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In Mann Ki Baat, PM focuses on youth, millenials

In the final episode of the monthly radio broadcast Mann Ki Baat in 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi specifically targeted the youth and the millennials – those born on January 1, 2000, onwards — and told them to get registered as voters and use their right to vote in every election.Calling them ‘New India Voters’, he exhorted them to cast their votes saying it will prove to be the ‘bedrock of New India’. The Prime Minister has been regularly dwelling on his concept of New India, which he had outlined in 2016.In his address to the party’s MPs during the parliamentary meet on December 20, after a tough Gujarat election, PM Modi had asked them to rope in the youth and millennials, who would soon be ready to vote. Referring to the robust social media campaign of the Congress, he had told the MPs to get active and engage with the millennials on social media, which they understand the best.”The 1st of January, 2018…in my view, is a special day… People born in the year 2000 or later; those born in the 21st century, will gradually begin to become eligible voters from the 1st of January, 2018. The Indian Democracy welcomes the voters of the 21st century, the ‘New India Voters’. I congratulate our youth & urge them to register themselves as voters. The entire nation is eager to welcome you as voters of the 21st century. As voters of this century, you too must be feeling proud,” said PM Modi.Referring to them as “My New India Youth”, the PM asked them to come forward and deliberate on how this New India — free from the poison of casteism, communalism, terrorism and corruption; free from filth and poverty — would be formed.Referring to #Positive India, using which he earlier had asked people to share their positive experiences, PM Modi listed feedbacks which spoke on how various government schemes had improved their lives. One feedback spoke about the glory of surgical strikes and the valour in Doklam.The PM also announced proudly that on this Republic Day, leaders of all ten ASEAN countries would be coming to India as chief guests.”But 26th January, 2018, will especially be remembered through the ages. This is unprecedented in India’s history… ASEAN completed its 50 years of formation in 2017 and in 2017, 25 years of India’s partnership with ASEAN was completed. On 26th January, the arrival of great leaders of 10 nations of the world as a unit is a matter of pride for all Indians,” the PM said.

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

Mega block at Parel stn to end tonight

The first major block was carried out at Parel station this weekend where the Army is building a new foot-overbridge (FOB). The Central Railway (CR) is carrying out a mega block for three consecutive nights which ends on Monday night.”We will be carrying out another five hours of block on the night of January 1-2 at Parel. This is probably the first such long block given on the main line for the Parel FOB,” said SK Jain, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Central Railway.The Army and railwaymen are together constructing an extension to the Parel FOB on the north end which will go towards Elphinstone Road station. During this period – midnight to 5am – of the mega block, the authorities will lower the steel cage and bore piles into the ground. They have already drilled deep into the soil and steel pillars next to the tracks have been erected.Sources said that on Monday night, the work will be mainly between Parel and Elphinstone Road stations. Over the last two nights (December 30-31 and December 31-January 1), the CR authorities shut down train services between Matunga and Byculla stations on the slow line towards CSMT at Parel platform 2. Due to this block, 15 services towards CSMT were diverted on Up fast line. On Sunday night, Up slow line there was a block for five hours between Matunga and Byculla stations due to which nine locals were diverted on Up fast line.The Army is set to complete the work of extending this FOB by January 31. Meanwhile, work on the additional staircase for the Elphinstone Road station FOB too is ready and is expected to be open to the public soon. The ticket booking counter too has been shifted.MEETING DEADLINESThe Army is set to complete the work of extending this FOB by January 31. Work on the additional staircase for the Elphinstone Road station FOB too is ready and is expected to open to the public soon.

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

Video shows students painting wall, Noida school gets notice

The district inspector of schools of Gautam Budh Nagar issued a show-cause notice on Saturday after a video showing students of the Father Agnel School of Greater Noida painting the school’s boundary wall went viral on the social media on Friday.While the school maintained that it was a “voluntary exercise”, the practice actually pertains to child labour.According to the district inspector, in the video, nearly 10 students can be seen, who identify themselves as Bal Bhawan hostel residents. The hostel is located inside the school premises.According to the school officials, the activity was a part of the preparations for the Bal Bhawan Day celebrations, to be held on January 13. The administration has, however, sought an explanation from the school, seeking the reasons behind the activity and whether recommendation should be made to the CBSE to cancel the school’s affiliation.”We have issued a show cause notice to the school and have asked for an answer in the next seven days. Failing to do so or if found guilty, action will be taken against the school,” said P K Upadhyay, district inspector of schools (DIOS), Gautam Budh Nagar.Upadhyay further said the students belong to the economically weaker category and were a part of the over 200 students who were admitted to the school through the Agnel Charities.Prep modeAccording to school officials, the activity was part of the preparations for Bal Bhawan Day celebrations to be held on January 13. As per the district inspector, 10 students can be seen in the video

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

L-G Anil Baijal takes stock of flyover beautification on NH-24

Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal on Saturday took stock of the beautification work being done on a part of NH-24 in east Delhi’s Seemapuri. The flyover is an important link connecting Delhi and Noida.The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), which is looking after the work, was told by the L-G to make sure that the space under the flyover was kept clean and plants and installations were used for beautification on both sides of the flyover.”The L-G further directed the agencies concerned to develop a bus lane along the highway for better connectivity,” a statement issued by the L-G House said.Besides the NHAI, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Public Works Department (PWD), and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) are involved in the work.The beautification work is expected to be completed by January 26.Meanwhile, Baijal also inspected beautification work done on the Seelampur flyover in east Delhi, which bears the artwork done by an NGO. The work was done at a cost of Rs 20 lakh. The L-G, however, told the east Corporation to outsource the maintenance work of the flyover.The L-G further told the PWD to spruce up the Vikas Marg, Ring Road, and Pushta Marg with artworks on walls, greenery, lights, and proper signages, latest by January 15.

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

Palace on Wheels finally on maiden trip

The heritage Palace on Wheels will finally arrive in Jaipur with 24 tourists on board on its maiden tour .Pradeep Bohra, general manager of the train who is accompanying the tourists, informed that the train left from Delhi’s Safdarganj station and will arrive at Jaipur’s Gandhinagar station on the last leg of its Golden Triangle circuit tour — which includes Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.Train officials were exhilarated over the maiden voyage of this train as it took quite some effort to get the tourists on board the luxury train.The passengers were given a warm departure in Delhi with band playing music and with all the gala celebration. The preparations are now being made at Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) for the train’s arrival.The success of the train is essential for RTDC as it also plans a tour on Shekhwati circuit starting this January .This is the third royal super luxury train in Rajasthan which is being run by RTDC.While palace on wheels is a known name, RTDC had for years also run RROW (Royal Rajasthan on wheels) which was discontinued only few months back .Before starting off on the voyage it was kept at Bais godown railway station and was sent to Delhi few days back .The train will depart from Jaipur on Saturday itself at 8:30 pm from Durgapura station.

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

Gujarat Literature Festival spreads wings beyond city

The fifth edition of the Gujarat Literature Festival (GLF) has a series of firsts to offer this time around. The festival that was originally conceived to increase interest in Gujarati literature, has over the years expanded to include workshops and seminars that has literary works and authors from several languages.This time the festival will also be held in Vadodara, albeit on different dates. In Ahmedabad, the festival will see workshops begin on January 3, while the formal inauguration will happen take place on January 4. It ends on January7.Festival producer Samkit Shah said the festival will now move to more cities of Gujarat with Vadodara hosting one from February 2 to 4. “In Vadodara, the festival is being supported by Alembic Pharmaceuticals. The session there will be different than what we have here although the format will be the same,” said Shah.The festival will also have Children’s Literature Festival as a subtext of the festival apart from a session on heritage as well as exhibitions around the theme of heritage. A GLF awards will also be given to deserving authors across various fields including movies.The festival has also expanded to different venues within Ahmedabad. This year it will also be hosted at the GU campus apart from Kanorai Art Gallery.The most interesting aspect of the festival however is the Ink Tank a platform that will bring together budding authors and publishers. “It is on the lines of the Shark Tank. The festival will provide a platform for book publishers and young authors who can pitch their books and if found good will get on the spot backing for publishing,” said festival director Shyam Parekh. He said this will inspire and bring in new breed of writers who sometimes despite their talent fail to get the backing of publishers.The festival will aso for the first time recognise the works of various authors across platforms including theatre, film and music by constituting the GLF awards. In all 16 awards will be given.Apart from big names in the field of Gujarati literature, the festival will also see big names from Hindi, Korean and Japanese literature gracing the occasion.The festival will also see five different plays being staged apart from offering a variety of workshop ranging from television writing to storytelling.

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

Rajasthan, West Bengal head for bypolls on Jan 29

The beginning of 2018 is again going to witness interesting poll battles between the BJP, the Congress and the Trinamool Congress. The Election Commission on Thursday announced bypolls for the Lok Sabha seats of Alwar and Ajmer as well as the Mandalgarh assembly seat of Rajasthan. Bypolls for West Bengal’s Uluberia parliamentary seat and Noapara assembly seat will also be held simultaneously. The polling for these seats will be held on January 29, 2018, and counting will take place on February 1. The last date of filing nominations is January 10 and date for scrutiny is January 11. Rajasthan bypolls will be interesting to watch as Vasundhara Raje’s government would be going through an acid test of assembly elections later in 2018. So far, only Congress has declared its candidate for Rajasthan bypolls for Alwar. The party has decided to field Karan Singh Yadav for Alwar parliamentary constituency. The seat was lying vacant after BJP’s Mahant Chand Nath passed away on September 17 following a prolonged illness. BJP’s Ajmer MP Sanwar Lal Jat had collapsed during a meeting of party MLAs and MPs with BJP chief Amit Shah in Jaipur on July 22. Jat passed away at the AIIMS hospital in New Delhi on August 9. Later that month, BJP’s Mandalgarh MLA Kirti Kumari also passed away on August 28 while undergoing treatment in Jaipur for influenza A (H1N1) or swine flu.With the announcement of bypolls, the Model Code of Conduct comes into force with immediate effect “in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Parliamentary/Assembly Constituency going for bye-election is included.”Along with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Election Commission has decided to use Electronic Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) at the polling stations for the bye polls.“Adequate number of EVMs and VVPATs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly with the help of these machines,” Commission’s Principal Secretary Sumit Mukherjee said in a statement on Wednesday.Acid test for rajasthan LS seats of Alwar and Ajmer, and assembly seat Mandalgarh up for bypolls Raje govt would be going through an acid test of assembly elections later in 2018 So far, only Congress has declared its candidate for Alwar: Karan S Yadav The Model Code of Conduct comes into force with immediate effect “in the relevant districts

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

24 hours power to all by March 2019: Power Minister R K Singh

By March 2019, all homes in the country will be provided uninterrupted 24-hour power supply throughout the year, Power Minister R K Singh said on Thursday.Singh said 1,694 villages, which are yet to be electrified, will have electricity connection by December 2018 and works in this regard has been going on.All homes will get 24-hour power by March 2019, he said during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha.Singh also said a new law will be enacted to impose penalties on power discoms in case of failure to provide uninterrupted power after March 2019, except due to technical reasons.The minister said the government has set a target of reducing the transmission and distribution (T&D) losses of power from the current 21 per cent to 15 per cent by January 2019.He said Rs 1,75,000 crore is being spent to improve the power infrastructure across the country.”Some T&D losses are inherent in the system. These are termed technical losses. As per a study, the technical losses range approximately from 2.62 per cent to 7.71 per cent.”Additional losses are caused by theft. At the all-India level, energy loss in T&D for the year 2015-16 was 240864.31 million units (21.81 per cent). As per estimates, reduction of 1 per cent in T&D losses results in a saving of Rs 4,146.60 crore in terms of power purchase cost,” he said.

