will be in docks and parents will get respite from all sorts of pressure, he added.After the Act was passed in April, the state government had formed zone-wise fee regulation committees (FRC) and had started the process. As per the judgment, schools that did not approach the FRC will have to approach the FRC with a proposal in three weeks from the date of the judgment.As per a statement released from the state government, 1,101 schools did not increase any fee for the 2016-17 academic year in Ahmedabad zone. Of the 12,402 schools that had filed affidavits, order for 9,453 schools has been passed. Nearly 2,987 schools had approached high court out of which 584 are primary and 2,403 are secondary and higher secondary schools. Those schools whose hearing has been over, order will be pronounced soon.Nearly 80 schools reduced more than Rs 10k fee:As result of the Act, 77 schools including 74 from Ahmedabad and 3 from Rajkot reduced more than Rs 10,000 in their fee. Speaking about the same, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “37,60,112 students will be benefitted. I am grateful to the schools that reduced their fees after this Act. Due to good intent of many schools, they had reduced their fees sometime back.”KEY FACTSOrder on schools approached FRC soon Schools will have to give refund, if any, in 15 days If disobeyed, 1% inte-rest will be levied every day

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In Ajmer, Congress playing waiting game

After declaring Karan Singh Yadav as a candidate for Alwar parliamentary bypoll, the Congress still appears to be in a fix over announcing a candidate for Ajmer constituency. Names of senior leaders like Raghu Sharma and Nathuram Sinodia are making rounds to get the ticket, though extensive tours of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot to the area once again fuelled speculation of his candidature which was subdued recently.The sources said that party has declared candidate for Alwar and now it intends to buy more time to field a candidate, possibly waiting for BJP to announce its candidate. “Congress will open its cards in Ajmer when BJP comes up with its candidature. Hopefully, after Election commission of India (ECI) issues notification over the dates of the poll, the name of the candidate will be made public,” says a senior party functionary while talking to DNA.Adding to that the office bearer said that a non Jat candidate is being preferred by the Congress as BJP mulls to field Ramswarup Lamba, a Jat, who is the son of late MP Sanwar Lal Jat. This may be strategy to consolidate votes of Non-Jats. “As a non Jat candidate, Raghu Sharma is among the top contenders. In Jats, the party mulls Nathuram Sinodia. The final call will be taken when the saffron party declares its candidature,” added another party functionary.Sachin Pilot was the first choice of the party in Ajmer which is his home constituency. He even had wished to contest election openly provided the high command nods. Though, his candidature was put on hold as a fraction may play a role of sabotage at the time of polling. His recent extensive tours of the area have speculations, once again. “The Congress is caught in a dilemma with regard to Pilot. There is a feeling that the PCC chief should be spared for larger party work,” he added.High commandMeanwhile, party state in charge and AICC general secretary Avinash Pandey met AICC president Rahul Gandhi on Monday to discuss the strategy of the bypolls. However, the high command will take the final decision.

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L-G Anil Baijal’s note on scheme ‘saddens’ Manish Sisodia

Continuing the attack on Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday that he was “extremely saddened” after reading the noting of the L-G on doorstep delivery of services scheme.On Tuesday, Sisodia had alleged that the L-G rejected the proposal for 40 doorstep services in the national Capital. “I am unable to understand why the L-G has a problem with residents of Delhi getting delivery of services at their doorstep? The basic question that arises is that should a selected L-G have the power to reject a major decision of the elected government?” Sisodia asked on Wednesday.Among the 40 public services that were to be covered under the scheme in the first phase were caste certificates, income certificates, driving licences, duplicate driving licences, new water and sewer connections, handicap pension schemes, domicile certificates, delayed birth order, Lal Dora certificates, etc. Clarifying the doubts raised by the L-G, Sisodia said these services will put an end to the long queues in government offices. “There will be a 100 per cent feedback system to check corruption and quality of services. There is no fear of documents going missing as the executive will visit your place, scan the documents, and upload them then and there. This system will be super quick. The executive will visit your place on a phone call and provide the services,” he explained.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had planned to hire a private agency to implement the decision. According to the plan, mobile sahayaks (facilitators) will be hired through the agency, which would set up call centres.

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Ministers wait for portfolios

Generally in Gujarat government, portfolio allocation is made soon after the swearing in and the Chief Minister calls for the Cabinet meeting the same evening. This time, however, it’s been two days since, but neither the Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has convened his first cabinet meeting, nor has he distributed ministries.While no one is saying it, it is believed that Rupani is waiting for an auspicious time for the portfolio allocation as there was bad omen just before the swearing in ceremony when a small accident occurred between Rupani and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s convoys. A BJP leader confirmed this, but requested anonymity.When asked why the allocation had not taken place yet, the deputy CM Nitin Patel said, “I do not know why. That is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. I assumed charge and started work soon after the swearing in. The cabinet members were also in Gandhinagar until the evening, but the cabinet meeting was not called.”When pressed for a reason, Patel speculated it could be because the PM and party chief Amit Shah were busy with Himachal Pradesh swearing in. “I believe it will happen soon after consultation with the party high command,” he said.The wait is however is too much to handle for the new ministers. “This is very suffocating as I do not know what portfolio I am going to get. There was no meeting and there is no message when it will be, so I left for my constituency where my supporters have organized for a felicitation programme. I will now return to Gandhinagar only next week,” said one minister.

