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Rationalist team spends night at West Bengal station listed as ‘haunted’ by Railways

A group of rationalists spent a winter night in the small obscure railway station in West Bengal’s Purulia district, which had been recorded as ‘haunted’ by the Railways, to bust the myth.The group found a few locals trying to scare them away from the station on Thursday night instead of any paranormal presence, a member of the rationalist group said today.Begunkodor station, located near the Ayodhya Hills and 50 km from Purulia town, had earned the distinction of being a ‘ghost station’ after 1967, the year its station master had reportedly died after seeing a white sari clad woman walking along the tracks in the night.The incident had caused passengers to desert the station and it had come to be known as ‘haunted’ in the Railways records.Begunkodor had been closed since then and was listed by Railways as one of its 10 ‘haunted’ stations in India.The station was reopened 42 long years later in 2009 by Mamata Banerjee during her tenure as the railways minister.Since then trains stopped at this obscure station and passengers used it only till 5 pm scared of encounters with the ghosts.A nine-member team of the rationalist organisation Paschim Banga Bigyan Manch, armed with torches, digital compasses and cameras, had camped at this station with police protection on Thursday night and busted the decades-old myth.Nayan Mukherjee, who led the team said, “We were at the Begunkodor station in Purulia district from 11 pm on Thursday night till the early morning hours the next day but there was no nocturnal activity.”He said the team did not see the ghost of a woman who is said to have committed suicide years ago or the apparition of the station master, who reportedly haunt the station. “We could only spot a snake in an adjacent well,” Mukherjee said.He said, the team had heard a peculiar noise from the darkness behind the station building deep in the night. “When we focussed the torch light on the surrounding bush at around 2 AM we saw four to five people, who appeared to be locals fleeing from the spot. We chased them for a while but they ran away.”The station was being touted by certain people for some time as a ‘ghost tourism’ spot to attract visitors. Some of the locals apparently scare them away with the noise and steal their belongings after they flee out of fear, he said.The digital compasses and cameras installed in the station compound by the team did not pick up any sign of paranormal activity, Mukherjee said.The Superintendent of Police of Purulia district Joy Biswas said the team had asked for police protection which was given to them.He said the police and the administration were aware that Begunkodor station was known as a ‘ghost station’ among the locals and had started night patrolling in the area recently. Efforts were also made to create awareness among the people over the public address systems.”I have asked the the superintendent of police to take necessary steps in the matter,” Purulia District Magistrate Aloke Prasad Roy said.

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BSF scuttles smuggling attempts near Indo-Pak border in Punjab

Its "Christmas"
and a foggy day of #Punjab border
Ever vigilant #Bordermen scuttled attempts of smuggling of #Narcotics (heroin) in 3 different regions
1.Daoke, Amritsar-12.77kg
2.Bharopal, Amritsar-1kg
3.Gorkha Ghatti -1, Abohar-1kg,1 Pak made Pistol,1 Pak Sim pic.twitter.com/vfW2TTrJ29
December 25, 2017

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JNU VC urges Centre to install Army tank on campus as ‘symbol of patriotism’
Former ISRO chief UR Rao, man behind India’s 1st satellite Aryabhatta, passes away
US biologists discover three new toad species

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Monday 25 December 2017 20:10 ISTMust readSpoiler alert: 50 things can go wrong with the first AC local in MumbaiAtal Bihari Vajpayee: Master orator and statesman par excellence turns 93 today<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Border Security Force today seized 13 kg heroin from three different locations at Indo-Pak border here today, an official said.Pakistani smugglers early today attempted to cross over to India under the cover of thick blanket of fog, the official said. A patrolling party of the force observed some suspicious movements at Indo-Pak Border Out Post Daoke and Barowal and opened fire as some people were seen moving back towards Pakistan territory, he said.A comprehensive search operation was launched this morning at Daoke wherein the troops seized 12 kg heroin while one kg heroin was seized at Barowal Border out-Post, the official said. The BSF official said that no arrest has been made in the matter while further investigation was underway. The force was looking for the person who was supposed to collect the drug consignment on the Indian side, the official added.

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Sachin Tendulkar’s debut Rajya Sabha speech is silenced

Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha ended without him uttering a single word on Thursday as the legendary batsman, once feared by bowlers across the world, kept standing, probably thinking how to deflect and tackle the uproar in the House.The legendary batsman was called by Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to initiate a short duration discussion on the right to play and the future of sports in India.As soon as Sachin rose to speak, the first time during his five-and-a-half-year tenure, Congress members stood up demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his insinuating remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh during an election rally in Gujarat.Naidu came to his help, first cajoling and persuading the members and then scolding them for their unruly behaviour.”The hon. member who has been awarded Bharat Ratna by the government, wants to make a submission on sports which is a very important activity for the country. Please follow the rules and let him speak,” Naidu said, beseeching members’ attention and assuring that he has agreed to sort out the issue by calling the leader of the house Arun Jaitley and leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad for a discussion.When the ruckus did not stop, Naidu warned, “Do not trivialise things. Don’t create trouble in the House, and don’t earn bad name… Names of people who are raising slogans would be published tomorrow.”Despite being egged on by Naidu and helped by Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Sachin, cracker of many tons amid hostile conditions and roaring crowds, kept standing bemused with a smile on his face.Failing to rein in Congress benches, Naidu finally drew curtains on the proceedings. Sachin was immediately surrounded by his fans who included Derek O’Brien and Jaya Bachchan, among others.Furious for not letting Sachin speak, Jaya later said, “He has earned name for India at the world stage, it is a matter of shame that he was not allowed to speak even when everyone knew it was on today’s agenda. Are only politicians allowed to speak?”O’Brien was upset for being denied an opportunity to bat, with Sachin being the opener.”I was padded up to bat at No. 5 in Rajya Sabha and speak on sports after Sachin was to open the innings. But the match was called off because of bad weather,” the quizzer said wittingly.Congress members, however, were unrelenting. “Why are you making a mockery of Parliament? Are false allegations on 2G and Manmohan Singh are more important or Sachin Tendulkar who never spoke in Parliament for the last five years? Does ‘Bharat Ratna’ give you the licence to speak in Parliament? All are equal in the House,” said Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury.

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Bihar | Naxal attack Masudan railway station, abduct 2 officials

A group of Naxals attacked Masudan Railway Station in Bihar late Tuesday night and abducted two officials.The attackers set ablaze the property of the railway station. According to the news agency ANI, two officials including Assistant Station Master were abuducted by the Naxals.So far, the authorities have not reported about any casualty in the attack.Maldah’s Divisional Railway Manager got a call from the abducted assistant station master. He said that the Naxals have threatened to kill bot the officials if train services continue on the Masudan track.All passengers have been requested to take other alternatives as a precautionary measure.Eastern Railway detains 3 trains in Kiul-Jamalpur-Bhagalpur section of Malda Division in the light of Naxal attack at Masudan Railway Station, services have once again been stopped at Kiul point: Rajesh Kumar, CPRO Eastern Railway was quoted as saying by ANI.Earlier this year, Naxals hijacked a train in Lakhisarai district of Bihar. Another incident was reported in October last year, where 20 Naxals allegedly attacked a railway station in Odisha.Bihar is a part of ‘red corridor’ that passes through resource-rich areas of central, southern, western and eastern India and is mostly inhabited by underprivileged tribes. Since his election in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been seeking to stem the insurgency through development funds for the areas and improving policing.

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My family feels safe in the transit camp: Resident

Most dilapidated cessed buildings in South Mumbai haven’t been redeveloped as residents refuse to move out fearing that once they shift to transit camps, they will never return. For any redevelopment project, a developer requires 70 per cent consent from the tenants. In the Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment plan, a total of 82.2 per cent consent was received. More than 2,500 tenants have been either given a transit accommodation or rents have been paid for alternate accommodation.Kalimmudin Abbasbhai, now resides in a transit camp in Anjirwadi. Before moving here, he resided in the Saifee Jubilee street at Bhendi Bazaar. “I am happy here, the surroundings are better than Bhendi Bazaar. My kids are safe here and I feel like I am outside India.”According to a MHADA report, nearly 1,076 transit camps have been provided to the tenants of Bhendi Bazaar in Anjirwadi, around 550 in Chunnabhatti and 1,200 have been arranged by the trust itself. “Currently construction work is underway in sub-clusters 1 and 3. We plan to complete this first phase of the project by 2019. We are vacating tenants and demolishing buildings in other sub-clusters so that the entire project could be completed in about 8-10 years,” said Abbas Master, CEO, SBUT.In the other transit camp in Chunnabhatti, the tenants say that they got fully furnished homes including a washing machine for them to use. “I stayed in a dilapidated building in Pakmodi street. We have been given furniture and even washing machines from the trust. When I return to Bhendi Bazaar, I am expecting a better life there,” said Saiffudin Sura another tenant.However, in August this year, the trust faced controversies when Hussaini building loacted on Pakmodia street, which was part of the redevelopment plan, collapsed killing more than 30 people. The trust then claimed that attempts were being made to evict people from dilapidated buildings to transit camps.Not lost in transit1,076 transit homes in Anjirwadi554 in Chunnabhatti 1,200 transit homes by SBUT82.2% consent for the project

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Soon, ancient havelis, forts to be in commercial use

Ancient heritage havelis and forts can be used for commercial purpose now, with a rider of not altering their traditional look. The user will have to file affidavit for this. Soon, the state government will implement state heritage conservation and protection rules.Local self-government department has prepared draft of state heritage conservation and protection rules for conservation of heritage buildings, folk art, culture, dance and paintings. The proposal has been sent to LSG minister Srichand Kriplani’s approval.The BJP government had tabled Rajasthan heritage conservation bill in the state assembly two years ago. However, it faced opposition from its own ministers and MLAs who belonged to erstwhile royal families. They were not happy about government interference in conservation of private heritage buildings forcing the government to withdraw the bill.Now, the government has come up with state heritage conservation and protection rules, which unlike the bill does not have strong provisions regarding government interference.Notably, any heritage building can be used commercially, even if it is in non-commercial zone in the master plan.The owner of the building will have to give affidavit for not distorting the heritage look of the building. However, repair will be allowed, keeping the traditional look of the building intact. While the owner will get 25% rebate in urban development tax for conservation of building. All concessions entailed in tourism policy will be extended to heritage conservation projects. While the proposed state heritage council can enter an agreement with the building owner for heritage conservation, government will not be responsible for heritage conservation of private buildings. Also permission for commercial use will be withdrawn if the heritage look is distorted.Highlights of rules to beState heritage council to be constituted Principal Secretary LSG will head the council Council will categorise heritage on basis of aesthetics, history, culture, scientific, social and spirituality State heritage centre to be formed to give technical advice Heritage buildings will receive grades 1, 2 and 3 City heritage cell to be constituted in all cities headed by municipal body chairman Unified building bylaws to be issued for construction in heritage buildings and their vicinity Construction permission as per advice of council Conservation area to be notified in periphery of the building

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Dalit student refuses to take gold medal from President Ram Nath Kovind

A meritorious dalit student of the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU), who topped in the MCA program, has refused to take topper’s Gold medal from the President Ram Nath Kovind during the university’s convocation to be held on December 15 in Lucknow.Ramendra Naresh has topped in the Master of Computer Application (MCA) program and has been selected for the topper’s Gold medal. But he has refused to take the Gold medal from the President to lodge his protest against spurt in atrocities on dalits in Uttar Pradesh and across country.After topping the MCA (2013-2016) Ramendra had taken admission in the BBAU in B.Ed in 2017 but was rusticated from the university along with 8 other students in a case involving violent clashes with other students in the campus.“I am pained at dalit students and faculty members being harassed in state and central universities. Being dalits, we are forced to live in with low self-esteem. Dalits in general are still being treated as low cast and are subjected to mental torture and physical assaults across country,” charged he.“I am refusing to accept the Gold medal as a mark of protest against dalit atrocities and show solidarity with our brethren,” said Ramendra.The dalit student said that he will accept the Gold medal only when the President and Prime Minister ensure to check atrocities on dalits and they are treated equally with other castes in the country.Earlier, three dalit students had showed black flags and raised slogans against the Prime Minister Nadrendra Modi when he had visited the university in 2015 in protest against Rohith Vemula suicide case.In view of the past incident, the district administration has tightened security in view of President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit following intelligence input that Dalit students might protest during Prez visit on December 15 to distribute medals to meritorious students in the BBAU Convocation.