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Delhi nursery admission: Nursery nightmares begin

With most of the private unaided recognised schools in the national capital giving heavy weightage to the ‘neighbourhood’ criteria — children residing within the 0-3 km radius — arbitrary regulations issued by several schools are giving nightmares to parents seeking nursery admission for their children.In blatant violation of the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) guidelines, while some schools are granting extra points to “vegetarian”, “non-smoker” and “teetotaller” parents, some are preferring children/grandchildren of former school promoters or office bearers.According to the criteria released by Mahavir Senior Model School on GT-Karnal Road, extra five points will be given to non-smoker, teetotaller and vegetarian parents, in a bid to shun “social evils”.”We have included the point just to make people realise how healthy and happy their lives would be if they won’t smoke and drink. We, however, are not asking them to give a certificate as a proof,” said SL Jain, principal of the school.Similarly, in another violation, Apeejay school in Sheikh Sarai is giving 15 points to the “Children/Grandchildren of promoters/office bearers/members of board of governors of the school” in its criteria, the move experts term a “disregard” of the government’s directions. “This is a blatant violation and disregard of the DoE’s regulations. The school is also giving a backdoor entry to the candidates coming from its own play school by giving extra 10 points to the child coming from a lower class at any other Apeejay School,” said Sumit Vohra, founder of www.admissionsnursery.com.”Some schools have issued absurd admission criteria which are nowhere mentioned in the DoE’s circular issued on December 19. Parents like us are really confused. The DoE Should immediately issue notices to such schools,” said Ritika Singh, a parent seeking admission for her 3-year-old daughter.Several schools, including Abhinav Public School in Pitampura and Sachdeva Public School in Rohini have asked parents’ to give details of their monthly income, educational and professional qualification in their forms. “How can our educational and professional qualifications can be the parameters of screening the forms of our children? This is absolutely unfair,” said Sikha Sharma, another parent.Officials at the DoE, however, said that they are receiving the complaints and strict action will be taken against all these schools. “We have received numerous complaints through our grievance portal on the first day. Strict action will be taken against all such schools,” a senior official said.The admission process in the entry level classes in 1,700 private unaided recognised schools in the national capital kicked off on Wednesday. The last date to submit application forms in schools is January 17 and the first list will be released on February 1. The admission process will wrap up by March 31, 2018.

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2008 Malegaon case: MCOCA dropped against Sadhvi Pragya and Col Purohit, to be tried under UAPA and IPC sections

Special NIA court in Mumbai has dropped MCOCA charges against Sadhvi Pragya, Col Purohit and two others in connection with the 2008 Malegaon case. However, they will be tried under UAPA section 18 and other IPC sections. Six people were killed and nearly 100 were injured in a bomb blast in Malegaon on September 29, 2008. Both Purohit and Pragya are currently out in bail and that will continue, ordered NIA Court. The next date of hearing is January 15. The court also let off three accused Shyam Sahu, Shivnarayan Kalsangra and Praveen Takalki as innocent. Malegoan case was described as Hindu terror planned by group Abhinav Bharat. Pragya and Purohit were accused of being part of the conspiracy which lead to the blast. On April 25, the Bombay High Court had granted Thakur bail on the grounds that prima facie, there was no evidence against her and thus she deserved bail. It, however, said that it was only passing an order with regard to the bail application and not on the merits of the case against her. On being granted bail by the High Court, Thakur had then filed an application before the special NIA Court seeking discharge from the case on the ground that the High Court had already given her a clean chit in its bail application order. Purohit also got bail from SC later.

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RTDC gears up to get tourists for ‘first trip’ of heritage PoW

After failing to muster enough number of tourists for the maiden tour of December 22, of Heritage Palace on wheels, the management of RTDC has started making intensive efforts for booking of passengers for December 29 tour, which is now being called as the first trip. However, on the website when one scrolled on “luxury on wheels” segment, only “Palace on wheels’ appeared.Marketing efforts are being made in full throttle and advertising in print media has also been started. The advertisement carrying the itinerary of the train, has been displayed along with the tariff per person. While the telephone numbers of the team running the train in Delhi and Jaipur both are mentioned in the advertisement, it carries information about the starting of online booking as well. However, when DNA logged on to the website www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in, online booking for only Palace on wheels was seen on the page.Also when DNA contacted the landline numbers on Tuesday evening, the number’s remained unanswered. The golden triangle package will cover Delhi-Jaipur and Agra with departure of the train from New Delhi Safdarjung railway station. The desert triangle circuit will be started from January 5 and include places like Churu, Ramgarh, Nawalgarh, Tal Chhapar (Churu) before returning back to Delhi.Notably, the announcement of the new train was made by tourism minister Krishnendra Kaur Deepa and ACS, NC Goel during the press meet to list achievements of 4 years. They had declared that the new train will start from December 22. Officers were specially sent to London during the world travel mart few weeks back to market the train, however it could not get the passengers.

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Kolkata to get a floating market

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

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Secular remark: Ex-panchayat member announces Rs 1 crore bounty for Ananth Kumar Hegde

A former zilla panchayat member of Karnataka today said he would pay Rs 1 crore to anyone who chopped off Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde’s tongue for his reported remark that secular people were unaware of their parentage.Former Kalaburagi zilla panchayat member Gurushant Pattedar said he had announced the “bounty” because Hegde’s comment had pained Dalits, Muslims, backward classes and secular people. “Opposing his (Hegde’s) remarks I’m announcing a bounty of Rs 1 crore for chopping his tongue and bringing it (over),” Pattedar, who identified himself as a senior Dalit leader, told reporters in Kalaburagi. Pattedar, who is currently associated with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), said he was announcing the “bounty” on his volition.”I’m ready to give the bounty amount to anyone who chops Hegde’s tongue and brings it in one month’s time, by January 26,” he said. He also accused Hegde of “denigrating” the Constitution. The minister for skill development and entrepreneurship had kicked up a controversy on Sunday when he said at an event in Kukanur town in Koppal district that people who “call themselves secular” were unaware of their parentage.He said he was happy if people recalled their religion or caste with pride.Also readConstitution will be ‘changed in the days to come’: Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde “I feel happy because he (the person) knows about his blood, but I don’t know what to call those who call themselves secular,” the minister had said. Hegde then said, “Those who, without knowing about their parental blood, call themselves secular, they don’t have their own identity… They don’t know about their parentage, but they are intellectuals.” He also said while he respected the Constitution, “it will be changed in the days to come”.”We are here for that and that is why we have come,” the five-time Lok Sabha MP from Karnataka said, drawing the ire of the ruling Congress in the state. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the BJP leader did not know “Parliamentary or political language”.

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Congress meet to elect CLP leader in January first week

Even as the new government is set to be sworn-in on Tuesday, the Congress meeting to elect the Leader of Opposition (LOP) in the state assembly is likely to take place in the first week of January.Shailesh Parmar, MLA from Danilimda (SC) seat in Ahmedabad, and Congress’s chief whip in the assembly said that the Congress MLAs are likely to meet in the first week of 2018 to elect their leader. “The date of the legislators’ meeting to elect the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader is yet to be finalised, but it likely to take place in the first week of January,” Parmar said.While the loss of senior leaders such as Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia and Siddharth Patel in the elections has thrown open the race for CLP leader, Paresh Dhanani, the Congress MLA from Amreli, is believed to be the front-runner for the post.Dhanani, who was elected to the assembly for the third time in these elections, is a young and emerging face in the party. He is a Patidar, the community that threw its weight behind Congress in rural areas. Moreover, he is from Saurashtra, the region where the party improved its tally from 11 in 2012 to 27 in 2017. Incidentally, BJP was blanked in Amreli district, as Congress won all five seats.Another claimant for the post of CLP leader is Mohansinh Rathwa, who was elected as MLA for a record tenth time, making him the senior-most legislator in the House. Rathwa has been a member of every Gujarat assembly since 1972, barring the 11th due to his loss in 2002. He was appointed Leader of Opposition in the assembly after Shankersinh Vaghela quit the party. However, Rathwa is 73, and this may go against him. He is also not very aggressive in the House. Shailesh Parmar, a four-term MLA, is another potential candidate as CLP leader. He is a prominent Dalit face and is well-versed with the functioning of the assembly. Moreover, Parmar is one of the handful of Congress MLAs from urban areas, and one of the even fewer ones who has been elected more than once.WHAT MLA SAYSThe date of the legislators’ meeting to elect the Congress Legislature Party leader is yet to be finalised, but it is likely to take place in the first week of January, said Shailesh Parmar, MLA from Danilimda (SC) seat in Ahmedabad.

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Maharashtra cheer as beer prices fall in state

There may be good news for beer lovers in Maharashtra before New Year as the hike in prices are being cushioned and supplies being restored.The state government’s decision to allow beer manufacturers to hike MRP on strong beer to 4.6 times the production cost (up from 4.25 times) and 3.75 times for mild beer (as against 3.5 times), may end its impasse with beer manufacturers.In October, the state excise department had hiked excise duty on mild beer to 175 per cent of manufacturing cost or Rs 42 per bulk litre, whichever is higher, as against 150 per cent or Rs 33. For strong beer, it was 235 per cent or Rs 80 per bulk litre, versus 200 per cent or Rs 60.This led to breweries scaling down or even stopping production, affecting supply of beer before Christmas and New Year, when the demand for the drink rises. Industry sources claimed the duty rise would have squeezed margins and operating costs and increased beer prices, thus diverting people to hard liquor.“Earlier, the MRP hike would have been extraordinary. It will be reasonable now… For instance, prices of a 650ml bottle from a popular brand may have gone up to Rs 180 from Rs 145. It may now be around Rs 157 after the change in the MRP formula,” an industry source explained. Production was likely to restart immediately after necessary approvals from the department. However, considering the present levels of de-stocking at the retailer and distributor levels, full supply of beer may be restored in January, he added.“The MRP is based on the manufacturing cost and is derived through backward calculations,” explained an excise official, adding the formula would also cushion the MRP hike. Another official said the new MRP formula would also lower the rate hike for beer in the premium and normal segments which would have come about in the old formula.In 2016-17, beer sales fell by 0.95% to end at 3,285.78 lakh bulk liters (LBL) against 3,317.32 LBL in the previous fiscal. In contrast, sales of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), wine and country liquor (CL) had shown a rise.Excise duty on mild beer was last hiked in 2011.

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After 7 yrs, MHADA back with lottery of 108 shops

After a lottery of nearly 820 homes, Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s (MHADA) Mumbai Board is all set to introduce an e-auction of 108 commercial premises, for which the process was initiated on Friday when MHADA published a tender seeking a bank through which it can complete the whole process.Of the total 108 commercial establishments, 36 are in Pratiksha Nagar in Sion, four in Mazgaon, 14 in Vinoba Bhave Nagar in Kurla, five in Swadeshi Mill in Kurla, seven in Mankhurd, five in Powai, 11 in Mulund, one in Jogeshwari, four in Shastri Nagar in Goregaon, one in Siddharth Nagar in Goregaon and the remaining 20 in Charkop in Kandivili.The process of finalising the bank is expected to be complete by the first week of January. On Friday, MHADA’s Mumbai Board issued a tender inviting the expression of interest from nationalised, scheduled and commercial banks for a total solution provider for an e-auction of the shops.A senior official from MHADA’s Mumbai Board said, “We are looking for a bank that will be holding the e-auction of the shops spread over Mumbai that belong to MHADA. After the bank is finalised we will carry out the e-auction.”The offset price for the 36 shops in Pratiksha Nagar is Rs 11.45 crore while for the one shop in Jogeshwari, it is Rs 41.09 lakh. The total offset price of the 108 shops is Rs 49.93 crore. While the last such MHADA lottery for commercial premises was held in 2010, this is the first time that the Authority will be holding an e-auction of commercial premises. Until now, the MHADA had always held a manual auction.Apart from this, the MHADA also recently started the construction of buildings in Wadala, where it will be constructing nearly 280 homes in the affordable segment. The Authority is trying to get these homes constructed at the earliest because the MHADA wants the homes to be a part of the forthcoming lottery. In the previous lottery, which was held in November this year, the Authority received a lot of flak because it had only eight homes in the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) segment.WHAT’S ON ANVILProcess of finalising the bank is expected to be complete by the first week of January. MHADA’s Mumbai Board, on Friday, had issued a tender inviting the expression of interest from nationalised, scheduled and commercial banks for a total solution provider for an e-auction of the shops. Offset price for the 36 shops in Pratiksha Nagar is Rs 11.45 crore, while for the one shop in Jogeshwari is Rs 41.09 lakh.