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After Talkathon, doctors spike strike

After a marathon eight-hour talk and intervention of four ministers and state BJP president, the in-service doctors agreed to call off their 12-day strike on Wednesday.As per the agreement signed between All Rajasthan In Service Doctors Association (ARISDA) ARISDA and the govrnment, demands, including removal of the officer of Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) Girish Parashar from the health department and adjustment of leaves taken by doctors during their agitation in earlier months of this year agitation, with their earned leaves has been accepted. The agreement also reiterates the execution of the agreement done on November 12 and withdrawal of cases registered against doctors, under Rajasthan Essential Services Management Act (RESMA), during their agitation.About the recent transfers that forced the doctors to go on strike for second time in two months, nothing was mentioned in the agreement, but later on Ashok Parnami state BJP president said that ARISDA president Dr Ajay Chaudhary will be posted as Chief Medical & Health Officer (CM&HO) in Sikar.During the talks a seven-point agreement also signed between the government and resident doctors. As per the agreement, government has given assurance to initiate proceeding over demands related to stipend appreciation, hostel or transit quarters allotment, pay fixation, revised LPC, benefits payment according to 7th pay commission and age limit increase for senior residents.In the talks with doctors and resident doctors, Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf, Health Minister (state) Banshidhar Bajiya, PWD Minister Yunus Khan, Co-operative Minister Ajay Singh Kilak, State BJP President Ashok Parnami, Principal Secretary (Health) Veenu Gupta, and Secretary (Medical Education) Anand Kumar were present. PRESCRIPTIONDuring the talks, a seven-point agreement was also signed between the government and resident doctors The government has given assurance to initiate proceeding over demands related to stipend appreciation, hostel or transit quarters allotment, pay fixation, revised LPC, benefits payment according to 7th pay commission and age limit increase for senior residents

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Max Hospital in soup again, kin say stents put in patient without permission

The family of a 58-year-old heart patient, who died in the Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, on December 25, has accused the hospital of negligence, a charge that the upscale facility has denied. The family said they will approach Union health minister JP Nadda on Thursday.Earlier on December 8, the Delhi government had cancelled the hospital branch’s license in another case of negligence. The services, however, resumed 10 days later, after the Finance Commissioner stayed the state government’s order.”We will try to reach out to health minister J P Nadda and the chief medical officer of Delhi on Thursday. We want justice. My father was on his feet when he visited the hospital on December 25. He was sweating, so they took him to the emergency ward and an ECG test was conducted. The test revealed that he had blockage in his arteries,” said Sarika, 35, daughter of the deceased Kamlesh Chander.According to the family, the doctors inserted a stent in Chander’s body without informing them. They also said that a senior doctor was supposed to operate upon him but instead a junior doctor performed the surgery.”Even as we were discussing the matter, they came and informed us that stents have been put in his body. They did that without even asking us. Also, the doctor under whose supervision my father was admitted was on leave. A few hours later, my father died. This is fraud and negligence. We demand justice. We are waiting for the autopsy and after that we will organise the funeral,” she said.The family further stated that the hospital gave them a bill of Rs 3 lakh. A police officer said inquest proceedings under section 174 of the CrPC has been initiated,The hospital, however, denied the allegations. “The patient was brought to the emergency (ward) in the afternoon of December 25, complaining of chest pain and breathlessness. There was blockage in three major arteries. The patient was 58 years old and had a history of diabetes, hypertension, and smoking,” the hospital said in its statement. It added: “The family was counselled by Dr Devendra Agarwal, who is a senior consultant and a well-qualified interventional cardiologist. The family was informed that Dr Navin Bhamri was on a leave. The family was fully informed about the diagnosis, the patient’s condition, and the treatment plan at various stages. The documents were signed by the family. Only one stent was used in the angioplasty procedure.”IN THE PAST7-year-old Adya Singh dies of dengue, hospital bills family Rs 16 lakh. On November 20, reacting to a tweet by the child’s uncle, Union Health Minister JP Nadda asked for details and said necessary action will be taken against the hospital.

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Man rapes minor for 13 days, arrested

A 14-year-old girl, who was kidnapped from outside her house in northwest Delhi by one of her distant relatives and repeatedly raped by him in Madhya Pradesh, has been rescued. The 34-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday. Police said that the accused had managed to change his appearances and locations frequently to keep away from police net.Police said that the accused raped the minor girl for 13 days in Budh Vihar after which he dropped her at Pitampura. The minor managed to reach her home and narrated her ordeal to her mother after she saw her in tattered clothes and a semi-conscious state. Later, her family approached the police and reported the matter.”The victim was sent for a medical examination that confirmed rape. Based on her statement, raids were conducted for over a month and intelligence was developed. A team led by ACP Raja Banthia, after receiving a tip-off, raided the native place of the accused from where he was arrested,” said a senior police officer.In the first week of December, the minor girl had reportedly left her house to buy groceries from a nearby shop when the accused allegedly kidnapped her by putting a drug-laced handkerchief on her mouth. Once the minor girl was unconscious, he took her to his friend’s place in Budh Vihar where he raped her repeatedly.As per the statement given by the minor, the accused used to live in the same neighbourhood in Netaji Subhash Place where she lived and used to work as a carpenter, the officer informed.

