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It’s business as usual in Kashmir

Skirmishes on the borders notwithstanding, it is business as usual for the Cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade at Chakan da Bagh crossing on the Poonch-Rawalakote Road.Tension had gripped the LoC after four Army soldiers, including a Major, were killed when Pakistan violated cease fire on Saturday. On Monday evening, Indian Army troops — in a tit-for-tat action — crossed the LoC and killed three Pakistani army men and injuring another in Rawalakote sector.However, escalating tensions between two rival armies have failed to dampen the spirit of Cross LoC trade on the Poonch-Rawalakote Road in Jammu and Kashmir. For the second day on Wednesday, the Cross-LoC trade continued uninterrupted on the Poonch-Rawalakote Road despite tensions on borders. “On Tuesday, 30 trucks from our side crossed the Chakan da Bagh crossing into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Around 19 trucks came from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). On Wednesday, 25 trucks carrying banana and tomato crossed into PoK and 12 trucks carrying kinnow and dry dates came from the other side,” said Tanveer Ahmad, Custodian, Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) Chakan da Bagh.It is after a long time that border tension has not cast its shadows on the cross LoC trade. This year the trade on Poonch-Rawalakote Road was suspended for four months due to the cross border shelling.

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Some Delhites to pay more for water bills

The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) today approved a combined 20 per cent hike in water and sewer charges in the national capital for consumption above 20,000 litres a month.However, the DJB will not charge households consuming up to 20,000 litres a month, in line with the subsidy scheme of the Arvind Kejriwal government, which was a key poll promise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), an official said.The new rates will come into force in February, 2018. In 2015, days after coming to power, the AAP government had hiked water tariff by 10 per cent for consumers falling in the same category, keeping with an annual automatic 10 per cent rate hike mechanism put in place by the Sheila Dikshit government in 2009.However, in 2016, the government decided against following the auto mechanism and put another hike on hold. The current hike comes three months after Kejriwal took over the ministerial portfolio of water after the removal of Kapil Mishra. It will effectively lead to a rise of Rs 28 per month for consumers crossing the 20,000 litres limit, DJB vice chairman Dinesh Mohaniya, who is the AAP MLA from Sangam Vihar, said. “No change in water tariff in Delhi for households using up to 20,000 litres per month for third consecutive year. Above 20,000 litres, a 20 per cent combined hike on water and sewer charges approved in the Delhi Jal Board meeting,” Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted.Also readTaps run dry as DJB cuts supplyThe DJB has been providing up to 20,000 litres of water free of charge to domestic consumers. For domestic users who consume between 20,000 litres and 30,000 litres of water per month, the service charge is Rs 219.62 and the volumetric charge is Rs 21.97 per 1,000 litres. Customers who use over 30,000 litres a month pay Rs 292.82 in service charge and Rs 36.61 per 1,000 litres in volumetric charge.

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Bhendi Bazaar: A model makeover

Bohri Mohalla is a nugget of heritage and culture nestled in the crowded market area of Bhendi Bazaar. If you have ever visited this neighbourhood and not devoured the succulent kebabs and tikkas of Haji Tikka Corner, your trip to this part of the city would be considered incomplete. Established in 1989, it is currently owned by Abdul Samad Qureshi, who is suffering a customer loss of nearly 50 per cent, thanks to the redevelopment project. Bhendi Bazaar, spread over a 16.5-acre land comprising more than 250 buildings, is undergoing one of the biggest redevelopment projects in India. The project which is being carried out by Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) has divided Bhendi Bazaar in nine clusters.Located in the heart of south Mumbai, Bhendi Bazaar is a shopper’s paradise. From carpets to hardware and antique pieces, the place has something to offer everyone. For the less-initiated, the Bhendibazaar gharana is one of the vocal gharanas of Indian classical music, which originated in Bhendi Bazaar 1890. In more recent times, the neighbourhood has gained popularity for the delicious food served on the streets of Mohammed Ali Road during Ramzan, the active underworld activities of Dawood Ibrahim, for congestion, dilapidated buildings, building collapses and related deaths.However, the face of Bhendi Bazaar is changing, the attar-filled fragrant gullies, quaint shops selling kebabs of Bohri Mohalla are waning. They small shops are moving out. Abbas Master, CEO, SBUT said, “The entire area that comes under the purview of the project has been planned systematically to promote a sustainable way of living. Divided into nine sub-clusters, each sub-cluster will be self-sustained backed with modern technology and environment friendly practices. The idea is to give the future Bhendi Bazaar an environment that fosters holistic growth of the people and communities at large.”The redeveloplment plan will change the face of 4,765 residential and commercial units in Bhendi Bazaar. Of this, 3,379 are residential units, and 1,386 are commercial units. The redevelopment is being carried out under Development Control Rules 33 (9), cluster redevelopment, under which every tenant is entitled to get a minimum of 300 sq ft home.“My father started this business of selling tikkas on a roadside stall. The four shops behind the stall were bought by him from the money he earned on this stall. Today that stall is gone, we have another restaurant on the other side of the road, where we sell the famous Haji Tikkas. But many customers return when they see that the stall is gone and the shops behind it are not open. Some patrons don’t bother to check but many look for us. Our customer base has been reduced by 50 per cent.”Qureshi, however, admits that there are positive aspects to the redevelopment. “This redevelopment promises us better shops than what we had. We hear this is a world-class redevelopment and we are happy that our future generation will have a better life. ”The pros for Mohammed Mansoori, a tenant living in Bhendi Bazaar, are vastly different from Qureshi’s. His family and he will no longer have to stand in a queue to use the toilet. “I took rent from the trust and found my own alternate accommodation, both for my family and also for the shop I owned here. Once the building is developed, we won’t have to stand in the queue for using toilets. We are going to get a bigger apartment, with facilities like attached toilet bathroom and car park. These towers will be something that we had never imagined. This is the biggest gift for my kids.” For Mansoori who owns a store — A K Mansoori Antiques in this bustling neighbourhood and other shopkeeprs, parking is one of the major issues. He says that after the redevelopment the parking issue will be taken care of, which will indirectly help business flourish.Under the redevelopment plan, the trust has proposed and decided to offer certain benefits to the residents. These include solar panels in each building to provide lighting in the common areas in the entire building during daytime. Each tower will have its own set of solar panels.The 250-plus-building project, affecting nearly 20,000 people, will have about 10,000 toilets and a sewage treatment plant, and a special system for collection of garbage that will also be recycled.The project will have a central garbage disposal system, under a centralised system. A separate system shall be installed for treating either the centralised or the decentralised system under every sub-cluster, depending on its approvals. The trust also plans to set up a Pneumatic­-based centralised garbage collection system to collect garbage via a chute located on each floor. The garbage will be passed through pipelines under heavy air pressure and collected at a point and converted it into compost. While the dry waste will be recycled by authorised recyclers, the non-recycled waste will be sent to the dumping grounds. Each cluster will also have a sewage treatment plant, where the sewage will be recycled and reused within the premises for flushing, car washing, gardening etc. This will reduce the burden of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai’s (MCGM) water supply by around 35 per cent.During monsoon, rainwater from building terraces will be collected in tanks (built underground) and later supplied throughout the 16.5 acres of Bhendi Bazaar. This process is expected to reduce MCGM’s water supply by an additional five per cent.The project is expected to be complete in the next eight to ten years. Redevelopment in numbers16.5 acres total land area250 Total number of cessed and non-cessed properties in Bhendi Bazaar3,379 residential units1,386 non-residential tenements4,765 Total number of families affected by the redevelopment1.40 lakh sq m is the total area for rehabilitation of all tenements

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Five soldiers missing after heavy snowfall along LoC

Five Indian Army soldiers have gone missing following an avalanche that hit two different sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Bandipora and Kupwara districts of North Kashmir since Monday.Heavy snowfall has swept away Army’s high altitudes posts along the LoC. Special rescue teams of the Army are conducting search and rescue operations to locate the five missing soldiers.The first incident occurred at Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez when an avalanche hit ‘Mani Post’ in Bagtoor area. Three army jawans, who were manning the post, were swept away.The second incident occurred in Naugam sector along the LoC when two soldiers fell down a slope. “Two soldiers slipped down the slope in Naugam Sector in Kupwara. Three soldiers went missing from a forward post in Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez in Bandipora district during heavy snowfall in the last 24 hours. Search and rescue operations are underway,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.Apart from special team of the Indian army, specially-trained sniffer dogs and state-of-the art equipment have been pressed into service to locate the soldiers.Bandipora Deputy Commissioner Sajjad Hussain on Tuesday evening issued a weather advisory asking locals in Gurez and Tulail areas not to venture in avalanche prone areas till weather conditions become favourable.Hussain also directed the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Gurez to take all precautionary measures in coordination with the concerned departments for the safety of the general public.According to the Met department, there has been moderate to heavy snowfall in many areas of the Valley with Gulmarg receiving the highest so far.Meanwhile, Kashmir has been covered by a blanket of snow bringing smiles on the faces of people who were otherwise battling with dry cold and disease.Famed ski resort Gulmarg has received two feet of snow. Srinagar has received 3.5 cm of snow while Qazigund, the gateway to Kashmir has got 13 centimentr of snow so far. Famous health resort of Pahalgam has received 25 centimeter while Kokarnag has received 12 centimeter of snow so far.Cheers notwithstanding, snow has also caused disruption of essential services in many parts of the valley.. The 300 kilometer Srinagar-Jammu highway, the lifeline for the landlocked valley, has been closed for traffic due to the snow at Jawahar Tunnel and en route.”National Highway and Mughal Road closed. All district roads operational”, tweeted deputy inspector general of police, south Kashmir range.VALLEY OF WOESMet department said there has been moderate to heavy snowfall in many areas of the Valley with Gulmarg receiving the highest so far. Police said on Tuesday they rescued 70 people in Surankote who were trapped due to heavy snowfall.

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Snowfall brings cheers to Kashmir

Sheen paetu,, paetu, maam yeetu.. yeetu… (Snowflakes are falling and falling, come my uncle, come fast). Paradise is again reverberating with this Kashmiri folk-lore, thanks to season’s first snowfall.Kashmir has been covered by a blanket of snow bringing smiles on the faces of people who were otherwise battling with dry cold and disease. According to the Met department, there has been moderate to heavy snowfall in many areas of the valley with Gulmarg receiving the highest so far. Famed ski resort Gulmarg has received two feet of snow. Srinagar has received 3.5 cm of snow while Qazigund, the gateway to Kashmir has got 13 centimeters of snow so far. Famous health resort of Pahalgam has received 25 centimeters while Kokarnag has received 12 centimeters of snow so far. Weatherman has predicted more rain and snow with one or two spells being the heaviest across the Kashmir valleyFresh snowfall also has created quite a buzz among the netizens on the social networking sites with people greeting friends in traditional Kashmir style.Also readKashmir Saffron all set to take global flight, new job opportunities surface for unemployed youth“Woke up earlier this morning to a city with a light dusting of snow. Nau Sheen Mubarak (Greetings on season’s first snowfall)”, tweeted Omar Abdullah, former J&K chief minister posting a short video on his twitter handle.Cheers notwithstanding, snow has also caused disruption of essential services in many parts of the valley. The 300-kilometer Srinagar-Jammu highway, the lifeline for the landlocked valley, has been closed for traffic due to the snow at Jawahar Tunnel and en route.Also readDNA Special: Kashmir’s Saffron Park to engage stone pelters, youths“National Highway and Mughal Road closed. All district roads operational”, tweeted deputy inspector general of police, south Kashmir range.Jammu and Kashmir government has put all the departments on maximum alert to meet any exigency following the heavy snowfall. District Development Commissioner Anantnag Mohammad Younis Malik said 19 functional snow cutters are available in the Mechanical Division Khannabal in addition to other requisite machinery. “Snow cutters and other machines have been deployed at Sangam, Pahalgam, Dooru, and Kokernag”, he said.Around 94 shelter sheds have been established at Jawahar Tunnel where adequate ration and other facilities have been made available to help stranded passengers. Besides, health facilities have also been augmented at health centers along the national highway.