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Uttar Pradesh: Dalit university topper not to accept gold medal from President Kovind

A meritorious dalit student of the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU) in Uttar Pradesh, who topped the MCA program, has refused to accept topper’s Gold medal from President Ram Nath Kovind during the university’s convocation to be held on December 15 in Lucknow.Ramendra Naresh has topped the Master of Computer Application (MCA) program and has been selected for the topper’s Gold medal. But he has refused to take the Gold medal from the President to lodge his protest against ‘spurt in atrocities on dalits in Uttar Pradesh and across country’.After topping the MCA (2013-2016) Ramendra had taken admission in B.Ed course in the same university in 2017 but was rusticated along with 8 others in a case involving violent clashes with other students in the campus.Also readOutrage in Hisar as 5-yr-old Dalit raped, brutalised with stick, killed“I am pained to see dalit students and faculty members being harassed in state and central universities. Being dalits, we are forced to live with low self-esteem. Dalits in general are still being treated as low caste and are subjected to mental torture and physical assaults across country,”he alleged. “I am refusing to accept the Gold medal as a mark of protest against dalit atrocities and show solidarity with our brethren,” said Ramendra. The dalit student said that he will accept the Gold medal only when the President and Prime Minister ensure to check atrocities on dalits and they are treated equally with other castes in the country.Also readMamata Banerjee says will protect Muslims, Dalits in stateEarlier, three dalit students had showed black flags and raised slogans against the Prime Minister Nadrendra Modi when he had visited the university in 2015 in protest against Rohith Vemula suicide case. In view of the past incident, the district administration has tightened securty during President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit following intelligence input that Dalit students might organise protest during the award giving ceremony.

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Crime against children: School headmaster arrested for harassing minor

The Odisha Police arrested the headmaster of a school in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, who allegedly sexually harassed a minor girl student.The incident came to light when the victim, studying in class VI refused to go to school on consecutive days. When questioned, she narrated the ordeal she went through in the school, the police said.Enraged villagers tied the headmaster to the pole and thrashed him brutally. Later, the police arrested the accused and registered a case against him.The accused is said to be a repeat offender.He, however, has denied charges framed against him and said if found guilty, he was ready to die.

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NGC gears up: Solar energy of ‘Thar’ to illuminate Gujarat & Punjab

Solar energy of the sandy areas of Jodhpur and Bikaner divisions will illuminate many villages of Punjab and Gujarat. National Grid Corporation has geared up and accelerated the work of laying the main line of 8000 KV for green energy corridor i.e. electronics corridor for solar energy production. It has also set a target to complete this work by August 2018. At present, the production of Jodhpur and Bikaner was not fully utilised at the local level. Now it is preparing to connect Moga of Punjab and Banaskantha of Gujarat.According to the plan, these corridors will link Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Nagaur, etc, districts to Moga of Punjab and Banaskantha of Gujarat. Four substations have already been prepared for this. When it will be ready, the solar energy that will be created in Jodhpur and Bikaner, which produces the highest solar energy, will start illuminating entire northern India. It is worth mentioning that in the case of energy, 740 kV Bhakra power is the largest power line in the state whereas this is going to be 8 thousand kV line.Alok Dubey, Deputy General Manager, National Power Grid Corporation said that the project aims to be completed by August 2018. After this, investors in the Green Energy Corridor are expected to plant power plants from the state.The main line will be started from Banaskantha of Gujarat, which will reach Chittorgarh, Ajmer, Nagaur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Hanumangarh in Rajasthan and Moga of Punjab. Five GSS at Banaskantha, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Bikaner, and Moga are being made for this. GSS of Badla Solar Plant in Phalodi area of ​​Jodhpur district and GSS will be set up at the place of mines in Jamsar of Bikaner. At present, GSS of Jodhpur and Bikaner are producing the highest solar energy but 3 percent of it goes in power theft. After a corridor, this problem will not happen and people will get the full power here.THE MASTER PLANAccording to the plan, these corridors will link Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Nagaur, etc, districts to Moga of Punjab and Banaskantha of Gujarat. Four substations have already been prepared for this. When it will be ready, the solar energy that will be created in Jodhpur and Bikaner, which produces the highest solar energy, will start illuminating. The main line will be started from Banaskantha, which will reach Chittorgarh, Ajmer, Nagaur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Hanumangarh in Rajasthan and Moga of Punjab. Five GSS at Banaskantha, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Bikaner, and Moga are being made for this.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Tale of 2 politicos: Marginalised, veterans watching from sidelines

The destinies of two Gujarat politics veterans —Shankersinh Vaghela and Keshubhai Patel — have striking similarities, intertwined with ironies and accidents, and crisscrossing each other’s paths. And now, when Gujarat is in the midst of its most keenly contested election of the last two decades, both have been relegated to the background.Vaghela, who chose to go alone and “experiment”, has not found takers for his newly formed party Jan Vikalp. And Keshubhai, once the tallest Patel leader, remained conspicuous by his absence as the Patidar agitation raged in the state and threatened to disrupt the political course and discourse.While Vaghela is known as an organisation man, having influence on the OBC votes on seats in and around Gandhinagar, Keshubhai, a Leuva Patel, has his influence in the Saurasthra region and outside.Keshubhai, a member of BJP since 1980, formed a new party, Gujarat Parivartan Party, in 2012 after breaking a 32-year association with BJP. Vaghela, who had joined the BJP in 1970, after an association of 26 years with the party, formed the Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP) in 1996.After two years, Vaghela joined the Congress in 1998, only to chart out an independent path again after a 17-year association. As his Jan Vikalp Morcha formed in 1977 seems to be going nowhere, his next move will be a closely watched one in Gujarat.So, when Vaghela organised a meeting in the Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad a couple of months ago, announcing that he will lead a new political front, many recalled its striking similarity with a rally organised by Keshubhai in the same locality in 2012, to mark the culmination of his Parivartan Yatra against the Narendra Modi-led government.Keshubhai and Vaghela were elected from the Visavadar and Kapadwanj Assembly seats in 2012. Vaghela had earlier lost Lok Sabha polls in 2009 as a Congress candidate from Panchmahal. Keshubhai later resigned from his Assembly seat in 2014, due to medical reasons.Neither Keshubhai nor Vaghela are contesting any Assembly seat this year. Both veterans with long association with RSS are now in the political wilderness. Keshubhai kept a low profile after his Gujarat Parivartan Party bombed in 2012 elections, and did his “ghar wapsi”, merging his Gujarat Parivartan Party with the BJP.After breaking away from the Congress in July, Vaghela voted for loyalist Bawant Singh Rajput, who was fighting on a BJP ticket against Congress veteran Ahmed Patel in the keenly contested Rajya Sabha polls in August this year.When asked about his experience in both parties, Vaghela says he was “comfortable” working in both BJP and Congress and unabashedly accepts that his “son was about to join BJP”. He, however, insists he has no plan to join any party.Born in a Rajput family, Vaghela, 77, also, flags the differences between him and Keshubhai.”Keshubhai is sitting at home due to sickness and some family tragedy. I am politically active, though not in any political contest this time.” Asked whether he would contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Vaghela says: “That I will decide then. But one thing is clear. I have not retired from politics.”A Master of Arts from the Gujarat University, while Vaghela mastered the art of politics, many around him say he was too assertive a leader to get along with others.Keshubhai served as the chief minister of Gujarat in 1995 and then again in 1998 and 2001. A six-time MLA, he has the image of a reticent politician, unlike the flamboyant Vaghela.Vaghela had joined the RSS in 1970, a decade after Keshubhai. While Vaghela, once considered a master strategist, is called ‘Baapu’, Patel is called ‘Dhartiputra”.Both live in Gujarat capital Gandhinagar, once contributed to the strengthening of the BJP, and then tried to help Congress dislodge the BJP government in the state unsuccessfully.While Keshubhai did not join Congress, Vaghela served as the Leader of Opposition in Gujarat from December 2012 to July 2017, before quitting Congress altogether on July 21 this year. Before that in BJP, Vaghela had served as its general secretary and its Gujarat unit president for 11 long years.The unstated aim of Vaghela’s outfit was to defeat the Congress after he quit when the party did not declare him its CM face and did give him a “free hand” in running the state affairs. A bitter Vaghela left no stone unturned to ensure the defeat of Ahmad Patel in the recently concluded Rajya Sabha polls. Ahmed Patel, however, won.Likewise, Keshubhai also “blessed” the Congress after parting from BJP but BJP came to power with greater Patel support in 2007 and 2012.Both Vaghela and Keshubhai, at different times, stood in Opposition to Modi. It was believed that Modi had put his weight behind Keshubhai way back in 1995, when the BJP got a majority with 121 MLAs in the 182-member Assembly of Gujarat. While most legislators then preferred Vaghela as a leader, the BJP leadership chose to anoint Keshubhai as the chief minister.Months later in September that year, Vaghela rebelled with the support of 47 MLAs. Later, a compromise was worked out in which Keshubhai had to quit and Vaghela loyalist Suresh Mehta became the CM. Modi was shifted out of Gujarat for some time.But the truce was shortlived as Vaghela soon afterwards walked out of BJP with his supporters and the Suresh Mehta government fell. Then Vaghela served as CM for a year, from October 1996 to October 1997, with Congress support.He was succeeded by Dilip Parikh for a brief spell.Vaghela, who then vowed to defeat Modi-led BJP in the state was once very close to him and people in Gandhinagar still remember how both used to ride together on Vaghela’s Royal Enfield bike in the city. So was the proximity of Modi to Keshubhai that the former was said to have tilted the balance in favour of Keshubhai in 1995.Later, the BJP again came to power with Keshubhai as the CM in 1998 as BJP got a decisive mandate (117 of 182), with Congress getting 53, and Vaghela’s RJP merely 4 seats. Following the defeat of BJP in the by-elections for the Sabarkantha Lok Sabha and Sabarmati Assembly seats and a amid a view that governance was suffering and the party was getting weak, pressure was mounted on Keshubhai to quit. He resigned in 2001 and Modi became the CM. That was time for Keshubhai to rebel

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Uttar Pradesh: Engine of passenger train derails

The engine of the Azamgarh- Varanasi City Tamsa passenger train derailed here in the early hours of Friday, Railway sources said.No injury was reported.The incident took place when the train, which leaves Azamgarh around 5 am for Varanasi, was being taken to the platform from the yard, they said.The engine derailed around 4.30 am. No one was injured as the train was empty. The driver and other staff escaped unhurt, the sources said.The engine was re-railed after a two-hour operation.Station Master Baburam said that the train left for Varanasi around 9 am.

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BHU students left puzzled after being asked to write essay on ‘GST in Kautilya’s Arthashastra’

Students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) were left puzzled when they were asked to write about the nature of GST in Kautilya’s Arthashastra in examination.The Political Science paper for MA (Master of Arts) in BHU had two unusual 15-mark questions on Monday. The students were left baffled when they had to choose between to write an essay on the nature of GST in Kautilya’s Arthashastra or a discussion on ‘Manu is the first Indian thinker of globalisation’, according to an Indian Express report. The questions on these topics were set for the paper ‘Social and Political Thought in Ancient and Medieval India’ of MA. While the students complained that the topics were not part of the syllabus, the professor who set the question paper said he only “interpreted the two thinkers and taught their philosophies through new and current examples like GST and globalisation.”Professor Kaushal Kishore Mishra admitted that it was his idea to introduce the questions in the exam as he believes it is a newer way to teach the students about the latest topics. Professor Mishra, a professor at BHU’s Faculty of Social Sciences, is an RSS member but said the questions have nothing to do with his personal beliefs and what he teaches his students. One of the BHU student had admitted that they were taught by Professor Mishra about the GST-Kautilya question in class and were asked to take notes. They were warned by the professor that they may face such questions in the examination. An outraged BHU student slammed the college administration for “ridiculous and unpalatable questions” in the paper and said they are taught about the fictitious subjects like just to “validate” the government policies.
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75 glorious yrs of Campion School

On Tuesday the auditorium of NCPA Tata Theatre was full with the large number of current and past students, current and former teachers, as well as the former administration staff that had come to attend the platinum jubilee of the iconic Campion School located at Cooperage road at Fort on Tuesday.The event was also attended by renowned personalities that passed out from Campion School like Niranjan Hiranandani, MD Hiranandani Group and Senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor. Among other dignitaries present were Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, and Chief Post Master General HC Agrawal.Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, in his speech praised Campion’s illustrious list of alumni. He said, “I was impressed to know many renowned personalities are alumni of the School. I do hope that the School will continue its tradition of producing men of character, values and compassion who will provide leadership to society in all areas of human endeavour.”The school released event brochure and its logo that will be used for whole year for correspondence. The documentary ‘Beyond the first step’ of the school was also shown.The Campion school at Fort was once started on 20 January 1943 with 23 students by members of Society of Jesuits. The school now has 830 students.The school was once in a small building in a rental ground floor at 45, New Marine Lines. The school’s first principal was late Fr Joseph Savall. It use to give Cambridge education to its students till 1956.RENOWNED ALUMNIPraful Patel, Former Aviation Minister Shashi Tharoor, MP Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, Managing Director of Hiranandani Group Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, MP and Congress Leader Rajdeep Sardesai, Indian news anchor and author Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group. (L-R) C Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra, Paul Machado, Principal, Dr Eric Borges, Chairman, Campion School, Niranjan Hiranandani, MD of Hiranandani Group and Dr Frazer Mascarenhas, Jesuits’s Provincial’s representative
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Raj(e)niti: A reward for merit may award votes for BJP