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Over 4.5K towers aren’t fire safe

None of the high-rises inspected by the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) over the last two years was found to have adhered to fire safety norms. They only complied after legal notices were sent to them.As per the data accessed by DNA, the MFB inspected 4647 buildings over the last couple of years — residential and commercial – and all of them were found without fire safety compliance. They have issued notices under Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006 and given 120 days to comply with the fire safety norms. After the warning, 4637 toed the line, while 10 buildings are now being prosecuted as per law.Two incidents of fire are fresh in minds of Mumbaikars – the Bhanu Farsan shop fire in Saki Naka which claimed 12; and Monday’s fire on the 17thfloor of a high-rise at Walkeshwar, the Legend Tower. Bhanu Farsan shop was not fire-safety compliant, while the fire at Legend Tower was easily controlled as the building had functioning fire safety installations.Chief Fire Officer P S Rahangdale said, “Residents are not serious about fire safety and only install fire safety equipment after we send notices. It is out of fear of prosecution and not safety concerns.” “During inspection, we found that buildings flout basic safety norms such as encroachment on common passage, doors to staircases are closed, water from fire tank is used for domestic purposes,” said a senior MFB officer.Turn to “Some buildings do not have designated entry and exit gates, and while many buildings have firefighting equipment, it is not in working conditions. There will be a faulty or missing knob, rusted pipes or just an inability to operate the equipment,” he added However, residents feel that the Municipal Corporation and Fire Brigade fail to create awareness about fire safety and are lenient while granting permissions. Nita Bajpai, general Secretary of Juhu-Vile Parle Residents Association said, “It is true that most residents do not take fire safety seriously, but it also the work of the Municipal Corporation and Fire Brigade to create awareness through campaigns. Buildings should have fire-fighting installations and do regular servicing to keep it operational. It also cannot be rejected that authorities sanction building permissions when the locality does not provide sufficient space for fire brigade in case of emergency.”

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Himachal CM, 11 ministers take charge

Jai Ram Thakur took oath as the 13th Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh at the historic Ridge Maidan here on Wednesday. The five-time BJP MLA was sworn in along with 11 Cabinet Ministers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, veteran party leader LK Advani and a few Chief Ministers, including UP’s Yogi Adityanath.As the number of Cabinet Ministers is capped at 12, the BJP has tried to strike regional balance, giving precedence to Mandi and Kangra districts.The BJP government has the CM and two ministers from Mandi, four from Kangra, besides one each from Una, Kullu, Solan, Shimla and tribal areas. No one from Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Sirmaur and Chamba has been included in the ministry.Former BJP chief and four-time MLA from Shimla, Suresh Bhardwaj, 65, is the eldest among new faces.Three-time MLA from Kasauli, Rajiv Saizal, is the youngest at 46. Insiders have been hinting that RSS has had a bigger say in formalising the new CM’s Cabinet.The new Cabinet has four ministers, including only female minister Sarveen Chaudhary, from the biggest Kangra district. Former Union Minister Pandit Sukh Ram’s son, Anil Sharma, who joined BJP days before the elections, has once again got a Cabinet berth.Dharampur (Mandi) MLA Mahender Singh Thakur took oath as number two after the CM and is the eldest in the government at 67.If sources are to be believed, the name of former Health Minister Rajiv Bindal, who has never lost an election and is a five-time MLA in a row (three times from Solan, twice from Nahan), was struck off at the last minute. He is slated to be elevated as Speaker in the new Assembly.Instead, the name of Dharamshala MLA Kishan Kapoor was, however, added into the council of ministers at the eleventh hour.Third time MLA from Manali Govind Thakur, 49, who is considered a close aide of the new CM, has also been included in the Cabinet. The Son of veteran BJP leader late Kunj Lal Thakur, Govind, is a horticulturist.Others who were administered the oath are: Ram Lal Markanday (Lahaul-Spiti), Virender Kanwar (Kutlehar, Una), Vipin Parmar (Kangra) and Bikram Singh (Jaswan-Pragpur).After the swearing-in ceremony, a large number of people gathered outside the residence of former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and displayed their displeasure over non-inclusion of his supporter and former horticulture minister Narender Bragta in the Cabinet.Having been a minister twice under Dhumal, Bragta has been seen as the BJP’s face in the upper belt, dominated by outgoing CM Virbhadra Singh for so long. The only Dhumal supporter included in the Cabinet was Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj.

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AAP sharpens attack after LG rejects home delivery scheme

"The BJP is getting sealing (drive) across Delhi. The BJP has got the doorstep delivery proposal of government's services rejected. The BJP has tried to stop the file of mohalla clinics through the LG.
"Why does the BJP want to destroy Delhi?" he tweeted. Labour Minister and AAP's Delhi unit convenor Gopal Rai said the LG's decision to return the proposal "defied logic". "The BJP is resorting to dirty politics and taking help of the Lt Governor's office," he claimed. Rai alleged that the Delhi BJP leaders cared little for the city and their motto was to keep obstructing the works being done by the Arvind Kejriwal government. The Delhi Cabinet had approved the proposal for doorstep delivery of essential public services last month and sent it for approval to the LG. ”
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Wednesday 27 December 2017 23:00 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Indian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today alleged that the BJP was using the office of the Lieutenant Governor to obstruct in the works of the Delhi government, a day after Anil Baijal shot down its ambitious proposal to “home deliver” basic public services.LG Baijal had yesterday sent back to the Delhi government a proposal for doorstep delivery of basic public services such as driving licences, caste certificates and water connections for reconsideration.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who had termed the LG’s move as a “huge setback” to AAP government’s efforts towards providing a graft-free governance, today took to Twitter to lambaste the BJP, wondering why the saffron party wanted to “destroy” Delhi.”The BJP is getting sealing (drive) across Delhi. The BJP has got the doorstep delivery proposal of government’s services rejected. The BJP has tried to stop the file of mohalla clinics through the LG.”Why does the BJP want to destroy Delhi?” he tweeted. Labour Minister and AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Gopal Rai said the LG’s decision to return the proposal “defied logic”. “The BJP is resorting to dirty politics and taking help of the Lt Governor’s office,” he claimed. Rai alleged that the Delhi BJP leaders cared little for the city and their motto was to keep obstructing the works being done by the Arvind Kejriwal government. The Delhi Cabinet had approved the proposal for doorstep delivery of essential public services last month and sent it for approval to the LG.

