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Del ADJ under scanner for disrespecting HC Judge

The Delhi High Court has ordered initiation of criminal contempt against Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) Kamini Lau for making allegedly “personal allegations” against a High Court Judge.Lau is currently posted as Special Judge, Tis Hazari.In an order passed yesterday, Justices Valmiki Mehta and Indermeet Kaur came down heavily on the ADJ for making allegedly “unacceptable and unfounded statements” with respect to observations contained in judicial orders passed by an HC judge.In applications filed in the HC, Lau had sought expunction of adverse remarks and observations made by a Single Judge in four orders. The remarks pertained to orders passed by her while dealing with cases before her.The HC bench cited Supreme Court judgments to underline that while high courts shouldn’t make unwarranted comments against judicial officers, the power to make critical observations was vested in the high courts.”The observations made by the high court against a judicial officer of the subordinate court however if are only in the nature of judicial comments, i.e. of judicial nature …”… and the observations made cannot be faulted for their lack of sobriety, then in such a case the observation so made by this court cannot be said to be in the nature of adverse remarks or strictures or negative, disparaging remarks personally against the judicial officer,” the bench said.In her plea, Lau had alleged that the single Judge had selectively and repeatedly targetted her.To this, the bench headed by Justice Mehta said, “We are indeed perturbed and upset at the language used by the applicant in her applications….the applicant in para 2 has stated that the learned Single judge of this court is guilty of violation of the norms of judicial propriety. Surely, it is impermissible for the applicant/judicial officer to make such observations against the Single judge of this court who is exercising appellate jurisdiction over the judgment passed by the applicant/judicial officer.”Dubbing her stance “unbelievable and unacceptable”, the HC observed, “We found it unbelievable and unacceptable that the applicant has crossed all norms of acceptable behavior and made personal allegations against learned single judge of this court.Holding Lau prima facie guilty of criminal contempt of court, the bench then issued notice to her and directed that the matter be listed on February 16 before the Bench hearing criminal contempt petitions.

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Suhaib Ilyasi: India TV crime show host jailed for wife’s murder

Suhaib Ilyasi, who fronted a crime series called India’s Most Wanted, is sentenced to life in jail.

Having A Ball

Even before they have taken to the field to ply their trade, the women athletes of para-volleyball have stamped their victory against the taboos they have been fighting since long. These fearless women have touched down in the city to play interstate sitting para-volleyball federation cup that will commence on December 16 at SMS Stadium. To everyone’s awe, these women have defeated physical challenges as well as social stigma to rise above self pity in an attempt to become the first to represent the nation at the International Paralympic games 2018. It is for the first time that a women’s team will be playing at the national level tournament. “Shy of exposing themselves and the challenges that came along kept many girls away from taking up para sports,” said H Chandrashekar, president Paralympic Volleyball Federation of India (PVFI). “It has been for a decade that we at the federation have been trying to build a national women’s team. This task will thankfully get accomplished this year,” he added. The federation has recently added a trained 8 women’s team across the country, six of these will play their first national level tournament in Jaipur over next couple of days. “We have held demo games in several states to set an example and motivate more girls to take up sports,” said a member of a women’s team. The teams from Telengana, Kerala, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan will participate in the tournament supported by BMVSS (Jaipur Foot) organisation. These girls are motivated to play at Paralympic 2018.Moreover, sitting volleyball is a regular paralympic event since 1980s. Played with a lower net and smaller court, this game requires players to be seated at a particular position. In India, the sport has been officially been recognised for over a decade. Its for the first time that such national level tournament of the game is being held in Jaipur.Dissolving disparityIn course of deciding the winners’ award, the organisers were faced with the gender disparity. An initial proposal regarding the award money had differences in awards for men and women achievers. This, however, came to notice of the tournament’s local partner BVMSS and it was resolved. “Sports dissolve differences and thus it is only right that we should not discriminate on the basis of gender while awarding the achievement,” said Deependra Mehta, secretary BMVSS. The federation admitted that it was due to fund concern that the difference was proposed, but was delighted that it got noticed on time.Raj’s tryst with the sportThe game has been catching up among able-bodied athletes of Rajasthan. The state has delivered couple of national and international level players, like Kaptan Singh and Papu Singh. The men’s team had emerged as a runner-up in the last National Para-Volleyball tournament and had qualified in the quarter-finals the previous year. The state got its first women’s team registered in beginning of this year.Jaipur Foot to the rescue of playersThe Paralympic tournament organisers have to face the challenge of attracting big and fancy sponsors and that is why it often lacks proper facilities. The Sitting Volleyball Cup in Jaipur though has found support from the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayta Samiti (BMVSS). “Our aim is to help in rehabilitation of people challenged by physical disabilities,” said Dr DR Mehta, chairperson of BMVSS. Also, it was BMVSS that volunteered to be a sponsor. Introduced to the game by an para volleyball player from Rajasthan, the BMVSS chairman was impressed with the enthusiasm of the players. Moreover, 12 men and 6 women teams will take part in the event. This year the winners will also be given a cash award. Journey of Indian Sitting VolleyballIt was in 2006 that the PVFI came in formal existence and since has been able to develop associations in 15 states. The PVFI team have participated in Asia Cup held by Para Volleyball Asian Oceania. Participated in Para Volleyball World Cup at Cambodia 2008, 2009 & 2011 Took part in Para Volleyball World C’ship 2010-11 in USA Won silver medal in Beach Volleyball 2011 held at Germany.

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Innovation & market adaptation way ahead for renewables, say experts

Adapting to market demands and innovation will be the way forward for clean energy sources and technologies, experts from India and Japan said at the Global Partnership Summit here on Monday. The panel of experts was discussing the theme of ‘Clean Energy Sources and Technology’, especially the role of solar energy in India’s renewable energy expansion plan.The discussion saw the participation of Masatsugu Shimono, Vice Chairman, IBM, Japan; Taishi Sugiyama, Senior Research Fellow, The Canon Institute for Global Studies; Aishwarya Kachhal, Indus Towers Limited and Prity Khastgir, Founder & CEO, Tech Corp International Strategist (TCIS). The session was moderated by Pranav Mehta, Founder Chairman, National Solar Energy Federation of India.Setting the tone for the discussion, Mehta stressed that renewable energy has figured prominently in the Paris climate accord that has been ratified by 170 countries till now. He pointed out that while the developed countries were leading renewable energy production a few years back, China has now sped ahead by becoming the world’s top solar energy producer, ahead of United States of America, Germany and Japan. India is the sixth largest producer of solar energy and a recent report by consulting firm Bridge to India said that India’s solar energy capacity is expected to touch 20GW or 20,000 MW by the end of 2017-18 financial year. Currently, around 22% of India’s power comes from renewable energy sources, Mehta said.Mehta added that there is also an urgent need for energy efficiency as conventional energy production sees significant loss during generation, distribution, storage and use.Meanwhile, researcher Taishi Sugiyama said that in the coming years, electric vehicles, self-driven cars and car sharing are going to be major contributors in cutting carbon emissions. “Carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced up to 100% and can also bring a host of economic benefits,” said Sugiyama.The panelists also emphasized RE’s impact on social innovation, health and livelihoods of people. Keeping in mind the present growth rate of the economy, the energy needs are expected to double in the next 6 to 7 years. To meet these needs, solar harvesting and big data analytics will play a pivotal role, said Prity Kshatgir.The Global Partnership Summit has evolved from the India Japan Global Partnership and the three-day event will see participation of over 200 speakers including central government ministers, industry leaders, academicians and social entrepreneurs. They will speak on issues such as clean energy, urban development, mobility, health and education among others.

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Give a long-term comprehensive plan for protection of Taj Mahal: SC to stakeholders

The Supreme Court today sought a detailed and comprehensive document to protect the medieval era monument Taj Mahal for at least the next 100 years.Terming as “ad hoc”, the measures enumerated by the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) authority in its affidavit, a bench headed by Justice M B Lokur said the document submitted was interim in nature and some long-term plan was needed for protection and preservation of the historical Mughal-era mausoleum. TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq kms spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan.”What you (ASG) have submitted are ad hoc steps. What is required is a larger and broader perspective of the whole scenario. Everybody needs to sit together and come out with ways as to how the monument should be protected for the next generation,” the bench observed. The apex court said the members from the civil society including experts should be involved in devising a strategy to protect the Taj Mahal.Also readTaj Mahal 2nd best UNESCO world heritage site after Angkor Wat: SurveyDuring the hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta placed an affidavit stating the measures to be taken for the protection and preservation of the Taj. He said a number of measures have been proposed including ban on construction activities within 500 metres from the monument, plying of only CNG vehicles near Taj, sufficient supply of electricity to discourage use of generator sets and complete prohibition of burning of waste and garbage. The top court posted the matter for hearing after eight weeks. On November 20, the apex court had rapped the Uttar Pradesh government for not coming out with a comprehensive policy to protect and preserve the beauty of Taj Mahal, saying “we need sustainable development”.The bench had also asked TTZ authority to explain why it was not holding meetings every two months as was expected. On November 15, the apex court had directed the state to file a comprehensive policy with regard to pollution in TTZ and nearby areas to preserve the monument.Also read’There’s only one Taj Mahal’: Supreme Court nixes plan for parking lot near monumentIt had taken strong exception to the state not filing a comprehensive policy before it despite assurances. The state had said that a policy has been prepared by the TTZ, which was an independent authority. It had earlier stayed its order directing demolition of a multi-level car parking being built near the Taj Mahal and asked the authorities to maintain status quo there.Environmentalist M C Mehta, who had filed a plea seeking protection of the Taj from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and around the area, had earlier told the bench that the TTZ was an “ecologically sensitive area” and the government should have come out with a comprehensive policy for preservation and protection of the Taj.The apex court, which is dealing with Mehta’s petition, has been monitoring development in the area to protect the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1631. The mausoleum is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Legends remember the legend of ML Mehta

The third M L Mehta memorial Oration was the perfect occasion to relive the glorious past of Rajasthan bureaucracy. Senior bureaucrats of yester years who contributed in shaping the state of today all congregated to remember the architect of progressive Rajasthan – former chief secretary ML Mehta. Star-officers of past Anil Kumar, Arun Kumar, Narendra Sisodiya Inderjeet Khanna, C S Rajan and Krishna Bhatnagar to name a few descended at Rajasthan State Institute of Public Administration (RIPA) to relive the bonding they had shared during their hey days. Few existing senior bureaucrats were also seen exchanging notes and seeking tips from their seniors at the Officers Training School.The atmosphere got even more charged up when Election Commissioner Sunil Arora displayed his oratory skills to connect the importance of interpersonal skills of bureaucrats with the development of the state. He remembered his relationship with M L Mehta, with whom he worked closely during Bhairon Singh Shekhawat’s government.“I was secretary to CM and he was the chief secretary. I can’t forget efficient working style and learnings I had. Mehta’s relationship with Bhairon Singhji was unmatched. Both of them had true respect for each other and they both used to think about reaching the last mile while implementing any policy,” he said.Former secretary to Vice president of India Anil Kumar, who chaired the oration said that Mehta was an institution in himself. He said that Mehta more than a senior, remained a trainer. The role of trainer was more apparent for Mehta than holding any other prestigious offices during his illustrious career.“It was all because of that instinct even after superannuation Mehta continued to work for promotion of the latent talent within the society,” he said.Director general of RIPA Gurjot Kaur, M L Mehta’s son and daughter Sunil Mehta and Rashmi Jain also remembered Mehta and his life. Before start of the programme, DNA Editor Jagdeesh Chandra welcomed Sunil Arora. Meanwhile, Arora, speaking for the first time in his new role of Election Commissioner, said that the country can progress only when policies are made and implemented keeping in mind the needs of middle class. He said that statistics stand witness to growth of the country, yet, socio economic disparities continue to remain challenge for governance and policy makers of the country.“It is only appropriate for us to, every once in a while, step back from our localised trials and tribulations and asks what is going to define India for the medium term ?” he asked.As he held that the country indeed has evolved in a ‘regional’, if not a global giant with a treasure trove of statistics including GDP growth, investment levels, foreign exchange reserves, number of billionaires, number of unicorn start-ups, improvement in health and literacy parameters of now vs three decades back conveniently validating the idea. He expressed concern on lost focus and empathy for the much larger middle class.“For India to peak; its human capital should be nurtured and harnessed much more. This, implies taking a fresh holistic outlook aiming not just to improve statistics but also qualitative aspects of development, A good starting framework to target this problem would be to look at income inequality,” he implied.In its support, he quoted the latest annual Global Wealth Report of Credit Suisse, which states that ‘while wealth has been rising in India, not everyone has shared in this growth’. This has resulted in 92 per cent of adult population with wealth below Rs 6.5 lakh while 0.5 per cent population has net worth of Rs 65 lakh.Arora, 1980 batch Rajasthan cadre officer had contributed his bit in the development of new Rajasthan. In his career spanning over 35 years, he held important posts irrespective of parties in government. His style of working has left many followers in current bureaucracy of the state.
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Yogi Adityanath

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Corporates may install CCTV cameras in BMC-run schools