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Team behind police’s witty campaigns targets youth

“Maine thodi hi pee thi. Pata nahi alcohol metre mein kaise aa gayi” #Nomoreexcuses… such witty social media messages can be seen on the Delhi Police’s twitter handle. Very few, however, know about the dedicated team behind these colourful and creative messages. The group takes care of the twitter handles of both the Delhi Police and the Delhi Traffic Police.Group member Ankur Pujari, 31, first thought of starting his own venture while working in Singapore. He discussed the idea with his friend Kiran, who also gave a fruitful response. Both of them then decided to take the plunge and started their own firm, Astral Advertising.Amit Panwar, the third business partner, then joined them. The company, which is over a year old, has grown from three to 18 members now. They took over the twitter handles of the Delhi Police and the Delhi Traffic Police nearly seven months ago and from then on, they gave been targeting the urban and the young.Pujari revealed that their aim is to build a platform for proactive communication and to engage the youth, for instance with campaigns like the recent ‘#no more excuses’ against drunken driving. The video shows a gang of boys drinking together and then setting out for a joyride that meets a fatal end. It also shows the data about road accidents and emphasises on how important the youth of the country is to the nation.”Our approach is very urban, with an inclination towards the youth. In January, keeping in mind the Republic Day and security concerns, we would start a campaign that would require the response from the public, such as calling cops. We want to make a point but we will also make it a bit funny,” Pujari said.The mastermind behind the content is Kiran Khadke, who has 5-6 people working along with him. Khadke says: “There’s no magic! Our work with the Delhi Police or any other client is a blend of being original, relevant, and emotional and not being crazy just for the sake of it.””I tend to ask a lot of questions from the client. Good creative is a function of sharp brief, lot of relevant information, and a dash of popular culture that people can relate and share. The Delhi Police is an interesting turf. Awareness issues are very sensitive, so we have to be very sharp in choice of words, be within boundaries and yet be creative. So, the team’s mantra is ‘keep referring back to the brief, strive for perfection’,” he adds.

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No looking back for Jai Ram Thakur after joining BJP in ’83

The biggest asset of the 52-year-old Jai Ram Thakur, set to be Himachal Pradesh’s next chief minister, is that he has climbed every step required to reach the top.Born on January 6, 1965, to a poor family in Tandi village of Mandi’s Thunag area, Thakur was fourth among five siblings and his father Jhethu Ram worked as a mason. He lost his father exactly a year ago on December 25.After passing out from a local government school, he completed his Bachelor of Arts (BA) from a govt college in Mandi.It was during his stay there that he first got attracted to student politics in 1983, and joined BJP’s student wing Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). By 1986, he earned a name in the field and soon became ABVP’s state secretary.After completing his college education, Thakur was elevated to BJP’s youth wing — Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) — in the 90s. He spent the following years in Jammu & Kashmir as the organisational secretary from 1989 to 1992, honing his skills as a student leader.He fought his first state legislative assembly elections in 1993, from Chachiot (now Seraj), at the young age of 28, but lost by a slender margin of 800 votes. He, however, succeeded in catching the attention of BJP’s top brass, because Mandi had always been considered a bastion of the Congress party.He contested the assembly election again in 1998 from Seraj and since then has won all five assembly elections back-to-back, that too with huge margins. Known to be a low-profile party loyalist, Thakur was re-elected in 2003 and given charge of the party in 2006. Within seven months of his leadership, BJP came back to power with an emphatic win in the 2007 assembly polls.Despite being a three-time MLA, Thakur remained state chief till 2009, before being inducted into cabinet ranks as rural development and panchayati raj minister. He had always been touted as the CM-in-waiting during his time in the cabinet till 2012.Known for his proximity with the RSS, Thakur belongs to the dominant Rajput community that has a significant presence in the state. He will be the sixth leader of the state to occupy the chief ministers office, but the first one from Mandi region.

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Spoiler alert: 50 things can go wrong with the first AC local

All may not be merry with the first air-conditioned local that is rolling onto the city’s suburban tracks on Christmas Day. The Western Railway officials have easily counted as many as 50 “small” hiccups with the rake that might lead to what is being dismissed as teething troubles. But compounded, some of these snags could become a prolonged rumbling strip for the AC service, DNA has learnt.Broadly, the problems relate to air conditioning, emergency halts, door closure, and machinery.These can affect the overall performance of the train and throw its schedule off-kilter.Senior railway officials said that two months ago, when the AC rake was being trialled, 80-odd problematic issues were recorded. But after Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced that the AC train would make its first full run on January 1, a series of meetings between different railway agencies and the manufacturer led to as many as 30 issues being resolved. But others remain.”These are small glitches that can cause a bigger problem at the time of running. The biggest fear is the coordinated opening and closing of the rake’s doors, and on the same side,” said a railway official on condition of anonymity.Even after a couple of months of fine-tuning, it isn’t certain how the doors would open.If the doors don’t close simultaneously or one faces an obstruction while closing, then the train won’t start. This could happen even if there’s a tiny pebble in the door ridge. In such cases, the motorman or the train guard would have to manually open and close the door.The Railway Board has issued a rider that if the portals malfunction, the AC services will be suspended.The next is the pulling of alarm-chains. Rail officials feel that the guard would have to alight and walk up to the coach from which the chain has been pulled, manually open the door, and press a button, which is inside the coach, to restart the train, which will be time-consuming. In the existing system, in case an alarm chain is pulled, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) or the stationmaster inspects the issue from outside.On an average, around 2-3 cases of alarm-chain pulling are reported every day from the tracks, which affects punctuality, as it takes 7-10 minutes to restart the train after the emergency brakes are hit.”What would happen if this occurs during peak hours? How will we manage?” asked a rail official.Also, initially, the AC would stop working at the time the door opens or closes, as electric supply could only support one of them. It continues to be a suspense if the supply knot has been ironed out.Finally, this prototype rake is retrofitted. The engines, coaches, motors, ACs, and the information display system have all been assembled. As such, there are bumps on the system. For instance, the software has to be fed with fresh information about station halts every time the train starts a journey. A mistake could delay the service and have a cascading effect on other services.BROAD ISSUESIf someone pulls the chain, the door will have to be opened from the outside of the coach Cooling may not be uniform in all coaches, could be too high/low Door closing might not be fully coordinated Station names have to be fed afresh into info display for each journey

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Rescue centre for beached mammals awaits State’s nod

Maharashtra Mangrove Cell has written to the State Government to allot them a suitable piece of land near either Juhu or Versova beach for setting up Mumbai’s first rescue and medical aid center for turtles and other marine mammals found stranded on the beaches of Mumbai.Prashant Deshmukh, Range Forest Officer (RFO), Mangrove Cell said that as a majority of stranding of marine mammals happen on the Western coast it was decided to build a fully equipped marine rescue center in Mumbai where these mammals can be treated and released back in the sea.”We began scouting for a 1200 square meter plot and found two suitable locations at Juhu beach itself – one near the Shivaji statue and another near the garden close to the main entrance. We have also found a piece of land near Versova beach close to the Versova police beat chowky,” he said adding that the land at Versova belongs to Mumbai Maritime Board and they have even written to them for allotting the land. Juhu remains the first preference, though.Deshmukh shared that they have been regularly following it up with both the authorities and are hopeful that the land will be allotted by either January or early February. “Once we get the land it will only take a month for us to set up the centre,” he said.Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF) Mangrove Cell, N Vasudevan said, “The centre will have four tanks that can accommodate injured turtles and even a dolphin if required. There will be separate holding tanks especially for turtles and they can even be tested for their swimming abilities before releasing them in the sea in the bigger tanks. The center will also feature a fully equipped operation theatre with important equipments like X-ray machines and other facilities for carrying out treatment of injured marine mammals.”

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Mumbai’s first AC local train to begin operations tomorrow

The first Air Conditioned local train will depart on its historical introductory run on Monday from Borivali station at 10.30 am for the Churchgate station. After the introduction, the AC local train will be operated on an experimental basis between Churchgate and Borivali stations till December 29 wherein only 6 services shall ply per day.After reaching Churchgate, the train will depart for Borivali again within 5 minutes of its arrival. This train will follow a schedule of 6 services – 3 services each towards Churchgate and Borivali – until December 29.The train service will have halts at Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri. It will then be monitored during the weekend. From January 1, it will have 12 services each day. Those having existing first class tickets and season passes wouldn’t be allowed to travel in AC rake but those with AC ticket/passes can travel in regular first class.People have been given option of buying daily tickets — for instance a journey between Churchgate to Borivali will cost Rs 165 which is Rs 15 more than the daily ticket price of regular first class.It will cost more to travel shorter distances. For instance, a Churchgate-Dadar/Bandra would cost Rs 85 (Rs 30 more than the regular first class). There is also an option of buying weekly, fortnightly and monthly passes.The Churchgate-Borivali weekly pass will cost Rs 855 as compared to Rs 755 for monthly pass for a regular first class on the same route. The fortnightly pass will cost Rs 1245 and monthly will be Rs 1640 for the same route of this AC rake. For those on Churchgate-Andheri route, AC passes will cost Rs 655, Rs 945, Rs 1240 for weekly, fortnightly and monthly respectively. In comparison, it costs Rs 670 for monthly first class pass on same route. The Churchgate-Dadar/Bandra would cost the same at Rs 445, Rs 630 and Rs 820 for weekly, fortnightly and monthly respectively.The coaches reserved for Ladies and Seats earmarked for Senior Citizens/Divyangs are different from Standard Configuration. 1st and 12th coach from Churchgate end are earmarked as Ladies coaches and 7 seats in 2nd and 11th coach from Churchgate end are earmarked for Senior citizens while 10 seats in 4th and 7th coach from Churchgate end are earmarked for Divyangs.

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ED files chargesheet against businessman Gagan Dhawan

The Enforcement Directorate filed a chargesheet on Saturday against Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan in connection with a Rs 5,000 crore money laundering case.Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma, before whom the final report was filed by ED special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana, took cognisance of the document and posted the matter for hearing on January 3, 2018.Dhawan, who was arrested on November 1, was sent to judicial custody on November 15 by the court after the probe agency said he was not needed for further custodial interrogation.The ED had alleged that Dhawan had facilitated the directors of Gujarat-based pharma firm Sterling Biotech Ltd (SBL) in the purchase of several properties and helped in misuse and diversion of the credit facilities of several banks totalling Rs 5,000 crore.”Rs 1.5 crore was received by the accused from the SBL group. Prior to that, the amount of bank loans was rotated in various group companies of SBL group,” the ED had claimed.The ED registered the case against him after taking cognisance of the case filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the pharma firm, its directors and several other persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud case.On August 25, the ED officials raided Dhawan’s office and that of a former Congress MLA Sumesh Shokeen in money laundering case.The firm and Dhawan are also being probed for allegedly bribing senior income tax department officials as part of an earlier criminal complaint.The FIR has alleged that the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016.

