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Connectivity drags down Digital India in rural areas

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has completely failed to even kick off the Digital India programme and will be unable to do so till March, 2019, as there is no mobile or internet connectivity in many rural parts of the country.Digital India, a flagship programme of the government of India with a vision to transform the country into a digitally empowered society, is one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects.The ministry cannot start the programme as it doesn’t have basic infrastructure or platform in place. It is dependent on the Department of Telecommunication and its initiative Bharat Net, a high-speed digital highway connecting all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats of the country. Bharat Net, expected to be the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity project using optical fibre, is estimated to be completed by March, 2019.For instance, e-Panchayat project, one of the Mission Mode Projects under the Digital India Programme, is yet to be properly started.Under the project, core common software applications had been developed to address various aspects of Panchayat functioning, including budgeting, planning, accounting, monitoring, social audit, and delivery of citizen services.But all this is of no use as “there is no network connectivity in major rural areas of the country.” A ministry note stated: “The ministry would take effective and expeditious steps to increase the connectivity coverage so that the e-Panchayat is enabled in every village.”For strengthening of Panchayats and gram sabhas, the ministry needs to reach out to multiple and diverse groups, especially the rural populace, and media and publicity play a very important and crucial role in creating awareness. Due to zero internet or mobile connectivity, however, they are unable to do anything.The ministry has prepared various audio-visual programmes, documentaries, and mobile applications, but all these serve no purpose till there is no connectivity. “The elected representatives are not aware of their rights and privileges. This has become a major hurdle in effective delivery of citizen services,” the note stated.Furthermore, the ministry has also been unable to start a scheme to provide ATM services in Panchayat bhawans. To kick it off, an inter-ministerial committee has already been constituted. But again, the connectivity problem remains. Another problem is the lack of basic infrastructure. Of the 2.5 lakh gram Panchayats, nearly 46,000 do not have their own building.

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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
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Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

‘Petty’ issue leads to 30-yr-old man being shot at in GK pub

A 30-year-old man old was shot at inside the Rich Bratz 17 pub in south Delhi’s Greater Kailash area in the early hours of Sunday, after a fight over some petty issue.The accused was caught by the public and thrashed mercilessly.Initially, the police said that the altercation started in the parking lot. Later, however, they said the incident took place inside the club.Since the club was open beyond the permissible time limit of 1 am, the pub owner might lose the licence. The police officers found responsible for this will also face strict action.The incident took place around 3 am inside the Rich Bratz 17 pub in the upscale M block market in Greater Kailash.Vinay Bhati, 30, was partying with his friends at the pub, where Umesh alias Aditya Kumar was also present. A fight broke out between the two groups, following which Umesh whipped out a pistol and shot at Bhati.The bullet struck near Bhati’s collar bone. In the meantime, other people at the pub and locals caught hold of Umesh and started thrashing him. The police received a call regarding the incident at 3:48 am.”The victim did not give a clear reason behind the fight. When the police reached the location, Bhati had already been taken to hospital and Umesh, who was injured, was moved to the trauma centre. The weapon of offence was seized by the police. Umesh was arrested after his discharge from the hospital. A case of attempt to murder has been registered against him,” said Romil Baaniya, Deputy Commissioner of Police, South.After the police spoke to the victim in the morning, it was revealed that the incident took place inside the pub.The police have written to the licensing unit to cancel the pub’s licence stating that it allowed anti-social elements with weapons to come inside.On being questioned about the pub running beyond the allowed time limit, Baaniya said that a district-level inquiry is being conducted and necessary action will be taken during the course of investigation.Locals and several other visitors later claimed that fights often break out in the premises, which are generally hushed up by the club management, but also said that most clubs and pubs function beyond 1 am.The incident was reported at a time when the national capital is hosting hundreds of parties to celebrate the New Year.A major fire at a pub in central Mumbai, which claimed 14 lives, has also forced the police to remain extra cautious during this time of the year.LOOPHOLESThe pub was running beyond the permissible time limit of 1 am. Why did the local police not ensure that the pub was shut on time? The police initially stated that locals told them the incident took place in a parking lot but it was later revealed that it took place inside the pub. Why was the probe not carried out in the night? Why was the CCTV footage not checked to ascertain these claims?

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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

2017: When outrage became our national past-time

If you started counting the number of things Indians were outraging about at 11:30 PM on 31st December 2017, you’d be well into the New Year before the list was completed. That’s because 2017 was a breakout year, where social media increasingly set the agenda in real life and we collectively jumped from one outrage to another.Facts were twisted, spliced, made into WhatsApp videos, packaged as viral posts on propaganda websites, as those who benefit from spreading falsities continued their merry ways with little disdain for the consequence of their actions. And often this systematic outrage was part of well-orchestrated campaign to peddle political agenda.Sample some of the topics from 2017 which generated fury and tonnes of coverage – Rajput royals and a little-known organisation losing their cool over Padmavati, political parties and their supporters convinced that EVMs could be hacked by Bluetooth, outraging over the celebration of festivals like Christmas and even the choice of destination of Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s wedding.The problem wasn’t that particular interest groups raised hell about issues that ‘affected’ them, but them getting a modicum of legitimacy by those who claim to be serious newsmen, who instead of calling out the stupidity gave tacit support to them when it suited their agenda. And make no mistake, all the meaningless outrage and insinuation weakened the institutions which we cherish and are essential in binding together this vast country of a thousand contradictions.Thus, when the judiciary is called anti–Hindu for banning Diwali fireworks; when EC is called biased for not going back to old ballot system; when a modicum of doubt is raised about integrity of an ex- PM; when art surrenders to alter of rabble rousers, it hurts us, it dents what we hold dear, what some of us like to call the ‘Idea of India’. We seem to have become a nation dominated by WhatsApp canards, a land where hate could be normalised by using the instrument of outrage.A murder of a migrant labour can somehow be justified as retribution for love-jihad, lynching of alleged cow smuggler can be passed off as some holy deed. Whether Tipu Sultan’s birthday should be celebrated thus gets prevalence over farmers’ death, systematic rotting of infrastructure in major Indian cities, becomes a boring topic to discuss compared to Rahul Gandhi going to watch Star Wars. It as if someone has cast a spell to put the entire nation under a massive brain freeze, stalling the age-old ability of the argumentative Indian.This led to a situation that we could count on someone to get angry about something at the drop of a pin. From Anushka Sharma’s elaborate sindur to Sunny Leone’s new-year performance, everything was a cause for mass rage. And the enraged came from all quarters, irrespective of their political leanings. Gurmehar Kaur’s poster for peace enraged the right wing, Sonu Nigam’s appeal for sleep was bitter music for left-wingers. People picked up issues based on what suited them and then started the game of outrage – freedom of expression and right to disagree be damned. In the process, the echo chambers only became denser, the ideological walls more pronounced. Nothing except cricket united us. Or not. Even there, critics went after MS Dhoni’s head after one bad performance or found ways to complain about Virat Kohli’s brilliance arguing he hadn’t faced any ‘real’ bowlers of calibre to justify his presence among the pantheon of greats. Those who tried to make sense were drowned out in the sea of cacophony of loud mouths, willing to pit even the most complicated issues into banal binaries. The media, influencers, politicians can be blamed but end of the day- it’s the common people which enabled them to carry on the status-quo, making mountain out of molehills. Any pushback would have forced for an idea of recalibration, a rejig of strategy. But none was there.Can 2018 be any different? Well, it’s hard to be hopeful. With a year to go for general elections, expect more non-issues being discussed and debated both on mainstream and social media. Yet, there is always hope. In the West, a powerful #MeToo campaign shook the sexist cabal in Hollywood that has stood firmly for decades. Maybe a desi campaign will someday kick off to excoriate random outrages dating back 800 years and debate meaningful issues from today’s time for true nation-building. Till then, let’s stick to awkwardly listening to national anthem in theatres only.

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

Lajpat Nagar flyover to be shut till Jan 14

Days after cracks appeared on the busy Lajpat Nagar flyover, the route will be shut in parts till January 14. The Public Works Department will undertake the repair work in two phases.In the first phase, a carriageway from the Ashram Chowk to Moolchand will remain shut between January 1 and 14. In the second phase, the carriageway from Moolchand to Ashram will be shut during the same period.According to traffic officials, in the first phase, due to the closure of the carriageway from Ashram to Moolchand, the traffic bound to go towards the Moolchand Hospital using the Lajpat Nagar flyover will be diverted to take the adjoining road beneath the flyover.Officials, however, warned that the commuters will have to face congestion due to traffic spilling on the adjoining slip road, till the repair work is completed.In order to avoid traffic snarls on this stretch, commuters are advised to take alternative routes, including Mathura Road, Ashram Chowk, Ring Road, Moolchand flyover/Lodhi Road, and Bhishm Pitamah Marg while commuting from south Delhi to central Delhi, and vice-versa.Meanwhile, commuters coming from Noida from the DND flyway may take the Barapulla elevated road to reach south Delhi or New Delhi and vice versa.Also, officials suggested that motorists and road users must plan their journey in advance to avoid long delays.A huge gap appeared between two girders on Ashram-Lajpat Nagar flyover on the busy Ring Road linking south Delhi to Noida. The cracks appeared for the second time this year and the flyover was shut for repair earlier as well.”I use the flyover to commute daily. The government has neglected this issue time and again. Only when some tragedy happens, the authorities wake up to fix such large loopholes in the system,” said Ajay Tyagi, a daily commuter.”The gaps are life-threatening, in particular for those riding two-wheelers. The stretch witnesses heavy traffic throughout the day because of Lajpat Nagar and Nehru Place being major shopping and commercial centres,” another commuter said.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
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

CM Mehbooba Mufti urges voters to not shun panchayat polls

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

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
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

DMRC launches ‘Museum for Children’ programme

With an objective to groom children into”responsible” Metro commuters, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) launched the ‘Museum For Children’ initiative under which a number of activities oriented towards this goal will be organised.The rail corporation will organise visits to the Metro and workshops as part of the programme that also marks its ninth anniversary. On the occasion, a ‘Museum For Children’ booklet featuring all the activities by the Delhi Metro was also unveiled and an exhibition on the same theme was inaugurated on Friday.To commemorate the occasion, children and youth from’Action For Autism’ participated in the programme, that entailed a Metro ride followed by a tour of the Metro Museum for them. They also participated in a short cultural programme in which the famous puppet show on Metro travelling etiquette was performed.A special book titled’Challenging the Limits’which encapsulates the engineering challenges of the recently inaugurated Magenta corridor was also unveiled on the occasion. A replica of the front side of the new age trains of the Delhi Metro, which have recently been launched on the Magenta Line, was unveiled as well. The new exhibit sized 9 ft by 6.5 ft is made of MS sheet and is expected to be a major attraction for the visitors.CHILDREN’S DAY OUTChildren and youth from ‘Action For Autism’ participated in the programme that included a Metro ride followed by a tour of the Metro Museum.

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

Kamala Mills Fire: ‘Postmortem reveals all the deaths due to suffocation’ in Mumbai

Fifteen people were killed and 19 others injured after a major fire broke out in a building in Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel. All the deaths were caused due to suffocation, reports ANI. ” 14 deaths were due to suffocation,” said Dr Rajesh Dere who performed the postmortem. According to DNA reporter, one person took shelter in the washroom but died due to suffocation. The majority of those killed were women attending a birthday party at a rooftop restaurant, police said. The 28-year-old woman celebrating her birthday was among those who died, her grandfather told news agency Reuters.According to the official, the cause of the fire remains to be ascertained. Primary observations indicate that gas leakage or short circuit could be the reason behind the fire. Also readMumbai: Major fire at Kamala Mills compound; 15 dead, several InjuredThe fire broke out shortly after midnight on the third floor of the four-storeyed building on Senapati Bapat Marg, a commercial hub of the city.The injured are undergoing treatment at the civic-run KEM and Sion hospitals.Kamala Mills, a refurbished industrial compound, houses swanky restaurants and other commercial establishments.Related Photos
5 Pics
In Pics: Massive midnight fire at Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound kills 15; many restaurants gutted (With inputs from agencies)

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

Farm distress, unemployment cost BJP votes: JN Singh

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

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

Fire breaks out in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound, three injured

At least three persons were injured when a major fire broke out tonight at a building in Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel, an official said.The fire started after 12:30 am on the third floor of the building on Senapati Bapat Marg, a commercial hub of the city, a police official said.More than six fire tenders, four water tankers, emergency ambulance and police rushed to the spot for rescue operation, he said.The building, in Central Mumbai, houses some commercial establishments including hotels.Three persons with serious burn injuries have been taken to the Breach Candy hospital, the official said.”It’s a Level-II fire and we have mobilised our resources. The fire fighting and rescue operation is going on,” he said, adding that the exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.