After private schools beefed up security in their premises due to the growing number of crimes against school children — the most recent one being in Gurgaon, Delhi — the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) education committee has proposed to install CCTV cameras in BMC-run schools through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).Two members of BMC’s education committee, Rahul Kanal and Sainath Durge, wrote to BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Monday, proposing to install CCTV cameras in BMC’s 1,342 schools through CSR activities with the help of corporate companies. A copy of the letter is with DNA.Durge, who belongs to the Shiv Sena, said, “We met the BMC commissioner to discuss with him about giving permission to the BMC education department to install CCTV cameras in schools for the safety of students. We had raised this issue even in the recently held BMC education committee meeting, where we gave the assurance of installing the cameras. The commissioner, after some discussion on the matter, accepted our suggestion.””We will be approaching companies which are ready to do undertake the installation through their CSR activities. This will not just help us in providing safety to students but also help the BMC education department to monitor the school’s staff.”According to the committee members, the company that will be chosen to install the CCTV cameras, will also undertake the responsibility to monitor the cameras.When contacted, Ajoy Mehta, BMC Commissioner, said, “Yes we are open to CSR proposals.”The initiative will be first rolled out in girls’ schools.CSR ACTIVITYRahul Kanal and Sainath Durge, members of BMC’s education committee, wrote to BMC chief Ajoy Mehta on the matter.
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Yogi Adityanath

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CBI books 5 DoPT officials for siphoning of funds

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked five Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) officials, including Under Secretary Sanjay Mehta, and four companies for siphoning off Rs 18.17 lakhs through fraudulent ways of issuance of sanction orders and bills. The agency also carried out raids at 11 premises of the accused officials and private persons in the National Capital Region.The agency had registered a case against Under Secretary Sanjay Mehta, Section Officer Hemant, Assistant Section Officer RK Arora, Section Officer Vijay Pal and Assistant Section Officer Mahendra Singh, all posted in the Training Section of DoPT, on charges of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code. The agency has also booked Ashok, a data operator, and five private companies — Institute of Public Administration, Institute of Public Science, Kavita Ahluwalia, Kapil Book Stories and Sahej Trading Corporation — in the same the case.According to the CBI official, all the accused were booked after a complaint from DoPT Director (Training) VK Sinha on September 9. Sinha in the complaint alleged that the DoPT officials had siphoned off government funds through fraudulent sanction orders.The DoPT carried out an internal inquiry after they received a complaint of financial irregularities. During inquiry they found that out of total 67 payments made during 2017 under Training for All schemes amounting to Rs 9.21 crore, eight bills amounting to Rs 18.17 lakh were fraudulently issued in the name of five vendors. On further enquiry, the DoPT found that the three bills were were fraudulently issued last year also.Thereafter, all the suspected accused persons are placed under suspension.

Masked man burns Andheri resident’s car

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a shocking incident of arson, the passenger of a luxury car in a posh housing society in Andheri was spotted setting another car in the society premises on fire. The entire incident has been captured on CCTV and the Saki Naka police has formed teams to nab the culprit.According to police, on November 14, Rohit Mehta, the owner of the burnt car was alerted by building residents and the watchman to smoke emanating from his white Volkswagon Vento car.The fire was doused but the car was already burnt considerably.On checking the CCTV camera footage, a man wearing a mask was seen getting out from the rear seat of a white luxury car and later pouring a flammable substance on the Vento and setting it on fire.”We have registered the case at Saki Naka police station in this regard. We are checking if the car owner had any personal enmity. We are also checking the CCTV camera located in the society to ascertain the vehicle registration number,”, said ND Reddy.”The CCTV camera does not show the face of the accused as he is masked. We are investigating further,” Reddy added.CAR CARNAGEFire was doused but the car was burnt considerably. On checking the CCTV camera footage, a man wearing a mask was seen getting out from the rear seat of a white luxury car and later pouring a flammable substance on the Vento and setting it on fire.

I-T returns don’t suggest actual income: Sessions Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hearing a revision application filed by a south Mumbai resident locked in a legal dispute with her estranged husband and his parents over maintenance and alimony due to her, the Sessions Court has upheld her argument that income tax returns alone may not reflect her estranged husband’s actual income. It has, therefore, allowed the woman to examine witnesses to establish her estranged husband’s true income.The Sessions Court held that the woman must receive an opportunity on merit to prove her claim to have a just decision. Katy Nowzer Mehta, 57, who was married to Nowzer Keki Mehta, 62, in 1993, was allegedly forced to leave her matrimonial house in April 2010. Katy had filed a criminal case against Nowzer under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.At the trial state, when Katy pleaded before the lower court for reasonable maintenance and alimony, Nowzer, who according to Katy, had 39 per cent shares in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, had allegedly transferred some of his shares, retaining just 10 per cent of the shares for himself.Katy alleged that this was a deliberate ploy to deprive her of the right maintenance and alimony amount. She had thus filed an application before the lower court to allow her to examine witnesses to establish Nowzer’s real income.The lower court, however, rejected the application and directed Nowzer to submit his documents, either income tax return or any other document, reflecting his income to the extent of his shares in BPCL over the past five years.In an appeal filed before the Sessions Court, Katy had argued, “It is her indefensible right to pray for the summoning of witnesses if the evidence appears to be essential to just decision of the case. Also, just a self-attested photocopy of the income tax return cannot be considered, and the return does not disclose the real income of the person. The examination of witnesses is not going to cause any prejudice to Nowzer, but on the contrary, she will be precluded from proving the real income of her husband.”The appeal was, however, opposed by Nowzer, claiming that there was no merit in the application.The court at the time of passing orders held, “It appeared that the wife is claiming that there is specific income of her husband, whereas husband was claiming that he is not earning to that extent. In such situation, when wife desires to examine the in-charge of the Gas Supplier/Agency in which her husband had some share, she must receive an opportunity on merit to prove her claim to have a just decision.”It added, “Though income tax documents were filed on record showing the income, the Bombay High Court in Criminal Writ Petition filed by one Pinky Mahendra Kumar Jain which was decided on October 6, 2017, ruled that income tax documents do not reflect the true picture of the income of the parties. The High Court in its orders had then directed the trial court to take into consideration the lifestyle of the parties and all other aspects. In such situation, the application of wife is entitled to be allowed to prove her claim on merit. No prejudice is going to be caused to her husband as he has every opportunity of cross-examining the witness.”THE CASEKaty Mehta, who was married to Nowzer Keki Mehta in 1993, was allegedly forced to leave her matrimonial house in 2010. She had filed a criminal case against Nowzer.
Her husband had 39 per cent shares in BPCL. However, he allegedly transferred some of his shares, retaining just 10 per cent of the shares for himself.

Behind crisis, failure of 2nd-generation reforms

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On July 28, 1998, in the matter of MC Mehta versus Union of India, the Supreme Court (SC) delivered a historic judgment, ordering conversion of commercial vehicles operating in Delhi into Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel mode to curb the Capital’s pollution crisis and protect the right to life. Despite initial sluggishness on part of the then Delhi government administration, the order was implemented, ushering in a marked improvement in air quality.At the the time of SC order, the annual average suspended particulate matter (SPM) level, was 378 ug/m3 (mirogram/cubic metre) in Delhi according to Delhi economic survey report, a critical level, as per Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) past SPM standards.SPM can be characterised as particulate matter that is up to 100 micrometer in thickness.It was only from 2000 that CPCB began monitoring respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM/PM10) Today, CPCB monitors PM10 and PM 2.5 that are inhalable particles smaller than 10 micrometers and PM 2.5 respectively in size. A human hair has a thickness of 70mm micrometers.Between 1998 and 2017, the pollution levels have spiralled to unprecedented levels. In 2016, the annual mean respirable suspended pariculate matter levels (PM10) level was 268, against the standard of 60 ug/m3 (microgram/cubic metre). At some places like Anand Vihar, annual average of PM10 was a stunning 468 ug/m3.Behind the cold statistics of pollution levels lies the story of how Delhi pollution went from good to bad and now ugly.The crisis has unfolded with the failure of successive governments in Centre, Delhi and also NCR authorites in implementing the second-generation of reforms that have been once again driven by the SC with the aid of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).These second generation of reforms include, among others, reducing vehicular load, developing integrated public transport, reducing emissions from non-conforming industries and curbing dust pollution.To add to that, it has been seen that judgments of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that ordered a ban on old petrol and diesel vehicles, penalized dust pollution, biomass burning and banned stubble burning have all been flouted.Environmentalist and senior advocate MC Mehta feels that there is simply a greater lack of political will in taking proactive steps. “The time has come for a paradigm shift. The SC has played the role of a saviour and pushed the governments again and again. But now this is not just a policy matter, but a matter of action. If we cannot save the Capital of this country, what hope do other cities have?” he asks.

Rs 2,000 note boosts currency garland biz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the country debates demonetisation a year on, the city’s currency garland business is happily on track.If shopkeepers at the city’s oldest market, Lokhand Bazaar in Manek Chowk, are to be believed, the new currency offers scope for better choice, thanks to the Rs 2,000 note!Interestingly, most of the shopkeepers though happy to talk about the business, did not want to discuss ‘demonetisation’ and sought to remain anonymous.Sandeep Patwa, a shopkeeper in the business of decorative garlands, said wedding costs will continue to go up and so will the demand for currency note garlands, “People will spend on weddings and it will be more ostentatious than that of the previous generation.”He said the smaller the currency note, the more is the labour cost. “In fact the cost of the currency note is directly proportional to the number of weddings happening. The more the weddings, the less the cost of a currency note,” said Patwa.Another shopkeeper in Madhupura market near Kalupur said often the customers are from Rajasthan, UP and Punjab. “Gujaratis don’t get such garlands much. They pay us the value of the garland plus making charge,” he said.”Rs 100 is the most commonly demanded but if the garland provides scope for accommodating other currencies, they will demand that too,” he added. “We need new notes for such garlands otherwise they will not hold together. We usually staple them.””We even make garlands of Rs 10. If someone is poor, and makes a garland worth Rs 1000, the smaller denomination notes will give the impression that there was too much money on display,” said another shopkeeper.A wedding planner said the currency garlands were not the norm for Gujarati weddings.”I have seen that the new generation stays away from such displays of wealth but it is the old generation that wants to continue it mostly in the name of tradition. It is not a common phenomenon in Gujarati weddings at least,” said Mitesh Mehta of Wedding Yatra.

BMC to install safety nets in 1 lakh manholes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The tragic death of 58-year-old Dr Deepak Amarapurkar has prompted the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take steps to prevent such accidents from occurring in the future.Dr Amarapurkar was a reputed gastroenterologist of Bombay Hospital who died after he fell into an open manhole while wading through waist-deep water near Elphinstone bridge during the heavy rains lashed the city on August 29.The BMC will now fix safety nets in around one lakh manholes in the city. A three-member fact-finding committee, set up by civic chief Ajoy Mehta to probe the circumstances leading to Dr Amarapurkar’s death, had suggested installation of one layer of netting as an immediate measure. The total cost of the work will be around Rs 70 crore.The work of fitting safety nets just below the covers will be carried out in a phase-wise manner. Each net costs around Rs 7,000 and it will take a minimum of 2.5 hours to complete work on each manhole. “Since both cost and time is quite high, we will first fix manholes in important areas,” a BMC official said.The civic body will concentrate first on areas which experience water-logging after the slightest rainfall. “We will prioritise the work depending upon need and urgency,” said the official. He added that major water-logging areas will be covered before the next monsoon arrives in the city. “Eventually every manhole in the city will have a safety net,” said the official.The BMC received flak for negligence after Dr Amarapurkar’s death. The fact-finding committee had, however, given a clean chit to civic officials, stating instead that some residents had removed the manhole cover.

Modi govt created Sharadostav account with SBI, violated rules’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former chief minister Suresh Mehta on Monday pointed out to what he called a ‘sophisticated corruption’ scheme in which the BJP government in 2005 used the Sharad Purnima celebrations as a means to extort money from government agencies as well as private companies.Mehta said details of ‘Sharadotsav 2005’ celebrations in Kutch sought through RTI revealed that among the expenses were Rs12,270 exclusively for ‘doodh poha’ (milk and flaked rice) that the then chief minister Narendra Modi had at the event. “Wonder what variety was it that something as inexpensive as flaked rice and milk cost over Rs 12,000,” he said.Citing minutes of the meeting gained through RTI, Mehta said, “To create a fund for the celebrations, a meeting of top level committee set up to oversee various celebration was called on August 16, 2005. In the meeting, it was decided that the Kutch collector would be given permission to begin a ‘Sharad Mahotsav 2005’ bank account in SBI.”He claimed that the expenses of the Gujarat government have to come from a consolidated fund of Gujarat. “It cannot create a separate bank account for expenses,” he said.”Once the fund was created, the Kutch collector wrote to private companies, taluka panchayats and even village panchayats asking for contribution. Adani gave Rs25 lakh, Welspun which was given land at the rate of Rs15 per mt against market rate of Rs 125 per mt gave Rs 55lakh for the mahotsav,” said Mehta citing RTI documents .He further said that another entry shows that the beddings for a camel cart cost Rs15,625. “It is something unusual that first a fund would be created in a bank by the government in violation of rules for a celebration. Then, it extorts money from public and private agencies to contribute to the fund. Then, the fund is spent on celebrations where something as cheap as milk and flaked rice costs Rs12,000,” said Mehta.He said to this date, the account in the SBI continues to be active because the government does not know what to do with it. “We also don’t know how much fund was collected although over 400 units contributed to the fund,” said Mehta.THE ALLEGATIONSMehta said details of ‘Sharadotsav 2005’ celebrations in Kutch sought through RTI revealed that among the expenses were Rs12,270 exclusively for ‘doodh poha’ (milk and flaked rice) that the then chief minister Narendra Modi had at the event. He claimed that the expenses of the Gujarat government have to come from a consolidated fund of Gujarat. He further said that another entry shows that the beddings for a camel cart cost Rs15,625. All this, he claimed, showed extortion by the BJP.