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Granny dam-builder

The female social entrepreneur buildings dams for farms and villages across Rajasthan, India.

Farm sector in distress under BJP government: Rohit Shukla

Members of the Lokshahi Bachavo Abhiyan on Monday alleged that the condition of agriculture and farmers under the BJP government in Gujarat is in a dismay.Talking to mediapersons, Abhiyan member and an economist Rohit Shukla claimed that though agriculture and its ancillary fields are the largest employment generating sector in Gujarat, the farmers’ condition is pathetic as the government is focussed on industrialisation. “The average monthly income of the farming family is Rs6,426 only. On one hand, input cost is increasing and agricultural products are fetching lower prices and on the other hand the Minimum Support Price (MSP) is not enough to meet the cost. The Swaminathan Committee had suggested minimum support price should be based on input cost plus 50 percent amount,” he said.Citing an example he alleged that the present government is anti-farmer. “If a farmer is having his field near an irrigation canal and if the water level increases in the well on the field, the farmer is liable to pay water charges of irrigation, even if he/she has not drawn water from the canal,” he said.Taking it further, economist Hemant Shah alleged that 55% population is dependent on agriculture and ancillary sectors. “A farmer’s family earning is meagre Rs6,426 per month and out of that too, income from agriculture is just Rs3,078, rest comes from animal husbandry and labour activity. Farm loan scheme announced by the state government is an eyewash,” he said.Social activist Mahesh lambasted the government alleging that it has failed to take the Narmada or any other irrigation scheme’s water to the farms.

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D-ward invites students to learn waste management

In order to spread awareness and inculcate the habit of recycling waste, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s D ward has taken up the initiative to provide students with a practical experience in composting and waste segregation.Assistant Municipal Commissioner (AMC) from D ward had written a letter to over 40 schools in the ward inviting them to participate in the initiative.According to officials, the initiative will set an example for students and inspire them to do composting and waste segregation at the school level.So far, only a handful of schools in D ward segregate e-waste, wet and dry waste.Through the initiative, the solid waste management team of the D ward will guide and explain the concept to school students.”This will help students gain practical knowledge and hands-on experience. Citizens should embrace the responsibility of recycling the waste they generate. Students have environmental studies as a subject which includes field visits. This initiative will make them aware of waste segregation techniques that can be done at the local level,” said Vishvas Mote, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of D ward.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Election Commission says keep strict vigil on flow of liquor

The Election Commission (EC) has announced ‘dry day’ in Gujarat from 5 pm on Thursday to midnight of December 9, till first phase of polls are over. The dry day will also be implemented in two union territories and the border districts of three states neighbouring Gujarat.The dry day will be implemented from 5 pm on December 12 to midnight of December 14 ending the second phase of polls, and on December 18, the day of results.Mohan Jha, Additional Director General of Police (administration), said, “The dry day will be implemented across Gujarat and licensed liquor shops will remain closed on these days. We have issued a notification for the same aiming at a free and fair poll procedure so that voters can exercise their franchise without any fear.”“We have seized liquor worth Rs 40 crore so far,” Jha added.Around 12 lakh first-time voters and 90,000 Divyang voters have been registered in the electoral role. The EC has raised 24,689 polling stations across all polling areas. As many as 1.11 lakh male, 1.01 lakh female and 247 transgender voters will cast their votes on December 9.Chief Electoral Officer in Gujarat BB Swain said: “The EC has distributed voter slips to almost 95% of the total registered voters. When they carry this slip no other document will be required to prove their identity. Special arrangements have been made for Divyang and senior citizen voters for the polling process so that they do not face any difficulty while voting.”“The EC also ran an exercise to sensitise voters for fair voting. Our returning officers have got the petition signed by voters in which they agree to follow the fair practices of voting. The commission has also sent 93 lakh bulk messages to voters on their registered mobile numbers for the same,” added Swain.DIVYANG VOTERSAround 12 lakh first-time voters and 90,000 Divyang voters have been registered in the electoral role. The EC has set up 24,689 polling stations across all polling areas
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India warns on Bitcoin as investors rush in

The Bitcoin bull run has been welcomed by many but regulators are still trying to understand it.

Cyclone Ockhi: Don’t panic in case of alert, evacuate when asked, advises NDMA

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) today asked people not to panic in case of a cyclone alert and also advised fishermen in both eastern and western coasts not to venture out in the sea for the next three days as heavy rainfall is expected in many areas due to Cyclone Ockhi.In an advisory issued on Tuesday, the NDMA said that fishermen along and off Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts should not venture into sea from December 6 to 8 while fishermen along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands are advised not to venture into sea till tomorrow.Fishermen living along and off South Gujarat and North Maharashtra coasts are advised not to venture into the sea till Wednesday morning.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Mumbai records highest December rainfall in a decadeThe India Meteorological Department (IMD) has also urged the fisherman working on the Maharashtra-Goa coasts to not venture in the sea for the next 48 hours.”Fishermen are advised to return back to the coast and are advised not to go out in the sea during next 48 hours,” an statement issued by Mumbai centre of IMD said.Disaster Management Unit of BMC has said that the cyclone will have no impact on Mumbai City and Suburb and that all Roads and Rails traffic are running smoothly.The severe cyclonic storm Ockhi will move over east- central Arabian sea and move further north-northeastwards with a speed of 21 kmph and lay centred over east-central Arabian sea at latitude 17.5 N and Longitude 70.4 E, about 480 km southwest of Surat and 300 km west-southwest of Mumbai.Light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places in Maharashtra with isolated heavy rainfall also likely over north Konkan, Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts.It is very likely that the cyclone will to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by tonight.Minor damage to loose unsecured structures and minor damage to banana trees, agriculture near coast due to salt spray is expected. Damage to ripe paddy crops and minor damage to ‘kutcha’ embankments are expected.Damage is expected in south Gujarat including Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Gir-Somnath, Bhavnagar districts, Daman, Diu, and Dadra, Nagar Haveli.Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy rainfall very likely over Andaman and Nicobar Islands during next three days.The NDMA said people when asked to evacuate, should move to a designate cyclone shelter with safety kit and store dry food and water in abundance, keep torch and hurricane lantern/emergency light handy and keep listening to battery operated radio for latest information.The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, has been reviewing the rescue and relief operations being carried out in high seas and coastal areas hit by Cyclone Ockhi.The NCMC yesterday took stock of the preparedness in Maharashtra and Gujarat which are likely to be impacted by the cyclone, an official statement said.(With PTI inputs)
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Navy dispatches relief to cyclone-hit Lakshadweep islands

The Indian Navy has provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to people affected by cyclone Ockhi in Lakshadweep, a Defence spokesperson said.The relief material, carried on Indian Navy ships, reached the island of Minicoy on Sunday and the Kavaratti and Kalpeni islands yesterday, he said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Rain spoils Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar followers visit”A total of four tonnes of disaster relief material, including dry provisions like rice, dal, salt and potatoes, water, blankets, raincoats, disposable clothes, mosquito nets and dhurries, has been handed over to the local administration,” the spokesperson said.Dry provisions and ready to eat meals are also being dispatched to Bitra Island by chopper from the INS Dweeprakshak (base) at Kavaratti.The relief material would last seven days for about 2,000 people, he added.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Mumbai records highest December rainfall in a decade
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Odisha: Farmers asked to shift harvested paddy after IMD issues warning of heavy rains

With heavy rainfall warning issued by IMD in many parts of Odisha, the state government on Monday asked farmers to shift their harvested paddy from the fields to safe places to avoid loss or damage.Rain is likely to lash Odisha for at least three days from December 7 due to a well marked low pressure that lies over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining south Andaman Sea today, the Meteorological Centre here said.It is very likely to become a depression over southeast Bay of Bengal during next 24 hours and further intensify into a deep depression during subsequent 48 hours.It is likely to move west-northwestwards towards north TamilNadu – south Andhra Pradesh coasts next three days, it said.While weather is expected to remain dry over Odisha during next 72 hours, rainfall is likely to occur in several parts of the state by December 7 under its impact, said director of the local Met Centre, Sarat Chandra Sahu.Low intensity rainfall is likely to occur in districts like Koraput, Malkangiri, Gajapati and Ganjam on December 7, while rainall of higher intensity is expected to pound coastal and adjoining districts on December 8 and 9, he said.Preliminary reports indicate that around 18 districts of the state are likely to face heavy rainfall due to the system, the MeT office said.In view of the emerging weather conditions, the Revenue and Disaster Management department has advised the farmers of the districts likely to be affected to shift their harvested paddy to safe places and keep it properly stacked under suitable cover so as to avoid any loss or damage.Where paddy crops are ready for harvest, the farmers should take steps to harvest the same and store safely to avoid damage due to rains, a senior official said adding necessary measures should also be taken to protect the paddy in mandies, if any, from rain.Farmers in most parts of the state have already suffered a lot due to crop loss caused by unseasonal rains last month.
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Winter is here: North India experiences biting cold; sub-zero temperature in Kashmir, Himachal

Delhiites woke to a chilly morning with the minimum temperature settling at 8 degrees Celsius, the Kashmir Valley shivered under sub-zero temperatures while Punjab and Haryana also saw the mercury dip as large parts of north India experienced biting cold.The mercury dived below zero degrees Celsius in the high altitude areas of Himachal Pradesh as well.A blanket of haze again enveloped Delhi today and the visiting Sri Lankan team again brought the smog issue to the centre-stage when they played with masks on and even held up proceedings in the third test match against India.The India Meteorological Department said pollution levels have spiked due to calm conditions, marked by low wind speed and moisture. The IMD has forecast possibility of light rains on December 5 and 6.Delhi recorded a high of 23.9 degrees Celsius and a low of 8 degrees Celsius, a MeT department official said.Meanwhile, Adampur in Punjab recorded a biting 4.9 degrees Celsius minimum temperature as visibility dropped slightly at few places in the state and neighbouring Haryana due to shallow fog and mist.Among other places in Punjab, Amritsar and Ludhiana, experienced a cold night recording respective lows of 6.6 and 7.2 degrees Celsius, a Meteorological Department official said here.Patiala, too, was cold at 8.5 degrees Celsius while Bathinda registered a low of 8.1 degrees. Pathankot and Gurdaspur recorded minimum temperatures of 7.3 degrees Celsius and 7.4 degrees Celsius, respectively.Chandigarh, the common capital of Punjab and Haryana, recorded a low of 8.6 degrees Celsius.In Haryana, Hisar was the coldest place recording a low of 5.6 degrees Celsius, down four notches against normal limit. Ambala recorded a low of 9.3 degrees Celsius while Rohtak’s minimum was 6.7 degrees.The Kashmir Valley and the Ladakh region continued to experience sub-zero night temperatures even as the Meteorological Department has forecast a further dip in the mercury owing to the dry weather over the next few days.The night temperature across Kashmir division, including Ladakh region, stayed below the freezing point last night, an official of the MET department here said.Last night, Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – recorded the minimum temperature of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius ? down 0.5 degrees from the previous night, the official said.Gulmarg, the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius and the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius, same as the previous night, the official said.Kokernag town, also in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 1.3 degrees Celsius, slightly down from minus 1.1 degrees Celsius yesterday, the official said.Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius ? down from the previous night’s minus 2.0 degrees Celsius, he said.The other famous health resort of Pahalgam, which serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra, registered an increase of nearly a degree in the night temperature as the minimum there settled at minus 1.8 degrees Celsius.Leh continued to be the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, with a low of minus 8.6 degrees Celsius ? though a slight increase from the previous night’s minus 8.7 degrees Celsius.The nearby Kargil town also witnessed a slight increase in the night temperature as the mercury there settled at minus 7.2 degrees Celsius, compared to minus 7.6 degrees Celsius the previous night.In Himachal Pradesh, the mercury stayed between minus seven and minus 12 degrees Celsius in high altitude areas of the state. Strong winds lashed capital Shimla which witnessed overcast condition.Owing to the low temperatures, skating commenced in Shimla’s ice?skating rink. After nearly a decade skating in the rink was feasible in early December. Last year, it started on December 27.Keylong, Kalpa and Manali recorded a low of minus 4.2 degrees Celsius, minus 0.6 degrees Celsius and minus 0.2 degrees Celsius respectively. Una was the hottest in the region with a high of 26.8 degrees Celsius.
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Maharashtra cops to be imparted forensic training