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Displeased with food packets being distributed, Prez Kovind stops speech midway

"What is happening in the economic world…I see the same picture at this conference also. I think some food packets are being distributed. Of course it is a must, but it has disturbed the system itself. "Therefore, I request the organisers, will you please keep the distribution of food packets in abeyance for a little while," Kovind said, even as the stunned police personnel and officials intervened to stop the distribution. The president then continued with his speech. ”
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Wednesday 27 December 2017 19:23 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Indian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>It is not often that he stops midway during a public speech, but that is what President Ram Nath Kovind did today to indicate his displeasure over the distribution of food packets among the delegates during his address at an Indian Economic Association conference here.Briefly interrupting his address to gently prod the organisers for the faux pas, the president asked them to stop distributing the packets till his speech was over. While addressing the centenary conference of the association, Kovind noticed that the food packets were being distributed among the participants. Two minutes into his speech, Kovind paused and looked at the audience as there was a sudden noise.The volunteers had started distributing the food packets among the delegates and mediapersons and a group of students had got up from their seats in their hurry to grab them.”What is happening in the economic world…I see the same picture at this conference also. I think some food packets are being distributed. Of course it is a must, but it has disturbed the system itself. “Therefore, I request the organisers, will you please keep the distribution of food packets in abeyance for a little while,” Kovind said, even as the stunned police personnel and officials intervened to stop the distribution. The president then continued with his speech.

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More trouble for Max Hospital: Man dies on Christmas Day; family alleges hospital negligence

The family of a 58-year-old man, who was taken to Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh on Christmas Day for treatment of a heart condition, today alleged that he died due to the hospital’s negligence, a charge the upscale facility has denied.The allegation came weeks after the Court of the Financial Commissioner stayed an order of the Delhi government cancelling the hospital’s licence for wrongly declaring a newborn dead.Sarika, 35, daughter of the deceased, Kamlesh Chander, said: “We are devastated by the incident. Tomorrow, we will try to reach out to Health Minister J P Nadda and the chief medical officer of Delhi. We want justice.”Also readMax hospital case: Probe to be delayed in twin baby case as police still waiting for DMC’s reply”My father was on his feet when he visited the hospital on December 25. He was sweating, so they took him to the emergency ward and an ECG test was conducted. The test revealed that he had blockage in his arteries,” she said.Sarika said an angiography was performed on his father and the doctors told the family that Chander would need a bypass surgery.Also readFamily approaches court day after Max Hospital reopens”While we discussed the matter, they came and informed us that stents have been put in his body. They did that without even asking us. More so, my father was admitted under the supervision of a doctor who was on leave. This is fraud and negligence,” she alleged.”A few hours later, my father died… We demand justice. We are waiting for the autopsy and after that we will organise the funeral, she said.The family said the hospital billed them Rs three lakh.”We have submitted all relevant details and registered a complaint with the police,” she said.A police official said inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC was initiated based on the complaint.”A medical board will be constituted to carry out the autopsy. On the basis of the autopsy, further action will be taken,” the official said.Max Healthcare in a statement said: “The patient was brought to the emergency (ward) in the afternoon of December 25, with complaints of chest pain and breathlessness. Initial ECG confirmed acute STEMI.”ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) is a type of heart attack during which one of the heart’s major arteries is blocked.”Further investigation revealed Triple Vessel Disease blockage in three major arteries. The patient was 58 years old and had a history of diabetes, hypertension and smoking. Despite due efforts by the medical team, the patient could not be saved,” it claimed.Sarika, however, countered the hospital’s claim, saying, “My father was a vegetarian, non-smoker and non-alcoholic.”Max Healthcare authorities said, “We are really disturbed by the false allegation that the body was held pending payment. It is a part of our ethics charter to peacefully hand over the body under all circumstances.”Sarika has claimed that her father’s body was first taken by the police to Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial Hospital, and from there to Safdarjung Hospital for post-mortem.

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Jairam Thakur takes oath as Himachal CM, PM hopes new govt will work tirelessly