Hundreds of AAP leaders, workers join Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major boost to the Congress ahead of the Assembly elections, hundreds of leaders and workers of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) joined the main Opposition party in Gujarat on Monday.The AAP members were welcomed in the Congress by president of the party’s state unit Bharatsinh Solanki, who said that they would add to the Congress’s strength, and help it defeat the BJP in the upcoming elections.The AAP leaders who switched sides to join the Congress include four who had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on the AAP symbol.They include Rituraj Mehta, who had contested from Gandhinagar seat, Ankur Dhamelia, who had fought from Rajkot, Vandana Patel, then AAP candidate from Mehsana, and Labhubhai Bardiwala, who had contested from Kheda.They attributed the decision to quit AAP and to join the Congress to the former’s indecision regarding fighting the Gujarat elections.”For several months, there was no clarity on whether AAP will contest the Gujarat elections or not. The party recently announced that it will, and it has also declared candidates from some seats. However, we feel that AAP workers are demotivated and that the party is ill-prepared to contest. In such a scenario, AAP will only end up benefiting the BJP, which is why we have decided to join Congress,” Ankur Dhamelia told DNA.Rituraj Mehta, who is a developer by profession, and had contested the 2014 polls against BJP stalwart LK Advani, said that people of Gujarat are looking for a change.”We have joined the Congress without any expectations. Our sole aim is to ensure that the BJP is defeated this election,” Mehta said, adding that around 2,000 leaders and workers joined the Congress on Monday, and more are likely to do so in the coming days.In her reaction, Vandana Patel said that they have joined the Congress so that anti-BJP votes do not get divided in the elections.BIG NAMESRituraj Mehta, who is a developer by profession, and had contested the 2014 polls against BJP stalwart LK Advani, said that people of Gujarat are looking for a change.

Apple tastes bitter for Congress in poll-bound Himachal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If one makes their way through Shimla’s sun-stained Mall Road at this time of the year and talk about how cold the temperature is, there is a strong likelihood that a local resident will tell you that it should have been snowing by now. Small talk aside, this change in the weather has had grave consequences in the agrarian economy of the hill state, with losses mounting to around Rs 2,000 crore.According to data with the state department of horticulture, an increase in the temperature between April 4 and 5 this year was the reason behind the loss of over a crore apple boxes, informs horticulture development officer Dr Kaushal Mehta. “We lost another crore boxes due to the intermittent hailstorm. That is a loss of over Rs 2,000 crore approximately,” says Dr Mehta, adding that farmers hardly know how to use the anti-hail guns provided by the state government. He says that while Himachal Pradesh produced between three to four crore boxes in 2016, in 2017, the produce was only two crore boxes.Traders, growers and officials say that the change in the temperature has led to a dwindling crop year after year. In the Solan Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), secretary Parkash Kashyap says that while they sold over 50 lakh boxes in 2015, it dropped to 32 lakh in 2016. This year, as the apple season has just concluded, trade of over 36 lakh boxes have been registered. In the Dhalli APMC, where most of Shimla’s apple trade is centred, secretary Dev Raj Kashyap says that in 2015-16, over 34 lakh boxes were sold. This quarter, only 22 lakh boxes have been sold so far.In over 15 APMC mandis across the state, most of the apple trade is carried out in the mandis at Solan, Dhalli, Parwanoo, Rohru, Bhuntar, Barala, Bautrol and Jasoor. The average rate of a box is Rs 1,100 and it ranges from Rs 400 to Rs 3,600.Apple grower and trader Narender Chouhan of the Dhalli APMC says that the apple plant needs a chilling period of over 1,100 hours in temperatures below 7 degree Celsius between December to March. But because of rising temperatures, most apple plants need to make do with 900 hours. “Because of this, traditional varieties of the crop like Royal Delicious, Red Golden, Golden, Red June, Summer Queen, Richard, Packham, etc., have made way for lab-made spur varieties like Vance Delicious and Tidesman Early,” says Chouhan. Spur varieties need a lesser chilling period but the fallout is that they ripen earlier and are less juicy; traditional varieties from the Kinnaur belt thrive for over 3-4 months.Farmer Amar Singh, who works in an orchard situated over 40 kms from Shimla, says the credit system has also led to a lot of discrepancies. “For every transaction of Rs 1 lakh that we make, the trader first gives us Rs 7,000-8,000. The full amount is usually handed out after he makes a deal later on. In case the deals falls through, we lose the produce and the earnings on it,” says Singh.APMC officials say that to curb these problems, an online trade mechanism e-National Agriculture Market (eNAM) was introduced. But traders and growers like Chouhan say that without mobile connectivity in remote areas, transaction does not go through. In Dhalli APMC alone, where they made a revenue of Rs 6.5 crore this year, trade worth Rs 88 lakh was done online.Another problem that growers complain about was the heavy use of fertilisers. “Pesticides have come to be used heavily in the last few years, and after that, we need to use an anti-healing powder to restore the plant, which is cumbersome,” said Singh. The levying of a GST of 18% on fertilisers, Chouhan adds, has led to their woes. He says that the state has opened nurseries in areas like Solan and Kullu where apples has never been cultivated, instead of apple-rich areas like Kinnaur and Kotkhai.Trying to cash in on these problems, the BJP has announced a horticulture university for farmers in its manifesto. BJP spokesperson Mahender Dharmani says that apart from that the BJP has more plans in store. “We have promised imported hail nets, which we will provide at 80% subsidy, and we will take cold storage to the grassroot level which is now restricted to only those who are rich. We will also come out with an annual formula for compensation due to natural calamities, and promote organic cultivation,” says Dharmani. “The Congress did not build roads in the apple belt, which is the trade’s lifeline. We will bring better roads.”Naresh Chauhan of the Congress counters these promises with the question of import duty. “When the BJP came to power in 2014, PM Modi said that import duty will be increased to counter the competition from foreign produce from countries like New Zealand, China, Chile, since the production cost for our farmers is very high. But they haven’t yet delivered on that promise yet,” says Chouhan.Dr Mehta says that irrespective of who forms the government, the state department needs help in its efforts to counter the dwindling crop. “We brought in plants from Italy with smaller plumage to make it easier to save them during hailstorms, and have brought in sprinklers to decrease freezing injuries in the crop. The government needs to perhaps bring in an insurance scheme for farmers to help ease their problems,” he says.Perhaps with the elections around the corner, the apple trade will find better takers.

Residents object to lease boards outside bldgs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents of Churchgate and Marine Drive have taken exception to the huge boards put up by the Collector’s office outside their building which furnish details of their property lease.They have been put up even though most of these buildings have around 30 years to go before the 99-year lease expires. The Collector, however, says she is only following orders.Kanwal Shahpuri, who resides in a building on C-Road of Marine Drive, where one such board is posted, says, “Instead of spending so much money, the collector could have sent us notices making it mandatory for the society to paste it on a notice board; all would have obliged,” he said, adding that the boards outside their building is raising a lot of questions.Residents also fear that the renewal of the lease, based on the ready reckoner rate, would mean having to pay more than the amount they are already paying. Collector Sampada Mehta said, “The boards certifying the lease conditions are being put up as per the government and the High Court directions.”

Supreme Court stays order to demolish multi-level parking lot near Taj Mahal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today stayed its order directing demolition of a multi-level car parking being constructed near the iconic Taj Mahal at Agra.The apex court asked the authorities to maintain status quo at the site, which is around one kilometre from the eastern gate of the 17th century monument, and said no further construction will be carried out there. A bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and Dipak Gupta asked additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government to file a comprehensive policy on preservation and pollution in the Taj Trapezium Zone and nearby areas.The Taj Trapezium Zone is an area of 10,400 sq km around the historic Taj Mahal and is aimed at protecting the ancient monument.Mehta told the bench that the government was committed to protect the Taj Mahal and he will file a comprehensive policy regarding this before the court. The court fixed the matter for further hearing on November 15.The apex court had on October 24 ordered the demolition of the multi-level car parking which is under construction. The apex court, which is dealing with a petition filed by environmentalist M C Mehta, has been monitoring development in the area to protect the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1631. The historic white marble mausoleum is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mehta, in his PIL, has sought protection of the Taj from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and around the area. The apex court had earlier passed a slew of directions to protect the monument.

Civic body orders removal of hawkers outside rly stations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To tighten the ongoing drive to evict hawkers outside railway stations, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has doubled the fine against the illegal hawkers. For the last four days, the roads immediately outside many railway stations in Mumbai have become spacious as BMC has removed all illegal hawkers. However, considering that the hawkers pay fines and put up their stalls the next day, BMC has not only increased their mobile vans but doubled the fines to discourage the hawkers.Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta gave his nod for the proposal a couple days ago but the decision was communicated to railway officials in a joint meeting of BMC and railway officials on Monday on the course of action on removal of all hawkers up to a 150-metre area outside railway stations under BMC jurisdiction.An officer from BMC licence department said, “The fine has been doubled to discourage hawkers to put up their stalls again. For instance, if previously the removal charges was Rs 240, now it’s Rs 480; and if penalty was Rs 1000, it will now be R s2000. The fine increases according to the type of stalls like eatables, garments and others.”In the joint meeting, the BMC chief also announced that all the Assistant Municipal Commissioners (known as ward officers) of all 24 civic wards will be nodal officers in removal of hawkers outside railway stations. The railway stations from Churchgate to Dahisar on Western Railway, CST to Mulund on Central Railway and CST to Mankhurd on Harbour line fall under BMC jurisdiction.Ajoy Mehta confirmed the decisions announced on Monday and said, “It will be applied for roads outside railway stations only in BMC areas.”

SC to see CBI’s documents on Karti Chidambaram’s foreign account, property on Wednesday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today said it would peruse on Wednesday the documents provided in a sealed cover by the CBI which has tried to nail Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram, about his foreign bank accounts and properties.The CBI told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the documents contained “contemporaneous records”, including the details of foreign bank accounts and properties of Karti, and the top court should look into it.The CBI FIR, lodged on May 15, had alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Karti’s father was the Union Finance Minister. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, questioned Karti’s affidavit filed in the court and said “it would be a travesty of justice if this court does not look into the sealed cover and see whether my statements of facts are correct or not”.Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Karti, opposed CBI’s submissions and said these documents cannot be a part of the case diary and if the court looks into it, then these materials should also be shown to him. When Mehta alleged that Karti’s affidavit contained “false averments” about his foreign bank accounts, Sibal shot back saying, “let him show these documents. Let him show if I (Karti) have opened any other bank account abroad with my (Karti) signature”. After hearing the submissions, the bench told Mehta, “you show us the documents tomorrow”.At the outset, Mehta told the bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, that the court should see the documents in sealed cover along with the affidavit filed by Karti. Sibal, however, said that Karti had disclosed the facts in his affidavit and he had nothing to do with the transactions as alleged in the CBI’s FIR. “The alleged bribe of Rs 10 lakh has not come to me (Karti). FIPB approval has nothing to do with me. I am not a share holder in these companies. This has nothing to do with the opening of bank accounts abroad,” he said.He said Karti wanted to go abroad as he had to get his daughter admitted at the Cambridge University and the look out circular (LoC) was issued when Karti was abroad and he had thereafter returned to India.Mehta opposed the submissions and said the question was whether the person can be “trusted” to go abroad. “The fact that there is resistance is a good ground to look into these documents,” he said, adding that during questioning, Karti had said he has one bank abroad but in his affidavit he has said that there were two foreign accounts. Sibal rebutted the submissions and said the issue before the court was about the LoC and not about the bank accounts.He also alleged that when Karti had gone abroad earlier, he had to close his account there as there was pressure on the bank to close it. “I (Karti) am a politically exposed person and the bank finally closed that account, so I (Karti) went there to withdraw the money,” he said, adding that CBI had never questioned him about his foreign bank account. However, the bench observed, “the ASG is saying these documents are related to the FIR. How can we deny him the right to place it before the court?” The bench also told the CBI that the question was whether Karti could be allowed to go abroad. Mehta claimed that there was a “money trail” in the matter and several companies and their owners were involved.”The LoC has a direct link with tampering of evidence,” he said, adding, “tampering is the most potential apprehension that we have”. The bench made it clear to the CBI that it would examine whether the documents in the sealed cover were connected to Karti or not. The agency had earlier claimed that Karti had “tampered” with evidence relating to an alleged graft case against him during his visits abroad in the months of May, June and July this year. The top court is hearing CBI’s appeal challenging Madras High Court order staying the government’s LoC against Karti in the alleged graft case. On September 1, the CBI had told the top court that there were “good, cogent” reasons for issuing the LoC against Karti.On August 18, the court had asked Karti to appear before the investigating officer at the CBI headquarters here for questioning in the case. Before this, the apex court had said that Karti would not be allowed to leave India without subjecting himself to investigation in the case. The court had then stayed the high court order putting on hold the LoC against Karti. The FIR was registered on May 15 before the special CBI judge here and the registration of the case was followed by searches at the residences and offices of Karti and his friends the very next day.