To minimise chances of criminal cases falling apart due to compromised or improperly collected forensic evidence, the Maharashtra Home department is training police personnel in the scientific protocols of collecting these samples.This, officials said, will help take cases like rape, murder and sexual assault to their logical end based on forensic testing. They pointed to how instances of improper collection of samples from the crime scene led to investigations and outcomes being affected.”We have trained three batches comprising of 25 cops each so far with the fourth expected to be completed in December. We have selected constables with masters or bachelors degrees in science with two to four people being selected from each district. These constables will be trained in conducting basic tests and collection of forensic samples,” said an official from the state Home department.SP Yadav, Director General of Police (Legal and Technical), said the constables would be posted on the 45 mobile forensic vans which have been deployed in all districts for testing and forensic evidence collection.”We are recruiting permanent staff for these posts after which these constables can be posted in police stations where these skills will be useful in criminal investigations,” explained an official from the Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratories (DFSL).The 20-day residential training for the police is being held at the state-level forensic science laboratory in Mumbai.”At times, blood-stained clothes are sent for DNA testing without drying them. This leads to fungal or bacterial growth on these wet clothes and affects the outcomes of the DNA analysis. We are instructing them to dry these clothes in the sun and fold them properly before sending them for testing,” he said.DFSL sources said they would also train more policemen and also medical and veterinary officers in these skills and techniques. “There are times when we have been sent viscera samples instead of blood samples in cases where deaths have occurred due to an overdose of anesthesia. This training will acquaint them with the samples to be sent for testing in different cases,” said an official.TIPS BEING IMPARTEDBlood-stained clothes should be dried before sending them for DNA analysis. Fungal growth on wet clothes may affect the testing results.Clothes with semen and blood in cases like rape or murder should be packed separately.The teeth and femur bone of unknown dead bodies must be preserved for DNA evidence.
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Ujjwala scheme may not add power to BJP’s Gujarat campaign

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), touted as harbinger of change in the rural landscape, may not prove to be a big game changer for the BJP in Gujarat elections.The scheme that took off with great promise in May 2016 and has already released 3.12 crore gas connections in one-and-a-half years to the BPL families, up from 87 lakh connections in 2014, is attracting fewer customers for a refill in rural Gujarat.According to Vimesh Shah, one of the biggest Gas Agency of Hindustan Petroleum in Vyara, Tapi district, the scheme was a roaring success initially but is turning out to be dud as only 40% household have come back for a refill since May 2016.Lot of BPL families took the connection as the entire Rs 1600 cost, including security deposit (cylinder and regulator), hose pipe, book, installation and administrative charges was being borne by the government on one-time basis.”Due to enormous pressure of the government, we made rapid progress and registered 44,782 registration until November 5, 2017 in Tapi district alone. Of these 40,448 connections have already been installed. But almost 60% of them have not come back for a refill which raises a question mark of the efficacy of the scheme,” said Shah.The percentage of refill in rural area would plummet further if they take data of towns into account as BPL families in urban areas come back for refills, he said.Vindicating Shah’s figures Sylvi Gamit, a beneficiary from Dhamodi village of Sonegarh Taluka, said, there are very few takers of a refill in our village because it is much costlier than firewood.”Firewood remains a cheaper option as Rs. 1200 worth of wood lasts full one year whereas, a cylinder costing Rs. 714 plus transportation cost is barely sufficient for 3 months,”said Sylvi.According to Ashok Gamit, women in villages like to keep LPG cylinder handy for an emergency. They use it like costly medicine in times of monsoon when the dry wood is difficult to procure.With the increase in international crude and gas prices, the subsidy has also become less lucrative. Of the cost of Rs. 714, BPL families get only Rs. 214.88 as subsidy.”This subsidy too does not reflect initially as most BPL families take upfront loan for the gas stove that costs about Rs 1000 which means they will have to forego subsidy for at least 4 to five refills,”said a gas dealer in Sonegarh.

India is proud of your accomplishments: PM Modi to Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s Manushi Chhillar today won the coveted Miss World 2017 crown at a grand event in China, bringing to an end the country’s dry spell of 17 years at the top pageant contest.The 20-year-old from Haryana, who is a medical student, edged out top five contestants from England, France, Kenya and Mexico.Chhillar was presented the crown by Stephanie Del Valle, the last year’s Miss World winner from Puerto Rico at the event in Sanya City Arena in China which was televised live globally.Taking to Twitter, PM Modi congratulated Chhillar saying India was proud of her accomplishment. He was joined by Haryana CM ML Khattar, union minister Suresh Prabhu and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Kanpur residents asked to submit personal details and get picture clicked before buying alcohol!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Submit your pictures and personal details to buy booze! Guzzlers in Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh are facing a piquant situation when they are asked to submit their pictures clicked and personal details at the shops to buy liquor.In view of the local bodies polls, the excise department has issued a ‘farmaan’ to retail shops directing them to keep a personal record (name, address, picture and mobile number) of those buying liquor from their shops. The order was issued on the directions of Kanpur District Magistrate Surendra Singh, who is also returning officer for local bodies polls. Retail liquor shopkeepers are facing a lot of trouble due to the new diktat of the Kanpur DM. “One buyer abused me and refused to furnish details to buy a bottle of whiskey. Another almost manhandled me when I tried to click his photograph from my mobile,” said Shakti Singh, an employee of a liquor shop at Kidwai Nagar.“Our sales have become half since Friday,” rued another liquor shop owner. The District Excise Officer has also directed the shop owners to maintain a register and furnish details of who bought how much quantity liquor from their shops on daily basis.“We close shops at 11 pm, who would go and to the department at that odd hours to submit details on daily basis,” said another liquor vendor.In fact, there appears to be some confusion and misunderstanding over the DM’s directions and order passed by the District Excise Officer. “I had asked them to keep personal records of those who are buying two or more bottles of liquor or those buying in bulk to ensure that the voters are not wooed by offering them liquor by candidates,” clarified DM Surendra Singh.The purpose of DM’s Thursday night order was to keep a check on candidates buying liquor in bulk to woo voters, but it has left many tipplers observing a dry day. A few clever ones are going to adjoining districts to buy their supplies. “I didn’t get my booze on Friday. So I went Unnao and stocked two bottles,” said Amit Srivastava, an executive in a private company.But the District Excise officer went a step ahead directing all vendors to keep a record of anyone buying the liquor from their shops.Liquor vendors claimed that the order would adversely affect their sales and revenue collection of the state government. But there are those who are openly flouting the order to ensure that their sales go up in view of other vendors refusing to sell liquor without seeking personal details.“One shopkeeper refused to let me buy a bottle but another one close by sold the bottle charging a premium of Rs 5 without taking personal details,” said a happy regular customer Santosh Kumar. He fears that government may link Aadhar with liquor purchase to keep a tab on them.

‘Hooch’ kills three more in dry Bihar

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

Gujarat: Lack of education and jobs buried hopes of many village youth

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>About 2,300 odd natives of two backward villages in Nandod constituency of Narmada district are eagerly waiting for the elections to get over.Immediately after exercising their electoral right on December 9, about 35 to 40% men and women of these two villages will migrate to Bharuch and Ankleshwar join work in the construction sector and chemical factories. Their only hope, return home with some savings on Holi. The unfortunate ones will head to nearby Rajpipla to work as labourers in the farms of affluent Patidars. A handful of the fortunate ones will harvest crops of Tuvar and Peanuts, fetching them some respite.”We should be moving now as there is nothing to do here. The farms have dried up. There is no facility to irrigate except rains. But, elections ensure good food and some other benefits for four to five days,” says Suresh Dalsukh Vasava, a marginal farmer in Palsi.However, there are many who stay back in the village to cast their vote.Last Sunday, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had addressed a huge gathering of tribals turned Ambarish (devotees of Swaminarayan sect) in Haridham Sokhada near Vododara, where they were told that Hindu Dharma was in danger for which they need to canvass and ensure BJP’s win.”We will ensure good voting. We need to save our religion,” says Haribhai Lalji Vasava, an Ambarish. Early inroads by Swaminarayan sect at the time of constructing Mandir in nearby Netrang, the Christian missionaries were unable to set up schools in these regions and the surrounding villages of Khunta Amba, Moji and Bitada et cetera, thereby reflecting educational backwardness. In stark comparison, the Zankhvav village, located at a distance of 40 odd kilometres, is saturated with graduates.”The difference was brought about by St. Xavier’s High School. It changed our lives,” says Shirish Vasava, a teacher at Palsi primary school. There is only one graduate to boast about in Palsi that has a population of 778 as per 2011 census. Palsi has a primary school where there are only three teachers to educate 77 kids. The two-room school, which is awaiting grant for the past several years, is yet to be covered with syntax walls and brick structures.The malnourished kids, who are suffering from vitamin C and protein deficiencies, look at least two years younger than their urban counterparts.Also, the liquor consumption among the youth is quite high. Many children like Rekha Ramji Vasava, whose mother left her liquor-addict husband, has learnt to do all household chores at the age of 7.There is a middle school two kilometres away at Moti Bhamri, but the children studying in higher secondary (HS) classes have to travel at least 5 kilometres on foot to go to Movi. At times, they have to travel by bus for around 30 kilometres to reach Rajpipla, where there is another HS school. The secondary school in Movi is in shambles with no walls and only covered by a thatched roof. Despite the pathetic condition, the girls prefer going there.These villages also suffer from acute power shortage and poor network connectivity. The transport and irrigation facilities are non-existent.The villages had no power supply for two months after their transformer exploded in August. Finally, it was repaired just before the announcement of elections. The villages get only 15-16 hours of electric supply daily.To solve the irrigation problem, BJP MLA Harshad Vasava had inaugurated a generator and laid pipelines for irrigation on the banks of Karjan river in 2011. It has been seven years since and the term of current BJP MLA Shabdarshan Tadvi is about to end. However, neither the generator has started working, nor there is any water in the pipelines.”Our fields remain dry as the water level is below 400 feet and boring is very costly. We get potable water from hand pumps,” says Jhivar Jeevan Vasava. Among the few graduates of Moti Bhamri, Vasava is trying for a job since last three years, but ends up doing sundry work in factories.”It is a difficult choice. You get a daily wage between Rs 350 and Rs 400 for 12-hour shifts in factories. One ends up spending Rs 100 on conveyance after travelling for 5 hours daily. Earning Rs 250 in 17 hours is hardly worth it. Farm and brick kiln labourers get even less wage,” says Jhivar.