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Timeline of fodder scam case which rocked Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political career

A special CBI court on Saturday convicted former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and 14 others in the high-profile fodder scam case. The quantum of sentence will be announced on January 3 next year.However, another former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra was found innocent along with six others.The fodder scam case has been at the center of Bihar politics and have rocked Lalu Prasad’s political career.The case pertains to an alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994. Here is a brief timeline of the case: 23 December 2017: Special CBI court in Ranchi announces verdict on fodder scam. Lalu Prasad Yadav found guilty in the fodder scam case along with 14 others. The quantum of sentence will be announced on January 3, 2018.8 May 2017: The SC ruled criminal conspiracy charges against Lalu Prasad in connection to the two-decade old fodder scam.November 2014: Lalu Yadav moved Jharkhand HC challenging the CBI court’s 2006 verdict that named him in six cases within the fodder scam. The HC ruled that the proceedings would continue under IPC Sections 201 and 511. Other charges were dropped on grounds that a person once convicted or acquitted cannot be tried for the same offence.30 September 2013: The CBI court convicted Lalu and 44 others in the fodder scam. This made him ineligible to stand in elections for six years. The former CM stood disqualified as a member of Lok Sabha.13 August 2013: Lalu Prasad’s plea to transfer the trail court judge was rejected by SC.1 March 2012: Charges were framed against Lalu Yadav, Jagannath Mishra, Jagdish Sharma and 31 others for fraudulent withdrawal of 46 lakhs from the treasuries of Banka and Bhagalpur against forged bills.2 April 2010: The SC ruled that a state government “is not a competent authority” for a plea by the state government to the Patna High court challenging the CBI’s 2006 verdict on disproportionate asset case.31 May 2007: 58 people, including Lalu’s nephews, two former regional directors of the Animal Husbandry Department, and four suppliers were all given 5-6 years in prison.18 December 2006: Lalu, and his wife Rabri were acquitted of charges in the disproportionate assets case filed against them by the CBI seven years ago in the special CBI court.February 2002: The trial began in a special CBI court in Ranchi.5 October 2001: The creation of new state forced the case to be transferred to the Jharkhand High Court.9 June 2000: Charges were framed against Yadav in court.10 May 2000: Patna High Court granted provisional bail to Lalu. It will be extended on 25 occasions.5 April 2000: Both Yadav and Devi surrendered to CBI court. While Rabri Devi was granted bail, Lalu Prasad was sent to jail as judge dismissed his bail plea.4 April 2000: A charge sheet was filed against Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi.19 August 1998: A case of disproportionate assets was registered against Lalu and his wife Rabri Devi.30 July 1997: After stepping down as the Bihar chief minister, the RJD chief surrendered before a court.23 June 1997: 56 people, including Yadav were accused in charge sheets filed by CBI. The charges included IPC 420 (forgery) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and Section 13 (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.17 June 1997: The Governor of Bihar gave his approval for the prosecution.10 May 1997: The CBI issued a formal request to Governor of Bihar to prosecute Yadav.March 19 1996: A two member bench was appointed by the SC to examine the development of the investigation.11 March 1996: The Patna High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe into the case.27 January 1996: The Rs. 1000 crore fodder scam surfaced after conducting a raid in the Animal Husbandry department. The large scale embezzlement took funds from government and supplied it to non-existent companies for purchase and supply of cattle fodder in Bihar in the 1990s.(With inputs from ANI)

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Madras High Court notice to Tamil Nadu government

Madras high court on Friday issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu government and the Chennai Corporation after admitting the plea filed by S Amrutha, who claims to be the biological daughter of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and sought permission to exhume her mother’s body .Hearing the petition on Friday, Justice S Vidyanathan also impleaded Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepak and Deepa as party respondents to the petition. The judge wanted the authorities to file their replies by January 5.The judge also asked Amrutha as to why she did not claim Sobhan Babu as her father in the petition. He also wanted to know whether Apollo Hospitals, where late Jayalalithaa was hospitalised, has kept any of her blood samples in its possession.When Amrutha’s counsel moved the high court on Thursday, Advocate General Vijay Narayan opposed her petition strongly saying that without any authority, her claim was not maintainable and was a publicity stunt.Pointing out that several people were claiming that they were legal heirs of Jayalalithaa, the judge had said that to put a quietus to the issue, a DNA test may be ordered. If the claim comes out to be false, the petitioner has to face the consequences, the judge added.Earlier in November, the Supreme Court had refused to hear a similar petition filed by her. In her petition, Amrutha had said that she knew Jayalalithaa as her aunt and it was only in March, three months after Jayalalithaa’s demise that it was revealed to her that she was, in fact, Jayalalithaa’s daughter.

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Om Prakash Chautala granted parole to attend ailing wife

The Delhi High Court on Friday granted two weeks’ parole to former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, who is serving a ten-year jail term in a teachers’ recruitment scam case, to attend to his ailing wife.Earlier on December 11, the court had issued a notice to the state government to file a response to a parole petition moved by Chautala.Chautala wanted a two-month parole to look after his ailing wife.In March, the court had cancelled the parole granted to Chautala after he violated the terms and conditions. The police raised objections that he was holding public meetings in violation of his parole conditions. The High Court also observed that Chautala was misusing his parole by attending public meetings across Haryana.Chautala, his son Ajay Singh Chautala and three others, are serving jail terms in the case.On January 22, 2013, a trial court had sentenced 55 accused in the case. Among those convicted were 82-year-old Chautala`s then political adviser Sher Singh Badshami, the then Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Vidya Dhar, IAS, and then Primary Education Director Sanjiv Kumar, besides 50 others. A total of 55 persons were convicted under the JBT scam for illegally recruiting 3,206 teachers in Haryana in 2000. The father-son duo, including two IAS officers, was among 55 persons convicted on January 16, 2013, by the trial court.

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Family approaches court day after Max Hospital reopens

A day after Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh reopened after 10 days, the family of the victims approached Rohini Court seeking direction to the concerned investigating agency to file status report and monitor the police investigation.”How can they allow the hospital to function? We want to have all details about the case and how the files have moved so far,” said Ashish Kumar, the father of the premature twin.The hospital had presented its case to the Finance commissioner on Tuesday. “The operation of impugned order is stayed till the next hearing,” says the order by Finance Commissioner. The next hearing is on January 9.”Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh has resumed its operations from today, following a stay order issued by the appropriate Appellate authority to whom an appeal was made. We are fully focused on providing quality care to all our patients and honouring our commitment of ensuring free treatment to the economically weaker sections of the society,” the hospital said in its statement on Wednesday morning.The Delhi government on December 8 had cancelled the license of the hospital’s branch in Shalimar Bagh for wrongly declaring a baby dead. A preliminary report submitted by a panel of doctors to the Delhi government had found the hospital guilty of not having followed the prescribed medical norms in dealing with a pair of newborn twins.The three-member panel had submitted the report after scrutinising hospital records and meeting with the staff concerned. After the infant’s death, investigation into the alleged medical negligence case was transferred from the northwest district police to the Crime Branch.”In compliance of the cancellation order, planned procedures, including 171 chemo therapies, 63 surgeries, and 241 dialysis sessions had to be cancelled, rescheduled or transferred,” the hospital had said in a statement.The Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh, on a monthly basis, attends to nearly 14,000 patients in the OPD, over 1,600 emergency patients, and an additional 3,000 in the inpatient wards.

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40-day harsh winter period starts in Kashmir Valley with fresh snowfall

Chillai-Kalan — the 40-day harshest winter period in Kashmir – started today on a wet note as the higher reaches of the valley received fresh snowfall while the plains were lashed by rains.Fresh snowfall was recorded at the twin resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam during the night as Chillai-Kalan marked its beginning in Kashmir, an official of the MET department here said.He said while Gulmarg recorded 1.8 cm of snow, Pahalgam received nine cms of fresh snowfall last night.Many other areas in the higher reaches of the valley also received fresh snowfall, the official said.He said Srinagar and other areas in the plains of the valley were lashed by rains and owing to cloud cover, the night temperature increased across Kashmir division, including Ladakh region.Also readSnowfall brings cheer to KashmirSrinagar recorded a low of 3.1 degrees Celsius last night, an increase from 2.3 degrees Celsius the previous night, the official said.He said the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of 2.6 degrees Celsius nearly two degrees up from 0.8 degree Celsius, while Kokernag town recorded a low of 1.9 degrees Celsius.Also readJ&K: Army recovers body of one of the five missing soldiers in snow avalancheKupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of 2.2 degrees Celsius compared to 1.3 degrees Celsius the previous night, the official said.He said Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night compared to the previous night’s minus 5.2 degrees Celsius.The resort was the only place in the valley where the night temperature settled below the freezing point.The night temperature in Pahalgam rose from minus 0.1 degree Celsius to 0.3 degree Celsius, the official said.Leh town of Ladakh region recorded a low of minus 9.2 degrees Celsius last night – over a degree up from previous night’s minus 10.5 degrees Celsius, he said.The nearby Kargil town registered a low of minus 6.2 degrees Celsius, he said.The MET office has forecast isolated downpour in the valley over the next 24 hours.Chillai-Kalan is the period when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.It ends on January 31 next year, but the cold wave continues even after that in the valley.The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long Chillai- Khurd (small cold) and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).

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SDRF conducts safeguard drill in city school

Imagine a situation when a child is studying in a school and suddenly an earthquake hits the area bringing a building to collapse. The injuries in such a situation could be tremendous, however with the right knowledge on how to safeguard oneself at such times, an ill result could be averted. Based on scientific studies on such topics, the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) organised a demonstration in a city-based school on Wednesday.In the demonstration, school students from a private school in Subhash Chowk area were shown a power point presentation on various disasters and how to respond to such a situation in order to stay unhurt followed by a live demonstration.“The PPT consists of information regarding general disasters like earthquakes, fire incidents, building collapse and aquatic disaster. It informs the students on how to respond to such situations, for example, one should get under a table if an earthquake hits an area or how to tackle a situation when a building collapses” said B L Soni, Additional Director General, SDRF. Interestingly, the drive is not a first of its kind rather has been going on across the state for the past one year. “We started this drive from January this year. We have eight companies of SDRF in Rajasthan and every fortnight, the companies approach one school where the drill is conducted. Owing to various holidays and examination schedules, thus far the two companies in Jaipur have completed the demonstration in thirty schools” the ADG informed.The official further added, “Basically it is undertaken so that the teachers, school administration and most importantly the children know not to panic in situations rather to respond to safeguard themselves. Every drill is around an hour long with fifteen minutes of PPT presentation followed by questions from students and staff after which demonstrations are done for disasters.”

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‘Carrot & Stick’ for swacch Jaipur

Institutions in Jaipur have been offered incentives for cleanliness on their premises as Jaipur Municipal Corporation launches Swacchta ranking contest. City mayor Ashok Lahoti on Wednesday launched a web portal encouraging various private and public institutes of the city to participate in the contest online.While at the launch mayor lured the institutions for taking up the cleanliness drive with cash rewards and rewards, the JMC officials were out in field reprimanding those found violating the norms. During the day, the JMC sealed administrative office of a mall at Malviya Nagar and three shops at MI road for dumping garbage at a public place.“Action was taken against the mall as many of those to hold shops at it was dumping garbage along the railway track nearby and the despite notices a compost plant was not installed at the mall for disposal of wet waste,” said a JMC officer, even as shopkeepers protested the move.The JMC thus had its intention clear, they need the city statistics improved as it gears up for the Swachh Survekshan Survey 2018. Jaipur had been unable to perform well at the last survey and tends to improve this year. The commercial and government complexes are thus in focus of the corporation to meet its cleanliness target.“Institutions like, hotels, hospitals, coaching institutes, marriage garden, trade union bodies and similar contribute to 30 per cent of garbage generated at the city, these bulk waste generators if could develop system to process the waste the city will emerge as the cleanest across the country,” said mayor Ashok Lahoti at launch of the Swacch ranking contest portal.As the Swacch Survekshan 2018 is scheduled to commence from January, the JMC is expected to further boost its effort to abide the city institutes towards sanitation.CompulsionIt is mandatory for all commercial institutes at Jaipur categories in categories of hotel, hospitals, to participate in swacch ranking contest.