BJP defends Jay Shah; Cong questions PM’s silence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government on Monday made a spirited defence of BJP chief Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah over the controversy surrounding a news report regarding alleged 16,000 times rise in fortune of a company belonging to him and announced that Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta will represent him in the criminal defamation filed against the news portal.Union Minister Piyush Goyal said, “We believe that he (Jay) has been wronged and must get justice. There is no harm if the best of lawyers appear for him.”Goyal said Mehta had sought Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s permission to appear for Jay and the approval was granted.Insisting that the purpose of the story was to defame the BJP and its government by making “derogatory and defamatory imputations”, Goyal said there is nothing wrong in IREDA giving a grant to Jay Shah’s company as it has done so with at least 2,000 other entreprenuers seeking entry into the field of renewable energy.Piyush defended BJP leaders coming out in defence of Jay Shah, saying that it was needed as the report cast aspersions on BJP chief and presented the facts in a manner creating baseless doubts in the minds of people.”As a leader of the party I have a duty to speak when my photo and my party president’s photo is being used in the article to create wrong perception in the minds of the readers,” said Goyal.Bringing up Robert Vadra’s case, Goyal said if the Congress was so sure no wrong has been committed, why did it not file a criminal defamation case like Jay was doing.Meanwhile, Congress kept up the attack on the government with party spokespersons panning out in a number of capitals to hold press conferences on the issue.Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi accused the Prime Minister of “silence” on the episode and nudged him to “say something”. Escalating it further, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma and party communication department chief Randeep Singh demanded from the Prime Minister to remove Amit Shah as BJP president and get the matter investigated by a two-member commission of Supreme Court judges.”Modiji, …Did you act as a watchman or were you a partner? Please say something,” Gandhi said on Twitter.Speaking in Kheda in Gujarat, Gandhi referred to the Prime Minister’s assertion that he would neither engage in corruption nor allow it to happen and said, “Now when Amit Shah’s son’s company has grown 16,000 times, Modi ji has gone silent”.”This is a strange world. In 2014, the company was nothing. Modi ji came (to power in 2014) and launched ‘start up India’, ‘make in India’, then introduced demonetisation and GST. This destroyed small businessmen and farmers. But from this fire, one company comes up. It was nothing in 2014 but in a few months it became so big that this company’s worth of Rs 50,000 rose to Rs 80 crore,” Gandhi said.Referring to entrepreneurship in Gujarat, Gandhi asked whether Gujaratis, who are adept at running businesses, can do it.In New Delhi, Sharma said that Amit Shah should give up his post until the probe is over, like LK Advaniji did, Nitin Gadkariji did when charges were levelled against them (in separate cases).In Jaipur, Surjewala said Modi should relieve Amit Shah from the party president post and get the claims probed by a two-member commission of Supreme Court judges. “Why shy away from a probe if there’s nothing wrong? There is no smoke without fire. The country was waiting for development… but ‘Jai ka Vikas ho gaya’,” he said.In Kolkata, Congress spokesperson Tarun Gogoi asked, “Now will the PM order a probe into this or will that too go down as another ‘jumla’? It is a test for the PM’s principles.”

BMC warns societies, firms of legal action over garbage

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihannmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is taking rapid and strict steps to implement compulsory waste segregation and composting for bulk generators- residential societies and commercial establishments.Apart from issuing revised notices, the Assistant Municipal Commissioners (ward officers) were also directed by the civic chief, Ajoy Mehta, on Saturday to register complaints with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) if bulk generators failed to comply with the rules.Additionally, ward officers will also serve a final notice for waste segregation under the Municipal Solid Waste rules 2016 and if not implemented, the ward can fine an individual with Rs 100 per day and a bulk generator with Rs 500 per day. The fine will be levied for not delivering segregated waste through the bins provided specifically for dry and wet waste.Meanwhile, all 24 ward officers will personally visit bulk generators- societies and commercial establishments– to ascertain why they were unable to meet the October 2 deadline. The ward officers will inspect the premises, discuss the difficulties the societies are facing to implement waste segregation and also introduce various methodology they can imply for composting. The ward officers have to complete the visits in the next 15 days and submit their report to BMC chief Ajoy Mehta. A list of defaulters will also be submitted by ward officers and initiate procedure of law against them.”Assistant Municipal Commissioner, Devendra Jain said, “Although some societies have come forward and have implemented composting, there are many who have not responded. We will visit the societies and guide them for various composting methods that they can implement and also know the problems they are facing. We will give them one last chance to implement the rule otherwise notices will be served under various sections which include prosecution and fines.”ON NOTICEAcross all 24 civic wards in Mumbai, 5,304 notices were issued to bulk generators for waste segregation and composting. However, around 4 per cent of bulk generators only have started implementing till now. The steps are been taken to decrease the garbage load on the city’s three dumping grounds.

Tender for parking app will be floated by Diwali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The tender for appointing a software company for developing a mobile application for booking a spot at parking lots in South Mumbai is likely to be floated by Diwali, civic officials said. The tender document has already been prepared and is awaiting a nod from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner, Ajoy Mehta.Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner of A ward, said, “We have prepared the tender documents for the mobile app for booking at parking lots. Now, we need the civic chief’s permission to float it.” He said that if required, changes would be made to the app even at this stage.According to civic officials, the app will be similar to ticket-booking apps, and will help citizens check vacancies in parking lots in a matter of seconds, thereby solving a long-standing problem. “It is very difficult to find a parking space in Mumbai, especially during office hours,” said Dighavkar. He added that motorists will make the booking first, and then go to park their vehicles, thus helping to reduce the number of vehicles that roam on the roads in search of a lot.The app will allow users to book space at any time for more than an hour, and make payments online. “The user will just show the e-invoice at the parking lot to make the reservation for the parking space,” said another civic official from A ward. Initially, the civic body will provide for online booking at seven South Mumbai parking lots. The application will be extended to the suburbs later.The BMC had come up with its parking policy at the beginning of the year.

BMC snubs security step, won’t block off Marine Drive walkway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Mumbai police’s plan of installing bollards between the road and the Marine Drive promenade to secure it from a possible Barcelona-style terror attack in which a van mowed down amblers has been shelved. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) rejected the proposal referred to it by the state home department, which had received it from the city police for ensuring that cars and heavy vehicles do not get on to the promenade and go on a rampage.The BMC’s refusal comes after the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) denied permission to instal the bollards, saying that such a move would damage the aesthetics and block the sea view.According to the civic officials, the MHCC thrashed out the proposal on September 23 last year and concluded that the bollards would cause congestion and close up the open space, while being visual impediments.“The committee was of the view that the Marine Drive stretch is a prominent heritage precinct of Mumbai, and one of its characters is its openness. Bollards will create visual barriers,” said an MHCC official on the condition of anonymity.Following the committee’s decision, the BMC’s road department reviewed the decision and concurred with the MHCC, ruling out installing bollards. “After MHCC’s decision, setting up bollards is not possible, but central dividers would be provided with increased height of shrubs, but again, after the approval of the heritage committee,” said Vinod Chithore, BMC chief engineer (roads). The department officials said that BMC boss Ajoy Mehta has the power to take a different view, considering the security implications of the project.BEAUTY OVER SAFETYBMC’s refusal comes after Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee denied permission to instal the bollards
It said that such a move would damage the aesthetics and block the sea view
The heritage body had last month decided against the bollards

Karti has tampered with evidence, CBI alleges in Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram, had “tampered” with evidence relating to an alleged graft case against him during his visits abroad in the months of May, June and July this year, the CBI alleged in the Supreme Court today.The agency told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that there was a need to issue a look out circular against Karti as he had the “potential” to tamper with the evidence and he had done this during his visits abroad.The CBI FIR, lodged on May 15, had alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Karti’s father was the Union Finance Minister.”The circular has two purposes. First, considering the investigation, he (Karti) may not become an outlaw and second, he can tamper with the evidence outside India,” Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, told the bench.”I will show Kartihas the potential to tamper with the evidence. During May 13 to May 18 and second week of June to second week of July, he went abroad and he did tamper with the evidence. I will justify this,” Mehta told the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.He said there were “contemporaneous official records” which reflected this.”These are not statements under section 161 of CrPC which can be obtained by pressurising somebody. These are contemporaneous official records,” Mehta told the court.He also sought to place before the bench some documents in a sealed cover, which was objected to by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was representing Karti.Sibal also questioned the way in which CBI was seeking to place on record certain documents in a sealed cover, after Mehta referred to legal provisions and said these empowered the probe agency to share case diary with the court without sharing them with the accused.Meanwhile, Mehta told the apex court that he would seek instructions on whether the division bench of the Madras High Court be asked to decide the main matter pending there.The court posted the matter for further hearing on October 9.CBI had last month told the apex court that Karti was prevented from travelling abroad as he was allegedly closing several of his foreign bank accounts. The CBI’s contention was strongly refuted by Karti’s counsel.The top court is hearing CBI’s appeal challenging Madras High Court order staying the government’s LOC against Karti in the alleged graft case.On September 1, the CBI had told the top court that there were “good, cogent” reasons for issuing the LoC against Karti.On August 18, the court had asked Karti to appear before the investigating officer at the CBI headquarters here for questioning in the case.Before this, the apex court had said that Karti would not be allowed to leave India without subjecting himself to investigation in the case. The court had then stayed the high court order putting on hold the LOC against Karti.The CBI had claimed that the FDI proposal of the media house, cleared by Chidambaram, was “fallacious”.The FIR was registered on May 15 before the special CBI judge here and the registration of the case was followed by searches at the residences and offices of Karti and his friends the very next day.

HC pulls up civic chief over BMC law dept

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court has once again sent a reminder to civic chief Ajoy Mehta that the BMC’s law department is not functioning properly and timely assistance to the court for cases is not coming forth.A division bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice MS Karnik, which had summoned Mehta to the court earlier, sent him its order, which stated, “We are sorry to state that despite the Municipal Commissioner being summoned to this court and the Municipal Commissioner assuring that there will be an improvement in the functioning of the Law Department of the corporation, there is no change.”The bench gave this direction while hearing a petition filed by M/s Pricecare Homes, challenging the objection raised by the civic body before granting permission to develop a property in Mahim.Previously, while summoning Mehta, the court had asked him to explain why action should not be initiated against him for the corporation’s casual approach in defending itself in legal matters. Mehta appeared in court and assured that things would improve. He blamed staff crunch for the delay in filing replies and affidavits.

Waste segregation: Civic body continues collection, for now

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had set a deadline of October 2 for compulsory waste segregation and composting of wet waste at source by housing societies based on an area of 20,000 sq metres or more or societies which generate garbage more than 100 kgs. However, with apprehensions raised by housing societies on whether they would be able to meet the deadline due to lack of knowhow and space for composting, the civic administration last month said it would give societies leeway of three months to start the waste management at source, provided they submit a detailed plan to the corporation.In case of housing societies who have not submitted such a plan, the BMC did not stop collecting garbage on Monday, and a revised deadline is awaited for such societies and bulk generators.Since July 1, after Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta announced the decision on compulsory waste segregation and composting for bulk generators, and a total of 5,304 notices were sent to various societies and commercial establishments across 24 civic wards. Of these, till now 373 societies and commercial establishments started waste segregation and composting.On Monday, 97 societies initiated the project. Although maximum societies are ready for waste segregation, composting was difficult to implement due to lack of space and expertise. Considering the unpreparedness towards composting, BMC has asked the societies to approach the municipal ward officers and give written application for extension of deadline stating what challenges they face. The circular for the same was given to all 24 wards recently.DNA had reported on September 11 that only 4% of bulk generators of garbage have approached civic wards to begin composting and that commissioner has directed to set up help desks in all civic wards to solve residents queries on waste segregation and various methods of composting.”BMC spokesperson Ram Dotonde said, “BMC will issue notices to societies which have not applied for extension. BMC has not completely stopped collecting wet waste as of now. But after the revised deadline, the societies have to strictly follow the guidelines and segregate waste and follow composting too. The help desks are also set up in all wards.”A senior officer from the solid waste management department said, “As many societies have already started composting, we will now have to take a review as how much quantity of garbage has been reduced. Earlier, Mumbai generated 7,500 tons of garbage every day, but after compulsory waste segregation we expect at least 1,000 tons less. However, in a week we will ask all wards to send reports of how much garbage was collected,” he added.