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

Pakistan army violates ceasefire twice in a day in J&K’s Poonch

Pakistani troops today violated ceasefire twice in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir as they resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate firing from across the border, targeting forward posts and villages, an official said.The Indian troops guarding the Line of Control (LoC) retaliated the firing but there was no immediate report of any casualty, the official said.He said the small arms firing from Pakistani side was reported for nearly three hours in the morning in three villages of Digwar sector, causing panic among the border residents.The firing from across the border again started this evening at Khari Karmara sector in Poonch and the exchange of firing between the two sides was continuing when last reports were received, he said.The nearby Rajouri district witnessed heavy exchange of firing between Indian and Pakistani army after the latter initiated the firing in Noushera sector.The latest violation of the ceasefire agreement from Pakistan comes a few days after their troops opened fire on an Indian Army patrol, killing a Major and three soldiers in Keri sector of Rajouri district on December 23.On December 24, Pakistani troops had also targeted forward posts and villages in Shahpur sector of Poonch district for nearly four hours but there was no report of any casualty.The Indian troops also killed three Pakistani soldiers and injured another in retaliatory action at Rukh Chakri sector in Rawlakot on December 25.Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a total of 881 ceasefire violations this year, highest in past seven years, along the LoC and the International Border (IB), resulting in the death of 34 people.According to officials, Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir 771 times till December 10, and 110 times along the IB till November-end.In these incidents of firing from across the border, 30 people — 14 Army personnel, 12 civilians and four BSF personnel — were killed.The truce between India and Pakistan along the International Border, the Line of Control and the Actual Ground Position Line in Jammu and Kashmir came into force in November 2003.India shares a 3,323-km-long border with Pakistan of which 221 km of the IB and 740 km of the LoC fall in Jammu and Kashmir.In 2016, there were 449 incidents of ceasefire violations in which 13 civilians and 13 government forces personnel were killed and 83 civilians and 99 security personnel were injured.

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
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
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!
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

Any immediate respite for parents?

While the recent Gujarat High Court judgment comes as a great relief to parents by upholding state governments law for regulating school fees, how soon the parents will be able to benefit of the same remains something to be watched for.At a time when many schools across the state have started collecting fees for the next academic year, there is still no clarity on the fees for next academic year. The processes of the fee regulatory committee may take some time and, hence, schools are mulling over their decision for fees in the interim period.Commenting on the judgment, Association of Progressive Schools (AoPS) said, “Now that the judgment has come we wish government will ensure that the schools can function smoothly without having to compromise on the quality of school education in Gujarat which has started improving over the last decade.”AoPS member schools range from JG International school, Udgam school, Divine Child International School. Delhi Public School, Anand Niketan school, etc.An academician requesting anonymity said, “The order seems to be a small win in a huge battle. Even today, schools can approached the Supreme Court or they can approach the FRC. If they go to the FRC in three weeks, as per law, FRC will have to pass an order in 90 days. Even if FRC passes an order early and well in time, schools can then go for revision which again would take 90 days and eventually higher court. All of this process will take a lot of time and there is no clarity on fees for next academic year.Sources said the schools may approach the government and ask to form guideliness for FRC as per the high court order. A major concern of this entire Act is that there is no upper limit of fees. As per the order, if schools can justify to the FRC, they can charge higher fees.Dharmesh Patel, one of the parents of the association of Tripada International School in Ghatlodia, said, “The decision is great, but the biggest challenge will be to see how and when the state government implements the same. Since the Act has been upheld by the court, the responsibility of the government becomes double ensuring justice to parents. Also, since there is hardly any school which had gone to the high court, FRC’s should not take a long time.”Raising an important concern, Pooja Prajapati, President, Parents Ekta Manch said, “We welcome the decision and it is a victory for the parents. However, some questions have remained unanswered. The court has allowed schools to file an appeal in six weeks regarding their concern. Then what is the point of keeping fee slabs. Taking advantage of this slab, many schools that used to charge Rs 7000 or so and if they now increase till Rs 15000, there is no clarity on the same. Our fight will go on.”Ruchi Chaudhary, Managing Trustee, Shankus Foundation, Divine Child International School said, “We welcome the high court order and follow the notifications of going to FRC for an increment of fees so as to maintain the quality of education and other quality amenities we offer to our students.”Manan Choksi, managing director, Udgam School for Children said, “We are getting a legal opinion on whether should we collect fees up to certain amount or not collect at all. While we can return post dated cheques collected from parents once the order of FRC comes, but need some clarity to plan yearly expenses.”Schools need to approach FRC in three weeks FRC to give its order in 90 days If schools are not satisfied, they can apply for revision (90 days) Eventually they can approach a higher court Aggrieved parents have no place to approach *No upper limit of fees for justification

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Political storm over Mehbooba Mufti government’s gag order

A major political storm has hit the Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government after it ordered a social media gag for its employees.General Administration Department (GAD) of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday issued a notification circular restricting the government employees from posting ‘inflammatory, extraneous messages’ on the social media.The notification was issued after Governor NN Vohra amended the Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees Conduct Rules, 1971 affer sub-rule(3) of rule 13.Under the new order, no government employee shall engage in any “criminal, dishonest, immoral or notoriously disgraceful conduct on social media which may be prejudicial to the government”.”They shall also not use their personal social media accounts for any political activity or endorse the posts or tweets or blogs of any political figure, and also shall not use their accounts in a manner that could reasonably be construed to imply that the Government endorses or sanctions their personal activities in any matter whatsoever. They shall also not post inflammatory, extraneous messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on topic discussion,” said the GAD notification.This move has sparked a major political controversy with employees, opposition and separatists calling it a ‘dictatorial’ approach of the state government to silence the people.The main opposition party National Conference has asked the government not to label entire employees community as ‘terrorists’.”The diktat, in the form of an amendment to the J&K Government Employees Conduct Rules 1971, aims to defame and vilify lakhs of government employees as either terrorists or anti-social elements who are apparently unable to differentiate between right and wrong in conducting themselves on a day-to-day basis”, said Junaid Azim Mattu, National Conference State SpokespersonLambasting the government, the Congress has asked the government to withdraw the notification saying it is as an attack on the fundamental rights of the people.Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) chairman Abdul Qayoom Wani said imposing restrictions on the employees over the use of social media exposes the dictatorial and regressive mindset of the present government.Separatists too have jumped on to the bandwagon to lampoon the government’s social media gag.”Ordering gags and threatening punishment to State employees for expressing their opinion on social media completely exposes the aversion to truth or its disclosure by the occupational regime and its unscrupulous local agents!” tweeted Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference.

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Now, Environment Marshalls to curb air pollution

Environment Minister, Imran Hussain on Wednesday announced the deployment of ‘Environment Marshalls’ in various parts of the national Capital to control the illegal burning of leaves or garbage in open, control of dust emanating from various sources and improper management of dhalaos — major factors contributing to air pollution.Around 14 home guards (volunteers) have been deployed as marshalls in seven wards of three municipal corporations, including three in East Corporation and two each in South and North Corporations. These wards include Anand Vihar, I P Extension, Jhilmil, Daryaganj, Okhla, Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar-Samaypur Badli and Shahbad Daulatpur-PoothKhurd.”A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has also been developed for the working of the scheme. In the coming days, the Department of Environment plans to increase the number of marshalls to 100 who will be deployed in 50 wards across three corporations,” said a senior official.The department had organised a training programme for the marshals at the Delhi Secretariat. “The incumbents have been given basic inputs about their functioning under the scheme.,” the official said.

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ED attaches more assets, worth Rs 177 cr, in NSEL scam

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday provisionally attached fresh assets valued at over Rs 177 crore in connection with the money laundering case against NSEL.The officials have attached 10 immovable properties of Surender Gupta of PD Agro Processors Pvt Ltd and Dunar Foods Ltd, a major defaulter of NSEL having a market value of Rs 177.33 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.The total worth of attached assets in the case stands at Rs 2,890 crore.The ED officials said the company, P D Agro Processors Pvt Ltd, has fraudulently obtained huge funds from NSEL by trading on the exchange platform against the non-existent/fictitious sale of their commodity, which is paddy/rice. The money trail has revealed that a huge chunk of proceeds of crime has been transferred to M/s Dunar Foods Ltd, a sister concern of PD Agro Processors Pvt Ltd.”The ED, along with the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police, had registered a criminal case in 2013 under the PMLA to probe NSEL and others associated with it for defrauding 13,000 investors to the tune of Rs 5,600 crore.

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Malegaon blasts: Partial relief for Prasad Purohit, Sadhavi Pragya Singh

The special National Investigating Agency (NIA) court on Wednesday dropped the stringent MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999) charges against 2008 Malegaon Blasts accused Sadhavi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col. Prasad Purohit, as well as four other. Instead, it charged them under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).According to the prosecution, Purohit and other accused had carried out the blast in Malegaon during Ramadan on September 29, 2008, which killed seven people. The court refused to accept NIA’s contention that there wasn’t sufficient material to hold up the chargesagainst Thakur. NIA had earlier given her clean chit while replying to her bail application in the Bombay High court. The court presided by Judge S D Tekale was hearing discharge applications filed by the accused in the case. In its final orders, Pragya Thakur, Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Lt.col.Prasad Purohit, Sudhakar Dhar Diwedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi were discharged of the MCOCA charges, and will now be tried only under UAPA and the IPC.The court also granted a clean chit to three accused – Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu and Praveen Takalki. Two others — Rakesh Dhawade and Jagdish Mhatre – were also let off from all stringent acts andinstead were charged under the Arms Act.The court said there is no proof to substantiate the claim that one of the accused Dhawade was involved in the Jalna and Parbhani Mosque blast case which took place in 2003-2004, . “The Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) had earlier claimed that the accused were members of the Abhinav Bharat, a right-wing Hindu organisation, and had conspired to execute blasts in mosques in Jalna and Parbhani. However, there is nothing to substantiate that Abhinav Bharat was in existence then. There is also no material to show that during that period, Dhawade had any connection with the rest of the Malegaon 2008 blast case accused. In such circumstances, it cannot be said that accused committed the act in Parbhani and Jalna as a member of Abhinav Bharat. Hence MCOCA cannot be applied to them,” held the court.Speaking about Pragya’s role in the blast, the court held, “Considering all evidence at this stage, it can be said that Thakur had knowledge about the involvement of her motorcycle in the blast and (she expressed)dissatisfaction about causing fewer casualties. Hence it is difficult to accept submission on behalf of Thakur that she had no concern with the present crime as she had been exonerated by NIA.”The verdict came as a relief to Purohit’s wife, Aparna. “Due to the MCOCA, he (Purohit) had to spend nine years in jail. We are happy that finally those charges have been dropped,” she said. “We will fight out the rest of the charges the way we have been fighting since day one. Dropping MCOCA is a small step towards justice, but there’s still a long way to go.”The timeline Sept 29, 2008 Six killed & over 70 injured in bomb blasts in MalegaonOct 24, 2008 Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and 2 others arrestedNov 5, 2008 ATS arrests Lt Col Prasad Purohit for supplying money & explosivesJuly 31, 2009 Special MCOCA court drops charges against all 11 accused. Bom HC reinstates them in 2010

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

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

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Ahmedabad University gets leading economist C Rangarajan

In a major recruitment drive with an aim to create a rich pool of academicians, Ahmedabad University (AU) has roped in leading economist of the country C Rangarajan.Professor Chakravarthi Rangarajan has joined AU as Distinguished University Professor. Not just him, AU has also been able to rope in a retired professor of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) professor P R Shukla who specialises in energy, environment and policies. Professor Shukla will also head the Global Centre for Environment and Energy.Professor Pankaj Chandra, Vice-Chancellor, AU, said, “Since January 2016, we have been able to recruit 35 faculty from across the world. To get best of faculties, we need to show them our vision and make them realise that they can experiment with new ways of teaching.”He added, “Whenever professor Rangarajan is in the university, even at this age (over 80 years), he teaches continously from morning till evening and that shows his dedication.” Prof Rangarajan has played a key role both as an academic and a policy maker. He has held several important positions which include Governor of Reserve Bank of India and Governor of Andhra Pradesh. Interestingly, while Professor Shukla is the first professor who has joined AU immediately after IIMA, AU has three more professors who have worked with IIMA in the past. Professor Chandra, prior to joining IIM-Bangalore as a director worked with IIMA.Professor Devanath Tirupati, one of India’s leading management academicians known for his expertise in Operations Management, too worked with IIMA and has joined AU’s management school. Professor Vivek Banerjee who is presently senior dean, startegic initiatives and planning at AU, has worked with IIMA for 18 years.HALL OF EXPERTISEProf C Rangarajan has played a key role both as an academic and a policy maker. He has held several important positions which include Governor of RBI and Governor of Andhra Pradesh. Professor Chandra, prior to joining IIM-B as a director worked with IIMA.

