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Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad who hit Air India staffer yet to be questioned: Delhi Police

After a case was registered, a Crime Branch team visited the airport to ascertain how the argument broke out between the MP and the AI manager. 15 AI staffers were questioned, including Sukumar. "The MP has not been questioned in the case. Both the parties have reached a compromise. We might file a closure report after fulfilling legal formalities," said an official privy to the probe. The incident had triggered massive outrage with the Air India and other private airlines even banning the MP from flying. The ban was later revoked after the MP wrote a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju expressing "regret" over the unfortunate incident. ”
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Sunday 31 December 2017 23:50 ISTMust readEx-CJI TS Thakur says no to AAP’s Rajya Sabha offerLucknow madrasa shocker: Police rescues 51 girls who were being sexually exploited by manager <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>More than nine months after Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad was booked for allegedly assaulting an Air India employee, the lawmaker is yet to be questioned in the case, the police said.Gaikwad, the Lok Sabha member from Osmanabad in Maharashtra, had hit 60-year-old duty manager R Sukumar “25 times” with a slipper when the official asked him to disembark after the plane landed at the IGI airport here from Pune. The MP was booked on charges of attempting to commit culpable homicide and using criminal force with intent to dishonor a person and the case was handed over to the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch.However, the probe team is yet to “conclude the probe”, said an official.After a case was registered, a Crime Branch team visited the airport to ascertain how the argument broke out between the MP and the AI manager. 15 AI staffers were questioned, including Sukumar. “The MP has not been questioned in the case. Both the parties have reached a compromise. We might file a closure report after fulfilling legal formalities,” said an official privy to the probe. The incident had triggered massive outrage with the Air India and other private airlines even banning the MP from flying. The ban was later revoked after the MP wrote a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju expressing “regret” over the unfortunate incident.

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Family of raped minor made to wait for 12 hours for medical aid

After an eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped on Thursday, the family members had to roam around for more than 12 hours to get the medical aid for her. The girl was allegedly raped by a minor boy in a village of Jarcha area of Greater Noida.Narrating the ordeal, the victim’s father said that the girl had gone to play outside the house.”It was getting late for lunch. So my wife went to call her but when she couldn’t find her, she immediately raised an alarm. After searching her for more than two hours, a neighbour found her coming out of a nearby house crying. She was bleeding from her private parts and even had blood stains on her clothes,” said the victim’s mother.Police have arrested the accused and he was sent to a juvenile home on Friday.”She told me that while she was playing, one of the neighbour took her along with him on the pretext of candies. He took her to his house and assaulted her. We immediately informed the police,” the father added.According to the police, the incident took place at around 4 pm when she had gone to play.”The girl has been sent for medical examination. The accused was later arrested. During interrogation, the 15-year-old boy confessed to the crime. The boy was produced before the district court and has been sent to the juvenile home,” said Suniti, Superintendent of Police (Rural), Gautam Budh Nagar.However, the family alleged that the police, along with the minor, had to roam around the district for more than 11 hours after which the medical examination was done at 3:30 am on Friday.”First, she was taken to a local hospital in Jarcha where she was denied medical aid due to staff shortage. Then, she was taken to a hospital in Dadri where she was again denied to be admitted because of no medical kit available. Then she was finally rushed to the district hospital in Noida where the officials denied the medical saying there was no female doctor to attend to the minor her and that she should come in the morning,” stated the father.”I have spoken to the CMO about the matter and he has assured me an enquiry in the case,” informed Suniti.

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Private Bill making jobs fundamental right rejected in Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha on Friday rejected a private members bill that sought to make the Right to Employment a fundamental right. The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (insertion of new article 16A) — moved for consideration by Bishambar Nishad — was rejected by the House with 18 members voting in favour of the Bill and 21 members voting against it.The voting for the Bill was necessitated as Nishad refused to withdraw his Bill despite assurances by Santosh Gangwar, Minister of State (Independent charge) that the government was taking a number of steps to generate employment in the country, including granting loans to small and medium enterprises.The Bill sought to make employment, a right for anyone who is above 18 years of age. It stipulated that if a person is unable to get employment, he/she should get unemployment benefits as a fundamental right.While arguing in favour of the bill, Nishad said that employment should be made a right because if the youth does not get employment, they join terror groups and get involved in various crimes.He also sought the assurance from members that any suggestions he gives in the direction of providing employment in the country should be acceptable to the government.However, Nishad expressed dissatisfaction with the assurances give by Gangwar.98 BILLS INTRODUCEDAs many as 98 private members’ bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday, including one to constitute a board for protection and control of stray cows

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Delhi Nursery admissions: Govt tightens grip over pvt schools flouting norms

Tightening the noose around the private schools violating norms by setting abolished criteria for the nursery admissions, the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) has started examining the regulations set by such schools.The admission process in the entry-level classes at 1,700 private unaided recognised Delhi schools kicked off on Wednesday. While most of the schools are giving heavy weightage to the ‘neighborhood’ criteria — children residing within the 0-3 km radius, arbitrary regulations issued by several schools are giving nightmares to parents seeking seats for their wards.”We have been receiving complaints against several private schools. We have already started examining the criteria set by these schools and are in the process of sending showcause notices to them,” said Atishi Marlena, Advisor to Education Minister Manish Sisodia.In blatant violation of the DoE guidelines, while some schools, including Mahavir Senior Model School on GT-Karnal Road, are granting extra points to “vegetarian”, “non-smoker” and “teetotaler” parents, some like the Apeejay School in Sheikh Sarai are preferring children/grandchildren of former school promoters or office bearers.Some schools, including St Michael’s Junior School in Prasad Nagar and Vidya Bal Bhawan School in Shakarpur are even violating the Right to Education (RTE) Act guidelines by calling parents and their wards for”interaction”. In another violation of the DoE norms, Abhinav Public School in Pitampura and Sachdeva Public School in Rohini have asked parents to give details of their monthly income, educational and professional qualification in the forms.”Some schools have issued absurd admission criteria which are nowhere mentioned in the DoE’s circular issued on December 19. DoE’s intervention only can stop them from following these unreasonable criteria,” said Ritika Singh, a parent seeking admission for her 3-year-old daughter.Meanwhile, experts have welcomed the government’s decision to intervene.”Schools are not only violating the DoE’s norms but also the RTE guidelines. It is good that the DoE has started looking into the matter,” said Sumit Vohra, founder of www.admissionsnursery.com.VIOLATIONIn blatant violation of the DoE guidelines, some schools, including Mahavir Senior Model School on GT-Karnal Road, are granting extra points to “vegetarian”, “non-smoker” and “teetotaler” parents. Some other schools like the Apeejay School in Sheikh Sarai are preferring children/grandchildren of former school promoters or office bearers.

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Sexagenarian held for sexually assaulting 2 minors

A sexagenarian has been arrested for sexually assaulting two minors and trying to hush up the incident by threatening and giving money to the victims. The accused, Mohammad Jainul, has been arrested by the police.According to the police, the incident took place on Sunday night in Palam area of South-West Delhi when two minor girls were playing outside a friend’s house. Jainul saw both of them and lured them on the pretext of giving them sweets. “He took the girls to his house and then assaulted them in front of each other. While they were leaving, he handed them Rs 5 and asked them not to disclose anything about the incident. He is married and has kids, however, they were not present at home when the incident took place,” said a police officer.The two minors then returned to their respective homes. After one of the victims felt pain in her private parts and complained to her mother, it was then that the mother spotted some marks on the girl and the two families then informed the police.The minor identified Jainul, who was then sent to judicial custody. Both the fathers of the victims work as labourers and were out for work when the incident took place.

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No proposal to reconsider Air India privatisation, govt informs Lok Sabha

There is no proposal to reconsider the decision to privatise Air India, which has an outstanding debt of Rs 51,890 crore, the government informed Parliament today. To revive the loss-making national carrier, the government is working on the modalities for its strategic disinvestment.To a question in the Lok Sabha on whether the government proposes to reconsider its decision to sell out the debt- ridden Air India and its auxiliary companies, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha replied in the negative.The total outstanding loans of Air India as on September 30, 2017 stand at Rs 51,890 crore as per provisional figures cited by Sinha. Of this, aircraft loans account for Rs 18,364 crore and working capital loans are at Rs 33,526 crore.In 2016-17, the airline had a net loss of Rs 3,643 crore, while operating profit rose to Rs 215 crore, the provisional figures showed.Also readAir India’s domestic, global ops to be sold together, says Jayant SinhaThe government also informed Parliament that there had been a ban on direct recruitment in Air India for non- operational categories of employees and that the total number of regular employees of Air India as on November, 2017, is approximately 14,006 down from approximately 32,600 at the time of its merger in August 2007.On June 28 this year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries.Also readIndiGo, several other private airlines interested in buying Air India: Jayant SinhaAn Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is working on the modalities.

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L-G Anil Baijal’s note on scheme ‘saddens’ Manish Sisodia

Continuing the attack on Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday that he was “extremely saddened” after reading the noting of the L-G on doorstep delivery of services scheme.On Tuesday, Sisodia had alleged that the L-G rejected the proposal for 40 doorstep services in the national Capital. “I am unable to understand why the L-G has a problem with residents of Delhi getting delivery of services at their doorstep? The basic question that arises is that should a selected L-G have the power to reject a major decision of the elected government?” Sisodia asked on Wednesday.Among the 40 public services that were to be covered under the scheme in the first phase were caste certificates, income certificates, driving licences, duplicate driving licences, new water and sewer connections, handicap pension schemes, domicile certificates, delayed birth order, Lal Dora certificates, etc. Clarifying the doubts raised by the L-G, Sisodia said these services will put an end to the long queues in government offices. “There will be a 100 per cent feedback system to check corruption and quality of services. There is no fear of documents going missing as the executive will visit your place, scan the documents, and upload them then and there. This system will be super quick. The executive will visit your place on a phone call and provide the services,” he explained.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had planned to hire a private agency to implement the decision. According to the plan, mobile sahayaks (facilitators) will be hired through the agency, which would set up call centres.

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Lakshmi Villas to re-live its hotel glory

After being out-of-business for several months, the Lakshmi Villas is headed for a comeback in hotel industry. A public property for now, the Lakshmi Villas will once again be lost in private hands in the process.”It has been decided that the Lakshmi Villas will be auctioned for being developed in hotel, a good hotel,” said Urban Development, minister Shrichand Kriplani after a meeting at the department on Wednesday.The one time motor garage of erstwhile rulers of Jaipur, the building located in heart of Central Park had stood as a heritage hotel for decades till few months back, when the Jaipur Development Authority took its possession following orders of Supreme Court. A royal stable adjoining Lakshmi Villas that in due time developed as Kanak Bhawan was also taken possession of by JDA.The six bighas of land under the hotel and another 1.5 bighas of land of adjoining Kanak Bhawan were considered to be assimilated in the Central Park and were not to be used for commercial purpose again. However, on Wednesday at a meeting the Urban Development Department decided to hand it over in private hands for being pushed in hotel industry again.It has also been decided that the Kanak Bhawan will be used a JDA guest house. Even as the Central Park and common public is to lose its claim over these, the department upheld their environmental relevance.”We acknowledge that these properties are also important for the city in respect to environment and we will ensure that the environment will be conserved at these,” said the minister.The development Authority has acquired possession of these after a long legal battle that lasted for almost 44 years. It was finally earlier this year that Supreme Court cleared all objections on JDA possession of the land.It was in 1973 that 322 bighas of land was acquired at the Rambagh Complex by the Urban Improvement Trust (UIT). The Lakshmi Villas spread over six bighas and Kanak Bhawan on another 1.5 bighas were also part of the acquired pocket. These at the time were in possession of erstwhile maharaj Bhawani Singh who sold it off in 1986.A LOOK BACKThe one-time motor garage of erstwhile rulers of Jaipur, the building located in heart of Central Park had stood as a heritage hotel for decades till a few months back, when the Jaipur Development Authority took its possession following orders of Supreme Court. A royal stable adjoining Lakshmi Villas that in due time developed as Kanak Bhawan was also taken possession of by JDA. The six bighas of land under the hotel and another 1.5 bighas of land of adjoining Kanak Bhawan were considered to be assimilated in the Central Park and were not to be used for commercial purpose again.