In normal course, it’s difficult to supersede three senior officers in a row to pick a choice. But in case of Om Prakash Galhotra, chief minister Vasundhara Raje didn’t hesitate in naming him the top cop. She rewarded merit over seniority. And placing the best man on job is likely to boost not only the morale of state police but also the poll prospects of BJP.Raje, known for using her political acumen to the best while deciding the top postings, has once again played a master stroke. Galhotra, a competent officer from backward community will brighten chances of BJP penetrating deep into the vote bank of backward castes. In this tenure she performed this trick twice. First in 2016, she reached out to the strong Meena community – a traditional Congress- by appointing Om Prakash Meena as chief secretary. And now again she picked another Om Prakash to attract loyalty of backward classes. However, Galhotra doesn’t want to be labelled as a backward class officer. He prefers to contest on merit. Also unlike OP Meena, he doesn’t nurse any political ambition. When members of Rajak community approached to honour him, he plainly refused. He wants to be play it on merit only.Galhotra’s outstanding service record just helped her in firming up the decision. Raje knows that the year ahead would be challenging for her, both in terms of maintaining general law and order situation and carrying out elections peacefully.Incidentally, police force is also undergoing through tough situations. It needs a strong leader to boost the sagging morale of policemen, who are agitated over wage cut. There had been ugly incidences of indiscipline which had brought bad name for the force, specially when a section of jawans went on a mass leave skipping their duty of giving guard of honour to union home minister Rajnath Singh during his visit to Jodhpur. Besides that, he will have to maintain harmony among various castes. While there have been agitations against Padmavati movie, Gurjars too are readying for a fresh protest to press their decade old quota demand after the High Court puts a stay on government’s decision of providing them 5% reservation.In over 30 years of service, Galhotra has spent half the time on central deputation in CBI. This indicates his strong mental makeup and extra ordinary intelligence gathering skills.“CM needs a tough cop to overcome challenges which are lined up. With his exposure in CBI, Galhotra is equipped to deal with such situations, said a police official, who had worked under Galhotra. Seniority overlookedNavdeep Singh, a 1981 batch officer was probably overlooked as his wife Param Navdeep has been Congress MLAKapil Garg: a 1982 batch officer was neglected as RSS is believed to be against his candidature. During Dargah bomb blast in 2007, he linked it with Hindu terrorismSunil Kumar Mehrotra: a 1985 batch officer turned down as Galhotra outshines him in overall performance.On Central dutyCandidature of two other senior officers from Rajasthan cadre were not considered.K. K Sharma: a 1982 batch officer, he is already heading BSFSudhir Pratap Singh: a 1983 batch officer, he is DG National Security Guard, retiring in January 2018 1
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‘Snubbing HC order’, Vasundhara Raje government all set to bring regional, urban planning act

How to circumvent a court order? No one knows it better than the lawmakers. Therefore, it was not surprising when Vasundhara Raje government decided to bring in a new law – Rajasthan Regional and Urban Planning Act.There were apprehensions and rightly so that the government was bringing this law to facilitate illegal constructions and encroachments in the election year.Several provisions in the proposed law are aimed at circumventing the high court order, which makes zonal plan for regularisation. The high court order had come after a petition was filed by Gulab Kothari.However, going against the letter and spirit of the high court order, the state government has proposed zonal development plans within the master plans of various cities. Keeping this in mind, the government is implementing the state level act.The UDH and the Law department have arrived at consensus regarding draft of the new bill. Soon, it will be introduced through an ordinance. All master plans would be notified under this act, subsequently zonal development plans will be prepared as part of the master plans.However, the experts believe that the whole exercise was to evade the court’s restrictions. With this act, the government can create regional plan and master plan of an urban area. However, it would depend on how the court views this new act even though the government considers it a master stroke. Regularisation ProvisionsUnified development control regulations proposed For uniformity the government will issue control regulations for all cities The regulations will have parameters for any kind of activity Commercial/institutional activity will be decided according to road width Previous master plans will deemed to be notified under this act Government regulations will be implemented under master plans Zonal and land use plans to be prepared under master plans Commercial/institutional activities to be sanctioned in zonal plan under control regulations Proposaed lawExisting master plan to be adjusted while preparing regional plan Existing Zonal and sector plan to be merged while preparing master plan formation of an advisory committee Only current land use will be planned but not the future land use Plan will be according to development control regulations. The government can review them anytime This responsibility can be given to town planning department or any agency If the government wishes previous master plan can be cancelled for a new master plan
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Maharashtra school allegedly expels teen after she files rape complaint, probe on

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 15-year-old girl in Maharashtra’s Latur district has alleged that she was raped by an Army jawan, and when she lodged a police case, she was expelled from her school.The district administration has ordered an inquiry into the incident.”Initial information suggests that the girl was not expelled by the school but was given the transfer certificate on her brother’s request,” Latur district collector G Shrikant told PTI.”I have called the headmaster of the school to find out details,” the IAS officer said. The district administration is investigating the allegations made against the school, he added.On July 19, the girl’s brother went to the school and asked for a transfer certificate and the school handed over the certificate to him the next day, an official said.The army man, who has not yet been arrested, allegedly raped the minor girl in April after promising to marry her, the official said.The girl has claimed that the school expelled her saying its reputation would be tarnished if she continued to study there.An offence of rape was registered in August and nine persons have been arrested in the case, Police Inspector Deepak Shinde of Devani Police Station said.Deputy SP of Nilanga G G Ranjankar said the girl and the army man are from the same ‘Laman’ community and the same locality.Meanwhile, the Maharashtra State Commission for Women chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar today asked Latur Superintendent of Police Shivaji Rathod to submit a ‘factual report’ in the case.

Crafts council scholarship to encourage young talent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Young artisans across all fields of art will be awarded the Kamaladevi Puraskar (KDP) for their talent in a function to be held at India International Centre on Saturday. Given annually by Delhi Crafts Council (DCC), KDP is an annual scholarship award given to encourage young talent among artists in the age 14-20 years, so they continue to practice their craft and are motivated to take it up as a means of livelihood eventually.The award was instituted in 1986 in the name of its patron founder Kamala Deviji, who also presented the first Puraskar. The awards will also mark the Golden Jubilee year of DCC, hence the focus will be on crafts that support the performing arts. Since the inception of the award more than three decades ago, over 150 children have benefited from the scholarships. Some of the awardees have also been honoured as Master Craftsmen, an award bestowed on them by the Government of India.Five young artisans, who have been selected for the Kamaladevi Puraskar this year, represent the art of leather puppet making for the Ravan Chhayashadow puppet theatre of Odisha, mask making for SeraikelaChhau of Jharkhand, Potloi (dress) making for the RaasLeela of Manipur, Phad painting for the storytelling tradition of Rajasthan, and making of the Manipuripungdrum.”Theatre craft was an area of particular interest to Late Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and the DCC would like to pay tribute to her while celebrating its Golden Jubilee this year. Short cultural performances of the related crafts will also be presented by talented groups that have traveled especially for this event,” a representative of DCC said.Shekhar Sen, chairperson, Sangeet Natak Academy will be the chief guest and Guru Singhajit Singh will be the guest of honour at the event.

Girgaum residents get ATVM attendant

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents of Girgaum have something to cheer about. Finally, the Railways have paid heed to their request and appointed an attendant at the Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVM) placed on Platform number 4 of Charni Road station.The locals have been complaining that since the FOB, connecting Thakurdwar and other areas of Girgaum to the Charni Road station was shut, their commuting has become difficult. A part of the Girgaum FOB crashed post in October. The residents had been complaining about the dilapidated condition of the bridge for a long time before the mishap took place. However, no action was taken. After the bridge was shut, the residents — especially the students and senior citizens — faced trouble reaching the station.Zebra crossing and other such steps were taken so that crossing the road becomes easier. However, the residents have been complaining that they had to either walk to the other side of the station risking getting caught by TC or a long journey on the extreme end of the station to get tickets. Only last week, Aamhi Girgaumkar, a local resident group, had even written to the station master about the same.Amit Bhadricha, one of the residents of Girgaum, who travels every day using Charni Road station, said, “We thank the railways for paying heed to our request. This will be of great help to school going students and senior citizens who do not know how to use an ATVM. Also, this will save our labour of going all the way to the other end of the station.”

Winter assessment to start soon at University of Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a series of glitches and delays that marred the summer examinations at the University of Mumbai, the varsity seems to have learnt from its mistakes.The university has started scanning the answer sheets for winter semester examinations barely a week after exams have started.”We have started the scanning work for winter semester exams and it would go on simultaneously with the exams. The idea is to make all the papers available for assessment early so that delays can be avoided” said a senior university official.This time around, the varsity has prepared a master list of around 14,000 teachers who are eligible for assessing the papers.These teachers would be notified via email and a letter and assessment work is likely to begin from the next week “if assessment starts early, teachers would get more time. There won’t be a panic situation like last time ” said the official.The university will conduct 481 exams in the winter semester that 4,10,449 students will appear for.

One killed, one injured after being knocked down by local train in West Bengal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An youth was killed and another injured when they were knocked down by a local train at Belghoria station in the northern suburbs of the city this evening, leading to a blockade by irate passengers and locals for an hour.The mishap occued when Sealdah-Ranaghat EMU local was passing through Belghoria station at around 5.40 PM, where it was not scheduled to stop and the two persons were crossing the tracks, an Eastern Railway spokesman Ravi Mahapatra said.A person aged about 20 years was killed and another person was injured when they were knocked down by the through train at Belghoria in Sealdah-Naihati Main section, he said.Alleging that no announcement was made by railway officials about the approaching train, locals and passengers waiting at the busy station resorted to a rail blockade immediately after the accident.Thousands of commuters returning home from their places of work were stranded at Sealdah and other stations in the Sealdah-Naihati main section.Denying the allegation, Mahapatra said repeated announcements about passing of the train were made at Belghoria station.He said that the irate passengers had also removed the cabin master at Belghoria.Train services resumed at 6.45 pm after Eastern Railways security personnel removed the squatters from the tracks, Mahapatra said.

MU staff fear repeat of results chaos

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as officials at the University are trying to ensure that the On-Screen Marking (OSM) system for the upcoming winter semester examinations goes smoothly, teachers and principals are anxious that the mess might repeat.In recent meetings and training sessions conducted by the varsity, several teachers raised concerns over the glitches in the OSM system as they fear the varsity is still not prepared for the overhaul. “Even as the university claims to have fixed all the issues with respect to OSM, one cannot anticipate how the assessment will be for the winter semester. The first time around, even after fixing the system and training sessions, several issues with respect to teacher tagging and mixing of papers did arise,” said a teacher from a college in south Mumbai on the condition of anonymity.This year, the varsity has decided to send letters and emails to all the teachers eligible to assess papers. Even as the varsity has created a master list of 14,000 eligible teachers, principals are doubtful that this would translate into more number of evaluators.”A large number of teachers in colleges for courses in commerce, management, law, etc are appointed on a temporary basis. Such teachers cannot be compelled to evaluate papers thus leading to fewer papers being evaluated each day,” said a college principal.INEXPERIENCEDDNA had reported that 3,700 teachers of various colleges and university departments have not evaluated a single paper of the summer examinations.

Prashant Bhushan storms out of SC, tweets accusing CJI of ‘conflict of interest’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an action-packed day at the Supreme Court, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan stormed out of court.Bhushan expressed his displeasure at the refusal of the Bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra to hear him. The 5-judge bench of CJI Misra was hearing a petition filed by Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Judicial Reforms (CJAR).Bhushan was quoted saying by BarandBench.com: “You have heard persons who are not even parties to the case for an hour. If Your Lordships want to pass an order without hearing me, then do it.”He reportedly stormed out with marshalls escorting him.A bemused Bhushan tweeted after the proceedings: “Extraordinary proceedings in SC today in the case seeking SIT Investigation in medical college bribery case involving the CJI! CJI presided over a hand picked bench to override yesterday’s order referring this case to top 5 judges. This despite having a direct conflict of interest.The court proceedings were extraordinary in that the CJI was asking all kinds of lawyers who were not parties to say things against the order of Court 2, w/o hearing petitioner. He tried to justify his role in the medical college case & speak against ‘impropriety’ of Court 2.”On Thursday, Justice Chelameswar had ordered setting up a 5-judge bench excluding the CJI to probe allegations of bribery to allegedly influence outcome of cases.Another petition on the same issue came up for hearing and were set to be heard on Monday.However, at 3 PM today, CJI Misra constituted a seven-judge bench to review the decision of Justice Chelameswar’s order for a probe yesterday. But, two judges recused themselves, making it a five-man panel.Around 4PM, the 5-member bench panel headed by CJI Misra took the decision to annul the order passed by Justice Chelameswar ordering a probe into allegations of judicial corruption.A five-judge bench declares CJI to be the master of the roster. Any judicial order passed by any other judge to set up a bench will be “ineffective and not binding,” rules the Constitution Bench.Order passed a day ago by Justice J Chelameswar’s bench indirectly annulled.The bench by the CJI didn’t include Justice Chelameswar who is the second senior-most judge in the Supreme Court.The CJI, meanwhile, deemed that he was the only one who could set up benches to look into cases, and no other judge, no matter how senior, could order a formation of a constitutional bench.With inputs from agencies