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Caste to starcast in bypoll flicks

Die has been cast for by-polls in two Lok Sabha and one assembly constituenciy. Congress has declared its candidate for Alwar while the BJP will declare name of its candidate soon. The party is working on getting caste equation right. BJP’s Kisan Morcha has asked for the ticket.Whether Alwar or Ajmer, both parties are concentrating on caste factors. All talks of contesting election on the issue of development is mere propaganda, the bitter reality is that both the parties are relying on caste arithmetic to select candidates. Congress has chosen Dr Karan Singh Yadav with an eye on Yadav community and the BJP too is seriously mulling over fielding a Yadav candidate.Even Ajmer, where caste is usually not a major influencing factor, this time expected to play a key role in deciding candidates. BJP is said to be thinking of fielding a Jat. Its Kisan Morcha has asked for fielding candidate from farming community in both the places.On Mandalgarh assembly seat, the ruling party may field a Rajput. Some of the names doing rounds are Shakti singh, Badri Guruji, Bhagwan Singh, Harshita Kumari and wife of Ghanshyam Singh. Here, Dhakar, Rajput, Brahmin, Dalit, Gurjar and Muslim are predominant castes.So far, the buzz is that the BJP can field a Rajput in Mandalgarh, Jat in Ajmer and Yadav in Alwar.BJP Panel in AlwarBaba BalaknathDr Jaswant Yadav/ Kiran YadavSanjay SharmaBJP Ajmer PanelRamswaroop LambaRamchandra ChoudharyCharan ChoudharyB P Saraswat

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India police kill Kashmir ‘Merchant of Death’

Noor Mohammad Tantray was a commander in the militant Jaish-e-Mohammad separatist group.

Vijay Rupani begins second inning as Gujarat CM; PM Modi, Amit Shah attend grand ceremony: 10 updates

Vijay Rupani will begin his second inning as Gujarat Chief Minister at a grand swearing-in ceremony in capital city Gandhinagar on Tuesday.The lavish event, which is being organised at Gandhinagar Sachivalaya Ground, will see host of VVIP guests including 18 BJP Chief Ministers, party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Here are 10 major updates from this big political story:1: Ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, Rupani visited Gandhinagar’s Panchdev temple and Akshardham temple in morning.2: According to sources, Rupani has dropped three ministers from his previous cabinet. They are: Babu Bokhiria, former water supplies and animal husbandry minister; Vallabh Kakadia, former minister of state for transport and Rajendra Trivedi, former minister of state for youth services and cultural affairs.3: Officials said that a huge 2,500 square metres dome — which can accommodate 10,000 people — has been booked and prepared for the ceremony.4: Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh and Ram Vilas Paswan and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are also attending the ceremony.5: Security has been tightened at Ahmedabad Airport, which will see a lot of VVIP movement, as well as in Gandhinagar.6: Entry of private vehicles has been restricted in the Sachivalaya due to the swearing-in ceremony.7: Before leaving for Delhi, PM Modi is scheduled for a lunch with the new council of ministers and visiting dignitaries at Mahatma Mandir in the afternoon.8: A Cabinet meeting is also slated in the afternoon, where newly-inducted ministers will be allocated portfolios.9: This is the sixth consecutive time that BJP is forming government in Gujarat, but this time with the lowest seat tally.10: The party won 99 seats in the just concluded assembly elections, just seven more than the half-way mark of 92. On the other hand, Congress increased its tally to 77 seats, its best performance since 1990.

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DNA EXCLUSIVE: Bleeding professor fails to get first aid at IGIA

The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) may boast about its international-standard Terminal 3 but a 57-year-old professor from AIIMS, Jodhpur, had to roam around with a bleeding forehead for more than an hour while the medical aid room at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) remained locked. Reportedly, there is a lavish Medanta clinic inside the airport but both the professor and the airport staff were unaware of it.The incident took place on December 19, when Dr Prem Prakash Sharma, who works as an Assistant Professor (Biostatistician) at AIIMS, Jodhpur, in Rajasthan, arrived at the Delhi airport to catch an Air India (AI) flight to Vishakhapatnam.”I was trying to take out my luggage from the cab’s trunk when it fell on my head and I fell down. Seconds later, when I got up with the driver’s assistance, I noticed that my forehead was bleeding. I tried to contain the blood flow with my handkerchief but it did not stop. So then I approached my airline’s counter to seek medical assistance,” Sharma told DNA.He further said the person on the counter took him to a medical room inside the terminal but it was locked. After that, the airline staff took Sharma around the terminal but failed to find any medical assistance for him, who was still struggling to control the blood flow.”No medical or paramedical staff was available nearby. Finally, the airline staff apologised to me. Later, a woman at an information counter, who had a first aid kit, helped me. Luckily, the bleeding had stopped by then,” Sharma said, adding: “I got proper dressing and Tetanus injections after reaching Visakhapatnam.”The airport operators, meanwhile, claimed that sufficient medical facilities are available at the airport, including a Medanta clinic. Sharma, however, said that neither he nor the airline staff was aware of any such facility.”Surprisingly, out of hundreds of airport staff on the floor, none came forward to offer help as we roamed around. It was shocking for me to learn that on an international airport like IGIA, no first aid facility could be availed. Fortunately, it was not a major accident. Had this happened to a tourist or an international passenger, it would have been an insult for the country,” the professor said.

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Yogi Adityanath announces Metro for Agra, Kanpur

Addressing his first public meeting on Monday, right after the inauguration of the Magenta Line of Metro in Noida, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced new Metro projects for Agra and Kanpur in the state.During the inauguration, Adityanath said: “I thank the PM for giving UP the offering of this new Metro line. We are going to bring Metro to Kanpur and Agra. The inauguration of the Magenta Line will prove to be a milestone towards realising the dream of development for Noida and Greater Noida. The PM has given a new meaning to politics of this nation. He is always telling us one thing: We have to move ahead on the path of development. We should ensure no citizen is unhappy. There is no question of discriminating against anyone.”He further said that the work to set up an airport at Jewar has also been expedited, which will be a boom for the people and will bring development to the district.”We have been planning two major expressways in the state. It is an achievement to have the Prime Minister in the state. He has given a new direction to politics and till even a single individual remains unhappy, we should make efforts to solve his problems,” Adityanath said during the meeting.Attacking the previous governments in the state, Adityanath claimed that under their rule, Noida, Greater Noida, and Yamuna Expressway region were only meant to make money. “My government is taking public welfare projects on a priority basis. As per Modi’s directions, we are working on the principle of participation of all and development for all (sabka saath, sabka vikas),” Adityanath said.Referring to the issue of real estate developers leaving projects unfinished, much to the agony of homebuyers, the UP chief minister said that builders have promised to handover 80,000 apartments to consumers in the next six months.Aditynath further said that in the nine months of his rule, he has been taking decisions without any partisan attitude or self interest. “All decisions are in public interest,” he added.The UP CM referred to agriculture in the state and claimed that sugarcane farmers’ dues were being paid on time while the power supply, too, had improved. Adityanath further said that his government was tough on criminals as well.REALITY ISSUEReferring to the issue of real estate developers leaving projects unfinished, much to the agony of homebuyers, the UP chief minister said that builders have promised to handover 80,000 apartments to consumers in the next six months.

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Lesson from building fire: Install fire safety equipment, maintain it

A major fire was controlled in the plush Legend Towers, a ground-plus-32-storey high-rise in south Mumbai’s Walkeshwar area, on Monday evening, because of the swift functioning of the fire safety installation in the building.Prabhat Rahangdale, chief fire officer, Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB), said, “Fire was contained in the flat where it originated and it was possible because of the well-equipped fire fighting system in the building.” He added that fire fighting installations were working which facilitated the operations.Rutvi Mehta, a resident of Malabar Hill whose mother stays on the 10th floor of the B-wing where the fire occurred, said, “My mother is arriving from Dubai on Monday evening and I had just reached the building to check the arrangements. When I saw the fire, I immediately started getting phone calls from my relatives. I am glad everyone is safe.”Another resident who did not wish to be named shared that it was the alertness of the security staff and swift evacuation that ensured no one was injured. “The fire occurred at around 4 pm and we got information from our security guards. In the mean time even our neighbours began calling, after which all of us left everything and rushed out of the building,” she said, adding that they all heaved a sigh of relief on seeing the members from the flat where the fire had occurred too reaching the building podium safely.Rahangdale said that it is very important to have fire fighting and prevention measures to be put it in buildings and they should be maintained properly. “These are some measures that we always ask residents to maintain as it help a lot us to control the fire immediately,” he said.According to MBF, the reason of the fire’s spread on both the 17th and 18th floors of the building was the wooden items that are normally found in homes. Electrical wiring, false ceiling, furnishings, electrical, wooden wall paneling, wooden shelves, wardrobe, wooden beds, mattress, important documents, house hold articles, clothes, etc were damaged due to the fire, heat, smoke and water.SWIFT ACTION SAVES DAYAround 4 pm The fire broke out4.17 pm Fire control got call4.30 pm Residents started evacuating4.32 pm Fire Brigade reached the spot5.30 pm Fire controlled

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Last rites of Lance Naik Kuldeep Singh, killed Pak firing, held in Punjab

People from all walks of life bid a tearful adieu to Lance Naik Kuldeep Singh, who was killed in a ceasefire violation along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, in Talwandi Sabo town here today.Singh was killed on Saturday when Pakistani troops opened fire on an Indian Army patrol in Keri sector of Rajouri district. His last rites were held with full military honours.Singh’s body, wrapped in the tricolour, was brought in a bedecked Army vehicle as a large number of people gathered to pay their last respects to him.Deputy Commissioner Diparva Lakra said a grant of Rs 12 lakh would be provided to the family of the deceased besides a government job to a family member.Major Moharkar Prafulla Ambadas, Sepoy Pargat Singh from Haryana and Lance Naik Gurmail Singh from Punjab were also killed in the firing.

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Fire breaks out in multi storied building in South Mumbai

A major fire broke out at the 17 and 18th floor of Regal Tower at Banganga in Balkeshwar in South Mumbai on Monday afternoon.According to Mumbai Fire Brigade, the fire took place on the 17th and 18th duplex flat of the grond plus 32 storey building. “We received fire call around 4.20 pm and it was declared level II fire by 4.32pm,” said the MFB official.Prabhat Rahangdale, chief fire office of MFB said that fire fighters are already on 17 th floor and trying to douse fire at 17 th and 18 floor duplex flat. He added that three jets are in operation currently.Further details are awaited

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Gujarat jitters: Maha govt to soothe farmers’ nerves

After BJP’s poor performance in cotton belt of Gujarat in the recent Assembly elections, the Fadnavis government in Maharashtra has decided not to allow a repeat of it in the state. To nip the anger of the cotton growing farmers in the bud, it is planning to dole out compensation and relief to the farmers before the state and Lok Sabha elections.Large parts of Maharashtra — Vidharba, North Maharashtra and Marathwada — are major cotton growing belts in Maharashtra. In 2014, the BJP got as many as 56 seats out of its total 120 seats in this region. This year, due to the bollworm insecticide, majority of the farmers’ cotton crops got damaged and they suffered huge losses.The BJP is expecting that its announcement of Rs 37,000 per hectare compensation for non-irrigated cotton farms and Rs 38,500 for farmers whose crops were damaged by bollworms will help it stave off any setback in elections.“Besides, the farmers are not getting fair price for their produce. Currently, cotton has been sold at Rs 4,500-Rs 5,000 per quintal against Rs 6,000-7,000 during Congress regime. There is a huge anger among farmers and that will reflect in the coming elections against the BJP government,” said Nawab Malik, spokesperson of NCP.Malik said in Gujarat elections also, the BJP, out of 127 rural — cotton and peanut growing belt — seats, got only 56, while the Congress outperformed with 71 seats. The Congress’ total tally is 80 in the 182-member Gujarat assembly.“We expect same in Maharashtra in rural belt. Despite being PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah’s home state, farmers decisively voted against BJP in Gujarat. Chief Minister Fadnavis had promised the farm loan waiver. What happened? Hardly any one benefitted,” said Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra Congress chief.“The Congress and the NCP are trying to fan out the uneasiness in the sector. They even called a Halla Bol protest there recently. However, we are confident of applying balm on the anger,” said a senior BJP leader on condition of anonymity.GUJARAT LESSONSThe BJP mainly lost in the rural belt in the recent Gujarat Assembly polls. Of the Congress’ total tally of 80 in Gujarat, 71 seats are from rural sectors. BJP wants to avoid any repeat of this in Maharashtra’s rural belt.