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Fingerprint, iris issues affect Aadhaar work, impact salaries

Hansa Jadhav from the B ward of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did not receive her November salary as her fingerprints were of poor quality and could not mark her attendance in the biometric machine introduced by the BMC about two months ago.The BMC has made biometric attendance compulsory for all employees and even declared salary cut for those who fail to clock biometric attendance in their respective office.In December, the BMC administration decided to cut the salary of around 4,000 employees for not marking attendance in biometric systems. “I used to get my salary by first week of every month. But, till December 20, I did not receive my salary for November ,” said Jadhav.Udaykumar Shiroorkar, assistant commissioner of B ward took the matter to administrative department and Human Resource departments of the BMC.”Jadhav’s fingerprints are poor and it was not recorded when Aadhaar was being generated. So, she could not mark her attendance through the biometric machine,” said Shiroorkar. He added that she, however, had come to office all working days. Surprisingly, the BMC had stopped providing stationery for muster attendance soon after it introduced biometric attendance.In another case, Arun Karkhanis, 73, did not receive his pension for the last six months. The reason quoted was that the biometric machine couldn’t read his finger print. “Now, the bank has asked me to update my Aadhar as my finger prints do not come,” said Karkhanis. He added that the bank or his office from where he retired is unwilling to accept any other documents. “It is not possible to for me to go Aadhaar centre at 3 am to stand in queue to get my Aadhaar upadate,” said Karkhanis. He added that his office has agreed to pay pension till December but I have to submit my updated Aadhaar by January to continue to get pension.Sudhir Naik, deputy municipal commissioner said that there are around 140 employees in BMC who have such problems and now, the civic administration will not push them for biometric attendance.FOR THE RECORDAadhaar records finger prints, iris and face information while registering. However, if any person is having problem in finger print, it is mentioned in the acknowledgment copy whether the finger quality is good. In such cases, the Aadhaar operator mentions these while registering which appear in the acknowledgment copy.

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Chandigarh stalking case: Punjab and Haryana High Court defers Vikas Barala’s bail plea till Jan 11

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday deferred to January 11 its hearing on the bail plea of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son Vikas Barala, who had been booked for stalking and attempting to abduct a woman.The single bench of Justice Lisa Gill also directed the cellular operator to provide to the trial court, on January 4, the call details between the complainant, 29-year-old Varnika Kundu and her IAS father VS Kundu, as sought by Barala’s counsel.The high court also directed the trial court to complete the cross-examination of Varnika Kundu before January 11 when the bail plea will be considered, said Barala’s counsel Vinod Ghai.Barala’s counsel had sought a regular bail from the court, submitting his client has been behind the bars for nearly four months and should be granted bail.Barala had moved the high court last month after a local court denied him bail for the fourth time.Charges have been framed against Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar in connection with the stalking of Varnika Kundu.The woman had accused Vikas Barala (23) and his friend Kumar (27) of stalking and attempting to abduct her.The two men were arrested on the intervening night of August 4-5 following the woman’s complaint, but were released on bail as they were booked under bailable sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Motor Vehicles Act.They were arrested again on August 9 after they joined the investigation and were charged with attempted abduction under sections 365 and 511 of the IPC.

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After Gujarat, Amit Shah turns focus on Bengal, to draw roadmap to strengthen BJP in state

After emerging victorious in the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly elections, Central leadership of BJP has instructed to go all out in strengthening the party organisation in West Bengal.Sources said that on December 19, BJP national president Amit Shan had given such instruction in a meeting with party national secretary from Bengal and former state president Rahul Sinha.Shah had reportedly said that that state leaders needed to pay attention towards completion of party’s booth committee formation.In the meeting which was conducted late in the evening Shah had first taken stock about the party’s activities in Bengal.Later he said that along with the campaigns, meetings and rallies it should also be ensured that booth committees were paid due attention. The first task would be to build at least a 10-member booth committee in all the booths and later work on increasing the number.Sinha had also been instructed to mobilise all the party state frontal organisations and different cells. Sinha has also been handed over the task of seeing that more and more defection from different parties to BJP takes place as well as eminent personalities and intellectuals should also join the party.It was also found out that Shah wants to make the Gujarat and HP victory as the turning point for the West Bengal BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections and he would conduct a meeting with the state BJP leadership in January 2018 and draw up a roadmap. Shah is also likely to visit West Bengal next month.Sinha said that from the importance the Central leadership was paying to West Bengal it is clear how serious and focussed our leaders in Delhi are about Bengal.

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Hyderabad shocker: Woman’s body found chewed up by rats in Osmania Hospital morgue

In a shocking incident that once again highlights the callousness of hospitals, the body of a 21-year-old woman that was stored inside a mortuary of Osmania General Hospital was found allegedly chewed by rats.However, the hospital superintendent has played down the incident saying someone forgot to shut the door properly while preserving the body. “I went to forensic dept & found that all freezers are working in good conditions, no holes for rats to enter. Maybe they didn’t properly close door while putting body in. It doesn’t occur frequently. We are conducting departmental inquiry,” said DR. B Narendher, hospital superintendent.Hospital callousness has been a concern across the country. Only recently, Max Hospital in the national capital was in the news for wrongly declaring a baby dead. The doctor in that case was suspended, and the hospital subsequently lost its licence. However, 10 days later, the hospital resumed services, after presenting its case to the finance commissioner. “The operation of impugned order is stayed till the next hearing,” says the order by Finance Commissioner. The next hearing is on January 9.A preliminary report submitted by a panel of doctors to the Delhi government had found the hospital guilty of not having followed the prescribed medical norms in dealing with a pair of newborn twins.“Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh has resumed its operations from today, following a stay order issued by the appropriate Appellate authority to whom an appeal was made. We are fully focussed on providing quality care to all our patients and honouring our commitment of ensuring free treatment to the economically weaker sections of the society,” the hospital said in its statement on Wednesday morning.However, Delhi government is still waiting for the order to examine the further course of action.“We were present in the hearing and the commissioner had not given any relief to the hospital. We are checking with our legal team,” said Dr Kirti Bhushan, director general of health services, Delhi government.The three-member panel had submitted the report after scrutinising hospital records and meeting with the staff concerned. After the infant’s death, investigation into the alleged medical negligence case was transferred from the northwest district police to the Crime Branch.

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No relief for Max hospital yet, matter further shifted for hearing on January 9

The commissioner has not given any relief to the hospital so far, hence the hospital’s services will remain disrupted until further orders.“The commissioner heard the arguments made by the hospital and the government. After hearing both the version, the matter has been again listed for January 9. The final decision will be taken on the same day only,” Dr Kirti Bhushan, director general of health services (DGHS), Delhi government, who was present in the hearing.The Delhi government on December 8 had cancelled the license of the hospital’s branch in Shalimar Bagh for wrongly declaring a baby dead.A preliminary report submitted by a panel of doctors to the Delhi government had found the hospital guilty of not having followed the prescribed medical norms in dealing with a pair of newborn twins.The three-member panel had submitted the report after scrutinising hospital records and meeting with the staff concerned.After the infant’s death, investigation into the alleged medical negligence case was transferred from the northwest district police to the Crime Branch.The authorities had then approached the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to look into the cancellation order.“Following the due process of law, we have filed an appeal with the appropriate authority against cancellation of registration of Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh. Earlier, we had also requested Delhi Government to review their decision and restore the registration. This decision has caused significant inconvenience to thousands of patients and local residents and this is further compounded by unavailability of suitable alternatives for their medical needs in the vicinity,” the hospital had said in its statement.The Finance Commissioner is a statutory post and the incumbent on this post exercises the powers of the Lieutenant Governor/ Chief Commissioner, delegated under various statues.The commissioner has been delegated powers to act in a quasi-judicial capacity. The commissioner hears revision petitions/appeals against orders passed by competent authority under various acts including Delhi Nursing Home Registration Act, 1953.Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh on a monthly basis treats around 14,000 patients in the OPD, attends to over 1,600 emergency patients and additional 3,000 are treated in inpatient wards.

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Furore in Delhi High Court after cops assault lawyer

High voltage drama was witnessed in a courtroom at Delhi HC on Tuesday after the Bar Association members moved the court against the arrest and subsequent assault on a 60-year-old woman lawyer.The Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) members called for a strike after lunch, partially stalling the work, after lawyer Deepa Arya was arrested and allegedly assaulted on Monday, despite the additional public prosecutor’s (APP) assurance of not taking any coercive action against her.According to the plea filed by advocate Avadh Kaushik, Arya, who was in another advocate’s, R K Saini’s, house, was arrested and dragged out of the house.A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Deepa Sharma then directed the SHO, Paharganj, to give adequate protection to Arya. “In view of the gravity of the alleged incident, we find it appropriate to direct the SHO, Paharganj, to give adequate protection to Deepa Arya,” the court stated.During the course of hearing, the court expressed its concern regarding the incident and also noted that an FIR has been registered against Arya under Section 354 (D) of the IPC, which pertains to stalking. “How can you (police) lodge a stalking case against a woman? It cannot be done. This cannot be countenanced. We want the officers concerned here. We are not a banana republic. We want immediate action. If we permit the police to function in this manner, then God help us,” the bench stated.The court said it was “pained and disappointed” by the conduct of the police and added that if this was the practice followed in bailable offences, “then what would happen in non-bailable offences”. The DCP was also directed to keep in its custody all the relevant records pertaining to the FIR in question and the incident that took place on December 18, when the woman was dragged out of her house. The petitioner, who has about 35 years of experience as a lawyer, came to the court on a wheelchair as the concerned deputy commissioner of police, SHO, and the erring officials were called.The matter was urgently mentioned in the court of the acting chief justice, who then referred it to a bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Deepa Sharma for hearing. After considering the matter, the court directed Romil Baniya, DCP (south), to conduct an inquiry and file an affidavit.Notices were issued to the Centre and the Delhi government, which were directed to file a status report, after both Anil Soni and Rahul Mehra, counsel for the Centre and Delhi government (criminal), assured that action would be taken against the officers involved. The matter has been listed for January 5.

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No relief for Max Hospital on licence cancellation

The Finance Commissioner on Tuesday heard the appeal made by the authorities of Max Hospital in regard to the cancellation of its licence by the Delhi government. The commissioner has not given any relief to the hospital so far, hence the hospital’s services will remain disrupted until further orders.”The commissioner heard the arguments made by the hospital and the government. After hearing both the versions, the matter has been again listed for January 9. The final decision will be taken on the same day only,” said a senior Delhi government official who was present at the hearing.The government on December 8 had cancelled the license of the hospital’s Shalimar Bagh branch for wrongly declaring a new-born baby dead. A preliminary report submitted had found the hospital guilty of not having followed the prescribed medical norms in dealing with a pair of newborn twins.The three-member panel had submitted the report after scrutinising hospital records and meeting with the staff concerned. After the infant’s death, investigation into the alleged medical negligence case was transferred from the northwest district police to the Crime Branch.The authorities had then approached the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to look into the cancellation order. “Following the due process of law, we have filed an appeal with the appropriate authority against cancellation of registration of Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh. Earlier, we had also requested Delhi Government to review their decision and restore the registration. This decision has caused significant inconvenience to thousands of patients and local residents and this is further compounded by unavailability of suitable alternatives for their medical needs in the vicinity,” the hospital had said in its statement.The Finance Commissioner is a statutory post and the incumbent on this post exercises the powers of the Lieutenant Governor/ Chief Commissioner, delegated under various statues. The commissioner has been delegated powers to act in a quasi-judicial capacity. The commissioner hears revision petitions/appeals against orders passed by competent authority under various acts including Delhi Nursing Home Registration Act, 1953.Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, treats around 14,000 patients in the OPD on a monthly basis, attends to over 1n600 emergency patients and additional 3,000 are treated in the inpatient wards.