Sachin Pilot should match Rahul Gandhi’s Aikido moves to take on Maharani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Gujarat elections, it’s clearly a contest between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. The Congress Vice President is serious about the battle as he will have to invade the bastion of the Prime Minister which he has made completely impregnable in last 15 years. But as he should be, Rahul Gandhi is practising Japanese martial art Aikido to counter the Japanese bullet train which the prime minister Narendra Modi has promised to bring to Ahmedabad. The battle is fierce there. It’s more than war of words, as Gandhi is proving his physical fitness by declaring his mastery in martial art and interest in swimming and gymming to conquer 5 ft 7 inches tall Modi with his self congratulatory chest of 56-inches.Rahul’s efforts in Gujarat may be commendable but don’t seem to be exemplary for the young leadership of Congress. Rajasthan state chief Sachin Pilot doesn’t look threatening at all to the ruling BJP. The kind of challenge he is likely to face in the upcoming elections from ‘Maharani’ he too should master the art of battle like the Gandhi scion. But with just a year left in assembly elections and three by-elections around the corner, Congress is yet to press its speed pedal. While chief minister Raje is aggressively reaching out to public to counter anti incumbency if any, Congress is limited to issuing feeble press notes. Pilot, who was dubbed to contest the by-poll in his own constituency Ajmer, still looks short of confidence and strategy to formulate election campaign. On the other hand, Raje camped in Ajmer and showered sops and goodies to woo voters. “Raje doesn’t want to loose her hold. She wants to continue where she ended in last elections. She doesn’t want to give opposition slightest of a foothold. A 3-0 victory in by-elections will seal her supremacy in the state,” said a BJP leader.The by-elections in the state are scheduled for two parliamentary seats – Ajmer and Alwar and one assembly constituency of Mandalgarh.Congress, which is facing infighting over leadership issues, has not been able to put up a brave front even once during close to 4 years of Raje’s rule. It even failed to capitalise on the ‘controversial ordinance’ that aimed at shielding public servants against false accusations and prohibiting media from reporting without government’s approval. When the widespread protest in media seemed to have started playing in the minds of public, Raje smartly put it on back burner, snatching the issue from opposition which could have easily snowballed into election agenda. “Congress frittered away the advantage the BJP gave while tabling the controversial ordinance. Congress failed to capitalise on public sentiments which have gone little against the BJP. But ruling party’s damage control was faster than opposition’s art of raking up the issue,” said a Congress leader.

Not just Pass/Fail, University of Mumbai will tell all marks with results

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 4.10 lakh students under the University of Mumbai will now get a statement of marks at the time of result declaration, starting from the upcoming winter semester examinations. The decision was announced at a press conference held at the University’s Kalina campus on Thursday.”Currently, students only get to know if they have passed or failed their entire semester without the breakup of marks, which they get to know only after they are issued a marksheet,”said Dr Arjun Ghatule, acting director, Board of Examinations and Evaluation. “Giving them their marks statement would help in many ways. Students would get to know how they have fared in each of the subjects and apply for photocopy or revaluation if needed, which would help speed up the whole process.”Against the backdrop of the recent delay and the resulting mess surrounding the results, varsity officials said that a complete overhaul of the system is near completion. This will prevent glitches and delays for the winter semester exams that begin from the first week of November. “We have plugged in almost all the loopholes in the system,” said Dr Devanand Shinde, acting vice chancellor of the University. “From upgrading the assessment software to training teachers and students well in advance, all due care is being taken to ensure that the process is smooth this time around.”The university will conduct 481 exams in the winter semester that 4,10,449 students will appear for. The varsity has created the master data for all students as well as assessors who will evaluate the papers. “We have compiled a verified list of 1,400 teachers who will get orders to assess papers through e-mail and through a hard copy of a letter,” added Ghatule.The varsity has installed 20 ‘gunning machines’ for scanning barcodes from the answer sheet which will address the issue of ‘reconciliation’ (matching answer sheets with student details) at an earlier stage.Meanwhile, varsity officials say that the results of around 95 students are still pending. “We have the data of a few students but are not able to match it with their details due to technical issues such faulty scanning or wrong seat number. As and when such students approach us, we will give them the results” said Ghatule.

ERO net to ensure fair voter checklist

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to increase transparency and keep a tab on bogus voting, election commission in the state has come up with ERO net online system. The advantage of this system is that it would ensure that the name of a voter shall not appear in two or more different places.Chief election officer, Ahwani Bhagat inaugurated this facility in secretariat on Monday. Every application will have to be fed online on this portal and thereafter a checklist will be printed. This list will be checked by booth level officer (BLO) who will go on the spot and check the authenticity of the data provided in the application. Thereafter, it will be decided whether to accept or reject the application.Under this new facility, while making the checklist id it will be known if the name of applicant is already registered and where it is already registered.Bhagat, during the launch ceremony of this facility informed that this ERO net will be implemented across all the 200 assemblies of the state.For implementing this system, state level master trainers were selected across the state and were sent to Indian election commission in Delhi to get the best training.Now 5 assembly areas have been chosen for pilot project and include Udaipur rural booth number 267 , Mavli booth number 264 , Kota north booth number 218.The BLO’s are being given smart phone so that they can work online. Meanwhile, the BLO’s will start contacting the voters for adding names. The authentication of the application will be done through mobile app on the server of the commission.For authenticityEvery application will have to be fed online on this portal and thereafter a checklist will be printed. This list will be checked by booth level officer (BLO) who will go on the spot and check the authenticity of the data provided in the application. Thereafter, it will be decided whether to accept or reject the application.

Still remember you feeding your dog instead of listening to Assam’s problems: Himanta Biswa Sarma slams Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Sunday, the brave new Rahul Gandhi of Twitter shared a video of his dog Pidi with a cutesy caption seeking to answer who ‘tweets for Rahul Gandhi’. Putting a video of his dog Pidi, the Congress scion wrote: “Ppl been asking who tweets for this guy..I’m coming clean..it’s me..Pidi..I’m way than him. Look what I can do with a tweet..oops..treat!”While a lot of awwws came his way, former Congressman and one of BJP’s star performers from North-East, Himanta Biswa Sarma hit back on Twitter, reminding Rahul Gandhi that he had once preferred to play with the dog instead of listening to his own cadre.He wrote: “Sir @OfficeOfRG,who knows him better than me. Still remember you busy feeding biscuits 2 him while We wanted to discuss urgent Assam’s issues.”
ALSO READ Playing with Rahul’s dog way better than listening to BJP’s Himant Biswa Sarma: Congress leader Legend has it that former Congress leader Himanta Biswa Sarma had gone to meet Rahul Gandhi to discuss Assam’s problems but the Congress VP was busy playing with his canine friend. Disillusioned Biswa Sarma left and joined BJP who has helped the party come to power in Assam and helped manoeuvre alliances in Manipur to form the government.After the incident, a furious Sarma had told former Assam CM Gogoi: “ “Rahul turned and started playing with dog instead of listening to us. After I came out, I told Gogoi that it would be impossible for me to continue in the Congress.”Biswa Sarma would go on to describe Rahul as ‘arrogant’ and someone who preferred a ‘servant-master’ relationship.In fact, Congress’ Gaurav Pandhi had once ever had the temerity to compare Sarma to the dog: “@bainjal you have to meet Rahul Gandhi’s dog, so cute, anyone would prefer playing with him than listening to @himantabiswa. 🙂 @INCIndia.”The reaction of Congress members even now wasn’t very becomingBJP leaders also got in on the act.In Congress, it surely looks like the race to being the his master’s voice, to hide his goof-ups with snark and political naiveness, even as the master is busy playing with his dog Pidi. It is probably easy to give a makeover to a Twitter handle rather than making a leader accountable for his past mistakes. And it’s no surprise that smart politicians like Himanta Biswa Sarma aren’t willing to stick around for this second-class treatment.

Shiv Sena’s dual stand will not go down well with people, Uddhav Thackeray: Devendra Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said the Shiv Sena’s “dual stand” will not go down well with the people, and its chief Uddhav Thackeray should decide if he wants to continue the alliance with the BJP.”…they (the Sena) oppose all our decisions. They can give their suggestions, but cannot simultaneously play the roles of a ruling party and an opposition at the same time. People are watching everything and will not approve of this dual stand,” Fadnavis said.The chief minister was speaking at an event organised by the Aaj Tak television channel here.Sena, which is a partner in the BJP-led state government as well as the NDA government at the Centre, is seen taking swipes at the BJP nearly every day.”As a party, Uddhav-ji has to decide. People do not like the picture they are portraying. Balasaheb (late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray) never saw every decision with negativity, neither does Uddhav-ji. But some of his leaders think they are bigger than the party chief and make (critical) statements,” he said.Given a choice between the NCP and the Sena, he would choose the latter to work with as the BJP and the Sena have been together for 25 years and have the same ideology, he said.”But I will give Pawar (NCP chief Sharad Pawar) credit for one thing. He never opposes beyond a certain point when it comes to development. He is never against development….but our differences with the NCP will continue,” he said.To former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s claim that the Congress won more gram panchayats in the recent polls than the BJP (elections to panchayat bodies are not contested on party tickets) Fadnavis dared him to prove it.”I give an open challenge to Prithviraj Chavan to call his (Congress-affiliated) sarpanchs and I will call mine.I am anyway going to call mine in Pune. Let us come face to face. If mine are not proven to be more, I will change my name,” he said.To another question, Fadnavis said one needs 25-30 years of “penance” to become someone like Prime Minister Narendra Modi. One has to leave home and family life behind to become a person like Modi, he said.”It is difficult for me to become Modi, he being a great communicator, a master administrator who has changed the country and the way politics is done. However, he should be the role model for every chief minister,” Fadnavis said.

Andhra Pradesh: Two years after PM Modi laid foundation stone for capital, not a single brick has been laid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for Andhra Pradesh’s new capital city Amaravati exactly two years ago, not a single brick has been laid for the development of the capital so far.Over the last three years, timelines had been set and reset for the capital, but the construction process has not even crossed the designing stage.The Chief Minister’s Office Real-time Executive dashboard says, till date, 2,27,100 people have donated 56,66,596 ‘bricks’ (Rs 10 per brick) for building the capital city.It was on October 25, 2014, that the Chandrababu Naidu government had announced that the new capital city would be constructed within five years, but three years have since elapsed with only the ‘temporary’ structures of the Secretariat and Legislature to show.On October 9 last year, Naidu had written an open letter to the people of the state promising to give a “definite shape” to Amaravati “by Vijaya Dasami next year” (that fell on September 30 this year).However, not even the 18.3-km main seed access road that leads to the capital has been completed till date.In fact, the government announced in February this year that the capital construction will begin in July and be completed by December 2018.Municipal Minister P Narayana, on February 2, had given specific dates for the works: “Construction of the Secretariat will start on May 10 and be completed on December 25, 2018.”Building of the Legislature complex will commence on July 20 and completed by October 4, 2018 and the High Court works will begin on August 17 and completed on April 3, 2019.” On March 25, 2016, the Andhra Pradesh government selected Maki Associates as the master architect for Amaravati (Administrative City), but vacillated till December before scrapping the contract.Britain’s Foster+ Partners was subsequently chosen as the master architect and fresh timelines were set for the construction of the capital.Foster+ Partners was supposed to submit its master plan and designs in April this year.It indeed completed its task, though a couple of months late. However, the chief minister “approved” the designs one day and found them “not impressive” another day.And, with Chandrababu insisting that “Baahubali” director Rajamouli’s “inputs” be taken for the designs, the entire process is being re-done now.”When we are building a world-class capital city, things cannot happen in a haste. Hence, the delay in the works,” Principal Secretary (Infrastructure and CRDA) Ajay Jain said.In fact, the chief minister himself has also been claiming in the recent days that they were “in no hurry” since they were going to build “one of the top five cities in the world”.The government of India has so far released Rs 1,500 crore for the construction of government buildings, like the Secretariat, High Court, Legislature complex and Raj Bhavan in Amaravati, but the state apparently spent the money on “other purposes”.Since it had to submit utilisation certificates to the Centre for the money already released, the state government has shown the temporary Secretariat and Legislature buildings as the actual structures.”These buildings (temporary Secretariat and Legislature) are also part of the capital. So, we have utilised the (Centre’s) money on them,” Narayana justified.But now, the state has been searching for funds to build the actual Secretariat and Legislature, which could cost more than Rs 1,000 crore.For over a year and a half now, the government has been claiming that the World Bank “agreed in principle” to lend USD one billion for capital development, but not a single dollar has actually been sanctioned till date.The Municipal Minister, however, denied that funds crunch was holding up the capital construction.