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Gujarat HC upholds GSFS Act, but fees can be revised

In a big jolt to all self-financed schools, the Gujarat High Court upheld the Gujarat Self Finance Schools (Fees Regulations) Act, 2017 (GSFS) and its rules on Wednesday.The First Division Bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice Vipul Pancholi, while dismissing more than three dozen petitions of 2,500 private schools, concluded that the state government was competent to pass and implement such Acts and decide the administrative matters of schools affiliated with the central, international and the ISCE board. The Bench also said that the special status of minority schools was not violated by the Act.Though the court concluded that the Act was legal and constitutional, it also kept a window open for private schools’ associations to approach the competent authority for a review of the current fee structure.The associations can also ask for a hike against the services they provide to their students. However, the competent authority will have to take a decision witihin six weeks from the date of filing proposals. But, such proposals should not amount to exorbitant fees or profiteering.Court also rejected all schools’ request to stay the operative part of the judgment so that they can approach the Supreme Court and challenge the order. Those schools which have submitted their proposals and want to add any further information seeking review can submit the same within three weeks.Advocate General Kamal Trivedi while defending the state action had submitted that the RTE Act permits self-financed school to notify any fee, whereas the state Act under challenge seeks to put restrictions on these schools to charge any fees. RTE Act prohibits the capitation of fees.Appearing for parents Advocate Amit Panchal had submitted that the whole intention of the Act is to prevent commercialisation of education in all the schools, including the self-financed schools. He further submitted that the court should direct the state to implement the Act at the earliest.OPERATIVE PART OF THE JUDGMENTThe Act is not in violation of the equality of the Constitution The rules of the Act are not in the violation of the Article 30 of Constitution with regard to the minority institution Constitution of Fees Regulatory Committee and Fees Revision Committee under the Act are not unconstitutional as alleged by the petitioners Schools can put proposals within three weeks to the competent authority, which will take further action in accordance with the law.

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Ban display of non-veg food outside eateries

Scrumptious seekh kebabs on skewers and juicy chicken tikkas put up outside food stalls to draw customers may soon have to be relegated to inside shelves, as the civic body in south Delhi has proposed that they cannot be displayed in the open.The proposal was brought in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) in its last House, which approved it, Leader of House Shikha Rai said, adding that hygiene and “sentiments of people affected by the sight” of meat were the main reasons behind the move.“It was a private member resolution originally moved by a councillor from Kakrola village in Najafgarh Zone in the Health Committee meeting. The committee then moved it to the SDMC House, which then approved it,” a spokesperson of the SDMC said. “The proposal would now be sent to the Commissioner to be examined, if it in accordance with the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act,” he said. South Delhi is home to many eateries and restaurants selling meat products.

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CBI software programmer arrested for developing illegal railway tatkal website

The CBI today arrested its software programmer for developing an illegal software to subvert the railways Tatkal reservation system, allowing hundreds of tickets to be booked in one go.Ajay Garg, an assistant programmer with CBI, worked with IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd) for four years between 2007-11 where he learnt the vulnerabilities of the railway ticketing system, sources said.Garg has been arrested along with close aide Anil Gupta, a private person who distributed the software to agents for a price. Besides, 10 agents — seven in Jaunpur and three in Mumbai — have been identified, the sources said.Garg, who joined CBI in 2012, exploited the vulnerabilities to develop the illegal software, which allowed agents to book hundreds of tickets in one go, leaving genuine passengers in the lurch, they said.”The vulnerabilities of the IRCTC system still exist,” an official said.A postgraduate in computer applications, Garg allegedly sold the software through Gupta.

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1,700 pvt schools remain confused over fee structure

Days after the Delhi High Court stayed the order passed by the state Education Department, which enabled private schools to increase fees by 15 percent, left the latter in a fix. The 1,700 private schools in the capital are now confused over the fee structure of their entry-level classes for which admission to begin on Wednesday.”The Directorate of Education (DoE) has not issued anything on the fee structure as of now. There is immense confusion among the private schools on what to charge and what not to charge,” said SK Bhattacharya, president of Action Committee Unaided Recognized Private School.In October, the Delhi government had enabled the schools to increase their fee by 15 percent, apparently, to enable them to pay the teachers salary as per the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. Soon after that many schools had issued notices declaring increase of fees. Many schools even saw a face-off between school authorities and parents.”What about the rights of the teachers? Like any other profession the schools also have to give hike to them every year. What can be done in this scenario?” Bhattacharya asked, adding the government school immediately make things clear for them.

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Minor at Mukherjee Nagar shelter home sexually assaulted

A minor boy lodged at the shelter home in Mukherjee Nagar was sexually assaulted by two other juveniles at the correction home on Sunday night. The police have registered a case and have told the authorities at the correction home to probe the incident in order to make sure that the incident is not repeated.The victim was lodged at the shelter home in a case of robbery case whereas the two accused juveniles were lodged in the jail in connection with the rape and murder case of a minor. According to the police, a call was made around 10 pm on Sunday after the victim complained of pain in his private parts.”A case under Sections 377 (unnatural offences) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) was registered on the complaint of the minor boy. We have asked the home authorities to probe the incident and make sure the juveniles do not commit such a crime again,” said a police officer.The minor called the home warden after he could not bear the pain in his private parts. He informed the warden that the two juvenile boys had assaulted him when he had gone to the washroom. The two minor boys had first threatened him and then forced themselves on him. They later threatened to strangle and kill him if he told anyone about the incident.The accused juveniles came to the correction home at the beginning of this year. The minor victim, who is in trauma, is undergoing counselling as well, police informed.STEPS TAKENA case under Sections 377 (unnatural offences) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) was registered on the complaint of the minor boy. Home authorities will probe the incident.

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Mumbai Metro authorities don’t see the need to increase coaches despite commuter rise

The Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL) that connects Versova and Ghatkopar has seen a monthly increase in its commuters, which has resulted in a call for an increase in the number of coaches from four to six. However, MMOPL authorities have said that there is no need for the same, reasoning that the saturation point had not been reached as yet.Currently, there are 16 Metro trains that have four coaches that can be expanded to six coaches. In 2015, the average daily ridership was around 2.6 lakh, which increased to 3. lakh in 2016 on weekdays. However, this year, estimates show that the ridership is around 3.5 lakh on weekdays, with MMOPL announcing that November 2017 witnessed one crore commuters.An MMOPL, spokesperson, said, “”We are closely watching the ridership trends. At present, we are confident of meeting the increased demand and do not feel the need for additional coaches. We will increase the coaches when the need arises.”Also readMumbai Metro: Passengers take to social media to complain about ‘non-functional air-conditioning system’The spokesperson further stated that the need to increase coaches will begin only once Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro-2A and DN Nagar-Mankhurd Metro-2B will be operational.”The MMOPL’s expenditure to operate Metro-1 stood at about Rs 1,500 crore between June 2014 and June 2017. However, the latter could merely earn about Rs 640 crore in the form of ticketing and non-ticketing revenue in that period. The MMRDA owns 26% stakes in Metro-1 along with MMOPL that has 69% stake followed by Veolia that has a 5% stake.

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

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

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Vijay Rupani to be sworn in today for 2nd innings

Gujarat Chief Minister-elect Vijay Rupani, deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, and about 18 to 20 ministers are expected to take the oath of office and secrecy in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Ministers, and Chief Ministers of all 18 BJP-ruled states, in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.Rupani and Patel will take oath as CM and deputy CM respectively at the swearing-in ceremony to be held at 11:00 am in Sachivalaya Campus in Gandhinagar. Officials said that a huge 2,500 square metres dome — which can accommodate 10,000 people — has been booked and prepared for the ceremony.“Three stages have been erected in the dome. The centre-stage is for CM, deputy CM, and others who will be taking oath. One stage is for VVIP guests such as the PM, Amit Shah, visiting Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, and the other stage is for other politicians, sadhus, religious leaders, and other invitees,” the official said.Highly placed sources in the government said that about 18 to 20 ministers, including 7 or 8 holding Cabinet rank, and remaining state rank ministers, will take oath along with CM Rupani and deputy CM Patel.Security has been tightened at Ahmedabad Airport, which will see a lot of VVIP movement, as well as in Gandhinagar. Entry of private vehicles has been restricted in the Sachivalaya due to the swearing-in ceremony.Officials said that PM Modi is slated to have lunch with the new council of ministers and visiting dignitaries at Mahatma Mandir in the afternoon before leaving for Delhi.A Cabinet meeting is also slated in the afternoon, where newly-inducted ministers will be allocated portfolios.This is the sixth consecutive time that BJP is forming government in Gujarat, but this time with the lowest seat tally. The party won 99 seats in the just concluded assembly elections, just seven more than the half-way mark of 92. On the other hand, Congress increased its tally to 77 seats, its best performance since 1990.

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Vijay Rupani, others to be sworn in today

Gujarat Chief Minister-elect Vijay Rupani, deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, and about 18 to 20 ministers are expected to take the oath of office and secrecy in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Ministers, and Chief Ministers of all 18 BJP-ruled states, in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.Rupani and Patel will take oath as CM and deputy CM respectively at the swearing-in ceremony to be held at 11:00 am in Sachivalaya Campus in Gandhinagar. Officials said that a huge 2,500 square metres dome — which can accommodate 10,000 people — has been booked and prepared for the ceremony.”Three stages have been erected in the dome. The centre-stage is for CM, deputy CM, and others who will be taking oath. One stage is for VVIP guests such as the PM, Amit Shah, visiting Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, and the other stage is for other politicians, sadhus, religious leaders, and other invitees,” the official said.Highly placed sources in the government said that about 18 to 20 ministers, including 7 or 8 holding Cabinet rank, and remaining state rank ministers, will take oath along with CM Rupani and deputy CM Patel.Security has been tightened at Ahmedabad Airport, which will see a lot of VVIP movement, as well as in Gandhinagar. Entry of private vehicles has been restricted in the Sachivalaya due to the swearing-in ceremony.Officials said that PM Modi is slated to have lunch with the new council of ministers and visiting dignitaries at Mahatma Mandir in the afternoon before leaving for Delhi.A Cabinet meeting is also slated in the afternoon, where newly-inducted ministers will be allocated portfolios.This is the sixth consecutive time that BJP is forming government in Gujarat, but this time with the lowest seat tally. The party won 99 seats in the just concluded assembly elections, just seven more than the half-way mark of 92. On the other hand, Congress increased its tally to 77 seats, its best performance since 1990.