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Std V boy youngest innovator at event by Somaiya college

A Std V student is the youngest innovator will be showcasing his creation at the Somaiya riidl’s Maker Mela in January 2018.Arman Gupta has made a remote-controlled cleaning and mopping machine on his own.The three-day Research Innovation Incubation Design Lab at Somaiya Vidyavihar will see innovators from across the country.Gupta said, “Once I spilled juice on the floor and got scared that my mother would scold me. At that time I thought why not make a cleaning machine that will work on remote control. I love making robots and have made small toys with different devices. I have even participated in one of the exhibition in Kolkata where I was selected among best five innovators.”Arman said he started researching on the material to make a cleaning machine. “My problem was that my younger brother who is six used to break my work.”To encourage her son, Arman’s found that Somaiya campus has a incubation lab. “She took membership for me there and I started visiting it after my school hours. There no one use to disturb me and I got a chance to explore things.”The cleaning and mopping machine Gupta made dries the surface simultaneously. It has detachable sponges for its maintenance. The machine can clean the surface and dry it as well. His invention can also a play role in the government’s Swachh Bharat campaign, Gupta to DNA.“After school hours I use to be at riddl from 3pm till 6pm. When I had holiday on Saturday, I used to be there for the entire day. Science and maths are my favourite subjects and so is robotics. When I started making this machine I was encouraged to participate in Maker Mela. Right now, I have made a very basic machine. I want to make it more presentable. I started making this machine in November and completed it in three to four weeks.”This is the third year of riddl’s annual three-day showcase of innovation, creativity and technology. The one of its kind initiative Maker Mela invited applications from innovators across India out of which 100 have been selected to present their ideas. This year’s makers participating are from the age of ten years to seventy years; backgrounds are ranging from tech enthusiasts to crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, science clubs, students, authors, homesteaders, garage tinkerers and even commercial exhibitors.

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Nearly 13% dip in number of Indians visiting US

The United States, once a favourite destination of Indians, has dropped from their priority list lately. The latest figures released by the US National Travel and Tourism Office has shown a drop of 12.9 per cent in the number Indians travelling to the US in the first six months (January to June). In the second quarter — between April and June — the drop was more significant at 18.3 per cent. Till June, as many as 5,53,177 Indians had visited the US in the year 2017 ranking 18th in the list. Out of top 18 countries, except South Korea, Germany, Canada all the rest have sown dip in visiting the US. Most significant dip is from Brazil, which has witnessed drop of 18.2 per cent.Brand USA’s president and CEO Chris Thompson said the significant policy changes made by India in the last one year might have impacted the numbers. “There are so many things that influence the intent or ability for people to travel. The demonetisation. The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was also something that affects people’s ability or intent to travel,” Thompson said. He, however, refused to pinpoint the reason behind the dwindling numbers, but hoped that the “softness” be a short- term phenomenon.President Donald Trump is being seen as friendly by our Indian friends and visitors,” he said.”The only issue that we’ve had probably may have contributed to some of the softness is there was more demand for visas than we had the ability to process,” he said, adding that the issue has now been resolved.In 2016 there were 11.7 lakh travellers from India who visited the US contributing USD 13.6 million toward the US economy, which was a 14 per cent increase over the year prior.According to the latest projections by the Department of Commerce, the US expects an additional 814,000 visitors from India by 2021 as compared to the 2016 figures, Thompson said. “That will be a 72 per cent increase over 2016 number,” he said.Last January, Trump announced a special relaxation for low-risk Indian travellers to enable them a speedy entry into the country after landing. He granted India membership of the International Expedited Traveler Initiative (Global Entry Program), saying it would facilitate closer business and educational ties between the citizens of India and the US. The citizens of Switzerland and the United Kingdom are also part of the programme, which India joined.

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Over 3 lakh applications received for next year’s Haj, draw in January 2nd week

The draw of lots for next year’s Haj will be conducted in the second week of January with more than 3 lakh people applying for the pilgrimage through the the Haj Committee of India till now, a senior official said today. Out of the applications, over 1,000 applicants are women who hope to go on the pilgrimage without a ‘Mehram’. The Centre has for the first time decided to allow women pilgrims over the age of 45 to undertake the pilgrimage in groups of at least four sans ‘Mehram’. The term Mehram refers to a male, a woman cannot marry in her life (i.e. father, brother or son etc). Till now, women pilgrims would be required to be accompanied by ‘Mehram’ during the annual pilgrimage. “India and Saudi Arabia will sign an agreement related to Haj on January 15,” Chief Executive Office of the Haj committee Maqsood Ahmed Khan told PTI Bhasha. He said the committee will push for raising the Haj quota. At present, India has a quota of 1.7 lakh pilgrims. This will be the first Haj under the new Haj policy. Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will visit Saudi Arabia on January 7 to sign an agreement on issues related to Haj. Talking about the draw of lots, Khan said this time more transparency will be maintained so that first timers can get a chance to go on the pilgrimage. People often complain about lack of transparency in the draw due to which several people get many chances to go for the pilgrimage while some do not get even a single chance. The draw will be conducted between January 8-15, he said. More than three lakh people have applied for the pilgrimage till Friday evening, he said. The last day to apply for the pilgrimage has been extended to December 22 from December 7.

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Is sexual violence due to moral curbs, asks Madras High Court

Madras High Court has asked the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to explore the possibility of providing gadgets to women to prevent sexual violence which is on the rise even after stringent laws were brought in after the Nirbhaya incident.Seeking urgent measures to stop crime against women and girls, Justice N Kirubakaran has raised several queries to be answered by the Union and the state governments as well as the National Commission for Women (NCW).”Sexual assault is a violation of privacy, dignity, and honour causing a permanent scar and continuous agony in the mind of the victim,” Justice Kirubakaran said while dismissing a bail plea of a duo accused in the rape-and-murder of a 60-year-old woman.He involved the Centre and NCW in the case and directed them to file response to his queries. He has asked whether the spurt in sexual violence against women is a result of a fall in sex ratio or due to ‘sex starvation’ among Indian men in view of various cultural and moral curbs. He has also asked whether alcoholism has any role to play in this.Noting that sexual assaults on women continued unabated despite stringent laws brought in after the December 16 Delhi gangrape incident, he said the offences have to be analysed and examined from psychological and sociological angles. The judge sought the response of the governments on his queries by January 10, 2018.He also asked if the rise in sex crimes was due to easy accessibility of pornographic content through internet.The judge said culprits in sexual violence could neither be termed as ‘human beings’ nor as ‘animals’ as even animals were noble in their own way.SEEKING ANSWERSMadras HC asked the Centre, state, and NCW to cite reasons behind rise in crime against women. Response to be submitted by January 10, 2018.

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NGT orders arrest of 12 district collectors

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued arrest warrants for 12 district collectors across Maharashtra and asked for them to be presented before it for allegedly defying its orders to control fluorosis disease caused by water containing fluorides.In its order on a petition filed in 2013 by 11 socio-legal advocates working with Pune-based Sahyog Trust, NGT sent bailable warrants to the district superintendents of police of Yavatmal, Nanded, Chandrapur, Beed, Latur, Washim, Parbhani, Hingoli, Jalna, Jalgaon, Nagpur, and Bhandara.Fluoride content in the groundwater in these 12 districts, which are largely dependent on bore wells, is very high. The NGT had issued a seven-point directive to the concerned bureaucrats and other respondents while disposing the EIL in January 2016.However, after waiting for more than a year to receive compliance reports, the tribunal took suo motu action and issued the arrest warrants.The petitioners said many people suffer from skeletal and dental fluorosis due to the water from wells and bore wells that have higher than permitted levels of fluoride, nitrates, iron, and alkaline content.NGT has now asked the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to submit a consolidated action taken report.The petitioners also brought to the NGT’s notice that bore wells or deep tube wells have been dug within 500 metres of public drinking water sources in these 12 districts.”NGT waited for two years after disposing of the petition in January 2016 for non- compliance of its directives. Even though some of the respondents had filed responses they were not satisfactory. The directives were not implemented which must have prompted NGT’s action,” said Assem Sarode, a lawyer for one of the petitioners.Fluorosis crisisWarrants for allegedly defying orders to control fluorosis disease; NGT has asked Maha PCB to submit action taken reportSps of Yavatmal, Nanded, Chandrapur, Beed, Latur, Washim, Parbhani, Hingoli, Jalna, Jalgaon, Nagpur, Bhandara served

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Madras HC urges state and central governments to explore gadgets to combat sexual violence

Deprecating rising sex crimes against women and girl child, the Madras High Court has asked the central and Tamil Nadu governments to explore the possibility of providing gadgets to women to prevent sexual violence against them.Noting that crimes against women and girl child were shockingly rising every year, especially sex crimes, Justice N Kirubakaran batted for urgent measures to stop such heinous offences and asked the governments to explore giving gadgets to women.Dismissing the bail plea of a duo accused in the rape- and-murder of a 60-year-old mentally-challenged woman, he said, “Sexual assault is a violation of privacy, dignity, and honour, causing a permanent scar and continuous agony in the mind of the hapless victim.”The judge also raised several queries vis-a-vis rising sex crimes against women, to be answered by the central and state governments and the National Commission for Women (NCW).He impleaded the central government and the NCW in the case and directed them to file response to his queries.Such queries include whether the spurt in sexual violence against women was due to fall in sex ratio or due to “sex starvation” among Indian men in view of various cultural and moral curbs and if the violence was owing to alcoholism.Also, the court asked the central and state governments to spell out if the rise in sex crimes was due to easy accessibility of pornographic content through the Internet and smart phones.The judge said culprits in sexual violence could neither be termed as “human beings” nor as “animals”, as even animals were noble in their own way.Noting that sexual assaults on women continued unabated despite stringent laws brought in after the December 16 Delhi gangrape incident, he said the offences have to be analysed and examined on psychological and sociological angles.The judge sought the response of the governments on his queries by January 10, 2018.

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Bailable warrant against mayor Ashok Lahoti

Lokayukta justice SS Kothari has issued a bailable warrant against Jaipur Mayor Ashok Lahoti for not appearing in a matter related to non-formation of standing committee in the civic body, despite serving him summon twice. A fine of Rs5000 has been imposed against the mayor with a show cause notice.The office of Lokayukta took strict legal against the First Person of the city for non-compliance of directions which Kothari had issued him in a case related to encroachment. As per the case, a five-storied building was constructed by a builder on plot no C-100 in the C Scheme area while permission was sanctioned to build only two stories. But, the municipal corporation did not take any action against the illegal building.Later, when the JMC issued a notice the builder moved in the Rajasthan High Court. Hearing his petition, the court directed the JMC to dispose application of the builder pertaining to regularizing his construction within six weeks and till the decision on the regularization was taken, the building would not be demolished, said the court order dated February 6, 2012. Five years passed since the order but the application by the builder remains indisposed, which appears to save the building. It is to be mentioned here that such application are disposed of by a standing committee which has no existence in JMC currently.Taking a call on the very issue, the office of Lokayukta summoned him to be appeared at his office on November 16 which he skipped. He not complied the direction when summoned again in December 8, inviting a fine of Rs2000. The Lokayukta took his indiscipline seriously and issued a bailable warrant of Rs2000 and Rs5000 notice against the mayor. Fine of Rs2000 issued earlier exists also. Lahoti has been asked to appear on January 18.

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Bombay HC asks BMC to process application to hold Mumbai Marathon

Good news for participants of Mumbai Marathon, the Bombay High Court, has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to process the application by Procam International Private Limited, seeking permission to hold the Mumbai Marathon in January 2018, without demanding previous years’ dues.A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M S Sonak by way of relief to the organizers directed the corporation to process their application following due process of law, without insisting for clearing of arrears.The organizers had approached to the court challenging the demand of Rs 2.74 crore made by the corporation, saying it cannot be made to pay for an entire month of advertisement fees etc, when the event is only for two days. Senior advocate Ram Apte, argued that corporation has resolved to charge for the month even for a single day. He cited the example of suburban railway pass, which has to be purchased for a month even if the passenger uses the service only few times a month.However, senior advocate Vineet Naik argued that the demand is not maintainable, and demand is illegal and arbitrary. He cited that the Chief Minister is the patron of the event and social messages for Swacch Bharat and Cancer awareness, during the event. However, Apte said the event is only for-profit event and the amount demanded is correct.The court after going through the pleadings noted that interim relief already granted will continue and the civic body should process the application for permission to hold the Mumbai Marathon, scheduled on January 21. It issued rule and posted the matter for hearing on January 10, 2018, in regard to the challenge.