Proposal to extend relief from razing in illegal areas gets nod

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Standing Committee of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation on Monday approved the proposal for extending the relief from demolition for unuathourised colonies by three years from December this year to December 2020.The Standing Committee chairman Jayendra Kumar Dabas moved a proposal in the meeting of the House “the relief be extended up to 31st December with exemption from all punitive actions against the unauthorised constructions up to 31st December 2016 in all categories.”This will mean that till December 2020 the civic body will not take any demolition action in these unauthourised colonies.These colonies were always hanging under fire from the civic body for not having valid papers of registry and for not being built as per the sanctioned building plans, as prescribed in the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD).”It is expedient to have a law in terms of Master Plan for Delhi (MPD) -2021, for a period up to 31st December 2020, with cut off date extended up to 31 December 2016 in all categories, to provide for relief and to minimise avoidable hardships and irreparable loss to people in the capital against any punitive action by the civic body,” the resolution stated.The Master Plan for Delhi (MPD) -2021 specifically provides for strategies for housing for urban poor as well as to deal with the informal sector. In pursuance of the guidelines, necessary steps are being taken for regularisation of unauthourised colonies, which involve scrutiny of layout plans, assessment of built up percentage and change of boundaries, among others.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu pushes for teaching in mother tongue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday stressed on making mother language compulsory in primary schools, stating that students are dropping out as they are being taught in other languages.The biggest problem the country faces is that the dropping out of children from primary schools, said Naidu. He was speaking at the inaugural session of a two-day international conference on The Journey of Indian Languages: Perspectives on Culture and Society jointly organised by Dr BR Ambedkar Open University (BAOU) and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).The Vice President also called for a pragmatic policy to encourage learning of the mother tongue in the early stages of schooling, before gradually moving on to other languages.He said, “Language often becomes a barrier in education, which is why many children, especially in tribal areas, drop out as they are taught in a different language from what they speak at home. According to me, mother tongue should be made mandatory for school education.”The Vice President also said that language is the soul of a society, the binding thread of human existence and it has been a vehicle, from time immemorial, for communication of thoughts, feelings and ideas.He further said, “Not enough attention is being paid to ensure that children master at least one language during their schooling stage and this weakens the foundation for further learning. We need good researches that will aim to cement and enhance our tradition of excellent critical, historical, theoretical and creative scholarships across a full range of periods, genres and linguistic research areas.”Open universities are making higher education opportunities available to a much larger number of students because they offer flexible schedules, enabling learners like women and working population to study anywhere, anytime. Language helps us make sense of what is happening around us and communicate it to others around us. New experiences create new expressions. We were always asked to ‘stand up on the bench’ in class but now we hear ‘Stand up India’, ‘start up’, ‘entrepreneurship’, ‘surfing the internet’ or ‘Twitter’.”According to one study, India, with 780 languages, has the world’s second highest number of languages, after Papua New Guinea where people use 839 languages. However, the current scenario in the country is a little disturbing. The recent surveys showed that children were completing the cycle of education but have very poor, unsustainable literacy skills. This weakens the foundations for further learning. We must remedy this situation. It will be much more challenging to build a knowledge based economy with such poor foundational literacy skills,” he said.Others present at the event included state Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma; Anju Sharma, principal secretary, higher and technical education; Dr Pankaj Jani, vice chancellor of BAOU; and Dr Ravindra Kumar, vice chancellor of IGNOU.WHAT HE SAIDNaidu called for the need of a pragmatic policy to encourage learning of the mother tongue in the early stages of schooling. He said that language is the soul of a society, and has been a vehicle from time immemorial, for communication of thoughts and ideas.

India to send 3 lakh youth to Japan for skill training, up to 50,000 could get a job there: Dharmendra Pradhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Briefing reporters about the Cabinet meeting, Union Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the two schemes Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (Sankalp) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (Strive) will be supported by World Bank.The minister also said that during his forthcoming visit to Japan he would be signing a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between India and Japan on the ‘Technical Intern Training Programme (TITP)’ under which three lakh youth would be provided on-job training for three to five years with Japanese assistance.The Cabinet also gave post-factor approval to an MoU for cooperation between India and Belarus in the field of vocational education and training, paving the way for transfer of Belarusian expertise and know how in skilling manpower, especially in the manufacturing sector.”TITP is an ambitious program to send Three Lakh Indian technical interns to Japan for on the job training for a period of three to five yrs,” Pradhan said in a Tweet.”Each skilled youth going there will have a tenure of 3-5 years. These youth will work in the Japanese ecosystem and get employment opportunities there along with accommodation facility,” the minister said.About 50,000 of them may also get jobs in Japan, he added. The selection of the youth will be done in a transparent manner according to Japanese requirements.Besides, the Sankalp and Strive schemes are aimed at bringing institutional reforms and improve quality as well as market relevance of skill development training programmes.Sankalp is Rs 4,455 crore centrally sponsored scheme, including Rs 3,300 crore loan support from World Bank whereas Strive is a Rs 2,200 crore – central sector scheme, with half of the scheme outlay as World bank loan assistance.Sankalp and Strive are outcome focused schemes marking shift in government’s implementation strategy in vocational education and training from inputs to results, said an official release.”We will establish 66 plus India International Skilling Institutions at natural migration points in the country through this investment,” Pradhan said while briefing media about the CCEA decision.These institutions will focus on skill training as per global standards for overseas placements.Over 30,000 aspirants would be trained in institutes and they will get certificates from International Awarding Bodies (lABs), the release said.Upgrading 500 ITIs, as model ITIs across India and improving their industry connect, is also envisaged by ushering in reforms such as on-line examination, centralised admission, improving efficiency and transparency in the system.The schemes would provide the required impetus to the National Skill Development Mission, 2015 and its various sub missions. They are aligned to flagship government programmes such as Make in India and Swachhta Abhiyan.Besides, under the memorandum of understanding (MoU), Belarus shall provide comprehensive transfer of know how of emerging technologies, training and evaluation methodologies, content development for regular and distance learning, e- learning and training of master trainers, competency building of the assessors in area of their competency and network building and industry linkages.The Eurasian nation will also provide vocational education services for Indian citizens for skill development in the field of construction, electric-power production and distribution, manufacturing industry, trade, auto service and household goods repair and maintenance, transport, communication, hotels and restaurants as well as other fields.The MoU will also entail retraining, up-skilling, internship for vocational education and training managers, teachers and trainers of India. Belarus will provide advisory services in order to enhance planning, management and delivery of vocational education and training and skill development.

Seven military men die in helicopter crash

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seven military personnel, including two pilots, died in a helicopter crash near Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang on Friday. The crash took place a day after Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa expressed concern over peacetime losses. A court of inquiry has been ordered, IAF sources said.The Mi-17 V 5 helicopter of the IAF was on an air maintenance mission, carrying supplies to a forward post of the Army in the hilly terrain. “It crashed close to the dropping zone and caught fire immediately,” a statement from the IAF said.The chopper took off from the Khirmu helipad near Tawang and was on its way to Yangste. Five IAF personnel and two Army men were killed in the crash near Tawang, close to the China border, around 6:30 am.The dead have been identified as Wing Commander Vikram Upadhyay, Squadron Leader S Tiwari, Master Warrant Officer AK Singh, Sgt Gautam and Sgt Satish Kumar of the Air Force and Sepoys E Balaji and H N Deka of the Army.The rescue operations took place at a height of 17,000 feet above sea level as the bodies were recovered by a joint team of the IAF and the Army amid hostile conditions.This is the second incident involving IAF helicopters in Arunachal Pradesh in three months. An Advanced Light Helicopter had crashed at Saglee in Papum Pare district on July 4, claiming the lives of all four on board.Earlier in May, two pilots of a Sukhoi fighter jet died as their aircraft crashed after taking off in Assam’s Tezpur.

Naturally dyed sarees to woo Delhiites at 3-day exhibition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The national Capital is all set to witness a traditionally rich weekend, courtesy a three-day saree exhibition, to be organised at the Aga Khan Hall from October 5 to 7. The event, titled ‘Sarees of India-Innovating Tradition’, is being organised by the Delhi Crafts Council (DCC) as part of its golden jubilee year celebrations and will showcase an exclusive collection of naturally-dyed sarees.The exhibition will further highlight innovative ways and designs that infuse new life into traditional techniques, prints, and weaves.Bringing in as many as 21 weavers and craftsmen from different regions of India under one roof, the exhibition would focus on bringing the traditional Indian art of weaving and dyeing of sarees in public limelight, and also provide a platform to regional weavers to display their craft on a contemporary platform.”This year, the DCC will be presenting collections of 21 participants working with different Indian weaves and printing techniques. India has a rich diversity of such techniques and it is our endeavor to bring these exciting developments before the discerning audience of Delhi,” said Kamayani Jalan, Member-In-Charge of Sarees of India and DCC Vice-President.An annual award named the ‘Sutrakar Samman’ will also be given to a selected weaver with outstanding capabilities. Through this award, the DCC seeks to celebrate India’s rich textile heritage and honour excellence in traditional weaving skills, while encouraging a commitment towards the continuity of the craft. This year, the Samman will be presented to Abdullah, a weaver from Mubarakpur in Uttar Pradesh.Learning the traditional weaving skills from his father and holding expertise in “kadwa” brocade borders, Abdullah is a member of the Mubarakpur Weaves team.The DCC will also honour accomplished dyer Ram Kishore Chippa from Jaipur, who has been working with natural dyes for 43 years. He has worked with the National Craft Institute for hand printed textiles in the past. Ram Kishore’s skills are well recognised and he is known as a master trainer for natural dyeing workshops across the country.Exhibitors from various parts of the country would take part in the exhibition. The list includes well-known exhibitors from Udaipur, Hyderabad, Bujh, West Bengal, Kutch, Odisha, Bangalore, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Mumbai, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. Some significant saree styles to look out for are Ikat, Ajrakh, Bappaditya, Bandhani, Bomkai, Sambhalpuri, Kasuti, Maheshwari, Shibori, Dabu, Tussars, Venkatgiri, Jamdani, Tasar, Banaras, and Linen.

Sachin Tendulkar: India’s greatest batsman by those who know him

It is almost four years since India’s greatest batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, retired. Cheteshwar Pujara, and former Test players Farokh Engineer and Wasim Jaffer pay tribute to the ‘Little Master’.

Former home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi takes over as new CAG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi on Monday took over as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.He succeeded Shashi Kant Sharma, who demitted office on Friday, officials said.President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mehrishi (62) at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, which was attended by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi among other dignitaries, they said.A press communique by the president’s office said, “Rajiv Mehrishi was sworn in as the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He took and subscribed to the oath of office before the President.” He will have a tenure till August 7, 2020, it said.According to the officials, his appointment was recently cleared by the government.Mehrishi, a 1978 batch (retired) Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Rajasthan cadre, completed his two- year fixed term as the home secretary last month.His predecessor Sharma had taken over as the CAG on May 23, 2013. He was defence secretary prior to his appointment as the CAG.The CAG is appointed for a term of six years or till the incumbent attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.As a constitutional functionary, the CAG is primarily entrusted with the responsibility of auditing the accounts of the Union government and of the state governments.CAG reports are laid before Parliament and legislatures of the states.Mehrishi, who hails from Rajasthan, holds Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (UK).He also possess Master of Arts (MA) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees from Delhi University.Mehrishi has held several posts in both his state cadre Rajasthan and in the Centre.Before his appointment as the home secretary, he worked as economic affairs secretary and chief secretary of Rajasthan.Mehrishi has also worked as secretary in departments of chemicals and fertilisers, and Overseas Indian Affairs.​

BMC goes online to cut frequent road dig-ups

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Each year, Mumbaikars are inconvenienced by over 500 km of roads in the city being dug up by various utility agencies for laying of cables and pipes, and often, the same stretch of road is dug up multiple times by different agencies.To cut down on the chances of trenching being carried out on the same road on multiple occasions, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now introduced an online system of granting permissions to utility agencies, so that all agencies can be alerted about the time-frame within which digging works will be carried out on a particular road.This will enable multiple utility agencies to carry out their work at the same time, and possibly cut down on their costs as well.Once the civic body grants permission to a utility agency for trenching on a road, the online system will immediately flag the proposed work period and send out e-mail notifications to other utility agencies to enable them to seize the same window for laying utilities.”Repeated road digging works for utilities create traffic issues as well as wastage of resources,” said a senior official from the BMC’s Roads Department. The official clarified that it will, as of now, not be mandatory for these agencies to lay utilities at the same place at the same time. However, better coordination will lessen the chance of repeated digging works.The Roads Department of the BMC held a meeting with senior officials of all utilities agencies on September 20, informing them about the new system.There are around 36 utility agencies in the city, such as gas companies, mobile and internet service providers and BEST, who dig up roads and footpaths to lay cables and pipes. The BMC receives around 6,000 applications for road trenching from all these 36 agencies, and for granting permission, the civic body earns annual revenue of around Rs 700 to Rs 800 crore.”There is possibility that the revenue from these agencies for allowing road digging work will come down. But, the move will certainly bring respite from repeated digging work and inconvenience caused to residents and motorists,” said a senior official from the BMC’s Roads department. He added that the civic body is often criticised for granting permission for road digging multiple times at the same place within a small period.In 2015, the civic body had asked even utility agencies to submit a “master plan” of all the trenching works to be undertaken by them a year in advance. There was also provision of a 5 per cent penalty in cases of non-compliance. However, that did not prove a solution to the problem. “Since we cannot deny to give permission to utility agencies, we have to look for other ways,” said the official.Round-the-clockThere are around 36 utility agencies in the city, such as gas companies, mobile and internet service providers and BEST, who dig up roads and footpaths to lay cables and pipes. According to official estimates, over 500 km of roads are dug every year by utility agencies. However, due to poor or no coordination among these agencies, roads are dug up at the same place several times in a year.