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Speak up Mumbai: Lax inspections allow flouting of safety norms

The fire in Bhanu farsan shop in Saki Naka has once again brought to light the fact that several commercial activities in Mumbai are carried out without the requisite licenses issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and are run out of places that do not comply to fire safety normsMany residential structures across the city too have been found not complying to safety norms. La Mer building in Bandra, is a recent example, in which Sachin Tendulkar’s apartment caught fire. The building’s fire extinguishing system was found to be defunct and the Mumbai fire brigade issued a notice to the building under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2005.While the BMC insists that it’s the citizens first that need to comply with fire safety norms, the question that also arises is why the civic body and fire brigade department is not more stringent with its inspections. Officials contend that it is impossible to inspect every building thus they are building a software that allows them to issue notices online. In the meantime, BMC has said that it will be sealing shops which are found to be violating fire safety norms.Residents tell DNA whether they think the authorities are taking fire safety lightly.EXPERTS SPEAKIt is the BMC’s responsibility to ensure that all residential and commercial units comply with fire safety norms but it is also the duty of citizens to comply. We have given buildings and shops one month’s time. The SOP for safety norms is available on the MCGM’s website. We appeal to citizens to read and comply with them. Inspections are necessary but awareness is required too.—Nidhi Chaudhari, Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Special)People are not aware of the importance of fire safety norms and put their own lives in danger. However, the BMC and fire brigade too do not inspect all structures nor do they take action against those flouting safety norms. Thus, it is supplementary. Illegal businesses take advantage of BMC’s leniency. The authorities should take action against structures whose complaints are lodged.—Anil Galgali, Social activistVOICESThere have been several incidents of fire in the city recently. In a way we are all responsible for taking fire safety precautions lightly. Every co-operative housing society in the city is supposed to carry out a fire safety audit every six months but we rarely see it being done. At times, the solution to the problem lies with us.—Rohan Salian, ParelIn many instances, the fire department does not have the necessary infrastructure to douse fire effectively. As active residents, we have often observed that the authorities’ reaction to fire incidents is only knee-jerk and there are no provisions in place to eliminate the causes of fire by the corporation and the government.—Sandeep Sawant, GoregaonConsidering the rise in fire incidents, it is true that we are taking fire safety lightly. Most of the fires broke in areas where the BMC has not given fire safety permissions due to illegal constructions. However, even BMC officials are responsible for such incidents as they often give permissions for such illegal constructions. The civic body should also keep a strict watch on residential societies and whether their fire safety equipment is in place.—Uday Nare, AndheriEvery residential society should conduct a fire audit to ensure that the building is safe from fire. As citizens, we do fail to keep fire safety equipment handy and maintain them giving room for such incidents to take place. If safety measures are taken care of, fewer such incidents will take place. We certainly take fire safety lightly. The fire department should enforce some strict measures and make sure citizens follow them to keep themselves safe.—Omkar Sawant, MaladEvery year hundreds of fires are reported across the city. We do not even bother to discuss it as it’s become a normal occurrence. We only discuss when the fire’s intensity is high or the number of casualties is more. From residents to authorities, we do not follow the guidelines to prevent fires at either residential or commercial places. Many of us are not even aware about the standard procedure to be adopted in case of a fire.—Amarjeet Singh, BhandupEveryone, authorities and citizens alike, is taking fire safety lightly. In a number of places the wiring is not done properly or wires are seen hanging or exposed. In case of a fire, one needs to ensure that they can run to safety. However, there are many people who do not listen. This creates impediments in the way of a fire officer while fighting the fire as well. People should also take precautions to not leave the knob of the cooking gas on.—Jagdish Kulur, FortIt is not that the citizens or authorities are taking fire safety norms lightly. Most of the commercial and residential premises in the city are fire compliant and the fire brigade also works promptly in the case of fire emergencies in the city. But there needs to be more awareness among citizens on fire safety norms and fire fighting methods and action should be taken against illegal shops and establishments in the city that are not fire compliant.—Krushna Gupta, BorivliAlthough the number of fatalities in such incidents is on the rise, we are not taking enough safety measures. Having fire complaint workplaces and eating houses should be mandatory. Awareness about the dangers of not having a fire compliant area should be widely publicised and people should be educated on simple safety measures which can prevent major outbreaks. The government should introduce strict fire safety laws.—Gaurav Pinglay, Dombivili

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Border tensions spike as Pak Army resorts to truce breach

Even before the wounds of Rajouri could heal, Pakistan army again resorted to unprovoked heavy firing on Indian forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch sector of the Jammu division on Sunday.The ceasefire violation came a day after tension gripped the LoC when Pakistan army resorted to unprovoked firing in the Keri battalion area of Rajouri sector leaving four Indian army soldiers, including a Major from Maharashtra, dead and another injured.Deputy Commissioner of Poonch Tariq Ahmad Zargar told DNA that the cross-border firing started at 12.30 pm on Sunday at Shahpur sector of the Poonch district and there was no loss of life or the property.”It started at about 12.30 pm. There was no report of loss of any life and property. The cross-border firing continued for more than an hour”, said Zargar.Sources said soon after Pakistan opened fire, the Indian troops swung into action and retaliated in kind to silence the Pakistani guns. The exchange of fire between the two sides continued for some time before it stopped.Seemingly fearing flare up, the authorities has put all emergency departments on alert to meet exigency.”We are always in the state of alert. You never know when ceasefire violation takes place. So we keep our medical and other teams ready”, said Zargar.Meanwhile, rich tributes were paid to the four soldiers who laid down their lives in the line of duty in Rajouri sector of LoC on Saturday. Major Moharkar Prafulla Ambadas, Lance Naik Gurmail Singh, Lance Naik Kuldeep Singh and Sepoy Pargat Singh were grievously injured in the cease fire violation and succumbed later on Saturday.Indian army has vowed to avenge the killing of four brave hearts by Pakistani forces at the place and time of their chosing. “The nation will remain ever indebted of the supreme sacrifice of our heroes. Army shall retaliate this dastardly act at a place and choice of our choosing”, tweeted Nagrota based White Knight Corps of the Indian army.Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh said the sacrifices rendered by valiant army officers and soldiers would be remembered for ever. “It will be recorded in the annals of history, so that the young generation get the requisite inspiration to serve the cause of nation”, he saidFigures presented in the Lok Sabha revealed that Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir 771 times till December 10 this year, and 110 times along the International Border till November-end. Around 30 people including 14 army personnel, 12 civilians and four BSF personnel were killed in these ceasefire violations this year.Last year there were 449 incidents of ceasefire violations in which 13 civilians and 13 security personnel were killed and 83 civilians and 99 security personnel were injured. The truce between India and Pakistan along the International Border, the Line of Control and the Actual Ground Position Line in Siachen glacier came into force in November 2003.

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

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

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‘Not Indian Vedic tradition’- Andhra Pradesh asks temples not to celebrate New Year

In a controversial decision, the Andhra Pradesh government has asked for a ban on upcoming New Year festivities on January 1 in all the temples across the state.There are currently around 15,000 major temples in the state. In a circular issued by the Andhra Pradesh Endowments Department through the Hindu Dharma Parirakshana Trust (HDPT), it has suggested the Hindu temples to not celebrate New Year on January 1 and spend lavishly for the same. Dr C Raghavacharyulu, the Secretary of HDPT, said: “India got independence 70 years ago. But we have been following the English calendar that was made a habit during the British rule. Wishing on 1st January and celebrating it as a festival is not Indian Vedic Tradition.” Even temples have been asked not to wish devotees Happy New Year on New Year’s eve. This decision comes close in heels to several right wing organisations raising questions over Christmas celebrations in schools across the country. However, in most states, government’s have assured that Christmas festivities would go on without a hitch. “It came to my notice from the Honorable Commissioner of Endowments that even Hindu temples are following the British tradition. They are wishing the devotees on 1st January and are spending lakhs of rupees on floral decorations. The Commissioner is of the opinion that it is not proper to spend money received as donation from devotees for western tradition. It should be spent only for Indian tradition,” Raghavacharyulu added. He also said the Ugadi festival, which is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra (lunar) in April, should be celebrated as per the Indian tradition. The notification has been issued on December 21st. According to reports, the notification has been sent to Commissioner and other top officials of the Endowments Department and they have been asked to ensure that temples comply with the order. The TDP government in Andhra Pradesh led by Chandra babu Naidu is part of ruling NDA in the centre. With ANI inputs

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Congress votes jumped sharply in Saurashtra

If there was any region in Gujarat that voted in a totally different way in 2017 as compared to 2012 was Saurashtra-Kutch. While both the major parties added voters to their previous tally, it was 27.43% gain on the part of Congress to remove the deficit of 21 seats over rival BJP in 2012 to take a seven-seat lead in recent elections.The results also witnessed the resurgent party to narrow the vote lead of 4,30,749 votes in 2012 to 49,351 votes. The prime reason is the addition of 8,14,614 votes by Congress as compared to 3,14,165 votes by BJP in terms of previous elections.The net result was that Congress increased its tally from 16 to 30, while BJP dropped its tally from a massive 35 to 23. Saurashtra region has 48 seats, while Kutch has six seats in the 182-seat Legislative Assembly of Gujarat. Congress was able to regain 16 seats from BJP by conceding only four seats in the region. Seats that Congress wrested from BJP include predominantly rural seats of Dhrangadhra, Morbi, Tankara, Chotila, Wankaner, Jasdan, Kalavad, Jamjodhpur, Khambhaliya, Junagadh, Mangrol, Kodinar, Una, Dhari, Gadhada and Talaja. While the four seats have more urban aspect to it. These include Rajkot-East, Jamnagar-North, Palitana and Jetpur.Saurashtra-Kutch region is the least urbanised among all the regions and this has been one of key reason why BJP suffered a severe setback. With predominantly agrarian economy, the region suffered two erratic monsoons in past three years. What added to the natural calamity was administrative indifference in terms of timely intervention, whether it was ensuring drought and flood relief or remunerative prices for crops like cotton and groundnut. Last minute move to declare MSP for groundnut was too late and too less for the farmers.This region also witnessed the most high profile contest between Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Congress rival Indranil Rajguru from Rajkot-West Constituency. What was supposed to be a keen contest saw Rupani winning by a healthy margin of 53,755 votes.However, former ministers Dilip Sanghani and Bavku Undhad lost their respective battle. Former Finance Minister Saurabh Patel managed to win from Botad by a narrow margin. While Koli heavyweight Purushottam Solanki won, his younger brother Hira Solanki suffered a setback.In fact then Congress vice-president had kicked off his campaign from religious place of Dwarka and his soft Hindutva got reception from the masses. In Amreli, Morbi and Gir Somnath, Congress swept and the contest was absolutely one sided.Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come to Saurashtra on multiple occasions to woo the voters. In Bhavnagar district, from where state BJP President Jitu Waghani had contested, Modi had addressed two rallies and just after Diwali, he had inaugurated the Dahej – Ghogha RO-RO service. BJP won in most the seats in the district.

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Unused road in Dholpur to be used as air strip

A first of its kind project in the country, an unused road stretch in Dholpur district will be converted into an air strip to take off or land planes in future, claimed chief minister Vasundhara Raje while laying foundation stone of Dholpur Lift Irrigation project on Friday. Estimated to cost Rs852 crore, the project aims to provide water to 234 villages of Bari, Dholpur and Rajakhera tehsils.Addressing the gathering at the ceremony, the CM once again hinted that development will be her agenda in the final year of her tenure ahead of the assembly polls. She has announced for repairing 14,100km roads in next 12 months spending Rs2,300 crore. She emphasised on initiating Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) which would be a boon for 13 districts in terms of meeting water needs, be it for drinking or irrigation purposes.“We have already sent a detailed project report to the Central government on the ERPC. The project will link water of Kalisingh, Chakan, Mej and Parvati rivers to Chambal Lift and Dholpur Lift irrigation projects to provide irrigation water to farmers of 13 districts to reap two harvests in a year,” said Raje.She said that her government has renovated 22262km roads spending Rs3527 crore in the past four years. “Now I make a major announcement. Dholpur Badi Old road will be repaired and used as a air strip for plane’s landing and take off. This will be the first of its kind experiment in the country,” said Raje while talking about 1.8km long and 45 metres wide road to be used for the air strip. Currently, the road is damaged and lying unused.Set for record runRaje has promised to the people to complete Dholpur Lift project in a record time of three years. “This will be India’s first irrigation project in which 1600km network of pipeline will be laid to supply water. Only sprinklers and pipes will be installed for irrigation under the project estimated to cost Rs852 crore,” the chief minister said.