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Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut plans full-fledged commercial biopic on late party patriarch Bal Thackeray

Senior Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut is planning a biopic on late party patriarch Bal Thackeray, with an aim to bring before the people the real personality of the fiery leader.”It will be a full-fledged commercial film produced by me. The film will reveal the true personality of the great leader that Balasaheb was,” Raut told PTI.The Rajya Sabha MP, however, refused to disclose the names of the director and actors of the film.Raut, who has closely worked with Bal Thackeray for over two decades, said the formal announcement of the film will made on December 21, when its trailer will be released in the presence of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.According to him, the shooting of the film will start sometime in January (2018) and is expected to be ready for release by early 2019.Also readBal Thackeray memorial row: Bombay HC asks BMC to maintain status quo on eviction notice to kindergarten school”The film will be shot mostly in Mumbai and many of the scenes will be shot at the actual locations, where a particular event had taken place. It will take around 3-4 months for us to complete the shoot,” Raut said.Thackeray, an advocate of a strong pro-Hindu policy, died on 17 November 2012 in Mumbai at the age of 86. Besides being known as an aggressive leader, Thackeray was famous for his political cartoons.

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‘Winter’ is coming: Mumbai records coldest day of season at 15.8 degrees celsius

Mumbai recorded the coldest day this season, with minimum temperatures dropping to 15.8 degrees CelsiusThe 24- hour temperature recorded between 8.30 am on Wednesday to 8.30 am Thursday saw the minimum temperature dropping to 15.8 degree Celsius at Santacruz, while the minimum temperatures recorded at Colaba was 18.8 degree Celsius.“Mumbai does not experience a winter as compared to the northern states but at times due to northerly winds during the night and the effect of snow fall in Jammu and Kashmir it has phases where the minimum temperature sees a drop for few days,” said an official from the Regional Meteorological Centre, Mumbai adding that due to the temperatures seen dropping on Thursday the city was experiencing cooler breeze even till noon.Karan Rane a Borivali resident said that it was quite chilly in the wee hours of Thursday. “I was returning home around 2am from work and I was almost shivering in the auto rickshaw.”Meanwhile several morning walkers too claimed that they suddenly felt the nip in the air on Thursday morning as the temperature drop was quite evident.In fact in December 2016, the coldest day was recorded on December 11 when the minimum temperatures dropped to 15.0 degree Celsius while the coldest day of December 2015 was on December 24 when the minimum temperature recorded was 11.4 degree Celsius. However the all time record for coldest day in December was on December 20, 1949 when the minimum temperature recorded was 10.6 degree Celsius.According to IMD officials till date Mumbai’s three of the coldest days have been in January 1962, when the minimum was recorded as 7.4 Celsius, In February 2008 when the minimum mercury reached 8.5 degree Celsius and in February 2012 when the minimum temperature recorded was 8.8 Celsius.

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Railway enhances age limit to re-engage retired employees to 65

Retired from the railways, but yet to turn 65? Now, retired rail employees can seek re- engagement with the national transporter till they attain the age of 65 years.In a letter written by the Railway Board to all the general managers today, the age limit of the retired employees seeking re-engagement has been enhanced from 62 to 65 years, allowing more of such employees to lend their expertise to the railways.”The board has decided to enhance the maximum age limit for re-engagement of retired hands to 65 years from the existing age limit of 62 years.”Further, it has also been decided to extend the validity of the scheme of re-engagement of retired employees to January 12, 2019 as against the existing validity up to September 14, 2018,” the letter stated.The board, in a letter dated October 16, had empowered the divisional railway managers (DRMs) to re-engage retired rail personnel in appropriate posts.It had also said that those re-appointed could only be in service till they turned 62, which has now been extended to 65 years.The retirement age for the employees is 60.The monthly remuneration of such employees would be determined by “reducing the pension amount from their last drawn salary”, the letter written in October had stated.It had also said the suitability or competence of the staff should be assessed before their re-engagement and their safety record as well as other operational requirements should be adequately addressed.These norms, however, would remain the same, the letter written by the Railway Board today clarified.

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Employees union goes on strike

Eleven office bearers of Akhil Rajasthan Rajya Karmchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, which is protesting for 7 points of demands, sat on fast for 48 hours at Jaipur district collectorate office on Monday. The Samiti has gave a call for pen down and tool down due to which works will come to halt in the government offices on Tuesday. The Samiti said that its eleven leaders, of various unions, went on fast in a protest against the government for not meeting their seven points demands. Other union leaders have also staged a similar fast in rest district headquarters of the state.Those who quit food in a protest in Jaipur include convener of the Samiti Aayu Dan Singh Kaviya, co-coordinator of Samiti Gajendra Singh Rathore, Secretariat union president Abhimanyu Sharma, Rajasthan Teacher Union (RESLA) General Secretary Sumer Khatana, Acting President of Rajasthan State Employees Union Rajesh Pareek, Water Works Employees Union president Ishwar Chandra Sharma.Rathore and Kaviya, who are leading the agitation, in a joint statement came heavily on the state government alleging it of ignoring demands of the employees. They clarified that the government’s pessimistic approach to the employees will not be allowed and the Samiti will protest continuously until the demands are met.Their primary demands include the cash benefits of arrears under 7tyh pay commission report regulation from January 2016, while the government has announced it from January 2017, fixing entry level of pay matrix of the state employees on the line of Center and implementation of an old pension scheme for the employees recruited post-2004. The Samiti has threatened a mass stir if their 7 points demands are not met till December 13.

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SP ordered to present suspected terrorists in next hearing

Six suspected terrorists of banned terrorist group Indian Mujahideen were produced in Jodhpur court on Monday, but the court was displeased because not all the ten terrorists were produced.Giving orders to present all the terrorists before court, the jail superintendent Vikram Singh Karnavat has been ordered to be personally present on the next hearing. Now on January 3, all the terrorists will be presented before the court.The terrorists of Indian Mujahideen who were planning terror attacks and explosions in Rajasthan were arrested in Jodhpur, Pali and Jaipur on March 23, 2014. The entire network was arrested by Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) team and ten suspects were arrested.The hearing of this case was to be held in ADJ Court No. 3 on Monday, but due to the leave of the presiding officer Jayaprakash Narayan Purohit, they were presented before Upendra Dave in the ADJ Number 4.Significantly, due to the presence of four suspected terrorists in the Delhi jail, only six terrorists were presented during all the previous five hearings.All the terrorists together have not been presented before the court and the proceeding failed to go forward. Public prosecutor Dinesh Kumar Sharma will present the case on behalf of the government during the next hearing.

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Succession claims continue in Bombay High Court for Bohri head’s post

Taher Fakhruddin Saheb, son of the deceased original challenger to the post of Syedna, which is currently being held by the 53rd Dai Ul Mutlaq and Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, said, “Parents and siblings of my wife, have not given misaq (oath of allegiance) to me on my succeeding as the 54th Syedna and I don’t know if they gave it to my father, late Khuzaima Qutbuddin.”Fakhruddin has been testifying in the declaratory suit filed by Qutbuddin before his demise, seeking to declare him as the 53rd Syedna.On Tuesday, during the cross examination in the Bombay High Court, Fakhruddin replied to the question raised by counsel Iqbal Chagla, appearing for Mufaddal, by saying, “My father appointed me as the 54th Dai. When I succeeded him, I did take misaq from my siblings.”However, to another question he said, “His in-laws, who stay in the United States of America have not given him misaq.”Replying to a question on the way misaq is given, Fakhruddin said, “It is given by people on their own free will and also by the persons who believe in the faith.”Fakhruddin also said that his father (Qutbuddin) had over several occasions, spread over years, bestowed special knowledge and dawat secrets to him which were not disseminated in the many sermons given while his father was alive. He pressed that this knowledge was given so that he could serve the dawat sincerely and with devotion.Qutbuddin, who passed away pending the trial, in the declaratory suit had claimed that the 52nd Dai Syedna Mohammed Burhanudin had conferred nass on him but told him to keep it secret until his death. However, the incumbent Syedna has claimed that he was conferred the nass by Burhanudin in London. Qutbuddin had publicly challenged the succession after the death of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddinm, the 52nd Syedna, on January 17, 2014. The deposition will continue on Wednesday.

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Delhi High Court tells DPL to preserve its books

The Delhi High Court today asked the historic Delhi Public Library (DPL) to preserve its books which are locked since November last year.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar observed that since the DPL is locked and its members have been prohibited from entering the premises, the books and other valuables lying there might get damaged.It directed the authorities to remove the books, CDs, computers, catalogues and other important material lying in the library to be shifted to the head office or any other safe location.The court passed the order after it was informed that the books may get damaged as the building has been locked since November 15 last year.The first Delhi Public Library was started by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru across the old Delhi railway station way back in 1951.The bench refrained from passing any order on the DPL Board’s application seeking direction to repair the holes in ceiling of the library so that it can be used partially. The bench said it will deal with this aspect on January 16 next year. The court on December 4 last year had extended till March 20 its order restraining North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) from demolishing the building.
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‘Hero’ India driver risks life to save children in runaway van

Shiv Yadav threw himself in front of a moving van after the children accidentally put it in gear.

Cushion for the mothers: Schemes, benefits in pipeline

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), the union government aided scheme to benefit pregnant women and lactating mothers for the birth of their first live child, will be rolled out in Rajasthan from next month, Anita Bhadel, state women and child development minister announced on Monday while stating the achievements of the BJP government in last four years.“All the pregnant women and lactating mothers who have their first pregnancy on or after January 1, 2017 can avail the scheme benefits. The benefit amount would be send directly to the bank account of the beneficiary through Direct Benefit Transfer mode,” Bhadel said.Direct Benefit Transfer of Rs5000 in beneficiary’s bank or post office account will be done in three instalments at the stage of early registration of pregnancy, after six months of pregnancy on at least one antenatal check-up and registration of child birth and first cycle of immunisation of the child.Badhel also announced that Anganwadi Centres will be developed as ‘Adarsh Centres’, and under National Nutrition Mission (NNM) monitoring will be done online.Comparing BJP government’s data with that of the former Congress government’s initiatives and achievements in the area of women and child welfare, Bhadel informed that the annual budget of WCD department has been raised to Rs2,88 crore, which was only Rs19 crore during the previous Gehlot government.She also said that the BJP government has initiated awareness campaign to curb child marriages in the state. “As a result the figure of child marriage in state has dropped by 30 per cent,” said Bhadel.Stating the figures of Rajshri Scheme, Bhadel said that under the scheme, meant to encourage positive environment for daughters, Rs177.13 crore was given to 7,08534 daughters as first instalment and Rs22.63 crore was given to 90,502 daughters as second instalment.
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Raj gov employees take out protest rally demanding implementation of seventh pay commission from Jan 1, 2016

Rajasthan government employees today took out a protest rally to press for their various demands, including implementing the recommendation of the seventh pay commission from January 1, 2016.The state government had yesterday announced that it would provide benefits under seventh pay panel recommendations to its nearly 12.5 lakh employees and pensioners with effect from January 1 this year.A large number of state government employees gathered at Ram Niwas Garden here to take out a protest rally to Civil Lines area and decided to carry on with the protest in a phased manner.The employees under the banner of Akhil Rajasthan Rajya Karamchari Sankyukt Sangarsh Samiti will go on mass leave on December 8, convener of the samiti, Gajendra Rathore said.He said on December 11, 12 and 13, employees will go on fast, and observe a pen-down protest.On December 13, state government is completing its four- year rule in the state and yesterday it had announced to give arrear of 7th pay commission from January 1, 2017, but the employees are demanding the benefits from January 1, 2016.
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European Space Agency images shows how badly Delhi was affected during November smog