Jai Ram Thakur was today sworn in as the 14th chief minister of Himachal Pradesh along with 11 other ministers at a ceremony at the historic Ridge Ground here.Governor Acharya Devvrat administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 52-year-old Thakur, a five-time MLA from Seraj, and other ministers which included six new faces. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, BJP veteran L K Advani and a host of union ministers. The cabinet is complete as all 12 berths have been filled while two MLAs would be accommodated as speaker and deputy speaker.Rajiv Bindal will be the speaker of the legislative assembly.Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed confidence that the new BJP government in Himachal Pradesh would work tirelessly for the people.Modi, who was present at the oath-taking ceremony in Shimla, took to Twitter to congratulate chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and his council of ministers.”Congratulations to Jairam Thakur and all those who took oath today. I am confident this team will work tirelessly and serve the people of Himachal Pradesh with exceptional diligence,” he tweeted.Also readJairam Thakur takes oath as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister; PM Modi, Rajnath Singh attend grand ceremonyJai Ram is the first chief minister from the second largest Mandi district and the 14th chief minister and sixth person to adorn the office of the chief minister. Suresh Bharadwaj and Gobind Singh Thakur took oath in Sanskrit while the others took oath in Hindi. Sarveen Chaudhry is the lone woman in the cabinet. The new ministers include Mohinder Singh, Krishan Kapoor, Suresh Bharadwaj, Anil Sharma, Sarveen Chowdhary, Ram Lal Markanda, Vipin Parmar, Virender Kanwar, Gobind Thakur, Rajiv Saizal and Vikram Singh.Besides, the chief minister, two ministers are from his home district of Mandi, four from the largest Kangra district, one each from Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Una and Lahaul and Spiti districts. Bilaspur and Hamirpur, home districts of Union Health Minister J P Nadda and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chamba and Sirmaur districts have been left unrepresented. The BJP had won 20 seats in Kangra and Mandi districts and also won 13 out of 17 seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and two out of three Scheduled Tribe seats.Some senior party leaders and former ministers including Romesh Dhawala and Narinder Bragata have not been given berth in the cabinet. There are six Rajputs including the chief minister, Mohinder Singh, Vipin Parmar, Virender Kanwar, Gobind Thakur and Vikram Singh, three Brahmins including Suresh Bharadwaj, Anil Sharma and Ram Lal Markanda, who is both tribal and Brahmin and two OBCs. Thakur had earlier served as minister from 2009 to 2012. He was state BJP chief from 2006 to 2009.Mohinder Singh is seven-time MLA and served as cabinet minister twice in 1998 and 2007 in the BJP government headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal while Krishan Kapoor is four-time MLA from Dharamsala and was cabinet minister in the Dhumal government during 1998-2003 and 2007-12. Sarveen Chowdhary is also a four-time MLA and former minister in the BJP government. Anil Sharma, who deserted the Congress on the eve of election is four-time MLA from Mandi and served as minister in the Virbhadra Singh cabinet in 1993 and 2012 while Dr Ram Lal Markanda, a three-time MLA was minister in the Dhumal government during 1998-2003.Suresh Bharadwaj from Shimla is senior party leader and a four-time MLA. He was also Rajya Sabha member and state BJP chief.Virender Kanwar, four-time MLA from Kutlehar, Vipin Parmar, Gobind Thakur, Rajiv Saizal and Vikram Singh are among the new faces. The BJP had won 44 out of 68 seats in the state assembly and after the shocking defeat of BJP’s chief minister face Prem Kumar Dhumal from Sujanpur, the race was open for the top post and Jai Ram Thakur was elected leader. Thousands of people from Mandi, the home district of chief minister thronged the venue and danced to the tunes of traditional folk music. Apart from Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and J.P Nadda, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states like Yogi Adityanath, Manohar Lal Khattar, Devendra Fadanvis and Sarbanand Sonowal were present on the occasion.

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UP govt sends letter to Gorakhpur DM to withdraw 1995 case against Yogi Adityanath, 10 others

The Yogi Adityanath government on December 21 ordered the withdrawal of a 1995 case in which the chief minister, along with Shiv Pratap Shukla (now Minister of State for Finance at the Centre), Sheetal Pandey (BJP MLA from Sahajanwa) and 10others were booked for violating prohibitory orders.On December 20, the state government sent a letter to the District Magistrate, Gorakhpur, directing that an application be filed to withdraw the case before the court. The government order stated that based on a letter received from the District Magistrate on October 27 and after scrutinising facts of the case, it had been decided to withdraw the case. The letter mentioned the names of Yogi Adityanath, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Sheetal Pandey and ten others.The Chief Secretary Rajive Kumar has issued directions that all District Magistrates of the state withdraw cases under Sections 144 of the IPC 107 and 109 of the CrPC. The Chief Secretary has asked DMs to prepare a list of such cases in their respective districts and file appeals in designated courts in the light of the state government order.Besides Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, cases against Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, UPCC Chief Raj Babbar, Leader of Opposition Ram Gobind Chaudharay and several BJP, SP, BSP and Congress MPs, MLAs, leaders and workers would be dropped.A home department spokesperson said that the State government will also file an appeal in the Allahabad High Court requesting directions to the lower courts for withdrawal of cases against politicians in the light of Amendment into the Act.It is, however, a different matter that crime graph in UP is on the rise even after police tightening noose around hardcore criminals. It was due to this reason, the state government had introduced UPCOCA (UP Control of Organized Crime Act) which was passed by the UP Assembly but requires assent from the Upper House.During debate on UPCOCA, the Chief Minister had announced that his government has initiated a process to withdraw as many as 20,000 cases against politicians across party lines. He had stated that the move was aimed at reducing the pendency of cases in lower courts.“These cases were usually petty cases registered by the police against political leaders and workers for staging a dharna and holding demonstrations. They go on in lower courts for years and need to be closed,” he had stated in UP Assembly.The opposition has welcomed the state government’s decision. “We welcome the step but along with politicians, the state government should also withdraw cases against innocent people,” suggested Rajendra Chief Chowdhary Spokesperson, Samajwadi Party.The former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had also withdrawn about 1800 cases against party leaders and workers during his tenure.