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Rajasthan High Court allows Raj govt to tackle doctors’ strike

Evoking restriction on arrest of agitating doctors, the Rajasthan High Court on Monday extended a free hand to the state government for tackling the strike of government doctors. The court has previously ordered a hold on the arrest while instructing them to resume duties. However, the previous orders were revoked at a special hearing called on public holiday of Christmas in consideration of an instant petition moved in public interest. “The strike of doctors is illegal,” held the court in its order on Monday. “The state authorities would be entitled to proceed ahead in accordance with law, which obviously would mean that since RESMA has been invoked, the striking doctors can be apprehended.” State health department had submitted at the court that 50 per cent of the in-service doctors have been boycotting duty following the strike. It was prompt to issue a 24-hour notice to the doctors to return to work in light of the court orders. Doctors at Rajasthan have been on strike since December 16 following transfer of office bearers of All Rajasthan In-Service Doctors. The doctors body held it suppression and violation of a previous agreement between doctors and the state health department. However, as thousands of doctors refrained from duty and private hospitals warned to keep services suspended for a day, the strike had pose to put public health at risk. In consideration of the possibility of a total health shutdown, advocate Abhinav Sharma moved a petition ahead of chief justice of Rajasthan Pradeep Nandrajog requesting immediate intervention.

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Rajasthan polls: Congress to fight BJP with a positive campaign, says Sachin Pilot

The Congress will launch an “affirmative and positive” campaign in Rajasthan to counter the “acrimonious” charge of the BJP and advocate a new model of governance while highlighting the failures of the state government, Member of Parliament Sachin Pilot has said.Buoyed by the results of recent bye-elections to local bodies, where the Congress fared well, the party has decided to strengthen its base at the booth level and reach out to the masses through an aggressive mass contact programme to be launched soon, the Rajasthan Congress chief said.Unlike the BJP, the Congress campaign will not be reduced to their level of acrimonious campaign and will not be negative. We will instead launch an affirmative and positive campaign, where the failures of the Vasundhara Raje-led government will be highlighted, Pilot told PTI.Also readPeople have made up mind, will support Cong: Sachin PilotThe party has already launched its Mera booth, mera gaurav (My booth, my pride)” campaign and will soon unroll its mass contact programme across the state.He said the Congress did not seek to reach out to the people merely on the failures of the BJP, but would offer them a better alternative.Also readSachin Pilot ‘ticks off’ Raje govt on fourth anniversaryWe will present the people with the blueprint of a model of alternative governance which will be holistic and inclusive, will care for the young and old, create jobs and have a vision to take the state forward, he said.Pilot said the workers in the state were already geared up and ready to tackle the BJP now that Rahul Gandhi had taken over the leadership of the Congress and infused new energy into it.The Rajasthan government has nothing to show for the four years that the BJP has been in power in the state, he said, charging it with selling off assets to generate money.This, Pilot stressed, was poor fiscal management.He alleged that the state s assets, including buildings, schools, roadways, hospitals and other infrastructure, were being sold to a select few in the name of public-private partnerships.This is nothing but an example of poor fiscal management. Such a policy where precious assets of the state are given out to a select few at throw-away prices smacks of crony capitalism,” he said.Once voted back to power, the Congress would “review and reverse all such decisions taken arbitrarily” and re-acquire the state s assets, he added.Pilot said the Congress, which faced a historic defeat in 2013 when it could win only 21 of the 200 Assembly seats, had got its vigour back and in the just-concluded bypolls had won seven out of 14 urban local bodies.He said the vote share gap between the Congress and the BJP, which had widened to 25 per cent, had narrowed down to 1.5 per cent in the state Panchayat elections held last year.In the Panchayat polls, the Congress won 45.5 per cent of votes against the BJP s 47 per cent. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress was down to 31 per cent, compared to the BJP’s 56 per cent.The former Union minister said the Congress party would now aggressively take its campaign forward while highlighting the problems of the jobless, farmers and the common man.This, he said, would be done through public rallies and by underlining the Congress’s plans for the future.The Congress will “force” the BJP government in the state to announce farm loan waivers to help ease the burden of debt that farmers faced, he said.Pilot wondered why the government was dithering over loan waivers when it could bring in a law that allowed former chief ministers to select a house for their lifetime.”The people of the state did not vote the former chief ministers in so that they could have the power to have a house for life, he said.Asked about the Mera booth, mera gaurav scheme, he said every leader would be put in charge of a booth and would launch a mass contact programme to reach out to every voter in the state.There are a total of 51,000 booths in the state.Rajasthan goes to the polls in 2018, along with Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

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Mumbai: School bans students, parents from wearing ‘burqa’, ‘hijab’

A private school on the outskirts of Mumbai has banned burqa and hijab in school premises citing security reasons.The school located in Mumbra, said that the decision was taken due to safety and security reasons, according to a report in The Indian Express. The notice issued by the school also stated that the parents and family members of the school will have to lift the veil while entering school premises. The notice also does not allow students to cover their face while leaving school.The school trustee said that as some students left school in covered faces with burqa, the security were not able to know the whereabouts of them when their parents came looking for their children.In another case, the school trustee said that two women in fully-covered face arrived in school asking to take their children home early. However, before the class teacher could come and verify the details of the two women, they left. The school trustee called it a clear attempt of ‘abduction’.However, the school has maintained that they don’t intend to hurt any religious sentiments but it is necessary to reveal their faces on camera.

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PM Narendra Modi inaugurates much-awaited Magenta Line of Delhi Metro

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the much-awaited Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro. The Delhi Metro’s magenta line will cut down the travel time from south Delhi to Noida to just 45 minutes. At present the metro takes around 52 minutes to commute on the mentioned route. Magenta line, a mainstay of Delhi Metro’s Phase-3, runs 12.64km section from Kalkaji Mandir-Botanical Garden. However, with the time, more metro trains will be added to Janakpuri West on this line. Currently on the Blue Line (Dwarka Sector 21-Noida City Centre), the station will now perform as a junction between Yellow and the upcoming Magenta Line (Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden). According to Delhi Metro, the Botanical Garden station will bear an interchange load of 97,780 passengers per day from the Yellow and Magenta lines, which is projected to increase up to 123,020 by 2021.The Botanical Garden-Kalkaji section will comprise of nine stations. Apart from Kalkaji Mandir, all other stations will be elevated.Also readHere’s why Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line will set new trends: 5 things you should know Launching a 12-km stretch of Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line here, he said governments incur a lot of cost in creating infrastructure but when it is ready it benefits generations to come. Addressing a public meeting, Modi said by 2022, when India celebrates its 75 years of Independence, he wants to cut down on imported petroleum products. He said a multi-modal transportation system will ensure that use of fuel is cut down, which will help the common man save money and also be useful for the environment.On December 24, 2002 then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a ride on the metro, Modi recalled. “It was a historic moment. Since then, the Metro network in NCR has expanded considerably,” he said. We live in an era in which connectivity is all important, the prime minister said. “Without connectivity, life comes to a standstill. This Metro… is not only for the present but also for future generations,” he said. There was need to change the mindset so that people prefer using public transport than their private vehicles. He said travelling on a metro should be a “prestige issue”.With agency inputs

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Mumbai: Indian Railways flags off first AC local train, curious commuters throng station to get a glimpse

The first maiden run of AC local was witnessed by a huge crowd of curious commuters who had come to witness history being written in front of them. People hooted and whistled as the AC local arrived from Mahalaxmi car shed on to platform 8-9 of Borivali station on Monday.Many people were seen clicking pictures. There was a small function that was organised by the Western Railway at the station premises. People were seen buying tickets from the booking clerk for this AC rake. The train left sharp at 10.30 am from platform 8/9 of Borivali station in its maiden run for Churchgate. The train operated on the fast corridor between Borivali and Churchgate. The train which was packed with media personnel’s, commuters and Western railway officials and reached its destination at 11.15 am. Also readThis is how much travelling from Mumbai’s first AC local train will cost you monthlyDNA travelled in the AC locals maiden journey and spoke to commuters who were thrilled to travel on the first journey. P Jain resident of Borivali was excited to be on board the AC train. “The AC local train will be a boon for passengers. The fares are priced properly if you see private cab aggregators hefty fares. AC local train will be a good alternative”.Also readSpoiler alert: 50 things can go wrong with the first AC local in MumbaiGuardian minister Vinod Tawde also took the ride till Churchgate. It reached Churchgate at 11.15am after which it left for Borivali again as 11.21 am fast local.

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FDA suspends 12 blood banks in state

The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department has suspended the licenses of 12 blood banks in the state. During the inspection, a few blood banks also received show cause notices.While the NACO rule makes it mandatory to collect blood and its components in the presence of a Blood Transfusion Officer (BTO), many blood banks in the state do not have a BTO working in all shifts.FDA Joint Commissioner AT Khadtare said, “The suspension of licenses is mainly due to the lack of BTO officers in those blood banks. While only one Mumbai blood bank got a suspension, most of the suspended blood banks are from Pune. The inspection started in March.” A private blood bank from Vile Parle got license suspension notice.As per the rule of State Blood Transfusion Council, in 24×7 blood banks, every shift requires one BTO and one extra for camps.In July, a Right To Information (RTI) application was filed to know which blood banks have less number of BTO staff. The RTI reply stated that 34 private blood banks in the city which collect more than 2,000 units of blood had less number of BTO.RTI activist, Chetan Kothari, said, “Last year, the FDA had issued show cause notices to government-run blood banks for violation of SBTC rule. They should keep an eye on private blood banks too for violation of rules.”

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Rajasthan Bus Accident: Survivors say minor was rashly driving bus

Survivors of the bus that met with an accident on Saturday in Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan believe they were lucky enough to have escaped the clutches of death. The state government said that an action would be taken against the bus owner and also announced compensation to the families of the deceased and injured. Kamlesh Devi, a victim of the bus accident, was travelling from Uttar Pradesh to Ramdeviji Temple with her daughter, mother-in-law and pregnant sister-in-law and her two kids. Lying on the hospital bed she said, ” “I am married for six years. I have one daughter. But my family wants a son. So, I was coming to the temple to seek a baba’s (traditional healer) blessing so I give birth to a boy.” She also adds that three of her family members were with her but is clueless of the rest. Anurag Prajapat, 13, was travelling with his father vinod to Ramdevji temple to seek blessings. “I am unable to straighten my hands and we wanted to seek blessings at the temple so I get cured,” he said. His father was admitted to a ICU of a hospital.Also readRajasthan: 32 killed as bus falls into riverAnurag and his father were coming from Madhya Pradesh to visit the temple. He said that the bus was being driven rashly by a teenager.33 people were killed on Saturday when a private bus fell into Banas river from a nearly 100-foot high bridge in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district, police said. The bus was ferrying passengers from Lal Soth to Sawai Madhopur. According to media reports, the bus was being driven by a 16-year-old conductor who was allegedly speeding and lost control over the vehicle.Injured passengers were rushed to nearby hospitals. District officials are supervising the rescue operations. “There were around 50 passengers in the bus. The injured have been taken to nearby hospitals,” a senior police officer said.The bus had left Sawai Madhopur at 5 am. After breaking the railing of the bridge the bus fell into the river at around 6 am. Passengers were from other states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Assam. Several of them were going to offer prayers at a temple in Malarna Chour in the district, Police said.