Guj govt asked to submit VGF proposal for Dahej PCPIR

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat, which was a pioneer in the industrial sector, is now getting advice to follow other states. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani got two such pieces of advice at the inaugural function of India Chem – Gujarat 2017, that began in Gandhinagar on Thursday. One was regarding sending a proposal for Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for Dahej PCPIR, the other for having legal provisions for Ease of Doing Business (EODB) like West Bengal.Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananthkumar suggested that just like other states are seeking Viability Gap Funding for Petroleum Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Regions (PCPIR) in their states, Gujarat should also seek one for its PCPIR at Dahej.”I told Chief Minister Vijay Rupani that how other states are sending their proposal for VGF. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha have sent the reports. Gujarat is well off so it might be hesitating. I am asking you to send a proposal for Dahej PCPIR,” Ananthakumar said.Deepak Mehta, chairman of Chemicals Committee at Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) suggested that Gujarat should also provide legal backing to Ease of Doing Business, just like West Bengal.”Last month we had met with West Bengal government and they have brought a law to ensure Ease of Doing Business in government. The bureaucracy in Gujarat is such that we do not need legal provisions but even if we follow West Bengal it will communicate,” said Mehta.However, Union Secretary for Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Rajeev Kapoor said that state environment watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) is a methodology to expedite clearance for projects that are not harming the environment and it could be replicated across the country as well.Push for Chemical Industry boostCaptains of Chemical industry suggested a series of measures to boost the growth of the sector in the country. FICCI Chairman and Chairman of Zydus Cadila Pankaj Patel said the country needs better logistics, infrastructure, quality standards and sensitivity towards the environment.Deepak Mehta, chairman of Ahmedabad-based Deepak Nitrate, said the country needs to look at marine transportation to make logistics efficient. “The logistics cost between the US and India is lower than between Bombay and Baroda,” he said. He urged Gujarat Chief Minister to ensure that cities develop around Dahej so that skilled human resources are available.He also suggested reviving of bodies such as Gujarat Industrial Investment Corporation, which would invest on behalf of the government and bring in foreign investors.Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananthakumar suggested setting up of Central Institutes of Chemical Engineering and Technology (CICET) on the lines for plastic industry. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced all the support for CICET. “You send us a proposal. We will reply in a week,” said Rupani.Union Secretary of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Rajeev Kapoor also had a series of steps that could provide chemical industries a momentum. He warned against the increasing reliance on imports of raw materials and intermediaries as well as Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with blocks like ASEAN which makes local production uncompetitive as the import duty on the final product is lower than on raw materials or intermediaries. He also cautioned against sub-standard imports and called for setting of production standards for the industry.Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya said that the present NDA government has corrected the inverted duty structure, which will boost domestic production.INDIA CHEMICALS MARKETIn 2016: $155 bn7th largest globallyEstimated CAGR : 9%Size by 2025: $250India’ Speciality Chemicals MarketIndian market: $30 bnCAGR growth: 13%Size by 2025: $85 bnGujarat’s SharePetro Chemical production: 52%Other Chemicals: 35%Exports : 18%

Slowdown, liquidity crisis to hit GST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Businessmen are complaining of lack of funds, which could adversely affect the payout of taxes. Overall business slowdown coupled with locked capital in terms of non-repayment of tax credit as well as payment of advance Income Tax have robbed the businessmen of their cash and are now finding the payment of GST difficult, say players.The worst-affected sectors include infrastructure, hardware, furniture, iron and steel and logistics. “The cocktail of overall business slowdown and locked funds in GST has created a liquidity crisis. Slowdown and locked capital are feeding each other, aggravating the crisis,” said Nitesh Jain, a Chartered Accountant based out of Ahmedabad.Jain said the slowdown has affected business payment and buyers are not able to get timely payments. Inadequate filing of returns has also hindered cross-matching of buyers and sellers’ data. Till this happens, getting Input Tax Credit (ITC) is not possible. High-handedness on the part of tax officials is aggravating the crisis. “The government has said all the ITCs over Rs1 Crore will be investigated. Businessmen are hesitant in claiming ITC. Their capital is locked,” Jain noted.Vaaris Isani, president of Gujarat Sales Tax Bar Association said at least half of the clients are complaining of funds shortage. “Clients tell me that after the payment of advance tax, they do not have sufficient funds,” said Isani.“Business is down 30-40 per cent compared to the previous year. The upfront taxation means businessmen are short of funds,” said Hiten Vasant, former national vice-president of All India Motor Transport Congress.Jawahar Mehta, former president of Ahmedabad Metal Exchange, said sellers are not getting payments, as a result of which business has stagnated. “Business is down by about 40-50 per cent compared to the previous year. Prices of metals have also decreased because of global uncertainties. Levying of Anti-Dumping Duty on Chinese imports has resulted in price hike by local manufacturers. All these factors have squeezed the liquidity out of businesses,” said Mehta.

BMC to start 10 more emergency numbers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Disaster Management Cell of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon add 10 more hot-line numbers to become more accessible during emergency. At present, the cell has been using 10 lines which is not sufficient during emergency like the heavy rainfall on August 29, when the cell received a record number of calls.On an average, BMC’s disaster cell receives around 150 to 200 calls everyday. However, during emergency like torrential rainfall or any eventualities, the Cell sees sporadic rise in the number of calls.According to an official from the disaster cell, on August 29, when the city had received around 315 mm rainfall, the department received more than 10,000 calls from across the city. “We are aware that there is sharp rise in number of calls during such emergency and are planning to increase the number of lines to become more accessible,” said a senior official from the Cell.The civic chief Ajoy Mehta had applauded the Disaster Management Cell for its prompt service during August 29 rainfall when the whole city had almost come to standstill while the disaster cell continued to operate without any pause. Rashmi Lokhande, deputy director of the Cell was also chosen for officer of the month for her incessant works during August 29 rainfall.According to one of the officials of the cell, every emergency they take as a challenge, and ensures that every citizens of the city get civic assistance on time. “Every call is important for us as the timely attending calls, and fetching services can save lives,” said the official. He added that during emergency like August 29 rainfall, someone who was distress could not reached to us due to line might be busy.Need of the hourAt present, the cell has been using 10 lines which is not sufficient during emergencies like flood. Civic chief Ajoy Mehta applauded the Disaster Management Cell for its service on August 29.

RTE: Parents’ lifestyle comes under officials’ scanner

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An air-conditioner installed in the house, or a recent pay hike can make all the difference in your child’s education under the Right to Education (RTE), as some parents recently discovered when their lifestyles came under the officials’ scanner.Last week, hundreds of parents received notices to attend a hearing with their submission on Monday, asking them to either withdraw their ward or pay regular fees. Consider this. One of the parents who approached the RTE Resource Centre helpline of the IIM, Ahmedabad, said that the officials relied on a heavy electricity bill Rs 4,000 to draw the conclusion, but they didn’t consider that the bill was the collected sum for six families living in the chawl.”These are some of the loopholes,” an RTERC member who attended the hearing said. He added, “Close to 1,500 parents were called by the District Education Officer, Ahmedabad, asking them to withdraw their child’s admission.They should have verified, before granting admissions. Now, the students have been in school for two months, so it is really unfair to ask them to withdraw now.” However, sources told DNA that during inspection by schools, most of the houses had ACs, LCD TV, etc., which triggered the notices. The District Primary Education Office added that they had called in parents of 85 children, suspected to have violated the norms.Mahesh Mehta, DPEO, said, “We finished the entire process a week ago and held a hearing for the parents found violating the norms. Nearly 17 of them have withdrawn admissions voluntarily and we are in the process of cancelling 20 more admissions.”Meanwhile, Ghanshyam Prajapati, a helper in a company with an income of R8,000 a month received a letter on September 6, asking him to appear for the Monday hearing. “I took a leave to appear for the hearing. However, when my turn finally came three hours later, they told me that the house I lived in was owned by my father. When I tried to argue (he shares the home with his siblings), they threatened to initiate a police inquiry. They then offered help to accommodate my child in another school if I withdraw the admission, or agreed to pay regular fees. It will be unfair to him if we change the school now,” Prajapati said.For Bipinbhai Sagathiya, a resident of Shahwadi and a sweeper with AMC, a hike in salary did not turn the tide. He said, “When I filled the form under RTE, my salary was R5,000 per month, but then the government hiked our fixed wage to R16,224. The officials have asked me to withdraw the admission, but understanding the circumstances, I have cancelled the admission and will pay regular fees.”When contacted, Navneet Mehta, District Education Officer and Sunaina Tomar, Principal Secretary, Primary and Secondary Education, remained unavailable for comment. However, the figure of 1500 could not be confirmed by the authorities

Delay in filing replies due to lack of staff, says Ajoy Mehta

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Friday informed Bombay High Court that shortage in of law officers in its office is delaying in filing of replies and affidavits, even in cases pertaining to dilapidated buildings.However, Mehta also assured that the drawback would soon be done away with. A division bench, comprising Justice BR Gavai and Justice MS Karnik, has asked the corporation to come out with a policy to assign senior and junior law officers to attend to cases pending in court within one month.As per statistics, around 90,000 cases are pending of which civic body is a party respondent and daily 1,500 cases are listed in various courts. The corporation has 89 law officers and 70 are assigned to different courts.Counsel Anil Sakhare, appearing for the corporation, said, “The annual budget of the civic body is almost equal to any state and it performs a number of duties.” To this, the bench noted, “That does not mean you should not provide good facilities to the citizens.”The court also pulled up the civic body on the issue of two structural audit reports: one prepared by the corporation and other by residents, in cases of dilapidated buildings having completely contradictory views. It said “We are sure that one of the reports is tailored. The civic body should be serious on this aspect and ensure that proper compliance is done.Mehta was summoned to the court last week after it was found that in many cases the officers appearing for the corporation were not ready to argue cases and different advocates appeared in the same case on two different dates. The official was also asked to explain the delay caused in deciding the matters pertaining to dilapidated buildings protected by interim orders.

Oval-Cooperage residents protest no-parking signs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents of Oval Cooperage have written to traffic authorities protesting the ‘No Parking’ signboards put up in the area. Residets are saying that they have been parking in the area for years together and that they should be allowed to continue to do so as it does not obstruct the flow of traffic.The stretch the residents have taken objection to is mainly from Eros Cinema running up to Mantralay, and a little further up the Maharishi Karve Road. Buildings on the road that face Oval have a number of trees outside their homes. “It is between these trees that we park our cars. It is not even that our cars are blocking traffic. Other cars are not going to run over trees to reach their destination. There is no reason for them to have put up these parking signboards,” said Asha Mehta, president of Oval Cooperage Residents’ Association (OCRA).Residents have complained that there isn’t enough space around. “It is not that the buildings have too much space. They are old and hardly have any space in them,” said Mehta.”On the one hand they talk about smooth flow of traffic while further down the road, situation is such that there are huge traffic jams. The bus stop at Eros and share taxi stand create traffic jams regularly. Bus officials say that since they lose business to taxis, they need to have the stand closer. We have been asking them to move the stand further down the road so that traffic moves out quickly because at certain times buses do not move until they are full. For so many years we have complained but they have not doing anything. On the contrary, on the other side of the road, instead of putting up a pole and shed, they have made a bus stand in a way that the entire footpath is encroached upon,” said Nayana Kathpaliya, executive member of OCRA.”In a letter, we have informed them how this decision of no-parking sign boards has anguished the residents,” said Mehta. Traffic inspector of the zone was unavailable for comment

State to forcibly evict people from dangerous buildings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Those refusing to vacate rundown structures will soon be dealing with a tougher administration as Maharashtra Housing Minister Prakash Mehta on Thursday announced that from now, people who do not vacate dilapidated buildings will be forcibly evicted.“Of the 16,000 cessed buildings in south Mumbai, there are about 3,000 which are dilapidated, unsafe and dangerous. We will first target such crumbling structures for forcible eviction. I will seek a formal directive on this from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis within eight days,” Mehta told DNA.He added that the eviction will be jointly carried out by the police, the Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (Mhada) and the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.Mehta said the administration has to take such extreme steps to avoid more deaths.The minister assured evacuees will be sheltered in transit camps at Mahul and Gorai where 25,000 units are currently available.A government officer, who wished not to be identified, said the summary eviction of occupiers from dilapidated buildings in certain cases is permissible as per section 95A of the Mhada Act, 1976.“However, this is not enough. The government is therefore considering amendment to the Mhada Act whereby after eviction Mhada can be authorised to rope in developers through tenders for the completion of redevelopment in a time-bound manner and through the deployment of modern technology,’’ he added. Mehta, however, noted that the process of amending Mhada Act 1976 was at a primary stage.According to the officer, such an amendment is necessary as, at present, Mhada has no powers to redevelop crumbling structures after occupiers are evicted.According to Gulam Zia, executive director (advisory), Knight Frank India, the root cause of the rot lies in the archaic Rent Control Act which needs an immediate review, if we want to ensure the safety of the occupants of these tenements.“Many of the old and dilapidated structures in the city are languishing in the absence of a feasibility of redevelopment. Even if a developer offers a package, the redevelopment process may still suffer if a handful of occupants drag their heels for a better deal. But with the clock ticking on them, they should realise it is a matter of life and death, and that a few more square feet may not really be worth it,’’ he noted.

2002 Gujarat riots: SC sets aside HC order asking state govt to pay for repairs of destroyed religious structures

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside the Gujarat High Court order asking the state government to pay for the reconstruction and repair work of religious structures damaged during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice P C Pant allowed the Gujarat government’s appeal challenging the High Court verdict that it should pay for reconstruction and repair works of religious structures damaged during riots.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who had represented the state government, said that “our plea has been allowed” and moreover the state government had told the court that it was willing to pay from ex-gratia amount for repair and reconstruction works of various structures, shops and houses which were damaged.”This scheme (of the government) has been accepted,” Mehta said.The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Gujarat government against an order of the high court directing it to pay compensation to over 500 shrines damaged during the 2002 riots, triggered after the Godhra incident.