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16-year-old girl shot at by friend dies

A 16-year-old girl, who was allegedly shot in her head by a 17-year-old boy, succumbed to her injuries at a private hospital in Noida late on Thursday night. The body has been sent for post-mortem. The accused boy, who shot himself as well, is yet to gain conciousness, the police said, while adding murder charges against him.”Two bullets had pierced the girl’s skull and caused major damage to her brain. She was brought in a state of coma and her chances of survival were very less. We tried our best to save her but could not,” a senior doctor said.Police said the boy and the girl were friends and had had an altercation. The boy, son of a property dealer, and the girl, daughter of an engineer, studied at the same tuition centre in Vasundhara’s Sector-2C.

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Mumbai: Fire in under construction building in Saat Rasta

A major fire broke out at an under construction building near Kasturba Hospital along Saat Rashta in Mahalaxmi on Friday night. The fire was reported around 9.50pm and it was brought under control within an hour.According to an official from the Mumbai Fire Brigade, timely action by fire department prevented the fire from spreading in nearby locality. A total 8 fire engines and 4 water tankers were pressed into service. “The fire has been doused and now the cooling process is going on,” said an official from the Fire Brigade. He added that no one received major burn injuries except some minor scratches on peple when they were coming out in hurry from the building. The exact cause of the fire is not known. However, the fire department suspects that busting crackers might have caused the fire as people had heard fire crackers sound. “There was wooden construction materials and tarpaulins that immediately caught fire,” added the official.

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BJP toes Congress line of caste-niti

Accusing Congress of resorting to caste politics in recently concluded assembly elections at Gujarat, the BJP itself seems to have learned lesson of the same. Ahead of by-elections scheduled at Rajasthan BJP has begun to strengthen its caste cadre and focus on the new voters at the state. Party’s organisation secretary, P Chandrashekhar on Thursday took a session at party state headquarters at Jaipur on its proposed ‘Nav- Matdata Abhiyan’ aimed to increase association of young voters.A day earlier Chandrashekhar along with party state president Ashok Parnami has held a session of the Dalit public representatives of the party. The party at Rajasthan has divided its legislators into caste base categories and tends to assign them a responsibility to ensure support from their respective community. “The meeting of Dalit MLA’s was first in the sequence, we will be soon holding similar meetings of public representatives of other castes,” BJP state president Ashok Parnami briefed on the party plans. BJP at Gujarat was unable to keep intact the ‘Hindu’ votes as several caste swung towards Congress, it also suffered a decline in the share of young voters below 25 years of age. Thus as the responsibility of caste votes is handed over to MLAs of the respective caste, the task to associate young voters has been assigned to the party’s youth wing, Yuva Morcha. On Thursday, BJP’s state organising secretary Chandrashekhar attended a workshop of the Yuva Morcha along with state general secretary Bhajanlal Sharma and state Yuva Morcha president Ashok Saini. Here the participants were briefed on the campaign by a trainer from Delhi. “The nav-metadata program is being launched on instructions of the central leadership and will cover all universities and colleges of the state,” said Bhajanalal Sharma. It is, however, the backward caste votes that remain a major concern for the party. Vote bank Dalits are estimated around 20% of total voters were traditionally Congress supporters but switched sides in the last y elections. Ajmer and Alwar where by-elections where dalit voters hold the key, which is why BJP has given prominence place to their leaders in party like Kalisah Meghwal.

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Cell-ing point

Jaipur city is in the race to become one of the leading cities for smartphone sales as at this point it is ranked 4th in Tier II cities across the country by a popular data analysis website. Moreover, Pink City has risen from 5th position in second quarter of 2017-18.In addition to this, the city is also ranked 9th across India in the third quarter of the year, which is a rank higher than the previous quarter. City-based smartphone distributors believe that Jaipur has witnessed year after year growth of 30 per cent in sale of smartphones.“Jaipur is one of the fastest growing city in terms of smartphone sales. On an average, there is a sale of around 3,000 phones per day in Jaipur alone. Phones under price range of Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 are being preferred the most,” said Samveg Arora, a Jaipur-based distributor.According to researches by GfK and Counterpoint, Samsung has acquired a major share in the city’s offline smartphone market with 33 per cent. This is followed by Xiaomi at 18 per cent and Vivo at 17 per cent.“Jaipur is amongst the leading 10 smartphone markets in India growing by 47.2 per cent quarter on quarter in Q3 2017. This spike can be primarily attributed to multiple online festivals and sales by e-tailers expanding big into non metro cities by building upon a strong logistics network. Xiaomi and Samsung are the leading vendors. With online heavy vendors getting aggressive offline, retail will continue to dominate in Jaipur in the coming quarters,” said Himanshu Jain, market analyst, International Data Corporation India.On the other hand, the market for purchase of second-hand smartphones has also witnessed a jump in the city.“Jaipur serves as one of the major market for sale of used smartphones that are being procured in Delhi NCR. We aim to bring trust and transparency within this highly unorganised trade. We will see buyback of used mobiles becoming a growth driver and enabler of sale of new ones, rather than just being an additional good-to-have feature,” said Prateek Goel, founder, InstaCash. InstaCash is a recently-launched mobile application that allows the user to sell old smartphones in few minutes.Goel further informed that average purchase price of a phone in Jaipur is cheaper at Rs 5,500 as compared to Delhi at Rs. 6,500.City-based technology enthusiasts have started harbouring trust over used smartphones and now understand the benefit of ‘better product at cheaper cost’. This has led to increase in demand, informed Jitendra Pal, Delhi-based secondhand phone dealer who supplies in Rajasthan.

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2G verdict: Allegations were never true says Chidambaram; government should file appeal tweets Subramanian

All accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases – including former telecom minister A Raja and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi – have been acquitted by a Special CBI court. Former finance minister P Chidambaram has welcomed the 2G scam verdict, saying the allegations of corruption were never true and it has been vindicated after the verdict. “Allegation of a major scam involving the highest levels of the government was never true, was not correct and that has been established today,” ANI quoted Chidambaram as saying.“Clearly the court found that innocent people have been wronged. Justice has worked as it is supposed to work in our country,” said another party leader Shashi Tharoor.Also read2G spectrum verdict: All you must know about the case”We are saying that the PM should come to the house and give a clarification, this govt was formed on the basis that UPA was embroiled in 2G and other scams, but now it has been proved that it was just a scam of lies by the opposition,” said senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. Reacting after the verdict, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said the government must immediately file an appeal against the acquittal of all accused in the nearly decade-old case. Swamy took to Twitter to air his thoughts on the judgment. “Government must prove its bonafides by filing an immediate appeal in High Court,” he tweeted.The special CBI court on Thursday acquitted former telecom minister A Raja, DMK leader Kanimozhi and 17 others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

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Dawoodi Bohras extend helping hand to community members

With an aim to help the underprivileged families from their own community, the Dawoodi Bohras have organised a five-day ‘upliftment’ drive from Thursday. While it is the third edition of the project, this is the first time that over 21,000 members from the community have come together voluntarily to take part in the novel initiative.According to the members of the community, people from across the country as well as among those staying abroad have joined to volunteer in the project. During the last edition of the project, over 4,000 community members volunteered. However, in the third edition of the initiative, over 21,000 members volunteered.Speaking about the initiative, a spokesperson of the community said, “While there are various initiatives organised for the five-day upliftment drive, the major activity is House upliftment. Through these initiatives people from our community who are less fortunate will be helped by the volunteers. The upliftment drive involves various works like repairing or cleaning homes, providing food, giving basic necessities, building toilets if required, providing sanitation and providing education facilities. This will ensure that livelihood facilities for the families are available.”In Mumbai, the house upliftment project will be mainly organised in Marol, Mumbra, Dombivli, and Kandivli area among others. Volunteers from the the community include clergy and community officials, doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, businessmen, homemakers, and students.”The aim is to improve the well-being of members of the community as well as society at large. Beside house upliftment, every night there will be workshops on health, sanitation, education at religious centres across cities,” added the spokesperson.

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Post Doklam, Indo-China boundary talks on Friday

After the 73-day Doklam military stand-off, special representatives of India and China will meet in the nation Capital on Friday to carry forward talks on boundary dispute. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informed that at the invitation of Ajit Doval — the National Security Adviser and the Special Representative on the boundary question — State Councillor and China’s Special Representative on the issue Yang Jiechi will visit India on December 22 to hold the 20th SR-level meeting.In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said this SR meeting is not only a high-level channel for the border issue discussion, but also the platform for strategic communication. “In 2017, China-India relations have generally maintained a good momentum, but the Doklam incident posed a major test for the two countries. We should learn lessons from this incident to avoid any further conflict of this kind in the future,” Hua said.Chinese and Indian troops were locked in the border stand-off from June 16 when Indian soldiers stopped Chinese personnel from building a key road close to India’s ‘chicken’s neck’ corridor.On August 28, India announced the “disengagement” between the soldiers of the two countries. The road was being built by China in an area also claimed by Bhutan.

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Travel co to compensate family

The State consumer dispute redressal commission had pulled up Cox and King limited, travel company for failing to provide a South-Mumbai based family with a proper tour guide for their trip to London. The commission has asked the firm to pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 to the eight major family members, while Rs 10,000 towards the minors of the family. The commission has also asked the firm to pay back Rs 29,891 to all 11 complainants as the firm failed to take them to a few places as promised in the itinerary. The forum also asked the firm to pay Rs 10,000 each towards their litigation charges. Anurag Saxena and his family planned a London trip in May 2011 and accordingly made the bookings through Cox and King.According to the complainant, a 11-day Europe trip was booked for which they had paid Rs 12,20,736. The complainants were informed that their tour manager Anthony will remain present along with them throughout the trip. However, when the reached the London airport on May 28, 2011, a person named Jasbir Singh came and introduced himself to be their tour manager. Deficiency in service was seen right from the first day of the tour when Singh did it know the details of the tour and the places to be shown to the complainants in the tour.

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Post Doklam stand-off, next round of India-China border talks from Friday

India and China will hold the next round of border talks here on Friday, the first after the 73-day-long military standoff between the two countries in Doklam in summer months.Issuing a brief statement today, the external affairs ministry said at the invitation of Ajit Doval, the National Security Adviser and the Special Representative on the boundary question, Yang Jiechi, State Councillor and China’s Special Representative on the issue will visit India on December 22 to hold the 20th SR-level meeting. Ahead of the talks, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing that this SR meeting is not only a high-level channel for the border issue discussion but also the platform for strategic communication.”In 2017, China-India relations have maintained a good momentum generally but the Doklam incident posed a major test for the two countries. We should learn lessons from this incident to avoid any further conflict of this kind in the future,” Hua said. Chinese and Indian troops were locked in the border standoff from June 16 when Indian soldiers stopped Chinese personnel from building a key road close to India’s ‘chicken’s neck’ corridor. On August 28, India announced the “disengagement” between the soldiers of the two countries. The road was being built by China in an area also claimed by Bhutan.

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Jammu and Kashmir | Education gets mega boost, 16 new colleges, 400 upgraded govt schools to come up next year

Forget 2016 unrest; the students of Jammu and Kashmir have all the reasons to look forward to 2017.The education sector in the state is all set for a major boost to offset the losses it suffered in the turmoil.More than 400 government schools will be upgraded and 16 new government degree colleges will be established in Jammu and Kashmir.Of the schools to be upgraded, 200 will be promoted from middle to higher and rest 200 from higher to the higher secondary level.The fresh steps to boost education comes a year after education became the prime casualty of the separatist-sponsored civil unrest in Kashmir.Official figures reveal that 34 schools were burnt by attackers during the 2016 unrest. Around 14 incidents of the school burning were timely addressed and property saved.More than 12 lakh students were sitting home as the schools and educational institutions in the valley remained shut for five months following the unrest.“Teachers both in government and private sector deserve all praise for their commitment towards their noble profession. The state is indebted to them. Present government led by Mehbooba Mufti is committed to take education sector to a new high”, said Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Education.Economic Survey Report presented by the Jammu and Kashmir government in the Legislative Assembly few months ago has depicted a grim picture of the education scenario in the valley in 2016.According to the report, normal schooling could be conducted only for a period of four months in the Kashmir valley last year due to the unrest which started after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in Bamdoora village on July 8 2016.“No one can dispute the fact that the young generation of technocrats and officers serving the state at present are the lot which was educated by the teachers in the times of turbulence. Both public and private sector institutions are contributing to raise the education standard in their own ways”, said Bukhari.