JJ school restores 32 historical sculptures

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thirty two sculptures, most of which are 100-150 years old have been completely restored at the Sir JJ School of Art as part of its restoration programme. Restored sculptures include replicas of some of the famous master sculptures of Greek and Roman style, which were imported from England to the art school in the 1880s as study material for students of painting and sculpture.So far, over 650 paintings (some of which includes classics by VS Gaitonde, KK Hebbar, SH Raza, etc and 32 sculptures have been restored as part of the restoration project undertaken by the school five years ago with the help of the National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property (NRLC) and supported by the Department of Higher and Technical Education,”The school has a collection of over 100 sculptures. Some of them are over 100 years old. With time, some of them had started developing cracks. The team started working on some sculptures two years ago, and today, 32 sculptures have been fully restored,” said Professor Vishwananth Sabale, Dean, JJ School of Art.He said that most of these sculptures were brought in for students to study painting and sculpting. “during those times, such sculptures were not made in India and had to be imported. Students of art would use them to practice drawings while those studying sculpting would examine the 3D work,” added Sabale.Some replicas of famous Indian murals and relics made by students of the institute are also part of the collection. “Several Indian style murals and sculptures, which are replicas of those at famous structures across the country made by some of our students, are also being restored,” he said.RESTORING HISTORYAll sculptures are made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) while some old ones came in detachable forms. While a part of the restored structures would be a part of the gallery which is expected to come up at the iconic Kipling bungalow (which is being restored to make it a tourist attraction by the Maharashtra government), some of them will continue to be kept in the school as study material for students.

BCA advances Durga Puja festivities by a day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The oldest Durga Puja in the state is 80-year-old. However, celebrating its anniversary this year, the Bengali Cultural Association (BCA) in Ahmedabad has decided to pre-pone the festivities by a day.Considering that many people will miss out on the celebrations if the organizers arrange the prasad distribution and related programmes on weekdays, the committee has decided to advance the meet-ups.The Puja is starting from September 25, but BCA will start celebrating the annual festival from September 24. The attraction of the first day will be Anandamela, a food festival where women will serve home-made food to the visitors. Besides the treat that will be sold at a very little price, the pandal-hoppers will also be a part of the musical event that will be held at the same venue.Kanak Das Adhikary, Genearal Secretary of BCA, said, “The Puja dates this year is not falling on any Sunday. This is the main reason we thought to advance it. We don’t want anybody to miss the celebration as we enter 80th year. There will be around 25 food stalls during the food festival.”Wrath of the rains:For the first time, BCA has this year invested in creating two domes of 250 feet so that the Puja is not hampered by the rains. Genearal Secretary of BCA, Kanak Das Adhikary, said, “MeT has predicted rains during Navratri. As a precautionary measure, we are creating two huge domes to cover the area.”Tribute to city’s heritage statusBCA has also roped in a master craftsman, Sanat Maity, who specializes in wood carving to create a unique entrance for the pandal. “The city has been awarded a heritage status. Hence, we are creating inscriptions, depicting the heritage of the city, depicting the heritage of the city on a wooden gate. The gate will be of 20 feet high and 40 feet wide.”ISKCON temple President visits KalibariLocated on Rajpath Club-Sardar Patel Ring Road route, the Rs 2-crore temple complex on Tuesday also hosted Jasumati Nanda Prabhu, President, ISKCON temple said. Considering Tuesday auspicious, Kalibari held an Amavasya puja also.In 2013, BCA had shifted its venue to the ground behind Doordarshan on Drive-In road. Owned by the Ahmedabad Education Society (AES), the ground was not been used for any event for 70 years.This year too, the Durga idol is being prepared by Kolkata artisans, who came to the city to prepare the idol, which is estimated to be around 17-feet-high. According to tradition, the artisans fetch clay from the banks of the Ganges, on the day of Rath Yatra.CULTURAL PROGRAMME:Date-Day Pujo prog Cultural progSept 24 Anandamela – food festival, musical show
Sept 25 Panchami Inauguration, children musical performance, dance recital
Sept 26 Shashti Drama by BCA theatre group, singer Saptak Chaterjee
Sept 27 Maha Saptami Children drama, Bengali folk song by a band in Kolkata
Sept 28 Maha Ashtami Dance show by Kolkata triupe, song
Sept 29 Maha Navami Comedy show by Mridul Bhattacharya, folk song
Sept 30 Dashami (Sindoor Khela) Song by Anneswa Dutta

DLF disowns firms listed at dilapidated Delhi house

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Real estate giant DLF group confirmed that it ran multiple companies from a dilapidated building in the Jhandewalan area of New Delhi – as revealed by DNA in a recent report. “The company has a large number of subsidiaries, given the nature of the industry,” the company stated in a response to queries from DNA.The real estate major said it had only 80 subsidiaries registered at the 1-E Jhandewalan, New Delhi, address as on March 2015. The company, however, disowned the other 388 companies which were also listed at the same address, even though these were involved in real estate-related businesses.On August 31, quoting Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ (MCA) master data, DNA reported that in 2015 a total of 468 companies were registered at the Jhandewalan address, also known as Naaz Cinema Complex (shares the boundary with income tax investigation headquarters). But post demonetisation, the number of companies got reduced to 245 (MCA data as on December 31, 2016). Not just the physical address, 111 of the 245 companies even shared a single email address. DLF, however, maintains that it had shifted some of its companies to other addresses, but it was not because of demonetisation.Data-mining by DNA revealed that some directors of these companies registered at Jhandewalan were common across more than 20 companies, which is illegal as per the New Company Act 2013. For instance, directors of Swarnavo Builders & Developers Private Limited’s were holding the same position in more than 50 companies located in the same address. According to MCA data, Ramchandra Prasad Sah, one of the directors of Swarnavo Builders, holds directorships in 77 companies, including DLF New Gurgaon Offices Developers Private Limited.Most of these 77 firms shared the Jhandewalan address.Six boards placed at the gate of Naaz Cinema complex display a list of more than 200 companies till August 2017, some blacked out with paint recently.The Supreme Court-constituted Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has recommended in its third report, released in 2015, that multiple companies registered at one address, one individual holding directorships in more than 20 companies are some of key indicators for shell companies.DLF response to DNAThe company has a large number of subsidiaries, given the nature of the industry. All the subsidiaries are duly reported. We wish to clarify that as of 31.3.15, we had only 130 subsidiaries, of which 80 were registered at the address mentioned in your query.This address used to house our Accounting/Tax and Secretarial functions. Subsequently, due to a planned process and given the business scenario, the number of entities has been reduced to 114 subsidiaries, of which 68 were registered in the address as of 30.06.2016. This figure was 109 as on 31.3.2017, out of which 62 are registered at the said address as mentioned.We wish to categorically state that the reduction of entities has happened due to general corporate direction and the event of demonetization had absolutely no role to play in the same. All of our subsidiaries are entities with specific business objectives and are fully compliant with all regulations as applicable.”

Delhi HC slams city residents; calls them selfish for using homes as commercial properties without thinking of others

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>People, using residential properties for commercial purposes, have become “selfish” as they were earning profits without even thinking of the inconvenience they are causing to their neighbours, the Delhi High Court said today.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the observation while expressing concern over the large number of coaching institutes coming up in the residential areas of the city causing “parking woes” and other inconvenience to the local residents.”It is a very impossible situation. The people living in the city have become selfish for earning profit out of their business. They don’t even think about their neighbours,” the bench said.It said that it had made it clear that the law has to be strictly complied with.”Merely because the master plan permits the private usage or commercial usage in a particular area, does not by any means permit the existing residential properties to be converted by such users.”No waiver of the Building Bye Laws is allowed. There can be no exception to the mandatory requirements of the Building Bye Laws mandated under the Master Plan.”Furthermore, while permitting conversion, the authorities are required to take all relevant factors into consideration including nuisance to the neighbours and cannot rest the permission on the sole ground that the Master Plan has permitted such usage,” it said.The court’s observation came during the hearing of pleas by Delhi residents Sanjay Singhal and Kanchan Gupta, who have alleged that over 100 coaching centres were permitted to be run by the MCD in residential properties.They have also said that these centres were allowed to come up without conforming to the requirements of the master plan for buildings where such user is permitted.Contending that this was completely illegal and ought not to have been permitted, they alleged that it was resulting in overcrowding in the areas and causing “grave nuisance to the bonafide residents.””The main roads in front of the building being converted into parking space for the students and the employees of the coaching centres, creating bottleneck for the traffic apart from the nuisance due to noise and lack of water and electricity,” the petitioners have claimed.The court had earlier observed that the national capital “will breathe” easier if it stayed all such conversion of residential property for commercial use without adhering to the master plan requirements.The court listed the matter for September 18, by when it has asked the coaching institutes to give details on various issues, including the students studying at their centres.

Master the skill of presenting facts of cases before courts: CJI Dipak Misra tells budding lawyers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra today asked budding lawyers to master the skill of presenting facts of the cases before courts.The CJI, who was felicitated by the Bar Council of India — apex bar body — praised women advocates and judges for their endeavours in the field of advocacy and judiciary and asked them as well as their male counterparts not to deviate from the principles of the profession.Justice Misra, who succeeded Justice J S Khehar as the CJI on August 27, expressed gratitude to the bar and advised budding lawyers to get mastery over facts of the cases being fought by them.”Everyday, we judges are taught by lawyers. If a young lawyer is not recognised by this country, his ambition will be scuttled,” he said.Praising women lawyers and judges, the CJI said that they were doing a great service to the nation.Besides the CJI, several apex court judges, including Justices Arun Mishra, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, L N Rao, S Abdul Nazeer and Navin Sinha, graced the occasion.Speaking at the function, Justice Misra highlighted the importance of a strong and independent bar and said it was necessary for a strong judiciary.”If the bar is not strong and its independence is compromised, the judiciary will become very weak. The bar’s duty is to keep the judiciary in a perspective. Bar is our protection,” he said.BCI chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra raised the issue of rising vacancies in judiciary.”With the new CJI among us, we hope that vacancies across high courts in the country would be filled up speedily,” he said.He emphasised that bar bodies like the BCI should be consulted by the judiciary in appointment of judges.”We don’t know why the bar has been given a step-motherly treatment by judiciary. We hope that in times to come, the BCI’s autonomy is respected and not compromised,” he said.He also raised the issue of frequent strikes by lawyers and said that the BCI was aware of the situation.

14 BMC employees clear MA, set example

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From an administrative officer to a peon of the B ward in South Mumbai — fourteen employees of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) — have set an example for their fellow staff. In a commendable effort, they all cleared the final exam in Master of Arts (MA) in Marathi, which was held in May 2017.Two months ago, 23 conservancy workers of the same ward had cleared the school secondary examination (SSC). By clearing the examination, the staff have improved their chances of promotion and salary hike.However, this mean feat was not easy to achieve as many of them went back to studying after a gap of 20 to 30 years. Anil Chavan, assistant commissioner (complaint redressal) at B ward who cleared the MA exam, said, “I completed my graduation in 1990, and again in 2015, I decided to do MA in Marathi,” said Chavan.

Finance Act: MoEF seeks to fill NGT vacancies under revised Rules

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has sought applications for filling vacancies to the posts of judicial members and expert members in National Green Tribunal (NGT) with a revised eligibility criteria under the new Rules of Finance Act, 2017. The moves comes even as the Supreme Court has issued notice to Centre over a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities Rules, that dictate the appointments to Tribunals.The ministry has invited applications to fill five vacancies to the post of judicial members and seven vacancies to the post of expert members in NGT.The new Rules have received severe criticism from the law fraternity for diluting the judiciary’s role in appointment to Tribunals and many even termed it as an overreach of the executive. MoEF&CC had originally invited applications in February, but after notification of the Rules under Finance Act, the ministry has re-issued invitation with a revised eligibility criteria.As per the new Rules, a person is qualified to apply for the post of a judicial member if he or she is qualified to be, a judge of a High Court; or has held a judicial office for at least ten years. Contrary to this, the NGT Act, 2010, mandated that only a judge of the Supreme Court or a judge of a High Court or a Chief Justice of a High Court could become a judicial member of NGT.Currently, there are only seven judicial members, of which four are sitting on principal bench in Delhi while the rest head the regional benches at Chennai, Bhopal and Kolkata respectively. The new Rules also whittled down the eligibility criteria for expert members.While the NGT Act mandated that an expert member had the minimum qualification of a degree in Master of Science (physical sciences or life sciences) with a doctorate degree or Masters degree with fifteen years of experience in the relevant field, the new Rules requires the applicant to just have a degree in science with experience of 20 years in relevant fields. Currently, there are six expert members in NGT, of which three are sitting on the principal bench while the rest are from Kolkata, Bhopal and Chennai benches.”By diluting the eligibility criteria, the ministry is also diluting delivery of justice. Now even an advocate can become a judicial member, instead of a Supreme Court or High Court judge,” said Ritwick Dutta, environmental lawyer.