More assertive effort needed to make privacy right a reality CUTS @ 8/24/2017 7:36:17 PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A judgement stating privacy as a fundamental right may not lead to it being treated as a fundamental right. A more assertive effort is needed from all stakeholders to make this a reality, said Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International on Thursday. Welcoming the Supreme Court Constitution bench?s decision on declaring Privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, Mehta said, ?It will surely empower citizens against encroachment of their privacy?. ?It is also a wake-up call for the Central government, which had taken a contrarian view in the Court, he added. The nine member Constitution bench today concluded unanimously that, “The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”. ?As the country is riding the digital transformation wave and the government?s ?Digital India? mission is creating an enabling environment to migrate its eGovernance, administration and financial services to online platforms, citizens are expected to reveal all information mandatorily without any provision to counter these mechanisms. Hence, this judgement is critical and revolutionary?, said Mehta. Privacy as a fundamental right gathered steam when Aadhar, a legally voluntary instrument, was made mandatory by executive orders for many schemes, including filing of income tax returns. Last few months saw several state and non-state actors at loggerheads on this issue. However, today’s verdict does not comment on whether the government’s demand for Aadhaar to be linked to all financial transactions amounts to an infringement of privacy. That decision will be taken by a separate and smaller bench of the Supreme Court of India.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, Pak armies meet at LoC, give peace another chance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Winds of peace seem to be blowing again on the Line of Control (LoC) after Indian and Pakistani armies decided to uphold the border ceasefire in letter and spirit.The decision to uphold the ceasefire was taken in a Battalion Commander Level Flag Meeting at Chakan–Da–Bagh in Poonch Sector on Wednesday.The meeting was held against the backdrop of firing and shelling by Pakistan army on Indian posts and civilian areas that has left several Indian soldiers and villagers dead in the Poonch and Rajouri districts of Pir Panjal region of Jammu division.”The Indian delegation highlighted abetment and support of Pakistan Army, to cross border terrorism, sniping actions on Line of Control and deliberate targeting of civil population during cease fire violations. The resumption of trade and transit through Chakan-Da-Bagh was also discussed during the Flag Meeting,” said Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu.Lieutenant Colonel Mehta said the meeting, which was held in a cordial atmosphere, lasted for 50 minutes. “Both sides mutually agreed to the importance of exercising restraint on the Line of Control and keeping the channels of communication open between local commanders. Both sides also agreed for necessity to institute mechanisms to ensure durable peace and tranquility along the Line of Control,” he said.Official figures reveal there were 285 violations recorded this year by the Pakistani Army till August 1 this year. Around 228 such incidents of ceasefire violations were reported along the LoC in 2016. Last year 221 incidents of ceasefire violations were also reported from the International border.Official figures reveal that around 405 incidents of cross-border firing have taken place along the Indo-Pak border in J&K in 2015. Of this 253 incidents have taken place along the International Border and 152 incidents along the Line of Control.

10 days on, no probe against Subhash Desai, Prakash Mehta

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than a week after Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis promised independent probe into allegations against Industries Minister Subhash Desai, the government has failed to appoint a committee.DNA had exposed how Desai denotified thousands of acres of land violating stipulated conditions. The Opposition had raised the issue subsequently in the legislature session and had alleged a scam of Rs 50,000 crore. An embattled Desai even sent his resignation to the CM, but Fadnavis had rejected it saying he needn’t resign till the charges are proved against him. He had announced that the government will appoint an inquiry committee to probe into the charges in a bid to placate the Opposition.Apart from Desai, Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, too, had faced charges of corruption and CM had announced a probe by Lokayukta against him as well.But even a week later, there is no sign of investigation and the Opposition is now questioning the CM’s sincerity. Nationalist Congress Party state chief Sunil Tatkare said that the CM has made the announcement in the House and hence the Opposition wants to believe the government is committed, but the delay indicates otherwise.”On the last day (August 10) of the Monsoon session of the state Assembly, the CM promised impartial and independent probes against Desai and Mehta. It’s been 10 days since and there is no action on it,”We don’t know if the government has forgotten or the promise was simply a tactic to buy time. It shows how serious this government is when the charges are levelled against their own ministers,” said Nationalist Congress Party state chief Sunil Tatkare.”Is there some kind of political settlement being worked out between the two parties to save each other’s ministers? Silence on part of the CM will only erode his own credibility,” Tatkare said.Sachin Sawant, Congress spokesperson, said that neither Desai nor Mehta had resigned despite grave allegations and also raised doubts whether the probe was going to be indeed impartial and independent.UNDER SCANNERIn an exclusive report, DNA on August 7 had exposed that Industries Minister Subhash Desai had allegedly denotified 60,000 acres of land without mandatory auction.

BJP core committee to debate scam charges against Maha Ministers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior leaders from the Maharashtra BJP unit will go into a huddle on August 16 to discuss strategy to counter opposition’s tirade against the party led government involving housing minister Prakash Mehta and industries minister Subhash Desai for their alleged involvement in scams. Even though Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced an inquiry into the allegations against Mehta by the state Lokayukta, an independent probe against Desai and an inquiry against IAS officer Radheshyam Mopalwar by the Economic Offence Wing, the leaders are expected to reiterate that party will not compromise on its policy of zero tolerance towards corruption.Fadnavis has already rejected resignations offered by both Mehta and Desai while Mopalwar has been sent on one month’s leave. State party president Raosaheb Danve told DNA,” The present political situation in the state will come up for discussion during the core committee meeting slated for August 16, a day before party’s state executive council meeting. The corruption charges made against the government will be debated. The committee will look into a roadmap for the party and the party led government to counter those charges.” Incidentally, Danve will chair the meeting slated for August 16 and it will be attended by Fadnavis and a few ministers.Another party leader, who desired not to be quoted, said opposition has been questioning CM’s decision in the past to bail out ministers including Vinod Tawde, Pankaja Munde, Babanrao Lonikar, and Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar despite corruption allegations. “However, the Opposition has created a perception that it was due to their attack that the CM ordered a probe against Mehta, Desai and Mopalwar. Fadnavis has clarified that he would not stick to the chair but never compromise on principles. But this is not enough, as now the onus is on ministers in the state cabinet to perform without getting embroiled in controversy, ahead of next assembly election slated for 2019,” Danve noted.Interestingly, controversy involving Mehta in particular won’t find any place in party’s political resolution to be taken up during state executive council meeting slated for Thursday. However, Fadnavis is expected to make his observations in this regard in his speech on the same day.Danve informed that the political resolution will talk about the BJP’s sterling performance in the Uttar Pradesh assembly poll, election of Ramnath Kovind as the President of India, Venkaiah Naidu as Vice President, three year tenure of Amit Shah as the national president. “In addition to this, the resolution will mention party’s victory in civic and local body elections and its preparedness for the election to the Mira Bhayander, Nanded and Ahmednagar civic bodies,” he said.Further, Danve said the executive council will pass resolution on agriculture thanking the state government for its decision to waive Rs 40,000 crore worth crop loan waiver. Besides, the issue of farm crisis in the wake of less rainfall and the government’s intervention will also be incorporated in the same resolution.

Oppn to move high court for probe against Subhash Desai, Prakash Mehta

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Troubles are far from over for embattled ministers Subhash Desai and Prakash Mehta. After hauling them over the coals for alleged misdeeds in their departments, the Opposition has decided to move the Bombay High Court seeking a proper investigation into their acts.While Industries Minister Subhash Desai offered his resignation last week following DNA’s news breaks over the denotification of thousands of acres of land, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had rejected it. He had also given a clean chit to his party colleague, and Housing Minister, Prakash Mehta, who was criticised for his controversial order in a slum redevelopment proposal. “We have decided to approach the Bombay High Court seeking an unbiased probe in to both Subhash Desai and as Prakash Mehta’s misdeeds. There is proper documentary evidence against both ministers,” former CM and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan told DNA.Chavan said his party was committed to see cases against both ministers reach a logical end. “We have seen what a farce government probes have been. It’s been over a year since the Dinkar Zoting Committee, which looked into the allegations of land grab against former revenue minister Eknath Khadse. The committee submitted its report almost three months ago, but neither has the report been made public, nor have they told us what action has been taken after the reports findings were furnished. To his credit, Khadse resigned at least. But both Mehta and Desai are still ministers. We will seek time-bound action and an unbiased probe against both,” Chavan added.NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik pointed out that while Desai’s party boss, Uddhav Thackeray, accepted his resignation and sent him to the CM, the latter saved him, because he wanted to protect his own party colleague Prakash Mehta and himself. “Fadnavis is in a tight spot there. Mehta had categorically mentioned in the file that he had apprised the CM about the SRA project approval,” Malik said.Malik dismissed Fadnavis’ offer for a Lokayukta probe and pointed out that the CM does not come under the purview of Lokayukta. “If the CM is indeed serious about transparency and honesty, he should have ordered a judicial probe because then even he would have appeared before the probe,” Malik said.Meanwhile, sources in the Sena insist that Desai will still face the axe from the party in the next reshuffle as Uddhav is not in a mood to give rope to Desai.“Uddhav is not happy with Desai because of his proximity to CM Fadnavis and ineffectiveness as the minister. Desai is not helping the party’s cause, nor is he helping to expand the party base any longer. Uddhav will soon replace him with a younger face from Mumbai,” a senior Sena minister told DNA requesting anonymity.

Monsoon session of the Maharashtra legislature concludes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The monsoon session of the Maharashtra legislature that began on July 24 concluded this evening. The opposition Congress and NCP participated in the entire session unlike previous Budget Session when they had boycotted it midway demanding a loan waiver for farmers. Opposition mounted pressure on the government by highlighting alleged corruption in the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi corridor project and forced removal of an IAS officer whose name had cropped up in the entire controversy. The opposition also tried to corner the government over the SRA scam in which name of minister for urban development department Prakash Mehta figured. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a probe in the matter. The winter session will begin on December 11.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

No kurta-pajama stuff: Lawyer’s comment about Subramanian Swamy’s attire heats up Babri land dispute case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP MP Subramanian Swamy’s intervention plea in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute was opposed in the Supreme Court by several parties on the ground that he had no locus standi (right or capacity to appear) in the title suit.While the matter was being the heard by a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, the counsel opposing the proponents of a Ram temple, said that his plea to argue as an intervenor had not yet been acceptedDuring the deliberations lasting an over one-and-half hours, Swamy tried to impress upon the bench, also comprising justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer, about his stand saying that he was raising the issue of Hindu fundamental right to religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution.His intervention plea was opposed by parties including the All India Sunni Waqf Board, which was one of the main contestants in the matters.Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who was opposing the counsel for Lord Ram Lalla (diety) and the Uttar Pradesh government, said that only the main parties should be allowed to argue in the matter and “kurta-pyjama stuff should not be permitted”.His statement was strongly opposed by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta as Dhavan’s remark was apparently targeted at Swamy, who was clad in the traditional Indian attire and a waist jacket.”He (Dhavan) should not be permitted to make such statements. I strongly object to such comments,” the ASG, who was appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said.Dhavan quickly defused the situation stating that his statement was for others “except Swamy”. Mehta supported the intervention plea of Swamy and said, “He can be heard.” “I would like make out a case based on the Constitution that fundamental right gets precedent over property right,” Swamy said.Another key party in the suit was the Nirmohi Akhara.

BMC hints at inability to shell out funds for BEST

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

Opposition targets Desai over release of acquired MIDC land

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition Congress and NCP today alleged in the Legislative Council that Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Industries Minister Subhash Desai favoured builders by de-notifying 12,000 hectares of land in government’s possession. The allegations were made in both houses of the state legislature, leading to a ruckus and adjournment for the day in the Legislative Council. Desai denied allegations of corruption, saying that the land, acquired by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), was lying unused, and he released it for the benefit of farmers, the original owners. The Opposition had cornered the government last week by levelling allegations of corruption against Housing Minister and BJP leader Prakash Mehta. Dhananjay Munde (NCP), Leader of Opposition in the Council, and his counterpart in the Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil (Congress) today raised the issue of de-notification of MIDC land in Igatpuri area. “Desai de-notified 12,000 hectares of land from acquisition process and bestowed benefit of Rs 20,000 crore on builders. It is a big scam…it should be probed by a Special Investigation Team,” Munde said in the Upper House, adding that the minister should be removed from the cabinet till the probe is over. Desai ignored adverse remarks of the officials of his department while taking the decision, Munde said, alleging that the land belonged to Abhay Nahar, chairman of Nahar Developer, Kamlesh Waghrecha, director of Swastik Properties and builder Rajesh Mehta. “MIDC issues a notification to acquire land for projects. Once the land is reserved for MIDC, its price falls drastically. Then land mafia and builders buy it from farmers at a cheap rate, and later apply to the government to de-notify it,” Munde said. Desai defended his decision, saying that the land in question had remained unused. “The previous government had acquired huge tracts of land for MIDC which remained idle and unused. I have taken the decision only in favour of farmers, and there is no corruption. The previous (Congress-led) government too had de-notified land which was deemed unnecessary for the MIDC,” Desai claimed, speaking to reporters.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Take decision within 3 months on plea for minority status to non-Muslims in J&K: SC to Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a last opportunity to the Centre and asked it to take a decision within three months on a plea to grant minority status to non-Muslims in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices A K Goel and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of the central government that it needed more time to hold consultations with the state government and other stakeholders, if any.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre said the government has been holding consultations at various levels and eight weeks more time be granted to it to apprise the court about their stand on the PIL.The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Jammu-based lawyer Ankur Sharma that in a Muslim majority state like Jammu and Kashmir, non-Muslims should have been granted minority status to avail benefits of various governmental schemes.