Identify land for Christian cemetery by Friday: Bombay High Court to state

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There may be people who believe they are best, but before the court, everyone is equal,” the Bombay High Court observed on Monday while asking the state government to identify a plot of land between Dahisar and Khar by Friday, which can be allotted for a Christian cemetery.A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak said, “The administration should show the public that they believe in secularism, unity in diversity, and we all are united in faith.” The court gave the direction while hearing a public interest litigation filed by United Christian Community Centre, claiming that the government had, after revoking the previous allotment of 12,500 square meters of land in Goregaon for a Christian cemetery, allotted a smaller plot ad-measuring 2,500 square meters. However, it failed to hand over the possession.The bench said the government has to come out with a solution. “When it deems to be a secular state, we cannot forget that all communities should be treated equally. The community’s requirement for a cemetery can be seen from the records of its population,” the court said.The central hall courtroom was packed with members of the Christian community, including the Bishop. Advocate Yeshwant Shenoy for the petitioners argued that the community looks at the court as a temple of justice and, thus, members have come on their own from different parts of the city and neighbouring districts to witness the proceedings.The bench said, “The state should show respect to the departed souls and I don’t think any authority will have any problem on that.” The court also suggested that a representative of the Bishop coordinate with the officials of the Urban Development Department and the Diary Development department to oversee the identification of plot of land for a cemetery.”If the government does not do it, then we know how to get it done. Don’t compel us to be not polite, don’t invite such things,” the bench warned. On the last occasion, the court had rapped the government by saying, “Don’t be a dictator, we live in a democratic society, we live in a secular state. You (government) cannot distinguish on basis of religion.”Shenoy had argued that other communities, such as the Hindus and the Muslims, have been allotted land for a cemetery, but not the Christians. Further, he argued that from Dahisar to Khar, there is no place available for Christian cemetery. The government has discriminated against the Christian community by not allotting even a single burial ground since 2000, thereby depriving the community its rights of proper a burial.As per the plea, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had, in 2014, identified a plot of land for the cemetery but it was not handed over. In 2016, a reservation was notified but in 2017, the department of animal husbandry refused to hand over the plot.The plea prays for directions to the government to allot land in Goregaon, which was originally conceived and notified. It also prays for the corporation and government to identify a plot of land for a burial ground in every ward or legislative constituency for the Christian community.

Kashmir: Govt bans burning of leaves to ensure a smog-free winter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seemingly taking a cue from the Delhi smog, Jammu and Kashmir government has banned the bonfire of dry golden leaves and twigs to prevent the air pollution and ensure a smog-free winter in the valley.Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has issued directions to its field staff to implement the orders on the ground so that people do not resort to bonfire of dry golden leaves and twigs this fall.Kashmir is looking stunningly beautiful with dry leaves of Chinars creating a golden carpet on the ground. Sweet aroma of the dry leaves and gentle breeze are making Kashmir truly a romantic paradise this autumn.Traditionally people used to burn the leaves and create a bonfire as a recreation at the onset of winter. Others used to burn the leaves to make charcoal for Kangris (Kashmiri fire pots). However the recreation is coming with a cost as it severely pollutes the air during the winter.”For the last 30 to 40 years people are shifting from agriculture to horticulture. We had 12000 hectares of land under horticulture in fifties in Kashmir. We have now 2.20 lakh hectares of land under horticulture. This time people prune the trees (in orchards) and then they burn (the twigs and leaves) which affect the air quality”, said Professor Shakil Ahmad Ramshoo, head department of Earth Sciences at University of Kashmir.For the last one week Kashmir has seen an increased particulate matter level which is also the reason for the government to ban the burning of leaves and twigs. . “Our particulate matter last week was hovering around 280 µg/m3 against the national permissible limit of 60 µg/m3”, said Professor Ramshoo.Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Riyaz Ahmad Wani said the burning of leaves increases the content of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the air and therefore it has been banned.“We have to start somewhere to bring about behavioral changes among the people. The ban is intended to cutting down the pollution level in the environment”, Wani said.

Alert issued in Jammu & Kashmir as five swine flu deaths reported in state

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five swine flu deaths have been reported in Kashmir valley in the past few days prompting the Jammu & Kashmir government to issue a fresh advisory about dos and don’ts to prevent the spread of infection in the winter. Kashmir is experiencing bone-chilling cold with temperatures plummeting to sub zero level. Srinagar recorded 0.9 degrees Celsius minimum temperature on Friday while the maximum temperature was 19.6 degrees Celsius.Coupled with the dry spell, the conditions are apt for the H1N1 virus to mutate in the valley. “We have been issuing advisories regularly for three to four months. Just 15 to 20 days before we issued a fresh advisory to the people,” said Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, director Health Services Kashmir.Doctors, too, have pressed alarm button, cautioning people against the rampant use of antibiotics which can aggravate the problem and create drug resistant viruses.“Swine flu is a viral infection that cannot be cured by antibiotics. Despite the fact that the antibiotics do not work against flu, clinicians continue to dole out unnecessary antibiotics for flu patients. You go to a doctor with running nose, sore throat or cough, you will walk away with a prescription for antibiotics”, said Dr Nisar-ul- Hassan, President Doctors Association Kashmir.DAK President said use of antibiotics for flu is not only inappropriate but also puts patients at risk for antibiotic-resistant infections. “Not only the improper use has helped the microbes to evolve into resistant bugs, but patients are needlessly put at risk of serious adverse effects of antibiotics. Misuse of antibiotics wipes out body’s good bacteria that are contributing to the rise in chronic conditions like obesity, asthma and cancer,” Dr Nisar said.Dr Nisar regretted that the antiviral medications, which provide life-saving benefits to flu patients, are not used. “A large meta-analysis showed that early treatment with antiviral medications reduced the risk of death by 60 per cent. Antiviral medications shorten the duration of illness and make flu milder. Treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that can result in a hospital stay”, he said.

Civic bodies to notify on parking fee hike today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a U-turn, the municipal corporations in the city said they will release the notification on Thursday regarding hiking of parking fee by four times after the Lieutenant Governor issued directives for measures to be taken as air quality crossed the ‘severe’ mark on Wednesday.The air quality shooting past 500 entered the ‘severe plus’ category after which the L-G Anil Baijal called an emergency meeting to roll out the measures to tackle the situation.In a slew of measures, the L-G has asked the civic bodies, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to hike parking fee by four times.”We will issue a notification on Thursday regarding the said hike to be enforced for a week,” said South Corporation mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat.Most of the parkings including surface and multilevel lots in Delhi are managed by the civic bodies.The South Corporation operates 96 parking lots while the North Corporation runs 104 parking lots and the East civic body manages 45 lots.The three corporations had earlier said that they could not hike the parking fee without taking a decision in the meeting of the House.The directives from the L-G came a day after the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Prevention and Control (EPCA) enforced the measures to be taken under the ‘severe’ category of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).The DPCC, SDMs and Industries Department to strictly enforce ban on use of electricity generator sets with exceptions for essential services.The EPCA which had banned the use of diesel generator (DG) sets in Delhi-NCR has decided to not allow these during weddings and other such events. The SC-empowered body also said that the implementing agency will be able to book those who are found violating the ban.The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) is the monitoring agency for observing the ban.”This is the season for weddings, however, we cannot allow people to suffer on account of these highly-polluting sets. The health of general public has to be kept in mind. The DPCC will have to make sure no permissions are given,” said Bhure Lal, a former bureaucrat heading the EPCA.ADVISORY ISSUED BY DELHI GOVERNMENTDo not burn dry leaves, crops residue, wood, coal, Gobar Upla etc.plant more trees to make your city green. Trees like Neem , Sheesham, Keekar , Gulmohar etc. make the air clean and healthy
Use carpooling and public transport, as much as possible.Walk or use nonpolluting mode of transport for short distance.
Avoid going outdoor during early morning and late evening for walk or outdoor physical activity as the pollution levels are maximum during this time.
Avoid going to high pollution areas during peak hours. Stay indoor as much as possible
Schools may avoid outdoor assembly, sports activities and other physical activities in the early morning
Take extra precautions for high risk groups like Small Children, Elderly, Pregnant women, Asthma Patients, Patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases),Patients of heart Disease and troke, Diabetics, Person with low immunity , N95 mask may be used if going outdoor during the peak pollution hours.
​If you feel irritation in the throat and nose, take steam and do salt water gargles. Drink plenty of warm water and maintain good hydration. HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELFObserve environment friendly behavior. Keep the environment healthy, not only by words, by your actions also
Do not burn dry leaves, crops residue, wood, coal, etc.
Use carpooling and public transport as much as possible
Walk or use nonpolluting mode of transport for short distance.
Do not smoke, as it harms not only you but others also.
Avoid going outdoor during early morning and late evening for walk or physical activity as the pollution levels are maximum during this time.
Schools may avoid outdoor assembly and physical activities in the early morning
Avoid going to high pollution areas during peak hours. Stay indoor as much as possible.
If you feel irritation in the throat and nose, take steam and do salt water gargles. Drink plenty of warm water and maintain good hydration.
Take extra precautions for high risk group as mentioned above, use N95 mask if going outdoor during the peak pollution hours
If any time you are feeling breathless or palpitation, immediately go to nearest medical facility. HIGH RISK GROUPSSmall Children
Children with More Outdoor Activities
Pregnant Women
Asthma Patients
Patients with
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases)
Patients of heart disease and stroke.
Person with low immunity
​Pollutants Affecting Health
Particulate Matter
Carbon Monoxide
Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur Dioxide
Volatile Organic Compounds

Ban on horses takes the shine off Pushkar mela

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The internationally known Pushkar Fair, one of the biggest events in the world for cattle trade, ended up on a disappointing note this year. The number of cattle participated and traded in the fair reduced by half as against last year.The sharp drop in the trade has been attributed to the ban on trading of horses at the market following a spurt in cases of Glanders diseases this time.According to a report released by the Animal Husbandry Department, 4,200 animals of different species reached the market this time. The number was 8,700 last year.Cattle trade related figures have also seen a huge drop this time. Last year, 2,558 cattle in the fair were traded and total business of worth Rs 7.06 crore was done. This time, 827 cattle were sold for Rs.1.72 crore.Behind the less number of cattle arrival in the fair and decline in trade, the department believes that the figures on horses have not been captured this time.”The negative impact of horse infectious disease has been observed on the fair this year. Due to a spurt of Glanders disease, arrival and trade of horses in the fair was banned. The ban has left its effect on the trade figures,” Subhendu Dixit, senior veterinary officer told DNA.This year, the most expensive animal was a buffalo that was sold at Rs 70,000, while the most expensive camel has been sold for Rs 51,000.BUSINESS HAMPEREDYear Cattle arrived Cattle traded Turnover2017 4,200 827 Rs 1.72 crore2016 8,700 2,558 Rs 7.06 crore

JD-U, RJD spar over liquor in dry Bihar

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

Bihar picture war: JDU releases Tejashwi Yadav’s photo with ‘fan girl’ and beer bottle

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s photo vs photo in Bihar politics these days. After Lalu Prasad’s RJD released selfie of former JD(U) block president Rakesh Singh with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar accusing the state government going soft on those indulging in booz business in dry Bihar, it was ruling party’s chance today.As if to turn the accusation of liquor consumption and patronage on its head, the Nitish Kumar’s party released a photo of the former Deputy Chief Minister and Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Yadav with female fan and a beer bottle.’You all can see the so called Bihar youth icon’s photograph in which he is having a good time. We wonder about this ‘rang’ (colour) of Tejashwi Yadav. Is this the sanskar (values) he has imbibed from his father Lalu Prasad,’ JD(U) spokesmen Sanjay Singh, Neeraj Kumar and Nikhil Mandal said.But the Yadav scion didn’t took long to hit back at the state government and in a press conference hours later, Tejashwi Yadav said that JDU’s act has pulled Bihar politics to a rock bottom.’This 2010 picture predates my entry into politics. It was clicked during my cricketing days. Perhaps at a party thrown during an IPL match. I wonder what is so objectionable about the photograph and what is the JD(U) trying to prove by resorting to such tricks,’ Yadav said in a stinging retort.Slamming the JDU, Yadav said that the photo unnecessary maligns the girl accompanying him.