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Sachin Pilot calls Vasundhara Raje sops poll gimmick

Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot on Tuesday took a jibe on Chief minister Vasundhara Raje touring to the bypoll-bound constituencies where she is showering sops and making new announcements. Terming it a poll effect, PCC chief blamed the government for not paying heed to the concerns of common man in its past four-year rule.Pilot made the scathing attack on Raje in Ajmer on Tuesday where he is campaigning extensively ahead of the bypoll. Focusing on rural belt, he visited more than a dozen gram panchayats, including Kumharia Bandanwada, Padanga, Satwadia, Jamola and held dialogue with rural folks.Addressing separate gatherings during his visit, Pilot attacked the government. “The Chief Minister has never taken care of this area in the past four years. As polls are nearing she is making populist announcements to allure people. She declares to open a college somewhere and assures to make roads and bridges at some other place, but the truth is people of the state have been deprived of basic amenities in the BJP’s rule”.Citing example of the government’s insensitivity, Pilot narrated plight of farmers and poor sections of the society. “Farmers are committing suicides due to debt, and in the CM’s constituency (Jhalarapatan) a farmer died due to severe cold while coming to his field for irrigation purpose at night . The government has deceived farmers as it had promised to provide electricity in the day time to the farmers, but even after four years this promise has not been fulfilled,” said Pilot, adding that government is privatising education and health sector which the Congress will oppose.

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With assets worth Rs 123 crore, Saurabh Patel is the richest minister

Former Industries and Finance minister Saurabh Patel is the richest minister in the 20-member Council of Ministers headed by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, announced on Tuesday. Eighteen ministers have assets worth Rs 1 crore or more, according to a report of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).Assets and IncomeExcept for Raman Patkar and Bachu Khabad, all ministers have assets worth more than Rs 1 crore. Saurabh Patel also has the highest annual salary of all. Patel has disclosed his income of Rs 2.45 crore in his Income Tax Returns. His income includes his salary, interests and dividends. Patel is followed by Parbat Patel, a farmer, with an income of Rs 72 lakh and Jayesh Radadiya with an income of Rs 50 lakh. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani disclosed an income of Rs 21 lakh. His income comprises salary, interest income from partnership, savings interest income and dividends. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel disclosed an income of Rs 15 lakh from business. He has assets worth Rs 8 crore.Financial LiabilitiesThirteen of the 20 ministers have financial liabilities. Top on the list is Jayesh Radadiya with liabilities worth Rs 16 crore against Rs 28 crore worth of assets, followed by Parsotam Solanki with liabilities worth Rs 6 crore against assets worth Rs 45 crore. Former Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel has Rs 1 crore worth of liabilities against Rs 5 crore worth of assets. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has Rs 83 lakh worth of liabilities against Rs 9 crore worth of assets.Education QualificationTwo ministers are postgraduates, six are graduate professionals while two have a graduation degree. Nine ministers have not crossed school limits. One is a diploma engineer.Ministers with criminal casesThree ministers have facing criminal cases against them. Parsotam Solanki has six cases related to cheating, dishonesty, forgery, fraudulent practices, Jayesh Radadiya has two cases related to causing hurt to others using dangerous weapons, provoking breach of peace as well as abatement to offence and former Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja has one case related to violation of Representation of Peoples Act against him.THREE RICHEST MINISTERSSaurabh Patel Rs 123 croreParsotam Solanki Rs 45 croreJayesh Radadiya Rs 28 crore

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Talkathon on doctors’ strike continues

Plight of hapless patients extend for another day as government doctors spent Tuesday in talks. Three ministers of the government and several rounds of talks could not convince the agitating doctors till late evening. The talks are scheduled to be resumed at Zanana Hospital at 11am on Wednesday.Meanwhile earlier the government declared a deadline for doctors to join duty by Tuesday midnight though showed signs of avoiding arrest for some more time as talks apparently were heading towards consensus. However, the issue of withdrawal of transfer orders of doctor leaders remains an issue of contention. “I request all doctors to finish the strike and resume their duties as soon as possible. This is to ensure that patients are not affected by the issue. I also urge them to leave the decision on chief minister Vasundhara Raje, and I request the government to give back the assignments and duties to the doctors,” Kilak told media.Even as some doctors evading the association call responded on duty during the day, many continued with the strike. Earlier in the day, the first meeting took place early in the morning at PWD minister, Yunus Khan’s residence. This was followed by a second round of meeting which involved BJP state president Ashok Parnami, Rajasthan health minister Kali Charan Saraf, in addition to Khan.The third round took place late in the evening at state minister Ajay Kilak’s residence. This meeting was attended by Medical state minister, Banshidhar Bajiya, Saraf, Khan, and Dr Lakshman Ola, vice-president, All Rajasthan in Service Doctor Association. The final meeting happened at Parnami’s residence.Ola confirmed resuming of services on Wednesday, if the government promises no arrests. Parnami also agreed for reconciliation and assured complete cooperation towards the doctors.Notably, Rajasthan high court, on Monday, had given orders which allowed the state government to take decisions as it deems fit, in case the doctors do not show up for duties in next 24hrs.According to officials from the health department, there are about 7,000 doctors providing services in the state. Out of these, about 2,000 were already on duties, irrespective of strike, and abut 1,500 are expected to join by Wednesday morning.