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Antrix-Devas deal case: Ex-ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair granted bail by court

Former ISRO chairperson G Madhavan Nair on Saturday was granted bail by a Delhi court in the sensational Antrix-Devas deal case in which a loss of Rs 578 crore was caused to the exchequer.Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann granted the relief to Nair on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of the same amount.During the proceedings, the CBI informed the court that two accused could not be served summons as they had settled in the US, and the process was still on to execute the summons to them.The court, meanwhile, took a strict view over the non-appearance of accused Veena S Rao, a former additional secretary in the Department of Space (DoS), on the ground that she had a meeting with the Karnataka chief minister.”She (Rao) should be careful about her decisions…Since it is her first appearance after the summons, she is exempted,” the judge said.The probe agency opposed the bail plea, saying they were high profile people and may flee if released on bail.However, except three accused, the court granted bail to the rest who appeared before it, including A Bhaskar Narayana Rao, the then director in ISRO and K R Sridhar Murthy, the then executive director of Antrix.The court had on September 16 summoned Nair and others as accused while taking cognisance of the CBI charge sheet which alleged that Nair and other officials of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Department of Space (DoS) wrongfully leased out S-Band, a restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites, to Devas Multimedia by Antrix.The cognisance of the final probe report was taken after the CBI apprised the court that it had secured the requisite sanction from the authorities concerned to prosecute the former officials of premier space organisations.The FIR was filed on March 16, 2015 against Nair and others accusing them of facilitating “wrongful” gain of Rs 578 crore to private multimedia company Devas by Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.The probe agency had on August 11 last year filed a charge sheet against the accused, alleging they had caused a loss of Rs 578 crore to the exchequer by abusing their official position to favour a private company.The case relates to leasing of S-Band, a restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites to deliver video, multimedia and information services to mobile receivers in vehicles and mobile phones to Devas Multimedia by Antrix.

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Rajasthan: 32 killed as bus falls into river

At least 32 people were killed on Saturday when a private bus fell into Banas river from a nearly 100- foot high bridge in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district, police said. The bus was ferrying passengers from Lal Soth to Sawai Madhopur.Injured passeners have been rushed to a nearby hospital. District officials are supervising the resuce operations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered his condolences to the families of the affected.Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje also tweeted that the state government has been closely monitoring the situation and rescue operations are on.Congress president Rahul Gandhi has tweeted, “Saddened by the tragedy. My condolences are with the families of the deceased. I would appeal to the state government to offer immediate help to the affected.”Fog is believed to be the cause of the accident. Despite it being Saturday, there were many passengers on the bus who were going to offer prayers at a temple in Malarna Chour. “There were around 50 passengers in the bus. The injured have been taken to nearby hospitals,” a senior police officer said.The bus had left Sawai Madhopur at 5 am. After breaking the railing of the bridge the bus fell into the river at around 6 am. Passengers were from other states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Assam. Several of them were going to offer prayers at a temple in Malarna Chour in the district, Police said.

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Centre has asked states to regulate remuneration given to nurses, Lok Sabha told

The Centre has asked all states to regulate the issue of remuneration given to nurses working in private medical institutions.Union Health Minister J P Nadda said in Lok Sabha that several advisories have been sent to all chief ministers to do the needful for providing better salaries to the nurses working in private hospitals and nursing homes.”Private institutions cannot remain unregulated” and for that the state governments, if necessary, should bring a legislation so that “this sector can be regulated,” he said.The minister said the government has received representation from the All India Government Nurses Federation demanding revision in pay and allowances against the 7th central pay commission’s report.”The government has examined their demands along with the demands of other associations. The government accepted the Commission’s recommendations on minimum pay, fitment factor, index of rationalisation, pay matrices and general recommendations on pay without any material alteration,” he said.Also readWe will ensure doctors get a safe work environment: JP NaddaNadda said the recommendation on allowances was referred to an empowered committee, comprising the finance secretary, secretary (expenditure) as chairman and secretaries of ministries of home, defence, health, personnel, posts and chairman Railway Board as members for further consideration.

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Schools defy DoE order, set age bar for admission

In defiance of Delhi government’s Directorate of Education’s (DoE) order on the upper-age limit, three prominent private schools in the Capital on Thursday set an age bar in their criteria for nursery admissions. The move sent parents into a tizzy as the DoE on Tuesday announced to delay the implementation of upper-age criteria to the academic session 2019-20.The DoE had directed all unaided recognised private schools to set the lower-age limit for students in nursery, KG and Class I at three, four and five years, respectively, as of March 31, 2018. It also asked them not to implement any upper-age limit.The three private schools including Frank Anthony Public School, Lajpat Nagar Cambridge Foundation, Rajouri Garden and NK Bakrodia Public School, Dwarka, uploaded their admission criteria mentioning the upper-age limit.”Age of the child at entry level should be less than four years as on March 31, 2018 as per the orders by the DoE, government of NCT of Delhi,” read the criteria issued by the NK Bakrodia Public School. The principal, however, could not be reached for a comment.In 2015, the Delhi government had declared that it would impose an upper-age limit. This part of the government notification was challenged in high court. However, earlier this year, the court upheld the notification and allowed DoE to fix an upper limit for admission to entry level classes in private recognised unaided schools. The DoE on Tuesday set aside speculation and announced that it would not set a bar.The development has left parents anxious.”My son will turn exactly 4 years one month and 20 days old on March 31, 2018. I have no clue if we will be able to enroll him in nursery this year if other shools will also do the same,” said Ritika Kumar, a parent, who missed getting a seat for her child last year.”Only three schools have come up with their admission criteria and all have put upper age cut off. The DoE should immediately look into the matter,” said Sumit Vohra, founder, admissions nursery.com.When contacted, officials at the DoE said that they were not aware of the development and strict actions will be taken if any such violation of the order is found.NO AGE BARThe DoE had directed all unaided recognised private schools to set the lower-age limit for students in nursery, KG and Class I at three, four and five years, respectively, as of March 31, 2018. It also asked them not to implement any upper-age limit. It also asked them not to implement any upper-age limit.

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2G scam verdict: Court pulls up then SG for dithering in case

Special Judge OP Saini not only pulled up the prosecuting agencies for failing to make their case in the 2G spectrum scam, but also highlighted roles of several officials, private and public, who dithered on the stand.The trial court judgment makes special references to several officers whose testimonies hugely impacted the case including that of former Solicitor General GE Vahanvati who the judge noted “tried to wriggle out” of his own submissions.In the judgment, Saini recorded that the Solicitor General had approved the action of DoT regarding change of policy of first-come first­served from date of application to date of payment. In his note, he had specifically noted that he had seen the notes and the issue of new LOIs was not before any Court and what was proposed was fair and reasonable. However, in the witness-box, he tried to wriggle out of the same.It was this change of stance which led to “unnecessary controversy” Saini observed. Had Vahanvati stood by his notings, the controversy would have died down much earlier, the judgment read.“He had the capacity, calibre and standing to explain the whole issue, but unfortunately he too chose to depose against his own official noting by resorting to legal technicalities. He endeavoured hard to absolve himself of all responsibility. Thus, his evidence did not match up to his standing. It is unfortunate that he is one of those witnesses whose testimony has been rejected in toto for being contrary to official record,” the judge said.

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3 Romanians arrested for cloning ATM cards

The Pune police arrested three Romanian nationals for cloning ATM cards with the help of skimmer and withdrawing nearly Rs 28 lakh from 138 accounts within eight days. Police say the fraudsters got ATM card details of 1,030 people – all of whom had withdrawn money from PNB ATM at Pashan in October.Pune police nabbed the three from Vasai and suspect they are part of a global fraud. They have been identified as Erima Dragos Junete (26), Lazar Alim Kresti (22) and Balan Floria Christinel (44).The fraud came to light when bank manager of Punjab National Bank’s Pashan circle approached police stating that money of their depositors was withdrawn without their knowledge.Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone III), Ganesh Shinde, said, “We found that the fraudsters used a skimmer at the ATM center to steal confidential information belonging to the authentic ATM card holders.”Assistant police inspector Sanjay Thenge of Chatushrungi police station, said, “The skimmer is a device that can be attached where an ATM card is inserted to withdraw money. When a card is inserted, the skimmer’s sensor copies the confidential details. The fraudsters also used a transparent keypad, with the help of which they were able to decipher the password of the ATM cards.”Senior police inspector Dayanand Dhome, in charge of Chatushrungi police station, said “In the span of eight days. the fraudsters managed to withdraw nearly Rs 28 lakh from 138 accounts. Acting on a tip-off, we sent a team to Vasai and asked our team in Bangalore to join them. On Tuesday, after the fraudsters withdrew some money from an ATM in Vasai, we managed to catch them red-handed.”The arrested trio has been sent to police custody till December 28.In a similar case in Mumbai, Navghar police are probing the case of cloning and skimming at the ATM kiosk of a private bank in Mulund. A bank user’s card details were compromised and money withdrawn illegally. Mumbai police has dispatched a team to Delhi and Ghaziabad to nab the fraudsters.The police source claimed that they have CCTV footage of the suspects, who installed the skimmer machine at the ATM machine, and withdrew money from the accounts of people in Delhi and Ghaziabad.As many as 40 people, who used the ATM in Mulund, were shocked after their card details were used to withdraw money while the cards were in their possession. All the victims had approached Navghar police station on Monday and case was registered.

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In-principle approval for 19 greenfield airports given, Aviation Minister Gajapathi Raju tells Lok Sabha

The government has given “in- principle” approval for 19 greenfield airports, of which some would be developed through Public Private Partnership (PPP), the Lok Sabha was informed today.Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the country’s civil aviation sector was growing leaps and bounds but the safety of air passengers will never be compromised.Emphasising that air travel is growing leaps and bounds, Raju said during Question Hour that the number of aircraft in the country was around 548 compared to about 395 in 2014.Since the government came to power in 2014, around 50 aircraft is being added every year, he said.Responding to a query whether shortage of skill was affecting the aviation sector, Raju said there is a problem and mismatch of skill.The minister asserted that safety of passengers was “never compromised and will never be compromised”, adding that safety and security was paramount for the government.When a member expressed concern over air safety against the backdrop of incidents involving Pratt & Whitney engine- powered aircraft, Raju said, “passenger safety is never put at risk”.Out of the 19 greenfield airports for which “in- principle” approval has been granted, some are to be developed through the PPP model.”Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, Bhogapuram and Dagadarthi in Andhra Pradesh, Hasan in Karnataka, Kannur in Kerala and Dholera in Gujarat” would be through PPP model by the respective state governments with a total investment of around Rs 27,000 crore, Raju said.The responsibility of implementing these projects rests with the state governments concerned, he noted.To a query, the minister said, “we like more airports to come,” and the government would work with the states in this regard.