Congress never worked for farmers, says Prabhu Lal Saini

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lashing out at the Congress in the state for its agitation for farmers loan waive, state agriculture and animal husbandry minister Prabhu Lal Saini said that Congress has never concerned for the farmers of the country in 52 years of its rule in 70 years of independence.It is the rising graph of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in the country as well as in the state that has forced Congress to think and concern of the farmers, as the opposition Congress is desperately thrashing out for the rule. On Wednesday Saini was addressing a public meeting in Kuwarti Barda in Bundi after inaugurating new Krishi Upaj Mandi, special category, newly constructed which Is developed with the cost of Rs 3.10 corers in 368.06 bighas of land.The state agriculture minister assured that for the next 15 years, there is no alternative for BJP in the state as well as in the country.The farmers loan up to Rs. 50,000 would be waived off as soon as the report from the high power committee constituted for the purpose is received.Prime minister Narendra Modi led central government is committed to double the income of farmers by the years 2022, the 75 independence anniversary year of the country. Currently, 25 Mandis of the state are linked with NAM, he informed and said the farmers connected with E sale, purchase, and payment with outstanding performance would be awarded by the state government.The agriculture minister also announced the compensation for the snake bite death would be given to the family of the concerned deceased after three months even if the FSL report in the matter is not received.The agriculture minister also informed Rajasthan is globally among the top positions for olive cultivation and the state government has signed MoUs with the foreign companies for olive tea and oil.

China denies report of plan to build 1,000- km long tunnel to divert Brahmaputra waters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China rejected as ‘false and untrue’ a media report that it was planning to build a 1,000- km long tunnel to divert water from the Brahmaputra river in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh to the parched Xinjiang region.Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post on Monday said that Chinese engineers were testing techniques that could be used to build the tunnel, the world’s longest.”This is untrue. This is a false report,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing when asked about the report.China will continue to attach great importance to cross- border river cooperation, she said.According to the report, the proposed tunnel, which would drop down from the world’s highest plateau in multiple sections connected by waterfalls, would provide water in China’s largest administrative division, comprising vast swathes of deserts and dry grasslands.The water would be diverted from the Yarlung Tsangpo River in southern Tibet, which turns into the river Brahmaputra once it enters India, to the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang, the report had said.India as riparian state has already flagged its concerns to China about various dams being built by it on the Brahmaputra river, which is known in China as Yarlung Tsangpo.Beijing has been assuring India and Bangladesh that its dams were not designed to storing water.

Raising farmers’ income is government’s priority, says Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday said increasing farmers’ income is a priority for the state government and several schemes have been implemented to achieve this objective.While speaking at the prize distribution function of the Swarna Jayanti State Level Cattle Fair-2017 organised in Jhajjar, Khattar urged the farmers to take to animal husbandry, beekeeping, poultry farming, mushroom production, vegetable production and fruit production, to increase their income.He said animal husbandry can play a key role in it.The chief minister praised farmers, saying the annual milk production in Haryana is 89.75 lakh tonnes and the state ranks second in the country with milk availability of 835 grams per person.Referring to the utility of Murrah and indigenous breeds of cows, he said in view of more consumption of milk products in Delhi, milk production business in Haryana has strong potential.Prizes worth Rs 9 crore are being given away to stockmen under different award schemes during the current financial year. During the function, Khattar awarded 157 stockmen.Expressing concern over depletion of groundwater, he said groundwater had decreased considerably in 64 blocks in the state.Works are underway to recharge water to maintain the optimum level, he said.Referring to the pollution caused by burning crop residue, Khattar said efforts are being made to increase usage and consumption of crop stubble.

IMD declares monsoon withdrawal from state

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday declared the withdrawal of monsoon from Maharashtra including the Mumbai region. “The change in wind and rainfall patterns delayed the withdrawal of monsoon in the state by around 15 days. However, the delay has resulted in a good quantum of rainfall in the state, especially, the interiors”, an officer from IMD Mumbai said. Rainfall in the city was better this monsoon compared to the last two years. This has resulted in a good storage of water in reservoirs. This means Mumbai has sufficient drinking water for this year and there will be no water cuts.However, the transition from monsoon to winter has risen the humidity levels and thus Mumbaikars are suffering from the heat.If the current wind pattern continues, Mumbai is expected to feel winter from mid-November. The city is now expected to have dry weather until Wednesday. However, isolated parts of Maharashtra may have rains or thunderstorm from October 26 to 28, according to IMD.

Haryana government plans ‘PG hostels for cows and buffaloes’ in urban areas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP government in Haryana is planning to start ‘PG hostels for cows and buffaloes’ on 50-100 acres land in all major towns of the state.The pilot project might be started in Hisar as there is enough space available there.The idea is to aid people living in these urban areas to rear their own cows and produce milk, State Animal Husbandry and Dairy Minister Om Prakash Dhankar told CNN-News18.The minister said that these hostels would also help those who wish to do ‘gau seva’ for religious rights. However, INLD leader Abhay Chautala has mocked the initiative, saying human beings do not have a place to stay and they’re planning to have PG accommodations for cows.Meanwhile, Haryana Gau Seva Aayog Chairman has claimed that the proposal was originally made by them. ” We had proposed hostels for cows, but the government wants it both for cows and buffaloes,” said Bhani Ram Mangla.

RTI applicant asked to pay GST for info

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Don’t be surprised if the next time you file an application under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, GST is levied on the fees to be paid for receiving the information. A Pune-resident, who filed an RTI application with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) recently, was told this by the Public Information Officer (PIO).Sanjay Shirodkar was asked to pay Rs 14 to receive six pages of information. As per the rules of the Right To Information (RTI) Act, an authority can charge Rs 2 per A4 sheet. For six pages, Shirodkar paid Rs 12, plus Rs 1 at 9% of SGST and Rs 1 at 9% for CGST.However, State Information Commissioner (Konkan bench) Thanksy Thekkekara says GST does not apply to RTI. “As far as I am aware, there is no GST on RTI,” he said.On September 26, Shirodkar had sought true copies of publications printed and published by the MSRTC, list of sundry debtors and creditors for last 10 years, a list of bad debts along with name of the party/ entity and reason for bad debts, copy of the list of write-offs for last 10 years, along with name of party, and CAG audit report.”I have been seeking information through RTI for 12 years and have used the Act more than 5,000 times in my career,” said Shirodkar. “This is the first time I have received such a unique and hilarious reply. Where is the copy of notification stating this provision? Where is the copy of amendment in RTI? Where is the copy mentioning RTI information in the GST list? And what is the logic of 18%? Why not 28% or 12% or 6%?.” Bhaskar Pabhu, who runs Mahiti Adhikar Manch that propagates RTI, said, “Information sought under RTI is neither goods nor service; it is entitlement. It is totally wrong to charge GST when there is no clarification from government. The government has not harmonised any rate of interest for RTI. Even food grains do not have GST. It is laughable.”Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, said, “I feel GST should not be levied to RTI, but I concede to have not studied the GST law. To make a fare comment, one must understand GST. When you make laws, words do not necessarily convey what you had in mind. Prima facie, GST should be charged over a turnover of a certain amount.”Pay for infoAs per RTI rules, Rs 2 is to be charged per A4 sheet needed to give info. For 6 pages, Sanjay Shirodkar was charged Rs 12, plus Rs 1 at 9% SGST & Rs 1 at 9% CGST

Now, no more Multani mitti packs for Taj Mahal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has withdrawn the decades-long conservational method of applying Multani mitti (or Fuller’s earth) on the surface of the Taj Mahal. The reason, officials of the conservation body said, is that the scaffolding on the monument has been damaging the structure.An official from the ASI headquarters said that the scaffolding around the dome of the Taj Mahal could damage the facade, and so, the ASI will go ahead only after expert opinion on the matter, likely from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).However, an official from the Agra Circle of the ASI said that the work has been stopped because of tourist season. “Work on the minarets has been completed, and we have halted the work on the domes simply because we are in the midst of tourist season. The ASI has received several requests from different tourist agencies to this effect,” said Dr Bhuvan Vikrama, superintendent archaeologist, Agra Circle.He added that while the mud pack has been used on the surface of the Taj for years, it has mostly been used under the arch. “This time, the exercise is extensive as we are now using it on the entire surface of the monument. The process is likely to take over two years,” said Dr Vikrama.Despite ASI’s denial, sources in the organisation said that the alarm is likely to have been set off because of damage that the minarets may have suffered. However, DNA could not independently verify this.Multani mitti was first used by the ASI in 2001-03 on the Taj’s marble surface to get rid of “accretionary deposit”. The clay, which has refined aluminium silicate, is applied on the surface in the form of a semi-liquid paste, left to dry and flake out on it own, as per data from National and International Council For Scientific Research, under the Center for Human Resource Development and Scientific Research.

Bengaluru records highest rainfall in 115 years; death toll rises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bengaluru has recorded highest rainfall in at least 115 years, according to Indian Meteorological Department on Sunday.The annual rainfall for the city is 1615.2mm as on Saturday morning is the highest record ever that surpassed the earlier record of 1606.8 mm in 2005.The incessant rainfall for the past two months in Bengaluru shows that the city is somewhat facing unique weather condition where the south-west monsoon has extended and the north-east monsoon is about to arrive, a senior official at the IMD said.”The combination of the weather system coupled by low pressure situation created in the Arabian Sea is resulting in showers over interior Karnataka and Bengaluru falls in this region,” he said.”One has to analyse the possible relation to climate change as extreme weather events are related to it. Bengaluru is a growing city and has been experiencing heat island effect which further results in rainfall after a prolonged harsh summer or dry run,” he added.Heavy rains in the city have caused severe waterlogging and traffic jams on the road. Around 19 deaths have occurred in the past 15 days due to potholes and the heavy showers. A 16-year-old girl was drowned in an overflowing rain on Sunday at Krishnappa Garden.In another incident, a mother and her daughter were washed away in a nearby drain in Kurubrahalli.

Good & Simple Tax Tries To Be Better & Simpler

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

Kerala: State’s animal husbandry minister calls cow vigilantes a ‘threat to milk production’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cow vigilantes pose a threat to Kerala’s plans to achieve self-sufficiency in milk production, the state’s Animal Husbandry Minister said.The southern state had put on hold its ambitious project to bring 200 Gir cows, a high-yielding species, from Gujarat following apprehensions about transporting it by road because of the reported presence of ‘gau rakshaks’.State Minister for Forests, Animal Husbandry and Zoos K Raju said Kerala had planned to procure the Gir breed as part of its efforts to boost milk production.Not just from Gujarat, but procurement of cows from other states has also been hit hard by the possible threat of mob violence in the name of protecting cows, he said.”We have not abandoned our plan to procure Gir cows from Gujarat. It is under active consideration. But, we have put it on hold due to the risk of transporting the cows,” Raju told PTI.Known for their yield, Gir cows belong to the Gir forest region and surrounding districts of Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The ability to withstand hot climates make the high- quality breed a favourite of farmers.Kerala was planning to procure as many as 200 cows by paying over Rs one lakh for each bovine.Raju said he had recently visited Gujarat and met the minister concerned to discuss the plan.”The authorities in the state had responded positively.The availability of cows was also not an issue. Our plan was to go to the villages there and procure cows directly from farmers,” the minister said.The Gujarat authorities had ensured safe transportation of the cows within the state borders, he said.”But, we have to travel through other states, including Maharashtra, before reaching Kerala. It will be very risky to transport the cows through this distance in the wake of reports about the presence of cow vigilantes,” he said.He said despite the threats, the state wished to go ahead with the project and necessary steps would be taken in this regard soon.Stating that cow vigilantism had hit Kerala’s prospects in milk production, the minister said it should be stopped at the earliest.”Lakhs of people are earning a living rearing cattle in the country. The threat from gau rakshaks has badly affected their livelihood. It has also hit the state’s plan to achieve self-sufficiency in milk production,” he said.The procurement of high breed cows from other parts of the country is essential to achieve the target and depending solely on local breeds would not help do so, the minister added.