The European Space Agency (ESA) on Friday released satellite images, which show alarming levels of pollution in the national capital region on November 10 – the day air pollution in Delhi and its surrounding areas reached the hazardous levels.Hindustan Times reported that the images were captured by the ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite, the sixth for the EC Copernicus environmental monitoring programme, but the first dedicated to monitoring earth’s atmosphere.Also readDelhi Pollution: NGT permits trucks to enter Capital, lifts ban on construction activitiesSatellite images released by the European Space AgencySome of the first data have been used to create a global map of carbon monoxide. The animation shows high levels of this air pollutant over parts of Asia, Africa and South America.Also readDelhi pollution: SC issues notices to Centre, UP, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi govts over stubble burningSentinel-5P also reveals high levels of pollution from power plants in India, ESA said in a press release.The smog in the city had been caused by several conditions. These include the pollutants that come from Punjab that is the result of stubble burning, and the others from eastern Uttar Pradesh that come through moisture in the air. The pollutants collide at higher altitudes and this, minus ground wind level, had resulted in the smog-like situation in the national capital between November 6 and 14.The natural factors compounded the pollution which has other sources such as thermal power plant emissions, vehicular exhaust fumes and construction dust, which ensure poor air quality across the Indo-Gangetic belt throughout winter.The Centre had set December 7 as the deadline for old thermal power plants commissioned before January 1, 2017, to meet stricter emission norms with regard to particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx).On December 1, air pollution in Delhi rose and returned to levels recorded immediately after the severe smog episode in November, according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) data.
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Can air news on Sunanda Pushkar but respect Shashi Tharoor’s silence: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court today refused to restrain journalist Arnab Goswami and his Republic TV from airing news or debates relating to the mysterious death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar but said it has to be “tempered and balanced”.The high court also held that Tharoor has a “right to silence” under the Constitution and “no person can be compelled to give testimony or answer questions which may incriminate him”.Justice Manmohan, who delivered a 61-page judgement, said before airing any story on Pushkar’s death, the channel should give Tharoor a written notice, by electronic mode, seeking his version.Also readShashi Tharoor urges Delhi HC to stop Arnab Goswami from ‘misreporting’ his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death”If the plaintiff (Tharoor) refuses or does not reply within a reasonable time, he will not be compelled to speak and the story will be aired with the disclosure that he has refused to speak to the defendants (TV channel and Goswami),” the court said.The court disposed of three applications filed by Tharoor seeking to restrain the TV channel and Goswami from airing news regarding his wife’s death till the pendency of the proceedings before the trial court here.Also readCourt calls Subramanian Swamy’s Sunanda plea ‘political interest litigation’He has also sought a direction to the journalist and the news channel that they should not mention the expression “murder of Sunanda Pushkar” anywhere, as it is yet to to established by a competent court that her death was “murder” to ensure that the trial is not prejudiced.The applications were filed in Tharoor’s Rs two crore defamation suit against Goswami and the channel for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him while airing news relating to the mysterious death of his wife. The pending suit is listed for further proceedings before the Joint Registrar on January 18 next year.Goswami and the channel had contended that they have been cautious and have never imputed that the Congress leader is guilty in the case.Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014 under mysterious circumstances.Dealing with Tharoor’s applications which was opposed by the TV channel, Justice Manmohan discussed domestic and foreign laws and judgements to conclude that in the present case, an interlocutory injunction cannot be granted at this prima facie stage to restrain publication.”Keeping in view the aforesaid mandate of law and the prima facie findings, this court is of the opinion that in the present case the defendants have the right to air their stories and the same cannot be curbed, but it has to be tempered and balanced,” the court said.It also observed that an individual affected by the story must be given an option to give his version, but he cannot be compelled to speak if he does not want to.”The culture of thrusting a microphone in the face of a person needs to be deprecated,” it said.The court also observed that it is important that when criminal investigation has commenced, media reporting should be sensitive to the indeterminacy of the questions raised in the proceedings.”Press cannot convict anyone or insinuate that he/she is guilty or make any other unsubstantiated claims. Press has to exercise care and caution while reporting about matters under investigation or pending trial,” the court said.It said that it has refrained from saying anything more as the counsel for the journalist and the news channel have assured the court that in future they would exercise restraint as well as “bring down the rhetoric”.”Even according to senior counsel for Tharoor, subsequent to the said statement the previous vitriolic attack was missing. The statement made by (the counsel for Goswami and the TV channel) is accepted by this court and defendants are held bound by the same,” it noted in its order.The court also made it clear that all observations in the judgment were prima facie in nature and in the context of the disputes between the parties before it.It also made it clear that none of the observations shall be used in any criminal proceeding, if any, filed by the state.It observed that irrespective of the style of reporting and the remarks made, the court was of the prima facie view that reporting in this matter was a case of legitimate investigative journalism as even three and a half years after the death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of a then sitting Union Minister, no charge-sheet has been filed.”The police may have its own reasons for not completing the investigation, but this is a case where defendants cannot be denied the right to telecast a story as it is a matter of substantial importance with respect to a public figure.”Further, the documents and materials highlighted by the defendants seem prima facie relevant and material. There is no material to prima facie conclude that the stories have been aired by the defendants with a reckless disregard for truth or precipitated by actual malice,” it noted.The court was of the view that in this case as far as the alleged defamatory remarks in concerned, it is of the opinion the matter requireed a detail trial.
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Union Railway Minister wants railway to learn from Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal wants railway engineers from all 17 Indian Railway zones to visit Mumbai to see the work done by the Indian Army in constructing Foot-Over-Bridges (FOB) at Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivili stations, once completed. The minister wants the railway engineers to learn how to carry out work in crisis situations and under time constraints. “I have ordered that railway staff, especially from the engineering department from all 17 zones across Indian Railways will learn how to work under challenging circumstances. I have asked them to visit the three sites and learn from it once the work on FOB is ready,” said Goyal.The minister said this after inspecting the work on the foot-over-bridge that the Army is constructing at Elphinstone Road, following the stampede on an FOB at the station. Goyal said the reason he involved the Army is because he wanted to show the railway engineers how to tackle emergency situations. “The railways depend on contractors as they do not have their own manpower, unlike the Army,” added Goyal. The FOBs at all three locations are expected to be ready before the January 31 deadline set. The Army is expected to start work at Elphinstone on extending the FOB connecting Parel and Elphinstone Road stations by December 5, by when the girders will come in and shall be stored at the Kalyan carshed. Work on an entirely new 12-meter wide FOB connecting the two stations too will also begin soon, for which tendering and designing work is complete.Meanwhile work on an additional staircase on the FOB at Elphinstone Road, on which 23 people lost lives is already underway. They have placed metal sheet on which stairs will be built. “It will be widened and made ready by December 31,” said Ravinder Bhakar, Chief PRO, Western Railway.The elevated booking office there too will be demolished. Out of the five ticket windows, four have been shut down, three ATVMs have been made available and porta cabins allotted below for issuing local train tickets.The Army has assigned one platoon – comprising 50 army men – at each of the three stations of Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivali for carrying out the construction work. At Currey Road, there is a 180 sq meters plot belonging to a private owner who has not transferred it to the Army, BMC or Railways for carrying out work on the FOB. The cost of this land is around Rs 4 crore, that shall be given to the private company who owns it. Goyal, who visited Elphinstone Road and Currey Road stations on Monday afternoon, asked the authorities to buy out a MHADA building outside Currey Road station so that the plot can be taken over for landing of the FOB that will be constructed. The minister also wants the Railways and BMC to connect the FOBs with skywalks for faster access.

MahaRERA order: Form society before possession

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a decision by Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA), a developer has been asked to initiate the process of society formation even before he hands over the possession of the flats. The possession of the flat by the developer will be given by January 31, 2018, however, within 30 days of the order (dated November 23), he has been asked that the process of society formation be initiated, as more than 51 per cent of the apartments in the project have already been sold. Experts say this order will set a precedent, as other developers will have to follow suit. Additionally, though there is conflict as certain rules also state that a society can be formed only after receiving completion certificate, the MahaRERA rule will be held above all this.While hearing a case of delayed by possession filed by homebuyers Sangeeta and Dinesh Mehta against Nandaaj Developers, MahaRERA chairman Gautam Chaterjee passed the order, asking the developer to initiate the process.Following the order, Ramesh Prabhu, chairman of Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association (MSWA), said, “This is a good order and will set a precedent for all developers to follow. There are examples where developers for years do not form a society, because they want to enjoy the benefits. For example, in the initial period after the project is completed, many homebuyers carry out sale of the purchased flat. For this, builders charge them a transfer fees and if they form a society immediately, they will suffer a loss. Now, after sale of 51 per cent of the total flats, they have to initiate a process of society formation.”The complainant had alleged that they entered into a registered agreement for sale dated December 12, 2012 to purchase an apartment in Royal Residency, Parel-Lalbaug, adding that the date of possession was on or before March 31, 2014. But, till date they haven’t received the possession so they sought the authority’s intervention to register the society within a period of one month, as more than 51 per cent of the apartments have been sold.The developer had countered that the building is almost complete and he has applied for Occupation certificate and the possession of the apartemnt will be handed over by January 31, 2018.Hearing the matter, the authority then directed the developer to handover possession of the apartment to he complainant before January 31, 2018, failing which he shall be liable to pay interest to the complainant from February 1, 2018.The authority further directed the developer to initiate the procedure for fomation of society within 30 days from the date of the order.According to Prabhu, there are several other departments that also had different rules for society formation. “Under one of the act, within few months of receiving occupation certificate the developer had to form a society. Another department had this rule that society be formed only after receiving completion certificate. The new ruling of MahaRERA will be over all these. Hence, now, societies will be formed at the earlier benefiting the common home buyer,” he said.

Maharashtra lowers extra marks for students with singing, dancing skills to 15 from 25

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>School education and sports department in Maharashtra has withdrawn all their previous government resolutions (GR) on awarding 25 marks to students for visual and performing arts before state board examination begins. The department had come up with new GR on Friday that shows overall 25 marks have been reduced to 15 for achievements in arts and culture.A student who is a winner at national or state-level tournaments and scholarships in classical arts will no more get 25 marks for this board examination. The extra marks will be awarded to them on the basis of the marks they score in their classical arts exam.The GR issued on Friday states that the students in classical art like dance, singing and music who secure A+ or A grade would get 10 marks, B+ 7 marks, B grade 5 marks and C grade 3 marks if they have given three exams in it through recognized institutions. Similarly 15 to 3 marks from A+ to C grade for those who have given 5 exams in recognized institutions.The new GR states that because students are awarded extra marks for their achievements in arts, there will not be 2% reservation for students in first year junior college admissions for cultural quota.The intermediate drawing examination have also been halved in this GR. Earlier, students who excelled in drawing were awarded 5 to 15 marks on the basis of grades in intermediate drawing exams. Now it has been changed so in intermediate drawing exam one who gets grade A will get 7 marks, grade B 5 marks and grade C 3 marks.To encourage students in extracurricular activities, the new GR was introduced in January by making provisional marks for students. The 25 extra marks lead in getting 100 percent results to many students in this year March board examination, which is why the changes in marks have been made in the new GR introduced on Saturday by state education department.

Mumbai LGBTQ community to celebrate pride month in January

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The LGBTQ community will be celebrating the pride month come January, and a ‘Pride Concert’ will be held in Mumbai this year to celebrate the occasion. This year, the Rainbow Voices Mumbai, a LGBTQ choir group from the city, has invited LGBTQ choir groups from across the World to perform at the event. The last day for accepting applications is November 30 and individuals from eight countries have already applied. The theme of the concert is ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’, based on a popular Hindi song of the 1980s which promotes unity in diversity.In October, the invitations via LGBTQ friendly organisations were sent out to different choir groups throughout the world. “We have received applications from UK, USA, France, Singapore, and other countries. We are hoping to have at least a dozen individual members from all over the World for the event that will be held on January 27 at G5A, in Kamala Mill Compound,” said Ashish Pandya, the spokesperson for Rainbow Voices Mumbai. The tickets will be priced between Rs 300-500 and to raise funds for the organising of the event, the group has posted an appeal online too.”This year we have invited individual members from LGBT choirs across the world to join us in our 2018 concert – ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara/Let our Voices Unite’. Our Goal for this performance is to create awareness about the issues faced by the LGBT community to find its identity in Modern India. With the transformative power of music we wish to imagine a future free of discrimination, oppression, ignorance and prejudice, and to encourage compassion and activism,” said Pandya.In January 2017, a pride concert was held at NCPA, which was attended by London’s Pink Singers, one of the longest LGBTQ choir group in Europe. Later, the Rainbow Voices Mumbai even did a concert with them and performed in London pride.

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