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Doc of private hospital misappropriates funds, held

The Bhoiwada police have registered a cheating case against a doctor of a private hospital and two others for allegedly misappropriating funds related to providing security guards to Tata Memorial Hospital at Parel.According to the police, a firm of three partners called Rapid Guard Security Force had bagged the contract for providing security to Tata Memorial Hospital through connivance with the doctor working in the said hospital.The police alleged that the doctor had taken money from the partners for giving them the contract, however, later two of the three partners with the help of doctor duped the third partner, who was also the investor in the said firm.The complainant in the case, Qaisar Khan had invested in the firm and had signed partnership deal with the two accused. However, later the doctor started transferring payments to the different bank account instead of the partnership bank account to cheat Khan.After the accused persons did not give Khan his share, he approached the police. “We have registered a case of cheating against the doctor and other two partners of Khan. The doctor was asked to resign from the job by the hospital authorities after he was found giving illegitimate favors for allotting contract to the security agency. The alleged scam is between Rs 75 lakhs to Rs 1 crore,” said a senior police officer.Swami Mhatre, spokesperson of Tata Memorial Hospital, refused to comment when contacted.

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First year MBBS student raped in medical college campus in Bhubaneswar

A first year female MBBS student of a private medical college was alleged raped in the college campus here, police said on Wednesday.The female student in her FIR at Mancheswar Police Station alleged that she was raped by a peon of the college while she was returning to hostel on Tuesday night.”We have arrested a man based on the complaint of the girl. Both the victim and the accused have undergone medical examination,” Bhubaneswar Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Satyabrata Bhoi told reporters adding that the police have also recorded the statement of the victim under Section 161 CrPC.The private medical college chairman Tirupati Panigrahi said: “The incident that occurred at around 7.30 pm yesterday came to the light at around 12 pm. The girl did not know the peon’s name. We identified the accused and handed him over to the police.”The accused has been identified as Manoj Khuntia, a resident from Athagarh in Cuttack district, police said.Khuntia claimed that he is innocent and allegations against him are false and baseless.”At around 9 PM last night, I saw the girl student and her male friend in a compromising position, while I was coming from the canteen after having my dinner. I shouted on them and told that I would take up the matter with the Principal,” said Khuntia.Khuntia said: “They requested me not to reveal the matter before anyone and promised that they would never commit same thing in college campus. Later, I went to my room, but the police brought me here at around 4 am today.”

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

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

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MPAT phase-II: After 2 yrs, University of Rajasthan accepts application

The University of Rajasthan has started taking applications for MPAT phase II, the entrance exam for PhD and M.Phil students. This has happened after two years when the last exam was conducted. Students were enrolled in the university for the course in 2015 when entrance for MPAT phase II was conducted.Deepak Bhatnagar, co-ordinator, MPAT 2017, informed that the overall number of seats available for PhD aspirants have gone down due to several reasons. One reason for the same is the reduction in the total number of seats by University Grants Commission.“The UGC has reduced the number of students that a guide can take. Assistant and associate professors can take only four and six students respectively, where earlier they could take eight students each,” Bhatnagar said. “Teachers are slowly retiring in our university and there are no new appointments, this is also affecting the overall number of seats,” he added.However, he informed that the university has asked the various government and private colleges to associate with it as a ‘research centre’. “I am hopeful that more seats can be introduced in the next session,” Bhatnagar said.AspirationsPhD aspirants have taken the step positively, though half-heartedly as all departments have not shown availability of seats. “History, Political Science, and Sanskrit do not have seats for PhD. The first two subjects are in a critical condition as it has a lot of students waiting to get into the course, but, there are no guides. In addition to that, there are certain teachers in the university who have not completed their documentation, hence, they cannot become guides,” said Suman Kumari, research student president. “Furthermore, certain teachers in the Chemistry department have the capability to become guides, but, the university is now allowing them,” she said.

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Transformers pose a new threat

Despite the fatal Shahpura accident, electricity transformers continue to infest threat to public safety, mostly due to un-certified equipments. Those using such transformers are government electricity distribution companies as well.Notably, the government had earlier this year made it mandatory for distribution transformers to be ISI certified, however, no such compulsion rests on current transformers.Experts consider these uncertified transformers as threat to public safety. “Current transformers should be ISI marked. A sub standard current transformer can blast easily if the voltage goes higher than what can be handled. Anyone standing nearby will be brutally burnt due to the blast. Moreover, the sub standard product can also burn the meter if it is overloaded,” said Harish Jain, owner, Roshan Marketing, distributor of transformers from last 34 years.However, Bureau of Indian Standards believes that LT Current Transformers s are not hazardous enough to be made mandatory for ISI marking.“Current transformers are not very hazardous as compared to the distribution transformers. The actual load of electricity supply is on distribution transformers. I have not come across any CT blast. There is an ISI mark for the same but is not compulsory,” said RB Srivastava, deputy director, Jaipur BIS.It is to be noted that Rajasthan State Electricity Board had issued a notification in 1997, which has not been updated since then, which “advised”acceptance of ISI marked CTs only for private consumption. “Nobody even remembers this notification and it is completely violated when CTs are purchased from the market,” Jain explained.Furthermore, even the latest tender released by Discom does not mention anything about certification of the product for government use.“If there is a standard created by BIS for any product, that is automatically made mandatory for application on all tenders,” said Naveen Arora, technical director, Jaipur Discom.The certificationBIS certification was mandated for distribution transformers in January 2017. Transformers set up by Discom across the state were mostly set up before the date, hence are un-certified and are of sub standard quality. Rajasthan Discoms have no plans of replacing the transformers even after experiencing several blasts and loss of life in past few months.

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Rajasthan government, doctors remain adamant as patients suffer

As the second phase of in-service doctors’ agitation entered the fourth day on Tuesday, the situation turned worst. Amid the crippled health facilities across the state, the government remained firm on its stand to not to initiate negotiations with agitating doctors. The SMS medical college administration warned the resident doctors of suspension. Issuing a warning to all resident doctors, SMS Medical College principal and controller Dr US Agrawal, asked resident doctors to resume their duties by Wednesday otherwise they will be suspended.On the other hand, Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) India has extended its support to in-service doctors’ agitation, condemned the arrests made by Rajasthan government and asked the central government to intervene. In a written statement FORDA, India has said that the resident doctors across the country will be forced to take action in the support of protesting in-service doctors of Rajasthan.Meanwhile, on the fourth day of the strike, health facilities remained crippled at the government hospitals across the state. As the doctors along with resident doctors remained absent from their duties, the patients continued to suffer.At the SMS Hospital a few patients were seen. On Tuesday, the number of OPD patients dipped to the half, compared to any normal day. However, SMS Medical College principal gave the responsibility of different hospitals to all the heads of department and senior doctors to attend to the patients but these alternative arrangements proved insufficient. The strike has left the patients in a lurch as they have to wander from pillar to post for treatment. Patients from the weaker section are forced to go to private clinics and hospitals.The situation at Jaipuria, Kanwatiya, and satellite hospitals were better as most of the government doctors at these hospitals did not join the strike. But these hospitals have to face increased patient load.Meanwhile, government again claimed that the situation with alternative arrangements was normal and refused to talk with striking doctors. Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf on Tuesday said that government has fulfilled most of the demands as per the agreement done in last month and execution of others is in progress. He appealed to the agitating doctors to resume on duties. Doctors leading the agitation remained underground, keeping their phones switched off.

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Yamuna water to quench thirst of Jhunjhunu: Vasundhara Raje

Water from Yamuna river will quench thirst of Jhujnhunu district, claimed chief minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday and added that pipelines will be laid instead of canal to bring water under the project.“The government is in constant touch with Union water resources ministry to consider option of laying pipelines in place of canal to bring water from Yamuna,” Raje told the locals during the ‘CM Jan Samwad programme’ held at a private school.The CM also made a veiled attack on the Congress for making no efforts to provide water to the district of Shekhawati region. “We made efforts to supply water to Jhunjhunu rising above the politics. In four-year rule so far, we brought water from Kumbharam Lift canal to several areas here. The rest will also be covered and get water from the canal as Detailed project report (DPR) is being drafted for this,” Raje said.She also said that her government plans to set up a state sports academy in Jhunjhunu on the line of NIS Patiala. Also, a military school with an estimated cost of Rs184 crore will be developed here. “Our government is committed to giving opportunities to youths to make a career in sports. We have announced to set up a sports academy here which will be linked to the rest of seven academies of the state. This will motivate youth to take up sports as a career.”

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Concerns raised over drug prices by committee in first meeting

The nine-member committee formed by Delhi government to keep a vigil on the functioning of private hospitals in the Capital in its first meeting raised some serious concern over the price of medicines in all the hospitals. The first meeting held on Friday also discussed and suggested ways to limit the number of visits of a specialist in a hospital.According to the sources, one of the major concerns raised by the members was the capping of the drug prices not covered under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). These included gloves and syringes.”While the government has a capping on the NLEM drugs, we are concerned about those which are not included in the list. A common rule should be there for all the medicine and drugs,” said one of the members who attended the meeting.The health department had received various complaints against the private hospitals forcing patients to buy medicines at an inflated rate and from the hospital medical shops. The committee will also look into consumables, behaviour protocol of medical staff, Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and misdemeanor at the hospital.”This issue is majorly troubling the patients, who are visiting the hospitals on a regular basis,” added the member. The members will now next meet on December 29 to discuss the further course of action.The members are from the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Delhi Medical Council (DMC), Delhi Medical Association (DMA).The move comes days after the government cancelled the license of Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh for wrongly declaring a newborn dead.”Over-billing is a big problem in private hospitals. We are forming a committee, including experienced doctors and medical experts, which will provide recommendations,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had said.The decision was taken following a series of meetings by Jain with various professional and regulatory organisations representing doctors working across the Capital.Meanwhile, the DMC has written to the doctors and nurses of Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh involved in the alleged medical negligence to submit their response in the case. The medical council will hear the explanation of all the medical experts individually before taking a final decision.FINAL CALL AWAITEDThe DMC has written to the doctors and nurses of Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh involved in the alleged medical negligence to submit their response in the case. The medical council will hear the explanation of all the medical experts individually before taking a final decision

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Bilaspur professors booked for molesting colleague after PMO steps in

Two professors of a private college have been booked for allegedly molesting a woman colleague in Bilaspur, police said.The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had written to the Bilaspur police to take appropriate action in the case, Superintendent of Police Shalabh Sinha said.He said a case was registered last night at the Kotwali police station against Subir Sen and Durga Sharan Chandra.Sen is a professor of commerce and Chandra is a professor of physics at DP Vipra College in the district.Sinha said the victim, the widow of an Army personnel, had complained to the Sainik Kalyan Board that the accused had molested her and passed lewd remarks at her.Also readMinor actor molestation case: Mumbai Police says sufficient evidence against accused, requests restraint in discussionsThe victim, in her complaint, alleged the accused were pressuring her into having an intimate relationship with them but she had refused.Sinha said the Sainik Kalyan Board passed on the complaint to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The Bilaspur police received a letter from the PMO on December 11, directing police to take appropriate action, the official added.Also readMinor actress molestation case: Eyewitness claims accused was asleep with feet on handrestAfter a preliminary investigation, the two were booked under relevant provisions of the law. No arrest has been made so far in connection with the case, Sinha said.