With a week left for withdrawal, 4% monsoon deficit in country

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite the late surge of monsoon rains over northwest and central India, the overall countrywide deficit will not see much reduction as monsoon enters its last week of withdrawal. On Saturday, the monsoon rainfall was four per cent below normal across the country with 25 of the 36 sub-divisions receiving normal rains, six receiving excess, and five facing a deficit rains. Scientists from India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that monsoon will begin withdrawing in another three to four days.”The deficit may not reduce much in the days left. Northeast and southern peninsula are the only places that are likely to see rainfall in the coming days. These will largely be thunderstorms,” said D Sivananda Pai, Head, Climate Prediction, IMD, Pune.Even as the monsoon’s countrywide performance has been on the lines of the forecast made by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), its distribution has not been uniform. This resulted in below par rainfall across the Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Marathwada, North Karnataka, and Kerala.IMD data shows that July, the peak month for rainfall across the southern peninsula, was the poorest with a deficit of 36 per cent. The region saw better rainfall in August and September, reducing the deficit substantially. But, rains in the northwest and the plains are likely to end with a high deficit. As on Saturday, there was 31 per cent rainfall deficit in western Uttar Pradesh and 26 per cent deficit in eastern Uttar Pradesh. In Central India, eastern Madhya Pradesh has 23 per cent deficit and Vidarbha 22 per cent.A closer look at the district-level figures reveal that most of Marathwada and Vidarbha are in the red, facing a deficit in the range of 20 to 30 per cent.”A notable thing about this monsoon is that it has been marked by short spells of heavy rains followed by long dry spells. There are intraseasonal oscillations and variabilities that have not been fully captured and research is evolving,” said AK Srivastava, Head, Climate Monitoring and Analysis, IMD, Pune.

Pradhan ignites relationship with Kazakh, both countries to collaborate for mutual growth

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, led a delegation to Astana, Kazakhstan from September 19-20, 2017, to co-chair the 13th meeting of the India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC). Kanat Bozumbayev, Minister of Energy of Republic of Kazakhstan co-chaired the meeting from Kazakh side. During the meeting, both the ministers discussed entire gamut of India-Kazakhstan bilateral relations covering all areas of contemporary relevance and issues of mutual concern and ideas for stepping up the cooperation in energy sector, trade, economic, investment, transport & connectivity, agriculture, information technology, space, healthcare and cultural spheres between the two countries with his counterpart.The delegations discussed the possibilities of expanding cooperation in E&P of hydrocarbons and investments infrastructure projects in oil & gas sector. In the nuclear energy sector, both sides agreed to work on application of nuclear science in the areas of health and agriculture. They explored possibility of expanding the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) by linking it to the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail link. INSTC has already become operational by agreeing to conduct a dry run feasibility study on the Railway Link. The sides also agreed to develop and deepen bilateral relations in the field of agriculture, mining and civil aviation sector.Mr Bozumbayev, Minister of Energy of Kazakhstan expressed his keenness to work with India towards deepening the bilateral relations. He invited Indian investments in various sectors particularly in the hydrocarbon sector, infrastructure, peaceful use of nuclear energy, co-production of films, cooperation in food processing and Information Technology. Both sides exchanged lists containing priority export items.India and Kazakhstan enjoy historical and close relations which have withstood the test of time. Today, Kazakhstan is the largest partner of India in the region. The 13th IGC meeting aims to follow up on the agenda set between India and Kazakhstan during the two visits of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Kazakhstan in July 2015 and June 2017.

Societies yet to get serious about waste

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the BMC is firm on its stand that October 2 onwards it will not collect wet garbage from residential societies, based on an area more than 20,000 sq m, and from commercial or residential premises that generate more than 100 kilograms of garbage daily, only four per cent of the establishments issued notices by the BMC in this regard have approached the corporation regarding compulsory waste segregation and composting.So far, the BMC has served notices to more than 5,304 housing societies and commercial establishments for compulsory waste segregation and composting of wet waste on their premises. However, only around 234 of these have approached the BMC.In July, civic chief Ajoy Mehta announced that from October 2, around 6,500 societies and commercial establishments across the BMC’s 24 wards will have to compulsorily segregate waste into dry and wet waste, hand over the dry waste to the municipal waste collection vehicle, while compost the wet waste on their premises.”We have served notices to societies which generate more than 100 kg of garbage but to bigger societies which generate 125 kg to 150 kg, notices are yet to be served. Our door-to-door survey is going on and around 1,300 more societies will get notices this month,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner Vijay Balamwar.Meanwhile, Mehta has directed all 24 civic ward officers to arrange exhibitions on waste segregation and methods of composting. All the wards have also been directed to visit the societies and guide residents on waste segregation and set up help desks in the ward for solving queries.AWARENESS DRIVEBMC’s Solid Waste Management organised an exhibition of three days in Worli to guide societies on composting methods.
Wards like K-East and West, R-North and H-West arranged exhibitions to encourage residents towards waste segregation

Coconut ban for prisoners’ safety, claim jail authorities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sabarmati jail authorities have banned the sale and possession of coconuts inside the jail claiming that it is for the safety of high-profile prisoners.Responding to a high court direction, jail authorities defended its decision to ban dry coconuts inside the jail. In its affidavit, the jail stated that out of 3,000 convicts in the jail, 57 are accused in the 2008 serial blasts. Some of these accused are also affiliated to terror outfits. Records suggest that many of them had dug out tunnels in attempts to escape. Some criminal gang members are also in this jail, which makes it all the more important to take a stand on the safety and security of the prisoners.A dry coconut has a very hard surface and can be used to harm other prisoners. Its shell can be used to make sharp weapons. The jail has claimed that by banning coconuts, no prisoners’ fundamental right is being violated. The jail manual is followed strictly while imposing any ban or restriction. Citing these reasons, jail authorities have pleaded that the present petition cannot be maintained and must be rejected.Gautumkumar Ramanuj, a convict serving life term in Sabarmati Jail for the last 14 years, had challenged the jail authority’s decision taken two months ago with the contention that there are three layers of security checks before goods are handed over to the prisoner. Yet, in the name of security, coconuts have been banned.It is the petitioner’s apprehension that the decision is biased and jail authority can’t have double standards. The court has reserved its order after hearing both sides.

Senior journalist Gauri Lankesh shot dead at her house in Bengaluru

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Tuesday, senior journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead in her own house in Bengaluru. She had started her own tabloid magazine in 2005 titled Gauri Lankesh Patrike. One of her stories even landed her in jail. According to a report in The NewsMinute, she was shot at 6:30 PM by unidentified men. Police were quoted saying that she was opening the front door of her house when assailants shot at her, hitting her in the chest. She was the daughter of writer, translator and journalist P Lankesh and was a vocal critic of Hindutva and the right wing.Last year she was convicted of criminal defamation in two cases.BJP MP Prahallad Joshi and BJP leader Umesh Dushi had filed defamation cases against Lakesh in objection to a report on them on January 23, 2008.Karnataka police chief R K Dutta said Lankesh was shot dead by unidentified assailants at the entrance of her residence in Raj Rajeshwari Nagar.Lankesh, in her 50s, edited a Kannada tabloid ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’ besides owning some other publications.Dutta said Lankesh had not voiced apprehension about any threat to her life during a couple of meetings he had with her.Asked about who could be the possible suspects in the killing, the officer refused to hazard any guess, saying “let the investigation proceed first.”Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy condemned the incident, calling it unfortunate.Lankesh was convicted in a defamation case filed by BJP MP Prahlad Joshi over a report published in her tabloid against some saffron party leaders.Several people in media and public life took to twitter to express shock at Lankesh’s killing.”As a friend, colleague & admirer for decades shocked & shattered to hear of the murder of Gauri Lankesh, one of India’s gutsiest journalists,” said Vir Sanghvi, an eminent media personality.”If it is BJP ruled state, Liberals would have cried for emergency, Intolerance, Fascism,” tweeted National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah.Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan tweeted: “Shocking & tragic! Brave journalist Gauri Lankesh who exposed the BJP has been shot dead in her home in Bangalore!” She had told News Laundry in an interview: “Unfortunately, today anybody talking in support of human rights and against fake encounters is branded a Maoist supporter. Along with that, my criticism of Hindutva politics and the caste system, which is part and parcel of what is considered ‘Hindu dharma’, makes my critics brand me as a ‘Hindu hater’. But I consider it my constitutional duty to continue – in my own little way – the struggle of Basavanna and Dr Ambedkar towards establishing an egalitarian society.”

Bandra devotee dresses up her green Ganesha in edible colours

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bandra’s Rewa Nargolkar has decided to take the green Ganpati initiative three steps further by sculpting a clay idol all by herself, adorning it with edible colours, and organising an immersion at home, rather than cluttering the seas.She made the five-foot statue after attending a daylong workshop. “I have been living in Mumbai for 12 years now and I try to make the idol as eco-friendly as possible. This year has been a peak. After making the five-foot idol, which was all in grey, I even painted it with an edible green colour, the kind my daughter uses in cakes,” Nargolkar said.The 45-year-old’s family decided to colour the mouse brown with instant coffee diluted with water.Nargolkar’s drive to keep things ecologically friendly goes beyond the idol. Last year, after she immersed her clay idol at home, she used the sediment as well as the water to plant flowers. “I immersed the idol in a bucket of water. The clay settled down at the bottom. I collected it and planted hibiscus in it, it’s a flower loved by Lord Ganesha. I nurtured the plant all year long. When I saw that plants weren’t blooming as they should, I took them to a horticulturist to restore their health. The plants are now very healthy”.This year, Nargolkar plans to reuse the clay post-immersion. “Once the clay is settled in the bucket, I will collect it in a cotton bag, dry it and try to use it next year for moulding the idol. I hope my experiment is successful.”She added that she’d use the water for watering plants, “as I do every year”.The family has received many visitors who are eager to glimpse her eco-friendly Ganpati painted in eatable colours.

CM Vasundhara Raje designs a surgical facelift for Rajasthan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s visible now. The contours of Rajasthan are changing. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje is envisaging a state with meaningful engagement of all 36 communities. For that, she is reaching out to them through her schemes and policies. Her major thrust is on skilling youth to groom employable new generation. No wonders, Rajasthan has been receiving national award for skill development for the last three years.With her new-found enthusiasm after Dholpur by-election victory, Raje looks more confident in taking political decisions also. Recently, she decided to up OBC quota from 21% to 26% to accommodate Gurjars. It needed a strong political will to settle Gurjar reservation issue which has been hanging fire since the last 10 years.Raje has also shown strong administrative skills by mobilising bureaucracy in a productive manner. She has kept the morale of officers high by ensuring timely promotions. While Raje rewarded a few IAS officers by advancing their promotions to post of principal secretary, she filled up long pending vacancies of IPS and IAS posts through elevating a record number of RAS and RPS officers.Raje knows that there has to been a balance between industrialisation, agriculture and rural development for overall growth of the state. While Raje clocked a record number of investment MoUs worth over Rs 3 lakh crore at investors summit – Resurgent Rajasthan. She ensured propagation of latest agri technology among the farmers through GRAM – a series of Global Agritech meet at every divisional headquarter.Raje’s dream project Mukhyamantri Jal Swavalamban has caught the fancy of all and sundry in the country. She has succeeded in motivating corporates for contributing to the cause of water conservation – a must for desert state. Even PM Narendra Modi has praised Raje’s innovation.Acknowledging the path-breaking initiatives of Raje, Modi is likely to roll out 9500 road projects including national highways, state roads and rural roads under PMGSY and the state flagship programmes when he visits Udaipur on August 29. It will be a record of sorts which will further propel developmental activities in the state.