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The ‘queue’less case of Jaipur Development Authority

Not so long ago, Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) used to be crowded and one of the busiest government offices. Of late, its corridors wear a deserted look. Gone are the days when chambers of officers and engineers were full of people coming in droves regarding work. There used to be a long queue of people waiting to meet officers with an application or request to resolve their problems. It was impossible for the officers to look up from the files as they would be busy in meetings. Now, there is a paucity of work that it has become tough for the officers and subordinate staff to pass the day in office. It seems as if people have stopped coming to the JDA.However, it has nothing to do with the change in weather rather the blame should go to financial crisis followed by recent court verdicts. Majority of footfalls in the JDA used to be in relation to regularization of colonies. However, since the court stay, there has been no work of regularization since November 4.The court’s ban on regularization gave a convenient excuse to lethargic officials to stop doing work. They have also stopped doing other works like name transfer, ZLC and 90A. They simply cite court order to deny work, which has been creating a problem for the public especially people in Prithviraj Nagar are unable to get water and electricity connections due to lack of patta. In the absence of regularization camps, a major source of JDA’s income has dried up having an adverse impact on the payment of salaries to the employees.Just when JDA was trying to overcome high court ban on regularization, another jolt came as Supreme Court’s ban on sand mining. It has literally stopped development works in the city. Except Dravyavati river and elevated road, at least a dozen development projects have come to a halt. Engineers have no work yet the JDC has not been able to decide on relieving engineers who came on deputation. Around a dozen engineers have been taking salaries and other facilities without work, which is only adding to its financial woes. JDA contractors too have been severely affected as their payments have been stuck since Deepawali. But, there seems to be no solution in sight.Those days!There used to be a long queue of people waiting to meet officers with request to resolve their problems. It was impossible for the officers to look up from the files as they would be busy in meetings.

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Violent protests, chakka jam against sand policies in Bihar

The demonstrations against sand mining policies of the Government of Bihar, turned violent at several places with the protesters raising anti-establishment slogans, burning effigies and tyres and damaging property at several places across Bihar on Tuesday.In the state capital, the Danapur area was affected for several hours when agitators blocked the roads and went on a rampage looting shops breaking windscreen of four-wheelers. “The government is targeting people of a particular community with its new policies. We will not let it happen,” they chorused. The police had to resort to lathicharge to bring the situation in control.In Maner, the crowd burnt police vehicles and pelted stones on cops, after they fired in the air to disperse them. Around 10 people sustained injuries. The mining and related construction activities are on a virtual standstill in the state, though people in the business claim that illegal mining is on as usual.The truck owners association have also effected a complete “chakka jam” beginning this week and parked their trucks to disrupt traffic on all major state and national highways in Bihar. Among the major affected areas were Koilwar bridge (Bhojpur), Maner, Munger, Barh and Sheikhpura. Long queues of bigger vehicles could be seen on these roads and commuters faced much trouble.At several places, the protesters offloaded their trucks and spilled sand on the roads while many of the masons and daily wage labourer blocked roads using their tools and other equipment. They have also restricted the entry of trucks arriving from other states, resulting in upping of prices of groceries and some essential goods.Meanwhile, Patna High Court on Tuesday deferred the pleas of truck owner association regarding the mining policies till the first week of January. However, the labourers, sand traders and truck owners said they will continue with their protests till the government met their demands and withdrew the new sand policy. The Opposition RJD has also called a Bihar-bandh on December 21 in this matter.BLOCKED ROADSAt several places, the protesters off loaded their trucks and spilled sand on the roads while many of the masons and daily wage labourer blocked roads using their tools and other equipment.

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Wadia hospital raises funds to save ‘little hearts’

Seven-month-old Mahalaxmi Thevar from Tamil Nadu can now lead a healthy life. Thevar was diagnosed with a cardiac disease within a few weeks of birth. Her parents were referred to Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for bidirectional Glenn procedure to improve her heart function.Just like Thevar’s operation, the hospital took charge of heart operations of other children from underprivileged backgrounds by organising a marathon — Little Hearts Marathon — and raising funds. Most of these operations cost over Rs 2 lakhs, which are not affordable.Last year, the hospital organised a similar marathon, raised funds and conducted 200 surgeries of children suffering from congenital heart disease.Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO Wadia Hospitals, said “The aim of the marathon is to ‘Save hearts, Save Lives’. This year, they aim to help more than 500 children, almost 50 patients are in the fray at Wadia Hospital to receive treatment. Approximately 100,000 babies are born each year with major and critical congenital heart disease in India.Mahalaxmi’s mother, Sabari, said, “Our family income is Rs 7,000 a month. We are not financially stable to pay the entire operation cost. Two months back my daughter underwent a successful surgery. While it was free for us, the amount of her surgery was raised through the marathon fund.”Dr Biswas Panda, children heart surgeon, said, “There is lack of awareness as well as detection facilities.WORTH THE EFFORTLast year, the hospital organised a similar marathon, raised funds and conducted 200 surgeries of children suffering from congenital heart disease. Most of these operations cost over Rs 2 lakhs.

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Ahead of NSA-level talks, China says lessons should be learnt from Doklam stand-off

China today said that the Doklam stand-off posed a “major test” for the bilateral ties and lessons should be learnt from it to avoid a similar situation of its kind in the future.The comment came ahead of the 20th round of India-China border talks which are expected to be held this week in New Delhi between National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi who are designated Special Representatives. Though the talks are scheduled for December 22, an official announcement has not been made yet from both sides.The two sides attach significance to this round of talks as it would be the first round of talks since the 73-day Doklam stand-off in the Sikkim section which ended on August 28. This Special Representative meeting is not only a high- level channel for the border issue discussion but also the platform for strategic communication,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here today. This also allows the two sides to exchange views on the international and regional issues of major concern, she said.Also readIndian Army’s Doklam warning: Any mischief will get ‘nice and proper’ response “In 2017, China-India relations have maintained a good momentum generally but the Doklam incident posed a major test for the two countries. We should learn lessons from this incident to avoid any further conflict of this kind in the future,” Hua said. “We should follow our historical conventions on the border to uphold the tranquillity and peace in the border region as well as safeguard the larger picture of the India- China relations,” she said, adding that is in the best interest of both the countries. Asked about the Doklam stand-off’s impact on the talks, Hua said the issue also figured in the recent visit of Foreign Minister Wang Yi to New Delhi to take part in the foreign ministers’ meeting of Russia, India, China (RIC).On its sidelines, Wang also held talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj and President Ram Nath Kovind. Wang in his meeting with Indian counterpart also touched about the Doklam issue, Hua said. Besides attempting to resolve the vexed border dispute, the format of the India-China Special Representatives talks covered the whole gamut of relations between the two countries including political, strategic, economic and trade issues.The 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) covers from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. Of this, 220-km section falls in Sikkim. The two sides so far held 19 rounds of Special Representatives talks to resolve the dispute.Also readDoklam stand-off put severe pressure on bilateral ties: Chinese Foreign Minister tells Sushma SwarajOfficials say Wang’s visit, the first by a top Chinese official after the Doklam stand-off and the starting of second term of Chinese President Xi Jinping in October facilitated a more candid and frank talks between the two countries to tide over most contentious between the two countries beyond the diplomatic niceties. They said though a solution to the border dispute still eludes the two countries, a lot of headway has been made in the 19th round of talks in terms of working out mechanisms to restore peace and tranquillity along the border to resolve tensions out of the aggressive patrolling by troops.The Doklam stand-off began on June 16 over PLA’s plans to build a road in area claimed by Bhutan after the Indian troops intervened to stop it as it posed a security risk to Chicken Neck, the narrow corridor connecting India with its North- eastern states. India pointed Sino-Indian differences over the tri- junction between India, China and Bhutan in the Sikkim section which is yet to be settled. The stand-off ended on August 28 following mutual agreement between India and China. China, which earlier opened the Nathu La route for Indian pilgrims to visit Kailash and Manasarovar, has closed it after the Doklam stand-off and yet to open it.

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Gujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will bost morale, says Ashok Chavan

The Congress may have lost the Gujarat elections on Monday, but the final results will certainly boost the party’s morale, feels Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Chavan. In Gujarat, in total 182 seats of assembly, BJP won 99 seats while Congress 80. Congress won mostly in the rural belt of Gujarat due to farmers’ unrest. “We are also facing the same situations in Maharashtra. Farmers are not getting the good rates to their crops — cotton, soya bean etc. Besides, the promised farm loan waiver has not been yet fulfilled,” said Chavan on Tuesday.He said that during the Congress regime, farmers were getting Rs 6,000- Rs 7,000 for per quintal of cotton against present Rs 4,000-4,500. “Farmers are working hard but not getting fair rates. On this same issue, BJP MP Nana Patole resigned. BJP has gone back on its given promises. They no more talk about the Ache Din now,” the former chief minister said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsIn Maharashtra, there are total 288 seats. Presently, the BJP has 120, Shiv Sena – 62 while the Congress and the NCP 42 and 40 respectively. “Last elections, the Congress and the NCP fought separately. Now, NCP president Sharad Pawar has also indicated possible alliance of Congress and NCP again. In the upcoming elections, we will put the united face that will help to get us majority in state assembly and improve our tally in parliament as well. Modi-Shah juggernaut which was slower down by Congress in Gujarat will be halted in Maharashtra permanently,” Chavan said.NCP leader Ajit Pawar also criticised BJP. “If BJP struggled to get the century in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its party president Amit Shah’s home state, they will not make much impact in Maharashtra. Here, Gujarat pride, Pakistan and fanning Hindu-Muslim issue will not work. We believe in issue-based politics,” said Pawar.Also readAssembly elections 2017| ‘Gujarat model’ has been shaken, verdict a warning for 2019, Shiv Sena tells BJPInterestingly, the Shiv Sena is unlikely to form an alliance with the BJP in the upcoming state and Lok Sabha elections. “Seat sharing between the Sena and BJP is major issue. No one will cut down their current seats numbers to accommodate each other. Therefore, they have no options but to contest separately. And that will surely go in favour of Congress and the NCP,” said political observer.

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Narrow escape for jodi no 1 in Gujarat

Gujarat was indeed tough for BJP. And the ruling party knew that very well. No wonder Jodi No 1 – Narendra Modi and Amit Shah once again led from the front and saved BJP from blushes. Had this invincible Jodi taken this election for granted, the outcome would have easily been termed as referendum against Modi’s radical reforms including GST and demonetization. But the thin margin of 19 seats is enough to trigger a panic button for BJP, which is slated to face stiff challenge from rejuvenated Congress in major states like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.The results have been a set back for BJP as it was claiming 150 seats but failed miserably to even touch the three figure mark. This is termed as a victory of two individuals rather than the party’s. The Jodi has so far created a record of sorts by winning 13 elections out of 15. Gujarat’s result may not savour well for BJP but it will definitely germinate internal democracy in the party. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are likely to be more flexible and receptive to ideas of other senior leaders. A green shoot was evident when Amit Shah, in a press conference allowed reporters to ask questions in otherwise what used to be one-sided press conferences.For Congress, this was a moral victory and led to an emergence of a strong leader in party. Rahul Gandhi, who had been relegated as a flop leader after a series of drubbings, is now being hailed as a leader who revived the ailing Congress. He showed consistency, maturity and quick decision making in his 40-day long campaign. For the first time, he looked like throwing direct challenge on Modi. With Rahul, Congress also discovered a shrewd strategist in Ashok Gehlot, who charioteered the election rath of Gandhi. People are saying that Gehlot may take up role of Ahmed Patel but it is not easy to replace Patel. However, still Gehlot might have a major say in Rahul’s decision making process in coming days.There’s much to cheer for Congress but the magic of Jodi No 1 is there to stay. At this moment, there is no apparent challenge to the domination of Modi-Shah, but the tight finish of Gujarat elections has given them enough food for thought ahead of 2019.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Below-expectation results mar joy around sixth straight govt

During the BJP’s rule in Gujarat, its seats have been shrinking, but the tally never went below 100. The party will form government in Gujarat for the sixth consecutive term, but it showed no exuberance after the results were declared. Perhaps, these are the most shocking results for the BJP, in the home state of PM Narendra Modi and the party’s national president Amit Shah.Those who have seen the Modi era in Gujarat till 2014 would remember the scene at the party headquarter where winning candidates would be pouring in, and workers would be seen beating drums, doing Garba, chanting slogans for Modi, bursting crackers, continuously. The entire atmosphere would be coloured with saffron and ‘gulaal’.Visitors of Shri Kamalam, the BJP headquarters near Gandhinagar, were surprised to see the deserted look there. A couple of leaders were present, locked in their offices. A few workers from Gandhinagar reached there just to mark their presence and CM Vijay Rupani came to address a press conference. By 6 pm, Shri Kamalam was almost empty.During the press conference, Rupani said, “We accept the verdict of Gujarat and will try to live up to people’s expectations in the coming five years as people of the state have given us an opportunity to serve them. This is historic in India that a single party won for the sixth consecutive term. This shows people’s faith in Narendra Modi and development. The credit goes to our leader Amit Shah too for his guidance.” In fact, this is the time for the BJP to start reflecting on the reasons of the party’s performance in Gujarat. PM Narendra Modi addressed as many as 34 rallies travelling 10,000 km in Gujarat and held six major roadshows.Moreover, a range of leaders starting from Amit Shah, Union Ministers like Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and others were deployed to woo voters but the charishma of BJP leaders did not shine much this time as compared with past polls.Surprisingly, the PM and the entire cadre of the BJP diligently tried to play victim on the issues of Mani Shankar Aiyar calling Modi ‘neech’ and tossed issues connecting Congress leaders with Pakistan, but failed to earn sympathy from voters in desired numbers. Development was the core agenda of the BJP for the campaign but that became subsidiary and temple visits by Rahul Gandhi, Ram Mandir and Nehru-Gandhi family’s treatment to Gujarati leaders were reverberating in the skies of Gujarat during BJP leaders’ poll rallies in the state.BJP under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi and national president Amit Shah, the BJP aimed for more than 150 seats in Gujarat and could not cross 100 too. Sixth consecutive termVisitors of the BJP headquarters near Gandhinagar, were surprised to see the deserted look. A few workers from Gandhinagar reached there just to mark their presence.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Pro-incumbency has helped us win Gujarat, says Jitendra Singh