Utkal Express derailment: 13 railway employees sacked for accident that killed 20

Updated: Aug 30, 2017, 11:04 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Services of 13 railway employees were today terminated for gross negligence that led to the August 19 train derailment in which more than 20 people were killed.Among those sacked are 11 gangmen, one ironsmith and a junior engineer, the railway ministry said.All of them were workers in the Kathauli section where the accident took place when 14 coaches of the train jumped the rails.”The railways has terminated the services of 13 employees under Section 14 of the discipline and appeal rule,” said Northern Railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma.Under this section, the services of any rail staff found guilty of gross negligence can be terminated without an enquiry.
ALSO READ Utkal Express Derailment: Khatauli station master may not be at fault, says railway officialThe railway had earlier sent on leave, three top officials, including a secretary-level Railway Board officer, suspended four officers and transferred one in connection with the derailment. PTI ASG

Soon, affordable housing on city’s salt pan lands

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The salt pan land​s​ as well as other land​ parcels in Mumbai, owned by departments of the Union Government, will soon be available for affordable housing projects. The State Chief Secretary ​has been​ asked to prepare a master plan for handing over the salt pan lands. The master plan will be sent to the Union government.The tenth standing committee meeting of the Western Zonal Council chaired by Chief Secretary Sumeet Mullick was held at Sahyadri Guest House on Thursday. Officials from Union Ministry of Home Affairs, state of Gujarat, Goa, and Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli were present at the meeting.The issue of salt pan lands and lands owned by various central departments was discussed at Thursday’s meeting. Chief Secretary Mullick has been given the responsibility of holding a meeting to prepare a detailed master plan for the hand over of these lands. The proposal will be sent to the Union government so that these lands can be utilised for affordable housing schemes.Salt pan lands are spread all over Mumbai in areas like Dahisar, Goregaon, Mulund, Bhandup, Kanjurmarg, Nahur, Ghatkopar, Turbhe, Chembur, Wadala, Anik and Mandale. There is a total of 5,379 acres of salt pan land in Mumbai. In addition to this, there are lands of other Union government departments which will also be sought for affordable housing schemes.Mullick informed the meeting that 95 per cent Aadhaar seeding is completed in the state of Maharashtra. The meeting also discussed various issues pertaining to housing development, ports, taxation, health and vaccination….& ANALYSISMumbai, where open land is not available in abundance and every project’s biggest hurdle is land acquisition, the salt pan lands will prove to be a big boon for affordable housing programmes
However, it will not be possible to utilise 100 per cent of the salt pan lands as there exist issues such as CRZ

K.T.S. Tulsi, Prashant Bhushan welcome Supreme Court’s verdict on Right to Privacy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Senior Supreme Court advocate K.T.S Tulsi on Thursday welcomed the verdict on Right to Privacy and said it was significant to the fundamental rights of a citizen. ?It is a significant judgement because it upholds the right of a citizen of being the master of his own body and mind, and no one can compel him to part with his biometric information for the purpose of opening a bank account or for obtaining a telephone connection,? Tulsi said. Since the government has defended the Aadhar Act on the grounds that it is required for social welfare schemes, Tulsi indicated that it should not be mandatory for everyone. ?Aadhar is not necessary for me if I don?t need to get any services or benefits from the government, so this is asserting of India as a democracy, India as a free country, and Indians as free citizens of a free nation,? Tulsi concluded. Meanwhile, another lawyer Prashant Bhushan has said that the Supreme Court’s decision was “historic”. Bhushan informed that privacy is now a fundamental right that comes under article 21 of the Indian Constitution. ?Any law which is made to restrict this fundamental right will have to be examined on the touchstone of Article 21, which means that the court will have to see whether that law imposes unreasonable restrictions on your fundamental right to privacy or not,? Bhushan said. ?This is a blow to the government because their argument was that privacy is not a fundamental right,? he added. Since a fundamental right is subject to restrictions by law, when he was asked whether Aadhaar Act imposes reasonable restriction on privacy or not, Bhushan said that a smaller bench will have to examine that. ?Suppose in future, the government asks for your biometric details or Aadhar number for your travel bookings, then such law in my opinion will be termed unreasonable restriction on your fundamental right to privacy, and will be struck down. However, as of now, the Aadhar card is only required for social welfare schemes and income tax return under Income tax act. A smaller Bench will look into it,? he said. Earlier in the day, the nine-judge Constitution bench of the apex court overruled the M.P. Sharma (1962) and Kharak Singh (1954) judgement and gave the verdict that privacy was a fundamental right of a citizen. A five-judge constitutional bench is to decide whether the Aadhaar violates the Right to Privacy or not. On July 26, the Centre had told the apex court that there is a fundamental right to privacy, which is a ‘wholly qualified right’ too, and in special circumstances, the government can interfere in a matter that comes under a wholly qualified right. An absolute right cannot be reduced or amended.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Take domestic flights from revamped Terminal 2, this October

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

HC lashes out at Hauz Khas eateries for violating norms

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Will the clearance certificates extinguish fire, an anguished bench of the Delhi High Court on Monday asked the owners of the Hauz Khas village eateries here allegedly running in violation of building bye-laws and the master plan.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that “people have turned blind and to earn profit out of their business, they are doing whatever they want to do”.”Don’t you (owners of the Hauz Khas village eateries) have any responsibility towards the city you live in and its citizens. Is it not your responsibility to ensure safety of the people,” the bench asked.It also asked the eateries who had permitted them to run commercial activities in rural area like Hauz Khas.”Mere permission from the authorities concerned, with regard to the fire clearance and other licences to run an eatery, will not save the life of the people visiting there.”You will have to ensure compliance of building bye-laws as per master plan including parking and other facilities,” the bench said, adding that the roads there are so choked that not even a fire tender can reach the spot during need.The court made the oral observation when an owner of Hauz Khas village eatery approached it for urgent listing of a petition against the south Delhi municipal corporation order to shut down the restaurant. The corporation had issued them notice on the ground that they were operating without any building plan approval or no objection certificate (NOC) from the authorities, including the fire department. Earlier, during the hearing of a plea, the court was toldthat not a single eatery in south Delhi’s popular Hauz Khas Village appeared to have fire safety clearance.The bench had made the observation as the fire department had not disclosed in its affidavit whether it had received any reference from the police or the civic bodies for fire safety certification to any eatery in the area.

Khatauli station master had asked for traffic block to repair

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The station master of Khatauli had at least twice requested the Delhi-based railway control room for a “block” to repair the tracks but was denied permission which delayed the repair work, a senior railway official claimed today. A “traffic block” is required when a line needs to be locked against movement of vehicles for maintenance work. Such a block is granted by the section controller, who in this case is stationed in the Delhi divisional regional manager’s office. “The station master had asked the controller for the block but it was denied. This is a big negligence,” the official, who did not wish to be identified, said. The Commissioner, Railway Safety, Shailesh Kumar Pathak, who is heading the probe into the August 19 derailment of the Utkal Express, today visited the site and interacted with officials. Official sources said Pathak has learnt of the denial of permission and is believed to be considering action against the officials concerned. The sources also said that the focus on punctuality is often the reason behind many blocks being denied routinely, which results in delays in maintenance work. Senior officials also maintain that questions have also been raised on why repair work was being carried out on the track despite the permission being denied. It was found during the preliminary inquiry that the fish plate and nut bolts were not fixed properly which could have led to the accident. Pathak told reporters here today that he would submit his report to the railway board. He noted that “strict action” was taken by the railways after the accident. “This is the biggest action in railway history,” he said. Meanwhile, district authorities said that all bodies except one have been identified. At least 20 people died in the accident on August 19 when 13 coaches of Haridwar bound train derailed. Pathak, who has now returned to Delhi, is expected to speak with officials of the engineering department of the Aurangabad division under whom the permanent way maintenance staff operate. He is also likely sieve through all the evidence, including exhaustive photographs of the spot, measurements of tracks and multiple video clips which have so far surfaced after the accident. The sources indicated that Pathak is likely to submit his report in a month. Yesterday, the Railways sent on leave three top officials, including a secretary-level Railway Board member, suspended four officers and transfered a track engineer. Member (engineering) on the Railway Board, Northern Railway general manager and divisional regional manager (Delhi) were asked to go on leave in the aftermath of the derailment that also left 156 people injured. The four officials suspended were a senior divisional engineer, an assistant engineer, a senior section engineer responsible for track maintenance and a junior engineer. Meanwhile, M C Chahuan, who assumed office as General Manager, Northern Railway today after R K Kulshrestha was sent on leave, met the DRMs of Northern Railway Delhi, Ambala, Moradabad, Lucknow, Firozpur divisions this morning at Northern Railway Headquarters Office here via video conferencing, said an official statement from the railways. Emphasizing that safety in train operations is of paramount priority, Chauhan exhorted all divisions of the zone to undertake safety drives in identified core areas of operations. He also reviewed the ongoing safety related projects and urged department heads and divisional heads to assign highest importance to safety challenges, the statement said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

A dedicated terminal for pvt jets in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By next year, fliers may be able to book a private jet and travel to the destination of their choice. A dedicated terminal is being built at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) to cater to private jets. A first of its kind in the country, it is a part of the Delhi airport master plan.According to officials, interested fliers will be able to book a six-seater private jet at a cost of little over Rs 50,000 per head for a Delhi to Mumbai round trip. Charges will, however, be on per-hour basis, and will vary with the kind of aircraft one opts for and on other factors.The terminal is being built by the Bird ExecuJet Airport Services Private Limited, a joint venture between Bird Group and ExecuJet Aviation Group.”The terminal is expected to be ready by August 2018. This will revolutionise the concept of flying. Fliers can book an entire aircraft and travel to any location,” said a Bird ExecuJet Airport Services spokesperson.He added, “The chargers of business jets will be on an hourly basis starting Rs 60,000 plus taxes per hour. This will cost a flier about Rs 55,000 plus taxes for a six-seater aircraft for a Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi round trip. There are various aircraft types in the market, and based on client requirements, seating, waiting chargers, choice of aircraft, availability, markets rate (per hour), airport charges, and other factors, the rates of these business jets will vary.” The company also mentioned that the recently announced initiatives such as the UDAAN scheme (Regional connectivity), ‘Make in India’ as well as ‘Invest India’ have augmented growth potential for aviation, especially MRO and FBO in India, which is expected to reach $5.2 billion by 2026. “With this projection, Bird ExecuJet Airport Services Private Limited aims to tap on this growth by expanding to servicing over 1,700 private aircraft in the coming years,” the spokeperson said.However, with the UDAAN scheme not being a hit so far, the company accepts that encouraging chartered flight will be a challenge ahead. “To change the conventional way of flying, we need a change in mindset. We hope people will come forward to enjoy the facility which will be the first of its kind in the country,” the official added.At Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), movement of non-scheduled flights is minimal. According to air traffic management officials, it is in the range of 6-10 flights daily. Even this lowly number of flights is possible only during the lean period — afternoon or very early in the morning when the traffic of scheduled flights are not at peak. So, this comes as hindrance to growth of charter flights and private jet operations, as a typical businessman will like to arrive around 8-10 am for the meetings and leave by 5-6 pm after finishing their work.According to the Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA), a lobby group, insufficient infrastructure for business and general aviation has been a major deterrent in Mumbai, which is the country’s financial capital. Furthermore, indiscriminate and unregulated charges being levied in terms of airport usage, ground handling, hangar and parking have made operations expensive.The senior officials at the Civil Aviation Ministry said that though plans to develop the Juhu airport for operations of smaller aircraft have been in the pipeline for over 6-7 years, it has not moved an inch beyond the blueprint. A runway extension into the nearby Arabian sea along with the development of more parking bays as well as night landing system has been on plans. Juhu airport at present handles 100-120 landings per day, majority of which happens for ONGC, which uses it as a base for its operations at high seas near Mumbai.A few aviation charter companies have in the past tried offering pay-per-seat services, including that of joy rides, but they have never turned into a flying success. Even the amphibian planes, also called as seaplane, which were envisaged to connect many tourist spots in Maharashtra, has been a failure so far.Also, the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA), which has been in plans for decades in order to provide support to growing traffic at the Mumbai airport, has been slow to take off as it remained mired in land acquisition issues. GVK, which had the first right of refusal recently won the bid to develop NMIA too. It will take at least 4-5 year for the development to complete; much longer than what the government has been claiming, aviation sources reveal.FLYING FANCYOfficials say that interested fliers will be able to book a six-seater private jet at a cost of little over Rs 50,000 per head for a Delhi to Mumbai round trip.