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New Vijay Rupani cabinet: Mix of youth and experience

Vijay RupaniChief MinisterThe 61-year-old who began his second stint as Chief Minister on Tuesday, has had a meteoric rise in Gujarat’s politics. A man of the organisation throughout his political journey, he was nominated as CM after the abrupt resignation of Anandiben Patel in August 2016. There were question marks on his future, especially after BJP won just 99 seats, its lowest tally in the past seven elections, but the party has chosen to maintain a status quo.CABINET MINISTERSNitin PatelA six-term MLA, 61-year-old Patel is the senior-most in the ministry. He was widely seen as the chief ministerial nominee after Anandiben’s resignation, but BJP picked Rupani and appointed Patel as deputy CM.RC FalduFaldu, a former president of Gujarat BJP, was elected to the Assembly for the fourth time in 2017. Faldu was sidelined in the party from some time, but the influential, Patidar leader has made a strong comeback.Bhupendrasinh ChudasamaChudasama is among the senior-most ministers in the Vijay Rupani cabinet having served as one way back in 1990. The soft-speaking Kshatriya leader is in his fifth term in the Assembly.Kaushik PatelPatel had lost in 2007 and had not contested in 2012, which means he is back after 10 years. This is the 63-year-old’s fourth term as MLA. He had held revenue, energy, civil supplies, and other important ministries.Saurabh PatelPatel, who is in his fifth term as MLA, served as minister from 2002 to 2016, handling finance, energy, civil aviation, planning, tourism. He was one of the visible faces of the government during these years.Ganpat VasavaA four-term MLA, he has emerged as the tribal face of the BJP in south Gujarat. Back in 2011, Vasava was appointed as Speaker of the state Assembly, the first from the tribal community to occupy the chair. He was later appointed as a cabinet minister.Jayesh RadadiyaSon of influential Patidar leader Vitthal Radadiya, Jayesh has been elected to the Assembly for the second time in 2017. The 36-year-old is the youngest minister in the 20-member Vijay Rupani cabinet. He had served as minister of state.Dilipsinh ThakorThis is the 58-year-old’s fifth term in the Assembly. A prominent OBC face in north Gujarat, Thakor had served as minister in the first Modi government in 2001, and had remained till 2007. He was brought back in the cabinet by Anandiben Patel.Ishwar ParmarThe 46-year-old, who was elected to the Assembly for just the second time, is a surprise pick as cabinet minister. The loss of its prominent Dalit faces such as Ramanlal Vora and Atmaram Parmar left BJP with little choice but to promote Parmar.MINISTERS OF STATEPradipsinh JadejaJadeja was elected to the assembly from Vatva seat in the just concluded elections for his fourth term as MLA. He was serving as minister of state for home in the previous government, in addition to law, parliamentary affairs.Parbat PatelThe 5-term MLA from north Gujarat was elected to the assembly first time in 1985. The 69-year-old is a prominent Chaudhary leader, a community that is quite dominant in north Gujarat. He has served as minister of state for finance, water supply, health, transport.Parsottam SolankiThe powerful Koli leader has served in all governments since 1998, barring one. In spite of his poor health, and though he barely attends office, the 56-year-old has once again been included in the ministry, because of the influence he has in his community.Bachu KhabadThis is the 62-year-old’s third term as MLA. He first found a place in the ministry when Anandiben Patel became the chief minister in May 2014. He was made minister of state for fisheries, and forests & environment. He was retained in the ministry by Vijay Rupani.Jaydrathsinh ParmarHaving started as a sarpanch in the late 1980s, Parmar first became a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet in 2011. The four-term MLA was included in the cabinet again in 2013 and has been its part since. The 53-year-old is a qualified lawyer by profession.Ishwarsinh PatelThis is Patel’s fourth term as an MLA. He had first found a place in the ministry in 2011 when the cabinet was expanded. He was dropped from the ministry in 2012, but was inducted again when Rupani took over as CM.Vasan AhirAhir, who has been elected as MLA five times, is among the senior legislators in the cabinet. The 59-year-old had first served as minister of state since 2008 in the second Modi government.Vibhavari DaveThe three-term MLA is the only woman in the Cabinet. She had served as deputy mayor and mayor of Bhavnagar in the mid and late 1990s, and was first elected to the Assembly in 2007.Raman PatkarThis is the first time Patkar has found a place in the ministry. He is a five-term MLA, and was elected from the tribal reserved Umargam seat in Valsad in the latest polls.Kishor KananiThis is the maiden entry of Kanani, a two-term MLA, in the ministry. He had won from Varachha Road seat in Surat. In fact, he was the only Patidar MLA from Surat city who was repeated by BJP.

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Saurabh Patel back in ministry, likely to get key role

Saurabh Patel, the suave and urban face of the state government until not too long ago, is back in the thick of things. He was among the nine Cabinet ministers who were sworn-in along with chief minister Vijay Rupani and ten other ministers of state on Tuesday.The 59-year-old US-educated Patel was a fixture in the Narendra Modi government since 2002. He was minister of state for finance, energy, planning, civil aviation, industries and other key departments for a very long time.One of the visible ministers in the government, Patel was promoted to Cabinet rank when Modi came back to power in 2012 and was entrusted with energy, planning, tourism, civil aviation and other ministries. He was seen as a key link between the government and industry.Patel, whose wife Ila is a cousin of Mukesh and Anil Ambani, was appointed as finance minister in May 2014 when Anandiben Patel took over as the chief minister after Modi’s elevation as prime minister. He also held energy and other important departments.However, Patel was surprisingly dropped from the ministry when Vijay Rupani took over as the chief minister in August last year after Anandiben’s abrupt resignation.His sacking from the cabinet was attributed to controversies over various PSUs allegedly extending favours to companies linked with him. It was also believed that he had fallen out of favour with BJP president Amit Shah.Patel, who had contested from Akota seat in Vadodara in 2012, was fielded from Botad, his traditional seat, in 2017 elections. He, however, just scraped through, winning with a narrow margin of 906 votes against Congress candidate DM Patel. He is expected to be given important responsibilities, especially looking at the 2019 Vibrant Gujarat Summit, which is just a little over a year away.