More heavy rain in store for HP in next two days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Himachal Pradesh Met department has predicted rain and thundershowers across the state in the next 48 hours. Heavy to very heavy rainfall has been forecast for some places in the lower and mid hills, the department said. Though Dharamshala and its surroundings which are the rain hub of the state went dry yesterday, rainfall occurred at most places over Himachal Pradesh, the Met said. Shimla recorded 57 mm of rainfall followed by Nagrota Suriyan in Kangra 52 mm, Kasauli 45mm, Sangrah and Solan 44 mm each, Jubbar Hatti 43 mm , Dharampur 42mm, Kahu 38mm, Naina Devi 32mm and Janjehli 30 mm. There was no appreciable change in the minimum and maximum temperatures. Kalpa recorded 12 degrees Celsius the lowest in the state and Saloni 30 degrees Celsius the highest.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rains return to Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rains made a comeback in Delhi today, ending a nearly week-long dry spell and bringing the temperature down to a comfortable 26 degrees Celsius. The weather office has forecast thunderstorm with showers later in the day. The maximum temperature is likely to be around 34 degrees Celsius. The city received 23.4 mm rainfall over the last 24 hours, an official of the Safdarjung weather observatory said. According to private weather agency Skymet, light intensity rains will continue at a few places over Delhi and the National Capital Region for the next 24 to 48 hours. Humidity level, which was 100 per cent at 8.30 am today, will also remain on the higher side, it said. Yesterday, the maximum temperature was recorded at 37.8 degrees Celsius while the minimum was 29 degrees Celsius.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

A mix of rain and sun in HP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Scattered rains occurred at some places in Himachal Pradesh today while the weather remained dry in the rest of the state. A house was partially damaged and the Rohru Theog road blocked near Dochi village in Shimla district due to a landslip. Dharamshala, Palampur and Jogindernagar gauged 50 mm, 28 mm and 11 mm of rainfall. Property to the tune of Rs 550 crore has so far been damaged due to rains in the state, officials said. Meanwhile, the lower hills reeled under sultry heat. Una recorded a high of 36.2 degrees Celsius. Bhuntar had a maximum of 34.5, Sundernagar and Kangra 33.2 each, Solan 29.5, Dharamshala 29.4, Nahan 28.9, Kalpa 26 and Shimla 25.3. The local MeT office has predicted wet spell in the region for the next six days up to August 24.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

West Bengal floods claim 3 more lives

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three more deluge-related deaths were reported from West Bengal today though officials said floodwaters have started receding as there has been no rain in the past 24 hours. With three more deaths in the past 24 hours, the figure of flood casualties has risen to 52, a senior officer in the Disaster Management Department said. Around 15 lakh people have been hit by the floods in Coochbehar, Dakshin Dinajpur, Uttar Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Malda in north Bengal since July 21. About 789 relief camps have been set up and 3,00,089 people are putting up in them, he said. The officer said the swirling waters have damaged 75,202 houses completely and 2,15,762 partly. However, the exact assessment of damage could be made only after the water recedes, he said. “We are constantly monitoring the situation in the six districts. The district magistrates are working 24×7 … distributing relief material – dry food, cooked food, water pouches and medicines,” the officer said. Medical officers are conducting regular check-ups to prevent the outbreak of any waterborne diseases, he added. West Bengal Panchyat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said roads and pipelines for supplying drinking water have been badly damaged in the deluge. “We are worried about the current situation in the six districts in north Bengal. We are very worried about the magnitude of damage to water pipelines and submersible pumps. Floods have destroyed many roads. The panchayat and rural department will conduct a survey to assess the damage,” he said. With surface communication in the region still affected, private airlines are charging anything from Rs 12,000 to Rs 25,000 per person between Kolkata and Bagdogra, the only functional airport in north Bengal. Air India’s lowest fare from Bagdogra to Kolkata during the day was Rs 3,315 and the highest was Rs 9,736 (approximately) per person. From Kolkata to Bagdogra, the fare was between Rs 3,804 and Rs 9,421, an AI official said, adding “we are trying to make available as many as possible low fare tickets in this sector”. The state government had yesterday written to the civil aviation ministry on the “exorbitant” prices of tickets by some private airlines on the route. “The state chief secretary has sent a letter to the Union Civil Aviation Secretary seeking his intervention as some private airlines are taking advantage of the situation and charging exorbitantly for a ticket between Bagdogra and Kolkata,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said. The Eastern Railways is running trains upto Malda from Kolkata. Services beyond Malda have remained suspended owing to the inundation of railway tracks in north Bengal, Bihar and Assam. Train services to different destinations in north Bengal and Assam from Howrah and Sealdah stations remained suspended for the sixth consecutive day today, an ER spokesman said. The state government is plying 41 pairs of buses of the North Bengal State Transport to and fro to destinations in north Bengal, state transport secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said. Bus services between the southern and northern parts of the state had remained suspended for the last five days owing to the inundation of national highways 34 and 31 and state highways at different places in north Bengal.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sea glory: All-women Indian naval crew eyes record

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A six-member all-women crew of the Indian Navy is set to embark on an eight-month voyage in September to circumnavigate the globe, the first such navigational attempt from Asia. The naval officers led by Lt. Commander Vartika Joshi will set sail in the naval auxiliary vessel INSV Tarini from Goa and are expected to depart early next month. “We will be passing through some of the roughest patches of sea during the voyage. It will be a tough journey but our spirits are high,” Joshi told reporters today. A native of Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, she will skipper, the 55-feet INSV Tarini, built indigenously and inducted in the Indian Navy earlier in February this year. Her team members on-board the sister vessel of INSV Mhadei would be — Lt. Commander Pratibha Jamwal from Kullu, Himachal Pradesh; Lt. Commander Swathi P from Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh; Lt. Aishwarya Boddapati from Hyderabad; Lt. Shourgrakpam Vijaya Devi from Manipur and Lt. Payal Gupta from Dehradun. “This all-women circumnavigation attempt would be the first of its kind, not only from India but also Asia. They are well-trained and with their maritime odyssey, they will also set sail into the record books,” Naval Chief of Personnel Vice Admiral A K Chawla said. “They are going to set benchmarks not just for India but for the entire world,” he said. The crew had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday. Jamwal, who had joined the Naval Academy in 2011, said the voyage is daunting but they are all trained and set for it. The expedition — ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ will be covered in five legs, with stopovers at four ports — Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa), the Navy said. Capt. (retd) Dilip Donde, the first Indian to undertake a solo circumnavigation, trained the six naval officers, who he said, volunteered to be a part of the expedition. “They will be passing through the Southern Ocean, where the temperature could drop to as low as 4-5 degrees Celsius. Besides, they would also have to navigate through gusty winds and high waves,” Donde said. Joshi said they would be stocking up food supplies, water, books and recreational material, mostly dry items as the voyage span is long. “We will begin with 600 litre of water and we would also have an RO plant on-board. We would carry books and DVDs for recreation,” she said. Asked about the safety measures taken for the crew, Vice Admiral Chawla said, “As per the international maritime convention, the ship’s immediate distress call would be picked up by the nearest search and rescue authority, who would then relay it to us. Also, the vessel is equipped with satellite phones and other modern communication gadgets.” Indian Navy’s Lt. Cdr. Abhilash Tomy, who became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe, solo and non-stop over a 150-day voyage in 2013, said, “There is no quit word in maritime circumnavigation.” “I think what these six officers are attempting is very courageous. In an mountain expedition, you can stop and climb back, but once you are in the sea, you are in the sea. Only your faith and courage can help sail you through,” he said. INSV Tarini, having a wood core and fibre glass sandwich structure, was built by a shipyard in Goa and the vessel has sailed approximately 8,000 nautical miles till date, the Navy said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Emotions of ‘tanga daur’ ban may foment political war

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The traditional tanga daur (tonga race) of Nagaur had kicked up a storm between the people of Nagaur and the Rajasthan government. The high court had banned the traditional horse cart race in 2014 after a PIL was filed, calling the event an act of cruelty on the animals. The court had also objected to the races being held on the highways passing through Nagaur.Four races are held on the highways in Nagaur during Bhadva, a month of festival according to the Hindu calendar. A large police force used to be deployed along the highway as thousands of spectators thronged the venue. However, the order didn’t go well with some of the local organisations, which pleaded the ban be lifted. With the state going into polls next year, the clamour of protest has grown much stronger. A group of local politicians have joined the protest too. Independent MLA from Khimsar, one of the areas through with the race cuts through, is leading the protest, even to the extent of taking out a rally. “This is a part of our culture. Both Hindus and Muslims have fairs during which these races are held,” Khimsar said. The government is under pressure because the protestors announced a sit-in at the collectorate office in Nagaur on August 24. The first race is scheduled for 31 August. A state-level meeting was held on Monday. “The race is a part of the tradition. Going by these parameters, even tilling of land with oxen is cruelty” said animal husbandry minister Prabhulal Saini.“We have decided to seek an alternate route that stays away from the highways. We’ll try to ensure that every horse that takes part in the event is medically examined,” added Saini. “We cannot take any decision against the court ruling. We may file a review petition or move SC and draft a policy covering all similar events,” added Saini. 90-year-old Shamshuddin, who owns a horse, said: “I’ve been seeing the races since childhood. My family had been keeping horses that participate in races for a long time. We feed them well and care for them. The ban must go.”

No bullock cart races until further notice: Bombay High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court has stayed, until further orders, all bullock cart races in Maharashtra. The races were allowed after the government had amended a section in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice NM Jamdar said, “No one will give permission unless it is approved by us.” It has also directed the government to frame rules to be followed by District Collectors before granting permission, and also place on record the process followed by them while granting such permissions.Bullock cart races were allowed after an amendment was carried in section 3 of the Act, which stated that prior permission can be granted by the District Collector, subject to ‘no pain’ or ‘suffering’ caused to the animal.The Act also says that anyone who is found inflicting cruelty on animals would be subjected to a maximum fine of Rs 5 lakh or a jail term of three years.The stay was granted while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Ajay Marathe, who has challenged the amendment. Advocate Kalyani Tulankar, appearing for the petitioner, argued that no rules have been framed under which permission can be granted. The petition also took opposition to a race being held in Pune on August 17.The court, after going through the records, noted that conducting races without rules in place would mean inflicting pain. Further, it also took into consideration the fact that bulls are not anatomically designed to run like horses. The bench thus considering that the state has not introduced steps to overcome pain and suffering of animals, no races will be allowed until further orders. The petition had claimed that the amendment was arbitrary and illegal and sought it to be struck down.To race or notIn April, the state passed a legislation in the Assembly unanimously to resume bullock cart races across the stateAnimal Husbandry Minister Mahadev Jankar said the amendment was being made in view of the vital role bullock cart races play in preserving and promoting the state’s tradition and culture

North Bengal flood situation grim, toll mounts to 32

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 32 people have died and over 14 lakh people affected due to floods in six districts of north Bengal partly due to overflowing rivers of Bhutan, Bihar and Jharkhand. “Since July 21, 32 people have died in the six districts in north Bengal. While 30 people drowned, two died due to snakebite. Besides, 104 domestic animals have died so far in the flood,” a senior official in West Bengal’s disaster management department said today. Overflowing rivers entering West Bengal from Bhutan and states like Bihar and Jharkhand is the main reason for the flood in six north Bengal districts. The deluge is not just due to rains in the area, he said. The highest number of 3,64,043 people hit by the calamity are in Malda, followed by 3,53,328 in Alipurduar, 1,78,546 in Jalpaiguri, 1,30,634 persons in Cooch Behar, 1,25,435 in South Dinajpur and 1,20,000 in North Dinajpur districts, the official said. Altogether 622 relief camps have been opened with government aid, while nearly 800 such camps were opened by different NGOs, he said. “At present, around 1,38,134 people have taken shelter at different relief camps in the affected districts,” the officer said, adding nearly three lakh hectre agricultural land was submerged. He said around eight NDRF and four SDRF teams were working in the six districts, while cooked food apart from dry food and drinking water was distributed. Asked if the state was planning to seek assistance from the Centre, the officer said, “West Bengal has a very good infrastructure in dealing with flood. We have godowns in the districts to store food materials. “Our men are well trained to tackle a situation like this … As of now we have no such plan to ask for help from the Centre,” he asserted. Meanwhile, Eastern Railway will run four pairs of special trains from tomorrow to clear the rush of passengers between Sealdah and Malda, but train services beyond Malda to different destinations in north Bengal and Assam would continue to remain suspended owing to the flooding of tracks. Eastern Railway sources said here one train would leave Sealdah and one from Malda on four consecutive days, an Eastern Railway spokesman said. The trains will have general second class, sleeper class, AC two-tier and AC three-tier coaches, sources said. Tracks at different places in Bihar, north Bengal and Assam continued to be submerged under flood water, affecting rail connectivity. As a result, all passenger train services connecting destinations in north Bengal and Assam from the metropolis remained suspended for the fourth consecutive day. Eastern Railway cancelled 14 mail and express trains today, affecting thousands of travellers. “Tracks are submerged at different places and train services can be restored only after the water recedes and tracks are tested to ensure safety,” the ER spokesman said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bombay HC restrains Maharashtra govt from allowing bullock race until rules