Blanket worms in school scare students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The presence of ‘blanket worms’ at a government run girls school today triggered a scare among students prompting teachers to seek the help of fire officials to clear the insects besides declaring a holiday. Fire Services personnel cleared the school premises of the worms. When the students of the Government Girls Higher Secondary School arrived today after a four-day holiday, they noticed blanket worms in and around the building walls and in the classrooms. The insects had sneaked in from nearby trees. They reported it to the teachers and the school personnel and teachers too noticed it. “The school headmaster requested us to take action and a team of five personnel was deployed besides a mini-water tanker,” Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services Station Officer S Muniyandi told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Delhi Police’s 20 dogs guard the Red Fort

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

We differred with BJP on Khandu continuing as CM, says PPA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Peoples Party of Arunachal (PPA) today described BJP’s decision to sever ties with it was not a ‘healthy sign’ for the region, and said that the bone of contention was Pema Khandu carrying on as chief minister. State BJP president Tapir Gao on August 10 announced that it has severed relations with its North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) partner PPA following orders from the party’s central leaders. Reacting to BJP’s decision, PPA secretary general Kaling Jerang in a statement said the party only wanted that Khandu, facing charges of “corruption and criminal conspiracies”, should not continue as chief minister. He said that the party had earlier written to BJP national president Amit Shah and NEDA convener Himanta Biswa Sarma demanding that Khandu be removed as chief minister. “There were serious charges of corruption and criminal conspiracies leading to the death of two persons in Tawang shooting incident in May last year, and the 60-page suicide note left behind by former chief minister Kalikho Pul, where Khandu has been named with grievous charges of corruption,” Jerang said in the statement. At least two people were killed when police opened fire to disperse a mob opposing hydro power projects at Tawang district, when they tried to barge in a police station on May 2 last year. It was alleged that Kalikho Pul had written a suicide note before killing himself on August 9 last year, but its authenticity was not confirmed. Jerang said BJP’s decision to disassociate with the lone regional party in the state from NEDA was “definitely not a healthy sign” for the development of regional political parties and the region itself. The party, he said, expected that NEDA would play a larger role for all round development of NE region rather than be a platform for “divisive politics master minded by self-centred politicians”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

RSS-BJP against Prez rule in Kerala: senior RSS leader

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The RSS-BJP in Kerala are against the imposition of President’s rule in the state in the wake of violent clashes between the RSS and CPI(M) activists there, a senior RSS leader has said. However, he has also questioned the recent peace talks initiated by the Kerala government to stop such political violence, alleging that the Left cadres have used such process to regroup and launch further attacks. The Kerala state head of RSS, P Gopalan Kutty Master, said the RSS and the BJP were against imposition of President’s rule and added that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat wanted them to engage in the peace talks to see there is no violence. Talking to reporters here, Master said that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has assured of engaging in a continued dialogue to deal with the violent incidents. The Chief Minister had convened a meeting of CPI(M) and BJP-RSS state leaders on July 31 to discuss ways and means to ensure peace and avoid such incidents. The meeting had taken certain decisions and decided to hold similar meetings in three affected districts as a follow up. These meetings were also held during which a framework was evolved and both sides committed to see that conflicts are avoided and the police takes action against anyone resorting to violence. Master said he apprehended that its workers may be attacked as the peace talks have been initiated after an RSS worker was hacked to death here on July 29. “Whenever there were discussions, a peace pause, it was used by them (the Left cadre) to bring another attack (RSS-BJP men). They used that time for the next attack. That has been our experience. They are using that period to arrange for the next attack,” he alleged. The RSS-BJP and the CPI(M) have been at loggerheads in Kerala, particularly its northern parts, after the Left Democratic Front came to power in the state last year. The RSS-BJP combine has claimed that 14 of its members were killed by the Left cadres during the period, while the CPI(M) has alleged that 13 of workers lost their lives in violence perpetuated by the saffron organisations. Both sides have blamed each other for the “political killings”. Master said that the state unit of RSS-BJP had discussed the issue of attacks on its workers with BJP president Amit Shah seeking to draw the attention of the party’s central leadership. He said the RSS-BJP combine was against dissolving an elected government. “It is not good to dissolve the government elected by people,” he said responding to questions by reporters. Master alleged that BJP worker P Santhosh was killed in January this year in Kannur after two such peace meetings were held between the two sides. Similarly, he said that immediately after the dialogue between both sides in Kannur district, RSS worker Rajesh was murdered. He said he had spoken to Vijayan when a large number of CPI(M) workers had gathered outside a local court which was dealing with the bail pleas of some RSS-BJP workers. “Fortunately, nothing happened in the court as police took some right steps. But the CPI(M) men had gathered at the court even as the peace talks are on. I talked to the chief minister on the issue,” Master said. He said the Chief Minister told him that “they will find out who these people were and added the peace process should not be affected.” Master said Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also discussed the issue with Vijayan. “The Union Minister spoke to the chief minister and has sought a report. Like that, it will lead to good results in curbing violence.” He said as asked by Bhagwat, the Kerala units of the RSS and the BJP were ready for talks with the government and stressed the saffron combine was not against peace. He, however, maintained that it is required for the RSS- BJP men to defend themselves if the CPI(M) workers attacked them and ensure their morale is not down. “A planned retaliation is not good for the organisation. But when some incident takes place, sudden retaliation is necessary. We tell our people to beware of things. Be prepared every time as there can be attack at any point of time,” Master added. The CPI(M) had recently said that while the Home Minister adopts one position, another Union Minister and the BJP leadership take a contrary stand. “This clearly shows that the BJP-RSS are not keen to see that peace is restored and there are no political clashes,” it had said in a statement. It said that the RSS-BJP “game-plan is clear. Resort to provocative actions and uncalled for physical assaults against the CPI(M) workers and raise the cry that the CPI(M) is resorting to violence and blame the Kerala government for not stopping such attacks.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

CAG report raises a stink over city’s sewage system

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite the talk of Swacch Bharat and making India open defecation free (ODF), the sewage treatment and management system in Mumbai leaves a lot to be desired as revealed by a performance audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).The report has pointed to several shortfalls in the sewage waste management systems of the BMC, including around half of the sewage being discharged into the sea or water bodies without being treated, around 400 people using one toilet seat and a deficit of toilet seats in slums.The CAG’s report on local bodies for the year ended on March 31, 2016, was submitted to the state legislature on Friday. This report noted that Mumbai generated 2,146 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage, of which only 1,098 MLD is treated. The remaining 1,048 MLD (49%) sewage was outside the sewage collection system and was discharged into the sea or creeks without being treated as on July 2016.”This combined with poor treatment quality of sewage at four of the seven WWTFs (waste water treatment facilities) was polluting the sea water. As a result, BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) level of sea water had increased (2011-13),” it said.”This was due to inadequate coverage of sewage network and low capacity utilisation of treatment facilities. Sewer line works proposed under Master Plan and feasibility works undertaken by SP (sewage project) were executed to the extent of 43.06 per cent (49.81 km of 115.67 km). Similarly, only 17 per cent work of rehabilitation of old lines was executed and no improvement took place in WWTFs,” the report noted. It also pointed to how excess or over-payments were made to contractors.According to Census 2011, out of total slum population of 52.07 lakh, 12.20 lakh people had no access to septic tanks. MSDP (Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project) had assessed requirement of 25,992 toilet seats considering one toilet seat to be used by 50 persons.”However, MSDP could construct 5,797 toilet seats leaving deficit of 20,195 toilet seats as of March 2016. It was also observed that out of total available 8,594 toilet blocks only 2,476 toilet blocks were connected with sewer lines and electricity. There was no water connection in 6,464 toilet blocks. As per survey reports user ratio was not maintained as per set norms and it varied from 11 to 417 persons per toilet seat,” the CAG report said.The slow progress in construction of toilet blocks and connecting them to existing sewer lines resulted in continued discharge of untreated sewage into open nullahs, creeks and the sea.The CAG recommended that the BMC “may prepare a comprehensive plan for improvement in slum areas thereby providing optimum numbers of toilet blocks along with sewage connection, electricity and water connections.”It suggested that the civic body take the initiative to make all the installed aerators operational at Versova, Bhandup and Ghatkopar WWTFs to safeguard the environmental interest at large and take steps to prevent excess payment to contractors.

Amit Shah vs Ahmed Patel – A battle of titans

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The elections to the three seats of Rajya Sabha in Gujarat that went to the wire tested machination and political acumen of two political titans — the BJP’s master strategist and president Amit Shah and Congress’ most sought-after backroom boy Ahmed Patel. Shah, who himself is a candidate, fielded a nominee against Patel, whose defeat many believed symbolically meant decimating the political clout of Congress party’s nerve centre, the Gandhis. Making Congress so desperate for a win in a state where its candidate should have easily sailed through is a big reflection on the leadership. In Gujarat, the BJP is facing an anti-incumbency factor and absence of Modi was also seen an advantage to Congress.But the current elections have reaffirmed Shah’s reputation and brought glaring weakness in the Congress party. It once again demonstrated Shah as a master strategist. The party had 31 extra votes after securing two Rajya Sabha seats and was short of 14 votes to win the third seat. Shah muddied the waters for Patel by fielding a third candidate, a relative of rebel Congress leader Shankar Singh Vaghela, to ensure an end of the road for Patel. The Congress has accused the BJP government at the Centre of misusing central agencies to hound Congress MLAs from Gujarat and Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar, who hosted them at a resort near Bengaluru. Congress’ victory will give the party a new voice to challenge the BJP.Though both Shah and Patel are political titans and like all Gujaratis have traits of being realistic, flexible and amenable, the comparison ends here. Their behaviour are vastly divergent. While Patel is a rare Indian politician who shuns the limelight, never accepted any ministerial position and the lure of TV cameras but still manages backroom activities of the grand old party, Shah’s political flamboyance and high-profile campaigns have been his trade-mark. Both have been, however, known over the past for snatching victories from the jaws of defeat. Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, is one of the few politicians who have worked closely with three generations of the Congress’ first family. Hailing from Bharuch since 1993, the elections have not only hurt his personal reputation, but even hampered the Congress’ prospects in the upcoming state assembly elections in Gujarat, where it had a fair chance to recover.From party’s joint secretary to Parliamentary secretary and the all-powerful treasurer, Patel has donned many hats for the party. What made him so close to the Gandhis is not known. But many believe that he provided a kind of security cover to Gandhis — never allowing any scam to reach their door, unlike his predecessors like Makhanlal Fotidar and RK Dhawan. A kind of mystery surrounds him because he never speaks; he only smiles playfully even when confronted by awkward questionsShah, on the other, leads from the front. Having whipped the organisation into shape over the past three years, he has the party rank and file on a tight leash. An elaborate work schedule has been drawn up for party workers, who have been directed to fan out across the country to visit booths and interact with the rank and file.It is believed that soon after coming to power in 2004, many Congress leaders wanted the government to act fast and fix then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for 2002 riots. Patel is understood to have put his foot down in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) arguing to fight Modi politically. But this largess of Patel was not reserved for Shah. Many believe that his hand was behind to send Shah to jail in 2010 in an alleged fake encounter case. Though Shah publicly says that the jail term changed his life and brought him to centre stage, but the latest elections showed he has a sharp memory and hardly forgets brickbats.

Civic body demolishes 7 illegal structures

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

IP University to get its own campus in Shahdara

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a long wait, the project committee of Delhi government has passed the decision on the construction of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University’s campus in east Delhi’s Shahdara. The foundation stone of the building was laid by the former Minister of Human Resource Development Smriti Irani in 2014.”The decision has been taken on Friday. We all were waiting for approval from the board. The construction work will begin soon,” said a senior Delhi government official. The estimated cost of the campus is Rs 271 crore.Spread over 18.75 acres of land, the institute will accommodate 1,500 students in the two schools which will function from the campus. At present, the University’s School of Architecture and Planning is being run from the temporary campus located at Kashmere Gate.The two schools — School of Architecture and School of Design — will offer six courses including four undergraduate and two Master programmes in the field of architecture, planning and design.The campus will be a completely net-zero energy consumption campus, with all in-house facilities to deal with power, water, drainage and waste.”As per the plan, the campus will house an administrative block, residential areas, car parking and a block for sports and cultural activities. The campus will have solar panels, and extensive green roofing and reflective tiles,” the official said.Earlier, the university had decided to construct the campus of Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) at this site. However, the IIIT was later established by the Delhi government separately.”Therefore the Building and Works Committee of Guru Gobind Singh University decided to establish the University School of Architectural & Planning and University School of Design (USD) at Surajmal Vihar,” added the official.What’s new on campusNet-zero energy consumption institutional campusThe campus will have solar panels installed acrossTotal plot area: 18.75 acreEstimated cost: Rs 271 cr

BJP MLA Ashish Shelar seeks SIT probe into purchase of penguins for Byculla Zoo

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP MLA Ashish Shelar has sought an SIT probe into the purchase of eight penguins by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the city-based Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, popularly known as the Byculla Zoo.Shelar, the Mumbai chief of the BJP, also wants the revamp of the zoo to be made part of the probe by the Special Investigation Team.He made this demand during a debate in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Friday. Shelar sought to know if the Penguins brought from abroad were bacteria infected. He also alleged that while preparing the master plan for revamp of Byculla zoo, the project manager was appointed without calling for bids.The Byculla zoo redevelopment plan was first envisaged in 2005. The master plan was prepared in 2009 which was rejected by the heritage conservation committee (of the BMC). Despite this, the same firm was awarded the contract for preparing the plan again, the MLA claimed.He alleged that the firm which was awarded the contract had used bogus mails, forged documents and did not have any experience of doing such a work.Shiv Sena MLA and former Mumbai mayor Sunil Prabhu said his party would also insist on an inquiry as the then corporators had passed the proposal in the BMC, which was mooted by the BMC commissioner.On March 17, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Mumbai mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar had inaugurated a newly-built enclosure for penguins at the Byculla Zoo. Byculla Zoo comes under the BMC, which has been ruled by the Shiv Sena rule for over two decades.

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