Prakash Mehta’s fate to be decided in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After being cornered for the first time in the state Assembly nearly three years into his tenure as chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis will likely bide his time and see how Prakash Mehta’s future unfolds. If party insiders are to be believed, the decision of whether Mehta is forced to leave or is kept back in the ministry will not be taken in Mumbai but in New Delhi.Sources in the Mantralaya bureaucracy as well as the party claim the chief minister was not in favour of Mehta’s induction as a minister to begin with. A senior party leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that while what the party state unit thinks or what chief minister thinks would matter, what would outweigh it is what New Delhi wants.Another party leader said that the situation would likely be moulded in such a way that Mehta would have no alternative but to resign. Pointing out that Eknath Khadse was encircled in the same manner and had to resign, the leader said “it could happen to Mehta as well”.A few aspirants within the party are happy about Mehta’s embarrassment, while the Opposition is bound to mount more pressure on the government seeking Mehta’s removal. “The chief minister is skirting the entire issue by appointing inquiries which can save him, at least for the moment. The Opposition will press for Mehta’s removal,” said former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.”The CM has announced an inquiry into Radheshyam Mopalwar’s alleged audio tapes, then how can Mopalwar remain in the same post till the inquiry is over? The same logic applies to Mehta and if CM is ready for inquiry, he should remove Mehta from the Cabinet.”Meanwhile, Fadnavis has already announced an inquiry into all the allegations by the Opposition and has asked for them to be completed in a month.Sources that the CM is merely buying time and that the Monsoon session will be over by then.

DNA Morning Must Reads: New development plan for Mumbai, Sania Mirza on lack of titles, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Aadhaar can’t be used to track anyone: Govt to SCThe act is framed in such a way, with so many checks and balances, that even the authority wouldn’t know where the Aadhaar is being used, Mehta submitted. Read more here2. Coming up for Mumbai: 8 million jobs, 10 lakh affordable homes, open spacesDevelopment Plan (DP) 2014-2034 cleared by BMC on Monday midnight after nine years of deliberation. Read more here3. Climate change behind 59,000 farmer suicides in India: studyClimate change has caused more than 59,000 farmer suicides in India over the last 30 years, a study has found, warning that suicide rate across the country will increase substantially as global temperatures rise. Read more here4. Every partnership rides its course: Sania MirzaSania Mirza has had to change four partners this year after successful stint with Martina Hingis. The Indian tennis star talks about frustration of frequently changing partners, lack of titles & drop in rankings. Read more here5. Sidharth Malhotra opens up on his production and direction plansSidharth Malhotra is willing to flirt with the idea of producing a film. Read more here

Right to Privacy case: Overarching guidelines needed to protect an individual’s privacy, says SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that there has to be “overarching” guidelines to protect an individual’s private information in public domain to ensure that it was used only for an intended purpose.A nine-judge Constitution bench, dealing with the contentious issue whether right to privacy was a fundamental right, rejected plea of a Gujarat government lawyer that misuse of personal information could be dealt with on a “case-to-case basis” and said an all-embracing guideline was needed keeping in mind the size of the population.The bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, also referred to the fact that India was a signatory of a 1948 international convention which recognised privacy as a human right.Referring to arguments put forward by the Maharashtra government on the issue, the court said, “Even if we accept it that the Constituent Assembly dealt with it (privacy issue) and decided against including it as a fundamental right, then how you will deal with the fact that India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which recognises it.”The bench, which also comprised justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, R F Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer, said that there has to be an “overarching” or all-embracing guideline to ensure that the private information of individuals, put in public domain, wwas used only for an intended purpose.”If I give personal information like names, parents’ name and telephone numbers for a particular purpose, then a reasonable expectation will be that it is used only for that particular purpose… (Otherwise) how we will deal with the violations?” it asked.On the issue that a large number of people have put their personal information in public domain, the bench said, “When you have so many users, then you cannot decide on facts of each case. You have to have over-arching principles or guidelines to regulate.”At the outset, senior advocate C A Sundaram, representing the Maharashtra government, said the apex court has been entrusted with the power of interpretation of the Constitution and the law and it cannot introduce right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution.”Parliament and only Parliament can do it,” he said.”This is not a case of interpretation of the Constitution or the law. This is the case of introduction of a right as a fundamental right. This can be done only by Parliament,” Sundaram said.He then referred to the terms, interpretation, introduction and interruption and said that the courts could interpret, but not introduce privacy as a fundamental right.In the Constituent Assembly debates, the forefathers of the Constitution had considered the issue of privacy and decided against including it as a fundamental right and if, now it was being felt that it should be considered as a fundamental right, then only Parliament could do it, he said.The bench, however, said that it could not be stated that the Constituent Assembly debated every aspects of privacy.Sundaram said some aspects of privacy can be traced to Article 21 (Right to Life and Personal Liberty) of the Constitution, but it cannot be held as a fundamental right.On the issue of data protection, he said that Article 300 of the Constitution dealing with common law rights may be taken recourse to in a case of a violation.Right to privacy was “statutorily” protected and there was no need to elevate it as a fundamental right to deal with any possible infringement, he said.He submitted that Article 21 refers to the term “personal liberty” and not “liberty or civil liberty” and the term personal liberty means physical liberty only.”Instead of expanding the scope of fundamental rights, you are saying that contract the scope of the fundamental right to liberty,” the bench said.Responding to the query of the bench that India was a signatory of an UN declaration, the senior lawyer said that an international obligation can be fulfilled by enacting a separate statute and there is no need of its inclusion as a fundamental right.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Madhya Pradesh government, referred to various legislations including the Income Tax Act, the Right to Information Act and the Indian Telegraph Act and said that aspects of privacy has been protected under the statutes.Several legislations protect the aspect of privacy and being a common law right, it need not be elevated in the category of the fundamental rights, he argued.”Privacy is inherently a vague and subjective concept which is incapable of any precise definition and its contours cannot be conferred with a status of a fundamental right,” Mehta said.The legislature has been granting protection to the various aspects of “common law right to privacy” through statutes, he said.He also referred to the prevalent practices in various countries and said there were instances where privacy was not conferred the status of a constitutional right.Referring to the Aadhaar scheme, he said that even the State cannot track the activities of an individual by using the Aadhaar number and moreover, there are enough safeguards provided in the Act to protect personal information.Another senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Gujarat government, said that he did not take the “extreme position” that privacy did not fall under any of the fundamental rights.He, however, said that facets of privacy can be traced to Article 21.The arguments would continue tomorrow in the apex court which said that it might reserve the verdict in the matter.

Courts can’t introduce right to privacy as fundamental right, only parliament can: Maha govt tells SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The courts cannot introduce right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution and this can only be done by Parliament, the Maharashtra government told the Supreme Court today.A nine-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar is hearing a plea to decide whether right to privacy is a fundamental right or not.”This is not the case of interpretation of the Constitution or the law. This is the case of introduction of a right as a fundamental right. This can be done only by Parliament,” senior advocate CA Sundaram, appearing for the Maharashtra government, told the judges.The bench also comprises justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.Sundaram said that the term privacy is not a definite term and it cannot be conferred a separate status of a fundamental right under the Constitution.Besides the government of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh has also opposed the contentions of the lawyers who are seeking right to privacy be included as a fundamental right.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Madhya Pradesh government, referred to various legislations including the Income Tax Act, the Right to Information Act and the Indian Telegraph Act and said that various aspects of privacy have been protected under several statutes.”There are developed developing and underdeveloped countries. Even in some developed countries like US, privacy is a right is fairly limited,” Mehta said, citing examples of a long list of nations including China and Qatar that don’t have privacy as a Constitutional right.Several legislations protect the aspect of privacy and being a common law right, it need not be elevated in the category of the fundamental rights, Mehta argued.He will resume arguments in the afternoon session.

CM Fadnavis cornered over SRA project

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After being cornered by the Opposition on the issue of alleged misuse of his name by Housing development minister Prakash Mehta while clearing a file pertaining to a Slum Rehabilitation project in Tardeo, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday announced an inquiry into the same.Opposition leaders including former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and NCP leader Jayant Patil managed to put Fadnavis in an embarrassing situation over a file regarding MP Mill SRA project. Chavan alleged that Mehta had written a remark on the file that he has apprised Chief Minister about this decision and had cleared the file. Chavan had said that the said builder SD Corporation would have received Rs 500 crore extra profit with Mehta’s decision by keeping the chief minister in dark.The MP Mill compound redevelopment involved building tenements for 2,334 slum dwellers with construction of around 2 lakh square feet area. While CM made it clear that he was not apprised by Housing development minister, it was difficult for Mehta to clear his stand.

Chavan seeks Mehta’s resignation over development rights

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan today demanded the resignation of Maharashtra Urban Development Minister Prakash Mehta in Legislative Assembly for allegedly allowing transfer of development rights against the rules. “Mehta went ahead with the decision though a Housing Department note in June had pointed out that Development Control Rules do not support his decision to allow transfer of extra building rights sanctioned to slum dwellers to another residential scheme for project-affected people,” Chavan said. “As per the available information, the Housing Department had noted that there is no provision in the DC rules (of Mumbai civic body) that allows benefits granted to slum dwellers to transferred,” Chavan said. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should accept the irregularity in the matter and take action against those who violated the rules, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DNA Morning Must Reads: Updates on Bihar crisis, Pro Kabaddi star Anup Kumar on new season, ‘Mubarkan’ review and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Bihar: Cracks appear in JD(U) as Nitish Kumar joins hands with BJP; trust vote todayFormer president Sharad Yadav has expressed apprehensions of the party breaking apart in a conversation he had with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday evening. Read more here2. #DNAExclusive | Unholy nexus built dodgy constructions: Minister Prakash Mehta slams BMCState Housing minister Prakash Mehta says that unauthorised constructions grow due to the blessings of civic officials. Read more here3. Airtel sees end of 3G in India; only 2G, 4G co-existingThe 3G networks in India will close down at a faster rate than other countries, allowing the spectrum to be refarmed and used for offering 4G services, according to Bharti Airtel. Read more here4. Kabaddi will overtake cricket in 4-5 years, says ‘captain cool’ Anup KumarAs the fifth season of the Pro Kabaddi League kick-starts on Friday, star raider and U Mumba skipper Anup Kumar talks about his journey to the top, how kabaddi will dethrone cricket in India, and more in an exclusive interview. Read more here5. ‘Mubarakan’ review: Anil-Arjun Kapoor duo deliver a laugh riot!Mubarakan is the cleanest entertainer and deserves to be watched for its high entertainment value. Read more here

#DNAExclusive | Unholy nexus built dodgy constructions: Minister Prakash Mehta slams BMC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>State Housing minister Prakash Mehta says that unauthorised constructions grow due to the blessings of civic officials. He hopes that the new act that the state is planning to introduce will have stringent provisions to break the unholy nexus. In an exclusive interview, Mehta says the government’s priority is now the rehabilitation of Sai Siddhi residents and it’s reconstruction.How serious is the government about addressing the menace of illegal buildings?The Sai Siddhi crash is certainly an eye-opener. With three decades of experience in the politics, I can tell you that unauthorised constructions cannot mushroom without an unholy nexus between developers and civic officials. The government proposes to bring in new act which will be deterrent to an officer even at a lower level – (s)he won’t dare help construction of illegal buildings or turn a blind eye to them.Did such a nexus lead to Sai Siddhi’s collapse?I have represented Ghatkopar (West) assembly constituency, where Sai Siddhi is located, for 20 years. The building was not on Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) list of dilapidated buildings that it releases every year, ahead of the monsoons. However, the occupant of three rooms on the ground floor was carrying out renovations and the leading cause for the collapse seems to be the major structural changes undertaken by him.Now the priority is rehabilitation of the residents and reconstruction of Sai Siddhi on the same plot.Today, the residents had a meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. He has accepted the suggestions made by me about immediate rehabilitation of residents in the tenements meant for project affected persons under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority project. These flats are just one kilometer away from Sai Siddhi.A road map will be prepared, in association with BMC officials, in 10 days for the building’s reconstruction. The government has assured all necessary assistance to the residents.Furthermore, the CM reiterated that stern action will be taken against those responsible for the building crash. He also assured residents that he will examine whether the offence can be registered under IPC Section 302, after they brought to his notice that punishment under Section 304 (under which the occupant has been arrested) is not enough.Your have also expressed fear about a bigger disaster waiting at Damodar Park, near Sai Siddhi. Can you tell us more?There are 13 buildings with 13 floors each at Damodar Park at Ghatkopar (West), but occupation certificate has been given only to the first four floors. If BMC does not quickly swing into action, there will be bigger tragedy. There has been no civic action so far.Does the structural audit get enough attention from the civic body and residents?Residents should carry out structural audit if the building is 30 years old. Redevelopment of dilapidated buildings, which is slowed down by objections from a few residents, will become smooth as the government proposes to amend the existing law.What steps are being initiated by the State to fast track housing development in Mumbai?The government will receive new Development Control Rules from BMC in four days. It will chalk out future policies thereafter, as it is clear that vertical development of buildings is inevitable in view of land constraints in Greater Mumbai. While doing so, the proposed policies will take into account rules regarding environment zone, funnel zone and Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ). While encouraging high rise buildings, the focus will be on keeping aside adequate open spaces in the city.The State will also explore developing salt pan lands and other land parcels for housing. It expects positive action from the Centre on relaxation of some norms with regard to funnel zone, salt pan lands and CRZ.