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Wednesday restrained the Maharashtra government from granting permission for bullock cart races until the government frames rules to govern the same.A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar said when the government has till date not framed rules, as envisaged in the amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, it cannot grant permission.The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Pune resident Ajay Marathe, bringing to the court’s notice a bullock cart race organised in his district tomorrow.The petition sought the court to stay the race.Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani told the court today that the draft rules were ready and have been uploaded on the government’s website for inviting suggestions and objections from persons concerned.The bench directed the government to file its affidavit within two weeks in response to the petition.The Maharashtra Assembly had in April this year passed a legislation for resumption of bullock cart races across the state, after Tamil Nadu enacted a law to regularise its rural sport Jallikattu.The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Maharashtra Amendment) Bill would regularise the bullock race, a popular sport in rural Maharashtra which had been banned in 2014 on the ground that it caused pain and suffering to bullocks.State Animal Husbandry Minister Mahadev Jankar had then said the amendment was being made to the central act, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, in view of the vital role of the bullock cart race in preserving and promoting tradition and culture.After the Tamil Nadu government enacted the law to regulate Jallikattu (taming of the bull), there was a demand to revive bullock races in Maharashtra.

Lok Adalat decides 83 cases

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Lok Adalat held in the Orissa High Court here today disposed of 83 cases and awarded nearly Rs 1.81 crore to different claimants. Justices Kumari Sanju Panda, Biswajit Mohanty, Biswanath Rath, S K Sahoo, S N Prasad, K R Mohapatra and D P Choudhury held seven separate courts during the day to decide a total 422 cases. Only 83 cases could be disposed, a statement said. The cases related to motor accident claims, banks, insurance, criminal compoundable, matrimonial, land acquisition, railway compensation, food supply and consumer affairs, fisheries, animal husbandry and electricity matters were listed.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BMC hints at inability to shell out funds for BEST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The city civic body has indicated its inability to shell of out Rs 9,727 crore between 2017-18 and 2021-22 to keep afloat the cash strapped Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST). These funds are required to meet BEST’s outgo towards operational expenditure, repayment of loans, salaries and pension and provident fund. If BMC will have to make available funds annually to BEST for its survival then it will have to substantially cut its spending on various development projects or raise taxes to mop up additional revenue.Of the Rs 9,727 crore, BEST will need Rs 2,931 crore in 2017-18, Rs 1,750 crore in 2018-19, Rs 1,634 crore in 2019-20, Rs 1,681 crore in 2020-21 and Rs 1,729 crore in 2021-22. BEST’s earnings are of the order of Rs 1,300 crore while its loss worth Rs 1,000 crore from transport business. Further, BEST has earned profit of Rs 225 crore while its losses are worth Rs 500 crore from the electricity business. The accumulated losses have mounted to Rs 10,000 crore.Further, BEST’s finances will further dry up if it has to repay to its electricity consumers Rs 2,505.23 crore recovered as the transport deficit loss recovery (TDLR) charge till March 31, 2016. It must be mentioned here that Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has already disallowed transport deficit amounting Rs 1,187.71 crore for the period between 2004-05 and 2008-09. The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity has also set aside the levy of TDLR to recover the transport deficit from BEST’s electricity consumers. The case is pending for final order.Even though the BEST employees called off the strike early this week after an oral assurance on payment of salary, BMC has not made any written commitment in this regard.BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta told DNA,” The total revamp of BEST finances will have to be done to ensure its operational viability.”Another civic officer said “As far as BEST is concerned, the undertaking will have to resort to drastic management revamp. BEST may have to go in for rise in fare, stop bus services on loss making routes, improve efficiency in revenue earning routes.” He informed that at the same time the employees will also have to take a cut in their salary.

Sikkim Krantikari Morcha chief surrenders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) president P S Golay today surrendered before a court here in a corruption case of 1990s when he was a minister in Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government. Golay had been sentenced to one year imprisonment by a lower court in December last year which was upheld by Sikkim High Court in June. After his surrender before the district and sessions court at Sichey here, Golay said he could not surrender immediately after his conviction because he was undergoing medical treatment outside the state. He claimed he was a victim of political vendetta by the ruling SDF. The five-time MLA was taken to the state jail at Rongyek near Gangtok where he will be serving his sentence. A founder member of the SDF, Golay was named in a chargesheet filed by vigilance department in 2010 for misappropriation of Rs 9.5 lakh meant for distributing cows to beneficiaries under a state government scheme for a period when he was animal husbandry minister in 1994-1999. Golay resigned from SDF in September 2013 alleging nepotism and lack of proper leadership and floated the SKM.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

6-yr-old complain about flies, NGT issues notice to UP govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking cognisance of a complaint by a six-year-old boy about swarms of flies from a poultry farm troubling him and his friends at school in Shamli district, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government. A bench of Justice Swatantre Kumar yesterday asked all the respondents, including the chief secretary, the state pollution control board and the poultry farm’s owner, in the case to file a reply by August 31. The boy, Arjun Malick, petitioned the tribunal that within 500 metres of the farm there is a government and private school. “There is foul smell around us and it is making it difficult for us to study,” the boy said in his application. Malik’s counsel Gaurav Bansal said the NGT has asked respondents, including the chief secretary, state pollution control board, animal husbandry department, Shamli district magistrate and the poultry farm, to file a reply by August 31. “The pollution control board has issued a notice to the poultry farm after it was found that it did not have adequate infrastructure dispose of waster and garbage,” Bansal said. Local residents had lodged a complaint with the district administration but no action was taken, the lawyer claimed, adding “school authorities also did not take any steps to deal with situation”. “The lack of waste and garbage disposal posed health hazards,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

210 pigs & piglets have died of classical swine fever

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 210 pigs and piglets have died due to outbreak of classical swine fever in Mizoram-Myanmar border Champhai town and Biate village in Champhai district since June, official sources today said. The sources said that over 170 pigs died in Champhai town in more than a month since May end, followed by the outbreak of the same disease in Biate village which claimed 40 pigs since first week of July till yesterday. State Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department Director Dr Saingura Sailo said laboratory tests confirmed that the cause of the deaths of pigs in Champhai and Biate was classical swine fever which had been present in the state since 1990s. While pigs taken sick due to the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) died after a few days of treatment, those infected with classical swine fever died quickly, hardly any time for treatment, according to Remkunga, president of the Biate branch of the Young Mizo Association (YMA).(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Railways to introduce designer, easy to clean blankets soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Plagued with complaints of dirty blankets, the Indian Railways has firmed up an action plan to increase the frequency of washing blankets and replace the existing ones with designer, lightweight blankets in a phased manner. Besides, used blankets would be sanitised on a regular basis before being given for further use. Though the directive is to wash the blankets every one or two months, a CAG report had recently highlighted the unhygienic condition of blankets which were not washed for even six months. However, smelly blankets may soon become a thing of past on trains. The railways have roped in the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFT) to design lightweight blankets with less wool content. A trial of ‘thin, cold washable blankets’ is also being carried out in the Central Railway zone as a pilot project. “Our aim is to provide washed blankets along with fresh linen in trains for each journey,” said a senior Railway Ministry official in the housekeeping directorate who is involved in the task. Currently about 3.90 lakh sets of linen are provided per day comprising two bedsheets, a towel, pillow and blanket for each passenger in AC classes. The plan envisages increasing the frequencies of washing of blankets to begin with and replacing the existing ones with the newly designed lightweight blankets made of soft fabric in a phased manner, he said. Railways have already started changing the cover of blankets in some sections while frequency of washing is being increased from monthly to fortnightly and weekly, said the official. Railways had recently held a meeting on linen management which was attended by various stakeholders including mechanised laundry operators, suppliers of cleaning chemicals, linen suppliers and senior railway officers. It was decided to implement the plan for improvement of linen management with aim of providing clean, hygienic and good quality linen to passengers travelling in AC classes. Preparations are are being made to introduce lightweight blankets made of soft fabric and these will be washed after every use, the official said. There are about 50 mechanised laundries operational at the moment and ten more will be opened shortly.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Jaitley opposes Kejriwal’s plea to summon DDCA records in HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Arun Jaitley has opposed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea in the Delhi High Court seeking summoning of the minutes of meetings of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) held during 1999-2014. Kejriwal had moved the fresh plea in a pending defamation suit filed by the union minister against him and five other AAP leaders seeking Rs 10 crore as damages from them for allegedly levelling “defamatory” allegations with regard to irregularities in DDCA during Jaitley’s tenure as its President. 64-year-old Jaitley, in his reply filed before Joint Registrar Pankaj Gupta of the High Court, said that Kejriwal’s application deserved to be dismissed as he has been trying to delay the proceedings in the lawsuit by filing “frivolous” pleas, including the current one. He has said the fresh plea was “not only a dilatory tactic but clearly a roving and fishing expedition”. The Delhi chief minister has sought summoning of the minutes of the meetings held by the General Body and the Executive Committee or Board of Directors of the DDCA between 1999 and 2014. Jaitley was the DDCA President from 2000 to 2013. Kejriwal, in his application filed through advocate Anupam Srivastava, has said he wished to cross-examine Jaitley in the suit, whose hearing had witnessed a high drama when his former counsel and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had used some “objectionable and scandalous” words against the senior BJP leader. Jethmalani, who has now stopped representing Kejriwal in the case, recently wrote letters alleging that those words were spoken at the instruction of the chief minister and his former client had hurled worse abuses against Jaitely in their meetings. Jaitley, who holds Finance and Defence portfolios, filed his reply through advocate Manik Dogra and said the Civil Procedure Code provided that if Kejriwal wanted to summon a witness or the records, he must mention them in his list of witnesses. The list of witnesses was required to be filed within 15 days after the court framed issues to be decided in the suit. Jaitley said “it is admitted position that the defendant (Kejriwal) in his list of witnesses has not mentioned any such witness whom he wants to be summoned to produce the record of DDCA.” He said it was “evident that Kejriwal made per se defamatory statements against the plaintiff (and his family members). He (Kejriwal) earlier claimed that his statements were on the basis of documents available with him. “It is abundantly clear that there was no basis for the defendant to have made said defamatory statements and he is now searching for sundry documents to buttress his defence”. Jethmalani’s statement that scandalous words were used at the instance of Kejriwal, led to the filing of a separate Rs 10 crore civil defamation suit against the Chief Minister. After this, Kejriwal had told the court that he had not instructed Jethmalani to use “scandalous” words against the union minister. Following this, Jaitley moved an application to expedite the recording of evidence in an orderly and fair manner of his first defamation suit against Kejriwal and others. During the hearing, Justice Manmohan had warned Kejriwal against asking any “offensive and scandalous” questions to Jaitley. The court had also asked his new counsel to give an undertaking that no objectionable and offensive questions would be put to Jaitley during the cross-examination slated on August 28. Besides Kejriwal, the five other accused in the suit are Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai. The AAP leaders had accused the BJP leader of corruption as the DDCA President. Jaitley had denied all the allegations by the AAP leaders in December 2015 and had filed a civil defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal and the others, claiming they had made “false and defamatory” statements in a case involving DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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