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Maharashtra to crack down on tuition classes

The State could soon regulate the fees of private coaching classes, as per the draft of the Maharashtra Private Coaching Regulation Bill 2018 which is likely to be tabled in the Winter Session of the Assembly next week.As per the draft, the State will form a designated body to periodically set and regulate the fee structure for private coaching classes from region to region. Coaching institutes would have to abide by this structure; and they will also have to accept fees only by cheque.The draft bill also states that only a class with five or less students can be considered a home tuition class; if the number of students exceeds this, it would fall under the ambit of a private class. Each such class would have to abide by the norms set by the state government.”Each private class needs to have adequate seating capacity and can have a maximum of 80 students per class,” the draft states, “It should have a separate toilet for girls and boys, and enough parking space. The guidelines stated in the bill will be applicable to classes which cater to students up to class XII.”If the bill is passed, every private class would have to reserve 5% seats for students from lower economic backgrounds and give 50% discount in fees for students coming from government schools or institutes run by local self-government bodies.The draft bill continues the recent policy of not allowing integrated coaching — coaching classes run within the premises of educational institutes and during school/college hours.Private classes would have to take the requisite permissions while setting up classes and would have to keep accounts and audit reports ready for government scrutiny at any time. They would also have to donate 5% of their income for educational funds of the state government.Trustee of Science Parivar, prof Subhash Joshi, said that the bill, if passed in its existing form, would completely end the autonomy of coaching institutes. “The government should realise that coaching classes run on a competitive basis and are not compulsory in nature,” says Joshi, “How can the government decide everything from fees to teacher appointments when it is not giving us any financial or any other kind of support?” He added that the government should ensure good quality teaching in schools and colleges so that students don’t have to turn to coaching institutes.Alka sinha said that home tutors like her, who charge much less than commercial classes, would be at a loss with the new rules. “We cannot provide parking and separate washrooms as the income from fees is very small,” she said.Draft rulesState govt will fix and regulate fees of pvt coaching classes Classes can take fees only by cheque Only classes with 5 or less students to be considered home tuition Students cannot be charged separately for books, notes or study material 5% seats to be reserved for poor; Classes to provide separate loos for boys and girls and adequate parking

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Surgery in city’s private hospitals costly

A 37-year-old Panvel resident Shirish Patil had to undergo urinary stone surgery at a private hospital in rural Maharashtra in order to spend less amount of money for his surgery. Patil, who was diagnosed with urinary stones a few months ago, had his surgery advanced due to the unbearable pain.Patil travelled to Pen for the surgery after he found out that the cost of the operation in a private hospital in the city was way higher than that at a private hospital in Pen. Even though he had a medical policy, only Rs 40,000 was sanctioned for the operation.In one of the hospitals, Patil was also informed about different surgery packages depending on the medical policy he/she has.”I preferred going to a private hospital in Panvel since it was listed in the medical policy’s hospital list. After a check-up, I was told surgery would cost approximately Rs 1.64 lakh. Coming from a middle-class family, it was not possible for me to arrange the money. While another Navi Mumbai based private hospital (Apollo Hospital) initially gave me an estimate of Rs 1.30 lakh for the surgery, they later informed me about another package costing Rs 70,000, but would include other techniques. The package was offered after looking at my medical policy and amount to be sanctioned.”After running around, in October, Patil visited a rural private hospital (Niramay Hospital) in Pen for the surgery which cost him only Rs 23,000. “I underwent the same surgery for Rs 27,000 which included my medicine cost (Rs 4,000) and surgery (Rs 23,000).”

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SC dismisses Teesta Setalvad’s plea to defreeze bank a/cs

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed activists Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand’s petition challenging the October 2015 Gujarat High Court order that rejected their pleas to defreeze their personal bank accounts.The judgment pronounced by a bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar observed that authorities followed proper procedures in freezing the bank accounts in connection with a complaint filed by residents of the Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad, Gujarat for misappropriation of funds.”Although both the sides have adverted to statement of accounts and vouchers to buttress their respective submissions, we do not deem it necessary, nor think it appropriate to analyse the same while considering the matter on hand which emanates from an application preferred by the appellants to de-freeze the stated bank accounts pending investigation of the case. Indisputably, the investigation is still in progress. The appellants will have to explain their position to the investigating agency and after investigation is complete, the matter can proceed further depending on the material gathered during the investigation,” the order authored by Justice Khanwilkar read.According to Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta representing Gujarat, the two Trusts — Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Peace and Justice (CPJ) — are run by the private appellants and others. All the accused persons were actively involved in collecting huge funds as donation in the name of providing legal assistance to the 2002 Gujarat Riot Victims. These donations, however, received by the two Trusts allegedly never reached the victims.Setalvad, through counsels senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Aparna Bhat, submitted that the trust maintained proper accounts which are duly audited and there is no trace of any illegality committed in respect of receipt and expenditure.During the course of the hearing, the top court had also questioned the source of the funds after allegations of misappropriation surfaced. The top court had then reserved its verdict earlier in July.The complaint was filed by Firoz Khan Pathan, one of the residents of Gulberg society, alleging that the money raised to make a museum at Gulberg Society in the memory of 69 people killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots had not been utilised for the purpose.TWICE TRIEDSC bench observed that authorities followed proper procedure while freezing bank accounts. Gujarat HC had rejected their plea in 2015 as well.

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Structural audit conducted for only 10% buildings

The BMC has revealed that only 10.72 per cent of societies in C/Ward, where a building collapsed on Friday, have submitted their structural audit reports in the last two years,Senior civic officials told DNA that not more than 20 per cent of the societies in the city submit their structural audit reports to the BMC, risking the lives of their inhabitants.Assistant Municipal Commissioner of C/Ward, J Ghegadmal, said, “In the last two years, a total of 1,454 notices were served to make a structural audit. However, only 156 societies have submitted their structural audit reports to us.By not auditing the structure of the old building, residents risk their own lives. Two years ago, section 353 B of MMC Act was amended where failure to audit invited strict action and prosecution.”The BMC sends notices for the audit to all buildings more than 30 years old under section 353 B of the Act. Following the notice, the buildings have to carry out repairs or if found in a dangerous condition, an evacuation notice is sent.”BMC looks after the structural audit of only 1,200 private buildings. For 4,500 cessed buildings, MHADA does not carry out a proper audit but only a visual inspection as it lacks funds for a structural audit. Hence, the spurt in collapse incidents in MHADA buildings,” a civic official said.Anil Ankalgi Resident Executive Engineer of MHADA accepted that MHADA only carried out a structural survey before the monsoon season.”Like in C/Ward, only 10 per cent of the societies have submitted their structural audit reports. the situation is more or less the same in the city. Of the total notices served, we re-send them to the buildings which are in a bad condition. However, the tenants are sentimental about the property and appoint their own auditor apart from the municipal auditor. It becomes difficult to ascertain which ones are actually dangerous,” a senior BMC official said, requesting anonymity.

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Congress disrupts Rajya Sabha over PM Modi’s remark

Parliament’s Winter Session got off to a fiery start with frequent disruptions in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, as the Congress demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his insinuation that his predecessor Manmohan Singh conspired with Pakistan to meddle in the Gujarat elections.The Opposition protested and raised slogans. There were three adjournments as Opposition leaders did not allow the proceedings to continue before the House was adjourned at 3 pm. The ruckus followed the Prime Minister’s comment earlier in the day that he hoped for a constructive debate in the Winter Session. The Lok Sabha was adjourned after obituaries.Modi had alleged during an election rally in Gujarat that some Pakistani leaders met Singh at a dinner hosted by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on December 6, suggesting they were hatching a conspiracy to influence the Assembly elections in the state.”This is not an ordinary allegation… against a former PM, Vice-President and Army chief,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said. He gave a notice under rule 267, seeking suspension of the listed business to discuss the issue.Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, presiding over his first full session after being appointed Vice-President, rejected the notice and asked the member to sit down. With more commotion, the House was adjourned.Naidu, known for his wit, did not hold himself back as there was continuous shouting by agitated members who also protested against the disqualification of JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar of the same party.”I don’t appreciate the conduct of coming to the Well. … There is a saying that all is well, not well. Try to understand this.”Amid the shouting, Naidu said there cannot be any discussion on the decision of the Chair. “There is no discussion on the ruling of the chairman. Please sit down.” “This is a political issue which you are raising, which you discuss outside the House.”When the House met again, Azad raised the issue amid uproar and it was adjourned again till 3 PM by Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien.Several Congress members, including Oscar Fernandes, Shamsher Singh Dullo, Renuka Chowdhury and Sanjay Singh, trooped into the Well of the House, shouting slogans.Kurien pleaded with members to take up the private members’ business but Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agarwal raised the issue of the Centre’s move to set up special courts for cases against MPs and MLAs, questioning the move.When Kurien said it was a decision of the Supreme Court, Agarwal said he had not criticised the top court but his questions were directed at the government.Congress leader Anand Sharma also got up and in support of Agarwal. Amid the chaos, Congress members once against tried to corner the government by shouting slogans demanding an apology from the Prime Minister.This is when the House was adjourned for the day.Private members’ bills including ‘The Educational Innovations Commission Bill 2017’ by Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and ‘The Prevention of Enforced Disappearance Bill 2017’ by V Vijayasai Reddy were introduced.

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Student falls ill after being punished and made to do 500 sit-ups, principal arrested in Kolhapur

Police in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra have arrested a 45-year-old school principal for allegedly asking a student to do 500 sit-ups for not completing project work.The student, a girl studying in std 8, took ill while undergoing the inhuman punishment and had to be admitted to a hospital.”We arrested Ashwini Devan, the principal, yesterday under IPC sections 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 337 (act endangering life or personal safety of another person) and 506 (criminal intimidation),” said a senior official of Chandgad tehsil police.Devan was later released on bail, he said.On November 24, Dewan allegedly asked eight students of std 8th at the privately-run Shri Bhavashwari Sandesh Vidyalay in Kanoor Budrook village of Chandgad tehsil to do 500 sit-ups for not doing project work.Also read’Their romance could adversely affect the students’: Teacher couple sacked by private school in PulwamaOne of the girls, who is 13 years old, took ill while doing sit-ups and was hospitalised.On December 10, a police complaint was lodged against the principal.Also read2 IIT-B students told to help out at animal NGOFollowing the incident, the principal was sent on compulsory leave by the school management, the police official said.

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Mumbai NGO writes to BMC over LED light pollution at Juhu beach

Worried over the implications of Light pollution- due to high-mast lights put across Juhu Beach, Mumbai’s Awaaz Foundation, after measuring the ‘lux levels’, has written to the BMC as well as the environment department, stating that the difference between illumination levels throughout the beach highlighted the inability of these lights to provide security.In October this year, the BMC had installed LED lights at Juhu Beach that could change colour. The purpose was to beautify the beach and for safety purposes – a move that several environmentalists have been opposing. However, ever since the lights have been installed Juhu residents whose houses overlook the beach have been complaining about light pollution.Awaaz Foundation used a lux meter to measure and record light levels at Juhu Beach at about 7.15pm on Wednesday and it was found that the lux level underneath the mast light was 67,000 lux (equivalent of direct sunlight) and the lux level near the water’s edge was 0.03 lux (equivalent of a moonlit night.) “The great difference between the recorded lux levels throughout the beach highlights the inability of the installed lighting fixtures to provide lighting that will ensure safety as only limited portion of the beach was illuminated leaving several dark patches. This completely negates the biggest claims that of security by BMC for installing these lights on the beaches,” said Sumaira Abdulali, Convenor of Awaaz Foundation questioning that whether BMC conducted any study to understand the impacts of these lights on locals and the environment.She added that the high intensity of LED lighting in its immediate vicinity was causing disturbances to residential buildings that could lead to adverse health effects and was also blocking out the natural views of the stars and moon.Abdulali stressing on the need for a policy to regulate intensity or uniformity of lighting and specific lighting plan shared, “Through the letter we have requested BMC as well as the environment department to consider the harmful effects of light pollution while formulating any policies or projects for beautification of beaches or other natural areas, especially those placed close to residential areas and to also consider framing a suitable policy to regulate light pollution in Mumbai from various sources including street lighting, private security lighting, hoardings, beautification projects and others,” she said.Juhu based Filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit said that the beach has lost its sanctity. “It’s a natural place where one visits to be closer to nature and these lights have completely taken away the feel. There is no doubt that Juhu beach needed lights as there are often chain snatching and other cases of crimes reported but certainly not these kinds of light that have taken away the beauty of our beach,” he said.