Residents meet CM, demand Sunil Shitap be booked for murder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents from Ghatkopar’s Sai Siddhi building that collapsed on Tuesday have demanded that an FIR be filed against Sunil Shitap for murder. A delegation of residents from the building met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday and demanded that Shitap be booked under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder. The delegation also demanded his expulsion from the cooperative housing society.During the meeting that took place at the Vidhan Bhavan, residents informed Fadnavis how Shitap had intimidated them with threats when they had opposed him on unauthorised construction.”We also requested the CM to arrange for temporary accommodations until the building is redeveloped,” said Binita Ramchandani, who was part of the delegation.Fadnavis agreed to the request for housing and directed Housing Development Minister Prakash Mehta in this regard. He also assured the residents that he would speak to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Commissioner Ajoy Mehta on starting the redevelopment process in the next 10 days.Fadnavis, however, said that the demand for filing a case under Section 302 cannot be met with at this point. An official from the Chief Minister’s Office said the CM explained to the delegation that imposing irrelevant sections could make the case weak. The official said that the residents were, however, assured that necessary action would be taken once the inquiry report was complete.Lalit Thak, who had moved into Sai Siddhi building only three months before the collapse said, “I had taken a loan to buy the house. The government should auction the Sai Siddhi plot and provide compensation to residents of the building.”Shitap, accused of causing the collapse by carrying out unauthorised alterations on the ground floor, has been booked under sections 304 (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code.

Family alleges child died after being denied treatment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A nine-month-old sick tribal child, carried 6 km on the shoulders by his parents to a health centre, died allegedly after being denied medical treatment in Baran district’s Shahbad area, the family alleged. Authorities, however, dismissed the allegations, saying the child was suffering from pneumonia and the parents were asked by a doctor to go to the emergency ward but they went home instead. According to grandmother, Kosabai, the child, Sunny Deol Sahariya, was suffering from cough and cold since Sunday. Yesterday, Sunny’s father, Rajesh, and mother, Sumantara, carried him on their shoulders to the community health centre 6 km away from their village Chorkhadi. They reached the CHC around noon when they were informed that the doctor on duty had left for home as his duty hours were over, she alleged. When they reached the doctor’s residence, he told them to either wait for treatment till 5 pm or take the child to the district hospital in Baran which is 80 km away, she alleged. They waited for sometime, hoping to arrange an ambulance to the district hospital but were unsuccessful. They eventually started for their village to arrange money to reach Baran hospital, she alleged. But soon after leaving the CHC, Sunny died in their arms. They had to carry his body back to the village on their shoulders as they could not find an ambulance, she alleged. Deputy Chief Medical and Health Officer Rajendra Meena was sent to the spot this morning to probe the incident by CMHO (Baran). Shahbad Block CMHO (Baran) Atalraj Mehta said the parents had reached the CHC after OPD timings. They were asked to go to the emergency ward of the hospital by Dr Ashok Meena so that Sunny could be referred to Baran district hospital, he said. “I visited the family members in Chorakhadi village and spoke to them about the whole incident. They admitted that they did not go into the hospital’s emergency ward after Ashok wrote the prescription,” he said. They also did not got to the hospital after the child’s death but returned to their village and performed the last rites, he said. A report of the incident would be sent to the district collector, Mehta said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Supreme Court cancels HC judge’s transfer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a clear sign of the increasing clout of the Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court collegium has cancelled its earlier decision to transfer Justice Valmiki Mehta of the Delhi High Court to the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court.Sources told DNA that the five-member collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, met last week and decided to write to the Centre, informing it of its decision to recall the proposal made by the collegium to transfer Justice Mehta. Justice Mehta will continue in the Delhi High Court.The move comes almost five months after the Centre, after sitting on the collegium’s recommendation for almost a year, quietly sent it back for reconsideration. It had also sent back a similar recommendation for transfer of Justice MR Shah of the Gujarat High Court to the Madhya Pradesh High Court.Before doing so, the Centre had also indicated to the SC its reluctance to process the transfers.All the transfers had been recommended by the collegium, then headed by previous CJI Tirath Singh Thakur. The failure of the government to process the recommendations had became a major bone of contention between the higher judiciary under CJI Thakur and the Modi government, with the SC questioning the government inaction on numerous occasions.Authoritative sources told DNA that the government had last year reached out to the then CJI Thakur, requesting him to get the collegium to rescind the transfer recommendations but he refused to play along.Upset with the refusal of the government to implement the recommendations, during the hearing of a petition, a bench headed by then CJI Thakur, in August last year, had threatened to withdraw judicial work from Justices Mehta and Shah if the transfer of these judges was not given effect to.Sources said that the collegium hasn’t decided anything so far in the case of Justice Shah but there are indications that the collegium may send him as Chief Justice of a High Court soon.Incidentally, even as it sent back the recommendations about the two High Court judges, another recommendation, this one for transferring Uttarakhand High Chief Justice KM Joseph as Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court, continues to remain pending with the Centre without any action since the last over one year.

Sikkim stand-off: No war but skirmishes between India and China cannot be ruled out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Calling the talk of war in the Chinese media as posturing, senior defence and strategic experts believe that India and China may not go for a full-scale war, but skirmishes cannot be ruled out. The heights of the Doklam Plateau are occupied by the tents with both the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army soldiers digging in their heels to not clear off the area. The issues at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan elevating into a standoff, media reports constantly focussing on the words of war between the two countries have been coming. The Chinese state-backed ‘Global Times’ wrote, “If India stirs up conflicts in several spots, it must face the consequences of an all-out confrontation with China along the entire LAC”.Analysing the current situation, defence and strategic experts consider it as posturing by China which may not lead to a full fledged war, but ingress by the Chinese Army in areas which they find vulnerable cannot be ruled out.Major General, D.K. Mehta (Retd.) said “the situation created by the Chinese PLA at the Doklam plateau is a part of psychological operation to pressurise India”.Talking of the war scenario, Major General Mehta said it to be highly impossible as both nations have mature methods to handle matters. General Mehta considers if war takes place, then the advantage will lie with India due to its lower heights. In mountain warfare, the ratio to win the war is said to be 1:9, for one soldier, the enemy will have to field nine soldiers to overwhelm the attack.”Yes, the Chinese can mobilise troops, add force for which the signature would be available as we now have a reasonably good all-weather systems in terms of satellite and the other surveillance capabilities. I am sure a very close watch would be on by us”, he said.While a war is ruled out, transgression can be the other method employed by China to pressurise India.Major General, B.K. Sharma, cautions that the Chinese may create other trouble spots in order to compel India to withdraw from Doklam.Major General, Sharma, Heading the Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation (CS3) of the United Services Institution said that we should be ready for fabricated ingress in other regions by the Chinese as then they will start the policy of quid-pro-quo. He also sees no possibility of a full-blown war.Reinforcing the analysis of the Generals, sources, well aware with the Chinese border informed ANI that there have not been any significant movement of military forces in the Tibetan region in the last two months. He also added that for India, the tipping point will be when there’s a significant troop movement across the 11 bridges that join the northern parts of the 1,100 kilometers of Tsangpo with the southern part of Tibet. Line of Actual Control (LAC) is of 3,488 km long.China has deployed about 15-16 divisions along the Line of Actual Control starting from the Karakoram Pass up to the Arunachal Pradesh (LAC 3,488 km). This entire area comes under the Western Theatre Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.In case of the war, China can also move four to five divisions, which are stationed in the Xinjiang province, in the north of the Jammu and Kashmir, to cover the Ladakh sector. But, no unusual movement by the Chinese at the LAC since last two months. Talking to ANI, they explained it as Chinese tactics to pressurise India.Coming to the military infrastructure in Tibet, China has five operational air fields. In addition, there are four-five landing strips, which may not be able to hold operations due to the lack of operational capabilities.In order to increase the weight-carrying capacity of the fighter aircrafts, which comes down due to the heights Tibet being a plateau, the length of the runways of the air bases have been increased in the recent times. Also, the Second Artillery is deployed in the region and also the Chinese have developed a capability to move the troops swiftly by deploying their mechanised regiments, which are equal to the size of the Indian Brigades.Both, India and China, have been taking measures to strengthen the infrastructure and the military presence along the borders. Since 2009, China is doing an annual division level movement, supply and logistics exercise. The exercise continues in Tibet to mobilise the infrastructure. It is a transregional support operation. India is busy constructive strategic roads and is raising an independent mountain strike corps.Hardening the stance as adopted by the Chinese also is seen as face saving exercise so that the plan of the Chinese President Xi Jinping of placing his loyals into the Central Committee, a seven-member Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) and 25-member Politburo (PB) goes through. In all this, the PLA cannot be seen backing off. Bharat Karnad, Research Professor at the Centre for Policy Research, considers the stance of the Chinese approach into the bluff and bluster mode. “The Chinese believe that India may be deterred and intimidated by their rhetoric, provocative actions and will withdraw from Doklam Plateau. It is not going to happen”, he said.Analysing the border positions in military terms, he added that the Chinese cannot do much. India has enough troops in both the Eastern and the Northern sectors facing China. The Central Sector is virtually impassable for both sides; high passes will make it difficult for big build-ups. He is also of the opinion that China will not go nuclear as then India has also enough leeway to even it out. Professor Karnad believes that India has handled the Doklam standoff well and is playing it cool. “There is nothing to worry about, not that Chinese do not have their military, as India has sufficient forces and prepositioned supplies to ward off any Chinese threat”.Former Army Chief General Bikram Singh sees the Doklam as the potential escalation. He says, “The faceoff at Doklam, given the hardened stance of both sides, has the potential to escalate tensions between the two regional powers. Since hostilities will be detrimental to the long terms interests of both sides, it is imperative that the tensions are diffused through dialogue”.He further says that it is equally important that the media continues to exercise maturity and balance in reporting on this incident. It is equally important that both sides scrupulously refrain from Jingoism and muscle flexing.

Yuva Sena leaders urge BMC to file defamation case against RJ Mallishka, 93.5 Red FM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Two Yuva Sena members have urged the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner to file a Rs. 500 crore-defamation suit against RJ Mallishka and 93.5 Red FM, after a video by the radio station poking fun at the organisation went viral. The song is sung by Malishka and is titled ?Mumbai Tula BMC var Bharosa nai ka?, which means, ‘Mumbai, don’t you have faith on BMC?’ Sena leaders, Amey Ghole and Samadhan Sarvankar, who is Sena legislator Sada Sarvankar?s son, met the Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Tuesday and gave a letter demanding the BMC to take legal action against the radio channel. They said the radio channel and its host, Malishka, were unfairly blaming the BMC for problems that are not under its jurisdiction. In the letter, they said that the video maligned the image of Mumbai and the BMC, and also dented the confidence of several thousand of BMC employees who work hard to keep the city afloat during the rains.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Accused out on bail, wants demonetised notes exchanged

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight months after demonetization, an accused in a case is experiencing its aftershocks. The kidnap accused from Banaskantha has now knocked on the doors of the high court with a prayer to direct the Reserve Bank of India to exchange Rs2.50 lakh in old denomination notes.Kalpesh Patel is charged with kidnapping the dean of Patan Medical College, Dr. Rajesh Mehta, who was later rescued from the former’s residence in Mehsana four days later.During primary investigation, police had recovered Rs2.50 lakh from him. It included 300 notes in Rs500 and 100 notes in Rs1,000 denomination. The seized cash was deposited with the Banaskantha district sessions court as ‘muddamal’.Advocate for the accused petitioner, Kamlesh Kotai, submitted before the single bench judge AJ Desai on Monday that though the high court had directed all lower courts to either exchange the scrapped currency notes before December 2016 or deposit them in its account, in this case, the money was neither deposited nor exchanged.He further submitted that when the accused was released on bail in March, he moved an application seeking that the cash be returned to him as it was his personal income accrued from maturity of an insurance policy.The court subsequently directed the police to hand over the cash to the accused. However, the accused flatly refused to accept the now redundant currency. On March 24, the police accompanied him and they approached the RBI to exchange the notes, but the federal bank refused to do so stating the deadline was December 2016.Post this development, he moved another petition before the trial court with a prayer to direct the RBI to exchange the notes. Though three months have passed since the application was moved, the trial court is yet to pass an order.After hearing the primary submission of the petitioner, the single bench judge AJ Desai on Monday issued notice to the RBI, the union finance ministry and the registrar of Banaskantha district court directing them to file replies before August 21, when the matter is kept for further hearing.The caseDean of Patan Medical College, Dr. Rajesh Mehta, was kidnapped by Kalpesh Patel and co-accused Hitendra Patel who had demanded Rs2 crore ransom. Four days later, on August 24, Mehta was rescued from Kalpesh’s house in Mehsana. Gujarat police had formed 16 teams to crack the case. Kalpesh had worked as Dr. Mehta’s driver in Valsad, hence he knew he was well off.

Students denied admission despite names in list

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Confusion, chaos and confrontation was witnessed at Kanoria PG Mahila Mahavidyalaya on Monday when many students whose names had appeared in the admission list were denied admission.The college, while clarifying its stand said that it had notified the aspirants on the website as well as outside the admission window that the admissions were on the first come first served basis and the number of seats were limited in comparison to the number of students accepted in the list.The list was released during the first week of July and the last date for depositing the fee was July 15, 2017.“This not a telephone or electricity bill, that you can pay at 4 o clock on the last day. When it is an admission you must rush. Who waits for the last date? We had mentioned on the website that the admissions are open depending upon the availability of seats. We expect the students to see that though we have given the 15th of July as the last date, we are also mentioning that the seats are limited,” said Ranju Mehta, vice principal, Kanoria PG Mahila Mahavidyalaya.It is to be noted that the online server of the college was down for about two days from July 11 to 13, so it was difficult for the students and the faculty to analyse the number of students who took admissions.“I have secured 83 per cent in RBSE and have come all the way from Jhotwara to get admission in the college, but have been denied. What is the point of getting good marks,” said Simran Gauri, B.Sc aspirant at Kanoria.However, some candidates were given admissions by the end of Monday and admissions are expected to take place on Tuesday as well.

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