Hailing the sixth successive victory of the BJP in Gujarat, Union Minister and top party leader, Jitendra Singh, said that the party has introduced the concept of “pro-incumbency” which has helped them win comfortably even after being in power in the state for 22 years.Amid victory celebrations at the party headquarters, Singh said that it is the BJP which has changed the definition of politics by introducing “pro-incumbency” as a factor. “Till this time, only anti-incumbency was known as a factor for winning or losing an election. But the BJP rule in Gujarat has established pro-incumbency as a major factor in winning peoples’ mandate,” said Singh, minister of state (MoS) in PMO.Hitting at its rival Congress, Singh said, in the history of Indian democracy, winning the state elections after 22 years of rule with a comfortable margin means that people, in particular the youth, have rejected the politics of caste, which the Congress party had been trying to base their campaign on.“The youth, which constitutes almost 40 per cent of the population, has forgotten the old baggage of caste. The Congress tried to make it a caste election, which did not work. We won on performance and delivery and not by visiting 28 temples like the Congress president,” said Singh. The Congress retained its traditional vote in pockets. However, its “negative” strategy of “intimidating” the Patidar community, failed on the ground, he said.

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Visually challenged mother wakes up son from sleep, duo escape miraculously

Visually challenged Lata Pawar was fast asleep inside the ill-fated farsan factory when she woke up to the chaos of workers. She then woke up her 27-year-old son, Tushar, in the nick of time and the two managed to escape unhurt from the major fire. Her second son was also saved from the inferno as he was serving the night shift at his workplace.Lata Pawar, visually challenged after the death of her husband Tanaji, a year back, was sleeping beside her son, Tushar inside the company. Tanaji was employed with the owner of the industrial unit since past 30 year and after his death, the owner gave a small space inside the industrial unit for the family to live.She said, “I heard the workers shouting that there was fire. I could smell smoke and it is then when I woke up my son and asked him to leave the premises.””The workers were struggling to douse the fire. It is when that we decided to rush outside the factory.”, said her son Tushar Pawar.”As soon as we were out of the premises, the ceiling of the factory collapsed and major fire engulfed the factory. The workers were unable to come outside and only wight of us managed to escape”, said Pawar.Moreover, the family has lost all the identification documents and fear that they will be unable to use the government schemes meant for the disabled. “When the fire was doused, we tried to search the documents but were not able to find anything. We hope that the police will give us letter so that we can apply for the new documents.”, said Tejas Pawar son of Lata Pawar.FAMILIES MOURN DEATH OF THEIR LOVED ONES“Ram Naresh was working at Bhanu Farsan Mart for the past three years. Earlier I used to work at this mart, and later I got my brother employed there. I did not know that something terrible like this would happen to my brother. In a way, I hold myself responsible. If I had not got my brother employed there, he would not have met this end,” Arjun Gupta, elder brother of Ram Naresh Gupta alias Sonu, 20, who died in the blaze, told DNA. Arjun kept weeping inside the Rajawadi Hospital premises, waiting to get his brother’s body. Friends of Sonu gathered and tried to console Arjun.

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Stop trying to derail India from path of development: PM Modi’s top quotes after saffron sweep

PM Narendra Modi addressed the BJP workers in the party headquarters in New Delhi after it was clear that they have won both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. A visibly buoyant Modi expressed his delight after the massive victory in the two states. BJP swept Himachal Pradesh to come back to power and won with a smaller mandate to form government in Gujarat for the sixth time. Here are the major things PM Modi said after the twin win:1. Earlier Gujarat was riddled with caste considerations. BJP got rid of it and started a path of development. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: How GST tweak saved the day for BJP2. Some people have again started to play caste politics in the last few months. People have rejected it but they need to be cautious3. After 2014, there is hunger for development. Even if you do not like BJP, do not try to derail India from path of development. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Akhilesh asks Rahul to build opposition unity ahead of 2019 polls4. Gujarat election result in historic. So many conspiracies were hatched, misinformation was spread5. Elections results show that the country is ready for reform, is looking towards parties that perform in a positive way and believes in transformation6. I bow down to people of Gujarat and Himachal, who chose the path of development.7. The results in Himachal Pradesh show that if you don’t do development and are embroiled in all wrong acts then after 5 years people will reject you.8. During UP elections it was said BJP would lose due to GST effect in urban areas, same was said in Gujarat elections and local body polls in Maharashtra.With ANI inputs

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Gujarat elections 2017: Stakes high in Guj’s top 4 cities

To continue its winning streak in Gujarat and retain power in the recently concluded state Assembly elections for a fifth consecutive time, the BJP will have to clinch four major cities —Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat. Of the 37 seats across these cities, in the 2012 polls, BJP had won 34 seats. However, if the Congress is able to make inroads in these cities, it can upset BJP’s apple-cart.In Ahmedabad, traditionally, whichever party has taken the lead has gone on to form the government. In 1985, when Congress had last formed the government in Gujarat, it had won 10 of the 12 seats in Ahmedabad. At the time, Ashok Bhatt of BJP had won Khadia while Babubhai Vasanwala for Janata Party had won Ellis Bridge and the rest had been taken by Congress. Since then, Congress has never taken the city, nor state. In the 1990 polls, it bagged only two Muslim-dominated seats of Shaher Kotda and Jamalpur. Narhari Amin and Babubhai Vasanwala from Janta Dal won the Sabarmati and Ellisbridge seats respectively, while BJP bagged the rest. Ultimately, the Chimanbhai Patel-led Janata Dal won 70, while BJP won 67 seats and a JD-BJP coalition government was formed. However, since then, it has been BJP all the way, with Congress winning only the Muslim-dominated seats. It the outgoing Assembly, it only had two MLAs from the city.Now, poll watchers say that the Congress can add about two seats to its existing tally of two seats. The party though feels that it has a legitimate shot in six constituencies, mainly because of the Patidar agitation. Local factors like relative strength of candidates, demonetization and GST will also play a role. Party spokesman Kailash Gadhvi sees Congress victory in Danilimda, Jamalpur-Khadia, Shahpur, Thakkarbapanagar, Nicol and Vejalpur. “Demonetization and GST has hurt small businessmen and masses. Urban areas suffer from high cost of education and health services. There is high degree of joblessness affecting the youth. All these factors are now in our favour,” Gadhvi told DNA.Meanwhile in Surat, also a BJP bastion, the party currently holds all the seats. Economic slowdown aggravated by demonetization and GST has put a spanner in its loyal votebank of small traders and manufacturers. When GST was implemented, the city was at the forefront in its opposition in June and July this year. At the time, the party had to send a central team of tax officials to placate the businessmen. In the run up to the voting, Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Smriti Irani, Nirmala Sitharaman and Purushottam Rupala began an outreach to meet local leaders. Therefore, poll watchers feel the Congress might be able to spring a surprise in Varachha Road, Kamrej and Surat – North.Additionally, though BJP had won all the six city seats in Vadodara in 2012, the Congress is optimistic about winning there. In Rajkot, the BJP holds two of the three seats, but Congress just might flip the equation and gain a lead this year.

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Maha govt reconstitutes advisory committee under Human Organ Transplantation Act

The Maharashtra government on Saturday reconstituted a 10-member advisory committee headed by the health secretary, under the Human Organ Transplantation Act, 1994. The committee will have a two-year term till December 2019.The committee comprises, among others, the leading liver transplant surgeon Dr GB Davar, GS Medical College urology department chief Dr Sujata Patwardhan, Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre secretary Dr Surendrakumar Mathur, Sneha Foundation representative Dr Armeda Fernandes, Disha Foundation representative Shailesh Shetty, Association for Organ Transplantation president Dr Alan Almeida and cardiology specialist Dr Anvay Mulay as special invitee.The formation of the advisory committee was necessitated as the term of the previous committee appointed on December 31, 2014 was completed on December 31, 2016. The advisory committee is expected to play a major role to advise the state government on the strict implementation of Act and thereby promote organ transplantation, donation and distribution across the state.Dr Davar, who has been associated with organ transplantation for over two decades, told DNA,” Today we are getting voluntary donors due to public awareness. The government can increase further participation of medical colleges and non-transplant organ retrieval centres so that the organs of brain-dead patients can be useful to save more and more lives.”Dr Mathur said that Maharashtra has been pioneer in organ transplantation and donation as it was the first state to issue notification way back in 1999 and subsequently set up state level federation for organ transplantation and the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre at Mumbai. At the all India level the per million population organ donation rate is 0.5, but it is 1.5 in Maharashtra and 2.31 in Mumbai division, which is next to Tamil Nadu’s 2.50.”Number of donors is steadily increasing. There were 132 donors at the state level in the calendar year 2016 and the number will increase by end of December 2017. A little push is required to increase the number. The advisory committee will can advise the state government with regard to increasing the participation of medical colleges and other hospitals with ICU facility,” Dr Mathur said.Dr Patwardhan hoped that the advisory committee can give a necessary push for organ transplantation and donation by suggesting changes in the Act, rules and procedures.What it doesThe formation of the advisory committee was necessitated as the term of the previous committee appointed on December 31, 2014 was completed on December 31, 2016. The committee is expected to advise the state government on the implementation of Act and promote organ transplantation.

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Rahul Gandhi to take charge as Congress president today: 10 updates

Rahul Gandhi will take over the reins of the Congress party on Saturday. This marks the beginning of the new era in the Grand Old Party, which has so far seen the leadership of Sonia Gandhi for 19 years.Ahead of the official elevation, here are the major updates on this political story:1: Rahul Gandhi will receive a formal certificate of being elected as the Congress president unopposed from the party’s central election authority at a function at the party headquarters in New Delhi today.2: The 47-year-old will take the charge from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who has been the longest serving president of the Congress.3: Sonia Gandhi, who became Congress president in 1998, steered the 132-year-old party for 19 years.Also readSonia Gandhi ‘retires’ as Rahul Gandhi takes the reins today4: Sonia Gandhi’s two-decade long stint saw the Congress-led UPA winning two successive Lok Sabha polls in 2004 and 2009 and formed UPA-I and UPA-II governments.5: On Friday, the media was abuzz with stories about Sonia Gandhi’s retirement.Also readIt’s official! Rahul Gandhi is new Congress president, to assume office on December 166: Congress, however, clarified that she is retiring from the post of party president and not from politics.7: The reluctance shown by Rahul Gandhi in his initial years of politics is now a thing of past.8: The Gujarat Assembly Election saw him in an alll-new aggressive avatar. Be it going to temples or questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, Rahul Gandhi managed to infuse new energy in the party’s poll camapign.9: Though all major exit polls are showing the BJP victory in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the fact remains that this would be solely seen in comparison with Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive campaigning.10: At a time when the Congress has been reduced to limited political presence across India, Rahul Gandhi will have huge responsibility on his shoulders.

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Ambitious Rs 6.5K cr Parwan agri project initiated by Raj-Centre

Accusing Congress government for delaying ambitious Parwan irrigation project, chief minister, Vasundhara Raje has claimed that her government worked with sincerity on the project and laid its foundation, finally. She was addressing a gathering in Baran district where she along with Union road surface and water minister, Nitin Gadkari laid foundation stones and inaugurated development works worth Rs8,487 crore, including Rs 6,490 crore of Parwan alone.“Congress has done politics in 50 years of its rule but we implemented it. When it gets completed, it will become lifeline of Baran, Jhalawar and Kota districts. The dam capacity of this project is 490 million cubic metre. After completion, 317million cubic metres of water will be available for irrigation. Along with irrigation, this project will also provide 50 million cubic metres of water to quench thirst of 1,821 villages of Baran, Jhalawar and Kota districts. The thermal power generation of 2,970 MW will be achieved with 79 million cubic metre of the project,” Raje spoke here at a rally.The project is set to be a boon for three districts of Hadoti region- Baran, Jhalawar and Kota- where over 2 lakh hectare will get sufficient water. By laying foundation the government fulfilled a major promise which may impact the assembly polls too. Albeit, it is also a truth that the government took four years in finalizing detailed project report (DPR) and issuing work tenders. In the event which is part of government celebration of 4 years anniversary, the CM also presented report card on major irrigation works done. She noted that her government spent Rs5,633 crore on various irrigation projects including Indira Gandhi canal to provide water to 50,000 hectare land. “Dholpur lift project is also one of the major project which we took up. This project was not realised in 5o years but we are making it,” said Raje.