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Winter Session of Parliament begins, Congress seeks PM Modi’s apology over Pakistan remark

Day after the final phase of Gujarat Assembly Elections, the Winter Session of Parliament will begin today.The session will witness a stormy start with the Congress demanding apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his Pakistan remark.During an election rally in his home state, PM Modi had alleged that former PM Manmohan Singh and other senior members of Congress were colluding with Pakistan for Gujarat Assembly polls.Talking to reporters, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday said, “For the first time a Prime Minister has accused Former PM, former Vice President and diplomats of conspiring with Pakistan for Gujarat elections. PM must clarify in the Parliament.”Ahead of the session, PM Modi said that he expected a ‘fruitful session.” He also said that, “I hope for positive and innovative arguments.”Also readDay after Gujarat polls, Parliament’s Winter Session to begin todayOn Thursday also, after an all-party meeting, the Congress had demanded PM’s apology.Also readWinter Session: As Congress sulks over Pak allegations, PM seeks cooperation at all-party meet”Either the government should prove the claim or the Prime Minister must apologise… Nothing short of an apology will satisfy us,” Congress leader Anand Sharma had said.The BJP, however, has already rejected the demand. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in fact, termed the dinner at now-expelled Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence as a ‘political misadventure’.Interestingly, BJP president Amit Shah will make his Parliamentary debut in the Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session today.The Winter Session will provide a total of 14 sittings spread over a period of 21 days including four Private Members’ days. Further, 25 Bills are pending in the Lok Sabha, while 39 Bills are pending in the Rajya Sabha

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Soon, ancient havelis, forts to be in commercial use

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

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A shake up has been given to the defence ministry to speed up acquisitions: Nirmala Sitharaman

A “shake up” is being given to the defence ministry to speed up various acquisition projects, ensure transparency and clear backlogs for key programmes, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said.In an address at a industry chamber, she also said the government is seriously examining functioning of around 39 ordnance factories and possible ways to boost their productivity including through joining of hands by the private sector.She said the efforts are on to ensure that the defence acquisition council (DAC) clears all the backlog relating to various procurement by December 31, emphasising that speeding up of decision making process has been one of her focus areas.The DAC is defence ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement. “There is a sense of making sure that every aspect of this large ministry is given a shake up,” Sitharaman said, adding the aim is to make a difference so that the ministry, which was sort of a cocooned, do things in a faster and transparent way.On various acquisition projects, she said, “I may be confident enough to say that by December 31, at least DAC would be on the top of it in the sense that no more waiting list would be with me.” She was addressing a FICCI event. Sitharaman, who assumed charge of the ministry in September, also said ensuring transparency is a major priority area for her.”The biggest compliance issue which we are definitely 100 per cent following is to have greater transparency, put everything in the public domain and make sure that every decision stands up to the principle of accountability,” she said.Her comments came in the backdrop of the Congress accusing the government of flouting laid down norms in sealing a deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.The party had recently raised several questions about the deal including the rates, and accused the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting “crony capitalism” and causing a loss to the public exchequer.The government had rejected the allegations.Asked about handing over of the strategically located Hambantota port to China on a 99-year lease by the Sri Lankan government, she only said India has been watchful of all the developments in the neighbourhood.On ordnance factories, she said government was doing a major review of their work and examine whether they can have joint venture or benefit benefit from technology transfer.Talking about the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Sitharaman said it should identify the patentable products so that they can be used commercially.Referring to the strategic partnership model, she said it was brought to support the domestic defence industry and to ensure that India, which is now a leading importer of military hardware, becomes a defence exporter.The strategic partnership was unveiled nearly four months back under which domestic defence manufacturers can tie up with leading global defence majors to manufacture specific military platforms like fighter jets.Sitharaman also said the government was in the process of identifying “organically grown” defence industry clusters in various parts of the country so that they can be supported.”We are planning to tell them about the requirement of the armed forces for the next 40-50 years so that they can lay a roadmap for their capacity building,” she said.She also said start-ups in the defence sector will be given encouragement.

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Bihar: Minor boy commits suicide after being forcibly married to elder brother’s widow

A minor boy committed suicide in this Bihar district barely a couple of hours after being forcibly married to his elder brother’s widow, a mother of two and 10 years older to him.The bizarre incident took place on Monday night in Ramna Vinobanagar village falling under Paraiya police station area where the 15-year-old boy, who studied in Class 9, hanged himself from the ceiling of his house.”An FIR has been lodged for abetment of suicide and child marriage and the boy’s father Chandreshwar Das and the parents of Ruby Devi – the woman to whom the teenager was forcibly married – Ram Pravesh Das and Mutur Devi have been arrested,” SHO of Paraiya police station Akhilesh Kumar said.He said Ruby was married to the boy’s elder brother Satish Das in 2009 and the couple had a daughter and a son.Satish, who worked as an electrician in a private firm, died of electric shock in 2013.”The employer of Ruby’s deceased husband had given a compensation of Rs 80,000 to Chandreshwar. When Ruby and her parents put pressure on Chandreshwar to give her the money, he transferred Rs 27,000 in her account.However, they insisted that he part with the remaining sum as well and if he was not able to do so he get the widow married to his youngest son,” the SHO said.”Chandreshwar gave in to the demand and the boy was married to his widowed sister-in-law at a temple. The young teenager apparently was traumatised by the experience and he took the drastic step soon afterwards,” the SHO added.Notably, a campaign was launched against child marriage on October 2 by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who has been highlighting the need to eradicate the social evil during his ongoing state-wide tour.

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Judge, Delhi governmet lock horns over Rs 28,000 acupuncture bill

A judicial officer posted in a Delhi court is fighting a legal battle against the Delhi government over a sum of Rs 28,000, the amount he spent on acupuncture treatment for his migraine. The Delhi government has cited rules to refuse reimbursement to him.Additional sessions judge (ASJ) Ashwani Kumar Sarpal, currently posted at the Family Court, Shahdara, has now filed an appeal against a decision given by justice Vibhu Bhakru, rejecting his plea for reimbursement of his medical expenses.In his plea filed through advocate Abhinav Garg, the ASJ has said he has been suffering from chronic Trigeminal Neuralgia and migraine for the last six years, for which he had been taking allopathic medicines and was also being treated at private hospitals. The problem, however, was not cured despite taking painkillers daily. While migrane has no permanent solution, Trigeminal Neuralgia can be treated through surgery.But since surgery was risky for life, Sarpal did not opt for it.Thereafter, he underwent acupuncture therapy at a Delhi Hospital, which yielded results and reduced his pain.On January 1, the ASJ submitted the bill of Rs 28,000 reimbursement, which was rejected “because it was inadmissible as the hospital was not on the panel of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS)”.Following this, he filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, which was also rejected on the grounds that he had not “been deprived of or denied any medical treatment essential for good health”.Dismissing the earlier plea, justice Bhakru had stated that it was not the Delhi government’s policy to provide reimbursement for acupuncture expenses, as it was an alternate system of healing.Dissatisfied, the judicial officer has once again appealed against the order, claiming that acupuncture has been recognised as an alternative medication process and some government hospitals, such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).PinprickAshwani Kumar Sarpal suffers from chronic Trigeminal Neuralgia and migraine Surgery can treat Trigeminal Neuralgia

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State govt considers ban on plastic use by shopkeepers

The neighbourhood grocer may not be able to sell your monthly supply of staples in plastic bags. Apart from a blanket ban on plastic bags, the state government’s proposed curbs will also include the use of plastic in bags used by shopkeepers for packaging groceries like rice and dal, flex boards, clings for covering fruits and vegetables, buntings and flags.Packaged and mineral water manufacturers may also be asked to establish recycling and processing plants for used plastic bottles under their extended producers’ responsibility.”Apart from plastic bags, spoons, disposable plastic and thermocol plates and cups, we also plan to include plastic for secondary packaging (plastic packaging that is not done at the manufacturers end or for use in logistics and export), plastic clings, flex boards, buntings and flags and non-woven polyester bags in the ban’s ambit. However, we may have to cover this in phases,” said an official from the state environment department.Environment minister Ramdas Kadam has spoken about banning plastic bags from Gudi Padwa (March 2018) considering its environmental impact, while Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has promised a complete ban on plastic in six months with alternatives being put in place.The state also plans to ban water packaged in PET bottles for sale in starred residential hotels and for serving in government and semi-government offices, educational institutions and their functions.In the later phase, plastic bottles in restaurants, private offices and mass functions may be banned. This will reduce the use of plastic bottles which are discarded, unlike glass bottles which are recycled.CHOKING ON PLASTICMaharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials estimate that around 3-5 per cent of municipal waste generated consists of plastic. While the MPCB will oversee plastic manufacturers, municipal bodies will regulate shops with the ban on dispensing plastic bags being built into license conditions.

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Will follow my mind, Amruta Fadnavis to trolls

“I will do what exactly my mind tells me. I will not be swayed by disruptive criticism. I have a mind of my own and I will work as per that,” said Amruta Fadnavis, spouse of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday, after she was trolled on social media for promoting a Christmas-themed charity event.Trouble began when Amruta tweeted and posted photographs of a Christmas event organised by a FM radio station on December 12. She was assailed by an array of abusive posts, some of which questioned her faith before marriage.Shefali Vaidya, a columnist with the right-wing website Swarajya and RSS-mouthpiece Tarun Bharat, tweeted, “As a private individual, you are free to do what you want. As the First Lady of Maharashtra, your actions will always be open to scrutiny and criticism.”When Amruta tweeted in reply, “Love, sharing & empathy have no religion – lets accept positivity around us & stay away from negative thoughts & demotivating energies”, Vaidya amped the criticism with a caustic, “DO get your SM (Social Media) team to read all the replies to this tweet. Respect the will of the people who elected your husband rather than sounding like a writer of ‘Chicken Soup For The Evangelical Soul'”Amruta replied that she would continue to attend such charity events.”The motive behind attending the function was to give Christmas gifts to poor children,” she told this newspaper, “I was approached by this professional radio channel. During any festival, we have to do something good. We have to share happiness, whether it is Diwali, Janmashtami or any other festival.”She clarified that unlike her husband, she is not a political person. “I never mix politics with my personal interests,” she said. “I never use his (Fadnavis’) position as a tool for my work. I take my own personal decisions. They (the channel) may have called me as wife of the Chief Minister. However, as a human being, I try to bring happiness to others and hence I attended this program.”When asked whether she had discussed the incident with Fadnavis, Amruta said she had not yet done so.X’mas trollAmruta Fadnavis has attended a charity event organised by a radio station on Dec 12 Some trolls even questioned her faith before marriage