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Health centre chief suspended for cataract operations under ‘torch’

After reports surfaced that eye surgeons at Nawabganj Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Unnao district allegedly performed cataract operations on 32 patients in ‘torchlight’ on Monday, the Yogi Adityanath government has ordered a probe and suspended the PHC in-charge, Dr Dinesh Dass. Chief Medical Officer of Unnao, Dr Rajendra Prasad, who gave the permission for these operations even when there was no electricity at the PHC has also been transferred.”No one involved in this kind of medical negligence will be spared. It is the height of medical negligence,” said Ravi Kumar, District Magistrate, while ordering the probe.A two-member team including additional Chief Medical Officer Unnao R.K. Gautam and Joint Magistrate Mankish Bansal has been formed to probe the incident.Initial investigation suggests that due to erratic power supply at the PHC during the time of the surgeries, a three-member team, headed by Dr Nutan Saxena, performed the cataract operations under two torchlights. “Since there was no power, doctors asked us to hold torchlights and conducted the cataract operations on patients,” said a peon.

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Kolkata to get a floating market

What started off as a plan to rehabilitate shopowners ended up as a gift for Kolkata in the shape of the first market inside a water body, with walkways for customers from which they can shop.At Patuli, a neighbourhood in south Kolkata, an entire lake has been transformed into a floating market about 24,000 sq m in area.”When an adjoining bypass was being widened, the local market had to be removed and its 228 shopowners rehabilitated. Our Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, inspired by the floating market in Bangkok, wanted to set up a similar market here. I met him and gave him this proposal. A team of officials of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) came over for a feasibility study and okayed the place,” said Arup Chakraborty, councillor, Ward 110 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation.He said it would be the first such market in the country and the third in Asia. “There is one at Dal Lake in Srinagar but that is not an organised one. People just sell their wares at a venture. Over here, we will have ramps for customers. The merchandise will be sold in clusters. For example, one area would be for vegetable sellers, another for fruits, another for flowers and so on,” Chakraborty said.It was found out that 114 boats have been made in Hooghly district. Each boat would have two shops each. They would be stationary beside the ramps. The market timings are yet to be decided by the KMDA, but tentatively been fixed at 5 am-1 pm and 3 pm-8 pm.”We will avoid using plastic. We will instal a purifier for cleaning the water. The expenditure is expected to be about Rs 10 crore,” Chakraborty said, adding that the market was expected to be ready by the end of January 2018 and would be inaugurated by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her convenience.The market would include a cafe, a joggers’ track, seats, fountains and a light-and-sound show in the evening.

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‘Severe’ air pollution likely to return to Delhi in run-up to New Year

‘Severe’ air pollution may return in the national capital in the run-up to New Year, the Met department has forecast, prompting the CPCB to direct agencies to step up action against polluting sources.The concentration of pollutants will rise till at least December 29 due to low velocity wind and the coming down of the atmospheric layer where air and pollutants mix close to the surface. Wind speed 900 metres above the ground may fall to 4 km/hr on December 29, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. On December 27 and 28, it will be around 17 km/hr and 6 km/hr, respectively. However, from December 30 wind speed may pick up a little and rise to 13 km/hr on the eve of New Year. Ground-level wind speed will be between 5 km/hr and 8 km/hr during this period, the IMD said.The day’s Air Quality Index (AQI) was 335, classified as ‘very poor’ by the CPCB, which may trigger respiratory illnesses on prolonged exposure. “The IMD has predicted that low winds, poor ventilation coefficient and stable atmospheric conditions are likely to cause episodic severe air quality events particularly in the evening and night till December 29,” CPCB’s air lab chief Dipankar Saha said. Poor ventilation coefficient essentially means that the ability of the atmosphere to dilute and disperse the pollutants over a region will reduce.Also readDelhi chokes again as smog strikesAll these factors do not allow dispersion of pollutants leading to their accumulation in the air. In view of the emerging situation, agencies concerned have been requested to remain alert and take all necessary measures for preventing emergency situation, Saha said. In Delhi, agencies such as the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the civic bodies are in charge of acting against open burning of waste, coal and firewood, visibly polluting vehicles, diesel generator sets, factors which spike pollution at the local level.

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Tamil Nadu parties divided over Rajnikanth’s much-anticipated political entry

Tamil Nadu’s political fraternity seems to be divided on actor Rajnikanth’s much-anticipated political entry, with the ruling AIADMK saying that it was his “democratic right” while opposition DMK is waiting for the official word.”India is a democratic country. Anybody can join politics. It is up to the people to accept it or not, people are the judges,” senior AIADMK leader and state Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said. Handlooms Minister O S Manian, however, told reporters in Nagapattinam that politics “may not be ideal” for Rajinikanth, considering his health. The 67-year-old actor had availed medical treatment, including at Singapore-based Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre in 2011 for some illness. Manian said the actor should take the political plunge immediately, if he really wanted to do so.DMK Rajya Sabha MP, T K S Elangovan said it would be appropriate to react once the actor officially declares that he would be joining politics. “For any party, ideology and stand on key matters including language is important,” he told PTI. BJP state unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said her party had always welcomed the actor’s political debut. She said they could see a “determination” and “clarity” in his address. CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP TK Rangarajan said “he is a good friend..any voter can become a candidate, establish a party and fight election…it is his democratic right.” “But let him first enter politics, outline his policies and politics,”Rangarajan said and added that only then a reaction would be correct.The charismatic actor, who enjoys cult status in the Tamil film industry, today said he will announce his stand on entering politics on December 31.

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