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Radheshyam Garg is new RPSC chief

Dr Radheshyam Garg will take over as RPSC chairman. Garg hails from Dholpur, home constituency of chief minister Vasundhara Raje.Garg, according to the sources, is an RSS man and has served in the organization on important posts. His profile pegs him as one of best surgeons in the region and he runs a nursing home there. Apart from this, Garg reportedly also is in charge of a mentally challenged kids school, a social service which gives that extra edge in the region.RPSC, the body entrusted with the task of recruiting government employees was without a head after its chairman Shyam Sunder Sharma retired on September 28. The commission is an eight-member body, including the chairman.Chairman’s post is a constitutional one with the governor appointing the head. The term of the chairman and members is that of six years or 62 years of age, whichever is earlier. Garg will complete 62 in May, 2018. This means, he will serve the post for only six months. The biggest challenge before Garg arises from wrong reasons in which the body has been indulged in the past. The RPSC has been often pulled up by the high court for its mismanagement and inefficiency in conducting exams.The high court on many occasions observed that RPSC’s inefficiency is a major reason for unwanted litigations in the courts due to its botched up competitive exams. Garg will be a busy man in his short tenure. The chief minister Vasundhara Raje on December 13 had made announcement of 1.4 lakh government jobs under direct recruitment. A lion share of the recruitment will be done by the RPSC. Also, it now has to manage exams of more youth in coming days as applicants number is likely to grow in the wake of the government’s decision to increase age cap to 40 from 35 for youth taking competitive exams.

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Delhi cop out at crime scene

The rate of registration of crimes in the national Capital has gone up fourfold in the last seven years. Cases of theft that have jumped by a whopping 1,530 per cent — from 6,313 in 2011 to 1,02,954 in 2017. Burglaries saw a tenfold increase till 2016, but dipped this year, latest police data shows. Vehicle thefts have also more than doubled during this period. As for heinous crimes, they rose steadily from 2011 to 2015, but came down in 2016. But non-heinous crimes have continued to spike since 2000.In 2011, the total number of cases registered was 53,353. It was 54,287 in 2012 that grew to 80,184 in 2013. The number further grew to 1,55,654 in 2014, and 2015 recorded 1,91,377 cases. In 2016 a total of 2,09,519 crimes were registered. This year, till November, the figure was 2,13,151. Officials say that the rising numbers are because of better reporting of cases and do not reflect poor law and order. A number of initiatives have been taken by the Delhi police to encourage registration, they say.”People in Delhi have good access to the police. If one wants to report a crime, it won’t remain unreported. We have zero-tolerance towards non-registration of crimes. Moreover, facilities like online registration of FIRs through mobile phone apps have made the task hassle free and less time consuming. We must appreciate more registration of crimes so that no crime goes unreported. Citizens must become the eyes and ears of police to help eradicate every form of crime in society,” a senior police officer said.Take the case of Param Srivastava, an IT professional. He had his mobile phone stolen from a market near his residence in East Delhi. Having a hectic work schedule from 10 am to about midnight, what he could do best was to file an e-FIR and let the matter rest with the police for investigation.”I was not aware of this system. To get a new SIM card of the same number I needed to file an FIR and filing it online saved me a lot of time and energy. Even if the phone could not be recovered, my work did not get affected. However, the police also needs to take these FIRs as seriously as the ones registered by complainants physically, in police stations,” he said.The police says that such measures from the force encourage people and victims of crimes to come forward and raise their voice. “Registration of a crime is the first step towards raising your voice. It also allows the police to probe and ensure justice. Such measures have also encouraged women and girls to come forward and report,” he added.”One can simply go to the Delhi police’s website and lodge a complaint. That complaint is then turned into an e-FIR and a receipt is generated for the user, for future reference. Moreover, one can even check the status of her complaint on the website. Apart from these, policing apps are available on cell phones and women safety apps have also been launched to make police accessible anywhere and everywhere,” he said.About three months ago, Isha, who works as a content producer at a private firm, got her laptop stolen from her house. “My residence where I live as a paying guest with two other women, is quite a public place. It is not easy to find a suspect. The ability to solve a crime is a different debate altogether, but I found reporting the theft a very easy and time-saving process. My parents might have otherwise not liked the idea of my visiting a police station at odd hours,” she said. However, increasing street crimes cannot be ignored and vigil needs to be stepped up at a number of stretches in Delhi, she said.Rising CrimesBut heinous crimes are the biggest worry. Delhi accounts for the maximum number of rape cases among 19 major cities at 40 per cent, besides the highest crime rate in 2016, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. The national Capital has got the dubious distinction of topping the list in cases of murder, kidnapping and abduction, juveniles bring in conflict and economic offences. Delhi reported 33 per cent (13,803 cases out of total 41,761 cases in 19 cities) of total crimes against women, followed by Mumbai at 12.3 per cent (5,128 cases) last year among the 19 cities with population above two million.The national Capital reported nearly 40 per cent of rape cases and nearly 29 per cent of each of cruelty by husband and his relatives and dowry deaths, the NCRB data said. Delhi accounted for 38.8 per cent of total IPC crime reported in 19 cities, followed by Bengaluru (8.9 per cent) and Mumbai at 7. 7 per cent. The national Capital recorded the highest crime rate—182.1 compared to the national average of 77.2. Delhi reported the highest number of kidnapping and abduction—5,453 cases (48.3 per cent) followed by Mumbai with 1,876 cases (16.6 per cent) and Bengaluru with 879 cases (7.8 per cent) during 2016.The city reported the highest number of murders— 479 out of 2,194 cases (21.8 per cent)—followed by Bengaluru at 10.4 per cent (229 cases) and Patna at 8.9 per cent (195 cases). The highest number of cases—at 35.6 per cent (2,368 cases out of 6,645)—of juveniles in conflict with law were reported in Delhi among the 19 cities during 2016.Delhi has reported the maximum number of cases under economic offences—5,942 cases (19.3 per cent)—followed by Jaipur (4,742 cases) and Mumbai (4,191 cases), accounting for 15.4 per cent and 13.6 per cent respectively during 2016. In cybercrimes, Mumbai reported the highest number of cases—980 (23.5 per cent) out of 4,172 cases in 19 major cities in 2016.The crime scenario in Delhi cannot be compared with other metros because the city has different policing requirements, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik said recently. “In terms of policing requirements, since it is the national Capital, Delhi has got VIP security, law and order arrangements which are typical to Delhi. The city is a separate class in itself and it can only be compared to Delhi of the previous year,” Patnaik told PTI.Poor Strike RateBut the data also shows that cops are struggling to crack cases. The Delhi police’s average crime solving percentage across all its administrative districts till November 19 this year was low as 33.37 per cent. This is when the NCRB has ranked the city as the worst in increasing crime cases. Confidential police documents accessed and reported by DNA recently showed that the force has been struggling to clear case backlogs.The New Delhi district is the worst despite having the biggest police deployment. It managed to solve only 23 per cent of the 3,120 cases. Then comes Rohini that could solve 26 per cent of the total 18,046 cases. The North district achieved a rate of only 29 per cent. It registered 9,513 cases. It is followed by the Southeast that could solve 30 per cent of the 20,549 cases.The East district scored 31 per cent. It registered 15,659 cases. The outer district managed to solve 33 per cent of the 14,961 cases. The Northwest also clocked 33 per cent. It recorded 19,400 cases. The police in West, Southwest and Northeast districts have solved 36 per cent of the 16,105, 14,474 and 15,613 cases, respectively. The Central district recorded 9,564 cases and solved a 37 per cent of them. The Shahdara district performed better and scored 41 per cent. It recorded 12,798 cases. The South district has fared the best. It solved 44 per cent of the 19,786 cases.The IGI airport police, which does not usually witness heinous crimes at it falls in a sensitive zone and has round-the-clock security by the CISF, solved 56 per cent of the 577 cases that included only one murder and a rape as heinous crimes. Railways and Delhi Metro, however, were the worst in non-major police pockets. Both solved 21 per cent and 22 per cent cases, respectively. The Railways recorded 3,683 cases, while the Metro saw 11,872.Police ClaimsOfficers say a number of measures have been taken for crime control. These include more participation of the public in assisting cops in monitoring large areas. “Certain steps which have been of major help are integrated patrolling with traffic police and the police control room, regular bike patrolling to ensure visibility and group patrolling in areas more prone to criminal activities,” a senior official said. Further, initiatives which demand public participation are like Sashakti self-defence training camps, anti-snatching teams and use of local area security guards to assist beat constables and act as force multipliers and Prahari schemes, he said, also mentioning area-wise crime mapping, identification of vulnerable and escape routes used by local criminals, picket checking at crime prone stretches.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Talkshows and public rallies, AMC gets rich by Rs 17.25 lakh

People are busy discussing opinion polls, exit polls and surveys related to elections as the poll hangover is still on. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), on the other hand, is counting notes.AMC earned Rs17.25 lakh during the poll season. The amount is very nominal for AMC, whose annual budget is more than Rs 6,000 crore. Apart from the riverfront space, not a single community hall of AMC was booked for political meetings.For talk shows in different news channel, AMC rented the space at Sabarmati Riverfront. As per data given by the civic authority, a total of 36 such talk shows were organised at the riverfront. This generated an income of Rs2.12 lakh.Also three major public meetings were held at riverfront which has fetched Rs9.33 lakh to AMC’s bank. “We are renting open spaces commercially. There are many religious events, sports events, and other functions. During elections, private news channels and political parties had approached us,” said a senior civic body officer.”By renting out space at Sabarmati riverfront, AMC earned Rs11.45 lakh. Space for advertisements and hoardings brought us another Rs5.80 lakh,” added the official.”The income of Rs 5.80 lakh is from political parties and applied via a single window system. Election related advertisements were also from the Collector’s office regarding voting awareness. We haven’t charged anything from the Collector’s office,” remarked the official.Also, the civic body is renting out space for shooting purposes, since 2014. However, income generated from renting out space for shooting is lesser than the entry to visiting the Riverfront park and Flower park.

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India is Afghanistan’s most reliable regional partner: Pentagon tells US Congress

India is Afghanistan’s “most reliable regional partner”, the Pentagon told the US Congress today as it welcomed additional economic, medical, and civic support from New Delhi to the war-torn country.”India is Afghanistan’s most reliable regional partner and the largest contributor of development assistance in the region,” said the Pentagon in its report to the Congress titled ‘Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan’.This assistance includes civil development projects such as the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam and the Afghan parliament building, the report said.India provides significant training opportunities for Afghan officers and enlisted personnel and has frequently offered to increase its burden sharing for Afghanistan, it said, adding that approximately 130 Afghans travel to India each year to attend various military and commissioning programmes.India has also donated limited security assistance, most notably four Mi-35 aircraft, the Pentagon said.”The new South Asia policy highlighted our relationship with India and called on India to provide more assistance to the international efforts in Afghanistan. The United States welcomes additional Indian economic, medical, and civic support to Afghanistan,” the Pentagon said in its report.Also readWinter Session of Parliament begins, Congress seeks PM Modi’s apology over Pakistan remarkThis is the first report of the Pentagon to Congress after President Donald Trump announced his new Afghan and South Asia policy in August.”Our purpose in Afghanistan remains the same: to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven from which terrorist groups can plan and execute attacks on the United States, or our allies and citizens abroad. To accomplish this, we continue to support our Afghan partners and train, advise, and assist its military and government institutions,” it said.Under the new strategy, the US will continue to support the Afghan government and security forces in the fight against the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Khorasan (ISIS-K), and other insurgents and terrorists, to strengthen the Afghan government and prevent reestablishment of terrorist safe havens in Afghanistan.”A major change from our previous strategy is the shift from a time-based approach to a conditions-based one. This shift underscores the US commitment to the continued development of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF), provided that our Afghan partners satisfy their obligations,” the Pentagon said.The new strategy does not mean a return to US-led combat operations, instead, the key to success lies in improving ANDSF capabilities and allow them to lead in the fight against the Taliban, it clarified.”We will continue to work by, with, and through the ANDSF to help them defeat their enemies and to ultimately arrive at a political settlement in Afghanistan,” said the Pentagon.

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