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When ‘mutton soup’ got in the way of Telangana woman’s perfect crime

A 27-year-old married woman was last week arrested along with her lover for allegedly killing her husband and hiding the crime. The two had devised an elaborate plan to get away with the murder but a bowl of “mutton soup” exposed their crime. Revealing the shocking facts unearthed during the investigations, Police said the woman’s paramour, after the murder, actually set himself on fire to pose as the dead husband.The two had even planned to get a plastic surgery for the lover Rajesh after burning his face. Explaining the sequence of events, a senior police official said, “The woman was married to one Sudhakar Reddy and has two children from the marriage. She was in a relationship with one Rajesh. The two got together and killed Reddy on November 27 and disposed his body in a forested part of Mahabubnagar district.”The murder happened in Nagarkurnool, police said. The woman, M. Swati is nurse at a private hospital in the town. The accused, Rajesh, police said, then poured kerosene on himself suffering burn injuries to his face and upper body.”She lodged a complaint with police stating that a group of four persons attacked her “husband” at their house and poured petrol on his face and other parts of the body and set him on fire. She then shifted him to a hospital in Hyderabad as her husband Reddy,” Nagarkurnool Sub-Division Deputy Superintendent of Police Laxmi Narayana said.However, the officer said, relatives of Reddy told hospital authorities that the man undergoing treatment as Sudhakar Reddy was somebody else. Apparently, the Reddy family grew suspicious after Rajesh refused to eat mutton soup. The hospital served mutton soup to burn victims and when the staff brought a bowl of it to Rajesh, posing as Sudhakar, he refused to have it saying he is vegetarian. The family was shocked as they knew that Reddy was a a non-vegetarian. Their suspecion only grew with the change in his behaviour. When they started asking him some questions including the identity of some relatives, he stopped speaking and instead tried conversing in signs. The family’s suspicion was conveyed to the police which interrogated Swati. The woman readily confessed to the crime and told the police that they had dumped her husban’s body in a forest area. “The woman said that she along with Rajesh had hit Sudhakar Reddy with a sharp edged object on his head and then strangled him to death. They later dumped his body in a forest after setting it on fire,” the officer said.The police officer said that the woman confessed that she got Rajesh admitted in the hospital by passing him as off her husband as the two later planned to live together.The police recovered Reddy’s body in a highly decomposed state from the forest in Mahabubnagar.Both have been booked on charges of murder, he said, adding that Rajesh has not been arrested yet as he is undergoing treatment for his burn injuries.(With PTI inputs)

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Docs alleged of conducting wrong surgery

Doctor of a private hospital were alleged of performing wrong operation of a woman, instead of doing an operation on the abdomen, she was treated on some other part. When the condition deteriorated, she was taken to AIIMS and got treatment. Her husband has filed a case in Nagori Gate police station accusing the doctor for doing wrong operations. Police is investigating the case.Pithawas resident Subhash Bishnoi s/o Kojaram registered a report in Nagori Gate police station and told that On Monday, November 27, when his wife Somata complained of abdominal pain, they went to Dr. Sunita Malviya at Marwar Hospital.After the sonography report, she was admitted in Shriram hospital, Mahamandir on November 28.Where, the doctor did wrong operation instead of appendix operation.When the condition deteriorated, Somata had to be admitted to AIIMS.If she did not get treatment there at the time then she could have lost his life.Due to negligence of doctors, his wife had to undergo unnecessary physical and mental torture.

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Gujarat elections 2017: In Patel dominated Viramgam, a society battles infra woes, blames caste

Mangalmurti Society near Popat Chokdi looks like any other tenement complex that dots Viramgam. But the similarity ends there. The housing society has no roads, overflowing gutters and drinking water problem so severe that residents prefer to pay for water.The society is just a stone’s throw away from where Rahul Gandhi addressed a public hearing recently. Apart from the usual bureaucratic and political apathy, the residents have another explanation for their condition- caste.The society is made up of mostly Bharwads and Thakors who come in the Other Backward Caste (OBC) category. They believe the fact that they are not as prosperous and as educated as the Patels, the other dominant caste in the area is the reason why their problems are not addressed.”The gutters overflow and it stinks. Drinking water is so bad that we let it flow for half an hour before filling our tanks and we never drink it. The society has a road that ends within 20m of the entrance,” said Mangubhai Thakor. He takes this correspondent to his residence to show the muddied water he gets.If there is one thing common to all households in the society, it is the blue water jug. Each and every of the 200 household in the society have the water jugs brought from private water suppliers. “There is no way but buy these. Our water is undrinkable,” said Nathusinh Chauhan.Chauhan, who interestingly happens to be a BJP worker, is also a senior citizen who runs around to get the water and solve gutter problems of the society. “It is made up of OBCs and most of them are not very educated. They don’t know much about how to approach politicians and bureaucrats and know where things are stuck. The other societies that have a majority of Patel population don’t face these issues.They have money as well as the education to know how to get things done. They also have the political backing,” said Chauhan matter of fact.He says his being a BJP worker was also not of much use as the nagarpalika has been sending him from door to door. The nagarpalika is ruled by the BJP.Residents allege that the grants meant for the roads and water works have been diverted some other place. That no political leader has visited them so far. “We can threaten to boycott the election but that can happen only when someone visits us. They have not bothered to visit us either,” said Thakor.Chauhan said they have made representations to Tejashree Patel, the current MLA who belonged to Congress but shifted to BJP in 2017.Kanubha Patel, the chairman of the nagarpalika under which the society comes said the overflowing gutter problem is because it is yet to be connected to the sewage treatment plant. “As for the roads, we have done some work there,”s aid Patel. When reminded that the society has just a patch of road at the entrance, Patel said more work will be carried out once elections are over.”They have made representations to me and we will make roads but right now things have come to a stop because of model code of conduct,” claims Patel. He professed ignorance about the water problems stating that no one has ever complained to him.

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In a first, solar power projects planned on dams

The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (MahaGenco) is planning to develop solar power projects on dams in its first such attempt in the state. These floating solar panels will do away with the need for the state-owned utility to acquire land to add capacity to its renewable energy portfolio and also reduce the evaporation of water from these reservoirs.The MahaGenco plans to develop solar power worth 250 MW capacity through this route. “We are planning solar power projects on dams and have initiated pre-feasibility studies. In the initial phase, these panels will be set up on our own reservoirs, such as the Irai dam at Chandrapur which supplies water to the Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS), after which we can take up work on the irrigation department’s resources,” a senior MahaGenco official told DNA.The projects are likely to be set up in the public private partnership (PPP) route through tariff-based competitive bidding. The MahaGenco is also considering some dams owned by the water resources department, including those in Vidarbha and the Ujani dam at Solapur, for adding solar power capacity.A senior water resources department official said they were willing to allow the setup of such projects on dams as these solar panels will reduce evaporation and make more water available for end-users. “We are willing to give a 2,000 hectare water area (surface area of the dam) of the 34,000 hectare total water area at Ujani. This will be an experimental project,” said another official from the department.At present, the MahaGenco has 180 MW grid-connected solar power capacity, including 5 MW at Chandrapur, 125 MW at Sakhri in Dhule and 50 MW at Baramati. It has 10,580 MW installed thermal power generation capacity and plans to add further capacity largely in renewables.The new renewable energy policy approved by the state government aims at creating 14,400 MW of fresh grid-connected installed capacity in the sector by 2020.This includes 7,500 MW from solar energy of which the MahaGenco will undertake works on 2,500 MW with the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) contributing the rest. Of this 2,500 MW, the generation utility plans to add 500 MW on its own lands on EPC basis and 500 MW through the solar park at Dondaicha in Dhule. Around 1,500 MW will come through sources including the grid-connected solar agriculture feeder scheme for which letters of intent for 204 MW have been issued, solar lift irrigation schemes including 65 MW at Mor dam in Jalgaon and 60 MW Tembhu in Sangli and the floating solar panels on dams.FIRST OF ITS KINDMahaGenco plans to develop solar powere worth 250 MW capacity First plant to be setup on Irai dam in Chandrapur Dams located in Vidarbha, Ujani and Solapur being considered

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First bundle of TOT’s equity IRR seen at 12-13%: Crisil

The equity Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of the first bundle of highways being auctioned under the Toll-Operate-Transfer (TOT) model would range between 12% and 13%, a Crisil Research’s report has said.The IRR has been arrived on the basis of National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) initial estimated concession value.The first TOT bundle has nine operational highway projects in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Gujarat.Of the nine projects, six are from Andhra Pradesh (National Highway 5) and balance three in Gujarat (National Highways 8A and 8B). The ones in the southern state are – Siddhantham-Gunduglanu (71.95-kms), Diwancheruvu-Siddhantham (49.04-km), Annavaram- Diwancheruvu (70.98-km), Ankapalli-Annavaram (88.53-km), Icchapuram-Narasannapeta (96.70-km) and Puintola-Icchapuram (64.40-km). The three projects from the western state are – Bamanbore-Garamore (71.94-km), Garamore-Samakhiyali (51.46-km) and Porbandar-Jetpur (115.64-km).The government is likely to earn a minimum of Rs 6,258 crore from the 680.64-km of highways having a concession period of 30 years.Under TOT model, an upfront payment will be paid to NHAI against awarding operation and maintenance rights to the private company.“A cluster of manufacturing industries and ports in Vishakhapatnam, Kakinada, Kandla and Mundra are expected to be the drivers of transportation demand. The economic corridor in the east coast is also expected to improve traffic potential in Andhra Pradesh,” read Crisil’s report released on Tuesday.“But the highway stretches in Gujarat are more attractive than those in Andhra Pradesh because of the presence of industrial clusters and consumption centres in the periphery,” said Prasad Koparkar, Senior Director of Crisil Research.However, the report adds that the key risks to the bundle are the impact of Goods and Services Tax and alternate routes. Crisil’s director Binaifer Jehani said, “The four-laning of Gundugolanu-Kovur Road in Andhra Pradesh would divert considerable freight traffic from Gundugolanu to Diwancheruvu.”The risk factors includes latent defects and severe economic slowdown, which are difficult to anticipate, can increase the maintenance cost and substantially reduce traffic.Bid for awarding first TOT contract is scheduled to open on January 10.

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Odisha: Teacher arrested for sexually harassing two minor students in school

A teacher in a government-run school in Odisha’s Ganjam district was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly outraging the modesty of two Class VII girl students.The assistant teacher in Gahangu upper primary school, was arrested on the basis of complaints lodged by the girls, both aged around 12 years, said inspector in charge of Buguda police station, Rama Chandra Biswal.In separate complaints, the girls alleged that the teacher touched them inappropriately on their private parts inside a room in the school on Friday, he said.The students had informed about the incident to their parents after which complaints were lodged with the police.A large number of people, including parents of the students, staged a demonstration outside the school demanding immediate action against the teacher.The teacher, however, denied the allegation and claimed that there was an attempt to tarnish his image.The arrested teacher has been booked under various sections of IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POSCO) Act, the IIC said.District Education Officer (DEO), Sanatan Panda has sought a report from the block education officer (BEO) in this regard.We have asked BEO to inquire into the matter. We will take appropriate action against the teacher after getting report, he said.

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