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BMC makes new policy on dilapidated buildings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to streamline the process of declaring any building dilapidated, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is finalising a policy which will be based on guidelines provided by Bombay High Court on vacating a dilapidated building.The policy has provisions for making structural audits mandatory for a building before declaring it dilapidated, and for prosecution of the owner for not carrying out structural audit even after a notice is issued by the BMC.”The policy will protect the rights of tenants, and it will do away with the practice of arbitrary declaration of dilapidated building,” said a senior official from the civic body’s Building Proposal department.According to the official, who declined to be named, the need for a separate policy arose after tenants kept approaching courts for clarity on the way buildings are being declared dilapidated, claiming that owners had kept them in the dark even after those buildings had already been declared dilapidated.”Disputes between tenants and owners often lead to delays in vacating a dilapidated building,” said the official.While hearing a writ petition on the issue, the Bombay High Court order had laid down a standard operating process (SOP) for vacating a dilapidated building, based on which the BMC has formulated the new policy, this official added.The owner of a dilapidated building will also have to certify the area each tenant has to ensure that they get the correct amount of space during redevelopment. “If the owner does not certify the area, BMC officials will certify,” said the official.The policy also suggests formation of five new Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) to address disputes over the structural audit.NEW POLICYThe new policy will protect the rights of tenants as the owner cannot declare a building dilapidated simply to go in for redevelopment. As a copy of the structural audit report must be displayed in the building premises, tenants’ complaints of not being aware of the status of the building will also be addressed.

New SOP may make govt officers push positive stories & track negative trends

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apart from disseminating government-related information to the media, departmental publicity officers may now have some new roles to play.They may now be required to closely track important events and assist in countering negative news trends, push positive stories about the government for improved publicity, and also leverage social media for effectively communicating the government’s perception over issues of national relevance.These could be part of a new Standard operating procedure (SOP) for the Press Information Bureau (PIB), constituted recently by its director general Frank Noronha, for disseminating information and the government’s reactions.According to sources, the new SOP could entail publicity officers to track pre- and post-coverage of events and alert relevant authorities in instances of negative trends so that they could be countered immediately. They may also have to put up positive stories about the government appearing in media and put it up to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), which can further publicise them on relevant platforms.Sources say I&B Minister Smriti Irani had also proposed that the publicity officer of each ministry will prepare a list of 10 prominent writers or speakers who would be sector experts, and can be asked to put across the government’s perspective on different media platforms on important matters. This could also feature in the proposed SOP for PIB.They will also have to coordinate with public service broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio regarding important government events to ensure adequate coverage and would also have to meet their technical requirements, as well as tweet and share reactions of ministers of different ministries.DNA had first reported about a circular issued by the I&B Ministry warning officers to refrain from speaking to media without permission from competent authorities, citing the PIB’s information dissemination manual which lays down guidelines for officers’ interaction with the media on the government’s behalf.The new SOP could be part of the existing manual and is likely to be finalised soon, sources said.

Soon, forest dept to get forensics training

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Thane forest department is planning to begin training its staff in collecting forensic evidences of leopards involved in cases of human-animal conflict, which will aid in correct and scientific identification of the leopards involved in such cases.Recently animal activist and Honorary Wildlife Warden (Mumbai city) Sunish Kunju had written to the forest department questioning if the trapping of the leopard from Filmcity — suspected to be behind four attacks and one death in and around Filmcity and Aarey — had any scientific basis.”One cannot only rely on camera trap images to pinpoint a ‘problem leopard’ as chances are that one animal, which is not involved in any attack could be present at multiple locations, and if it is trapped an innocent wild animal will end up spending its life in captivity, or in worse case be shot dead,” he said.He added that he it is a huge step that the forest department is finally ready to begin work on wildlife forensics, and it should be made part of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).Sunil Limaye, Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Thane territorial said that he had seen the letter by Kunju and agreed as there was a need for better scientific interventions in dealing with conflict situations, “We are already planning a special workshop for our staff to help them understand wildlife forensics.Training will be given to them in understanding how to go about collecting important evidences like urine, scat, fallen hairs and even saliva from the places where the animal might have eaten the victim’s body, and by carrying out DNA sampling we can always match if the animal trapped was the one actual animal involved.”

Dialogue not possible unless violence stops in Valley: SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No meaningful dialogue is possible in Jammu and Kashmir unless violence stops in the strife-torn Valley, the Supreme Court said today. “Talks with whom? No talk can take place unless the violence stops,” a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said. The court was hearing the appeal of the Bar Association Executive Member against the September 22 order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court order. The High Court had rejected the bar body’s plea seeking a ban on use of pellet guns on the ground that the Centre had already set up a Committee of Experts through its memorandum of July 26, 2016 for exploring alternatives to pellet guns. The top court said there were “two ways to decide the case at hand. Either the parties sit together and find a solution”, or the court decides the case. It said the Bar was a “responsible” and “respectable” body and it should help in finding a solution and fixed the plea for final hearing on October 4. During the hearing, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, referred to the plea of the Bar body in the High Court and alleged that they had even termed as “mysterious” the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. “They (Bar) are questioning the accession of Jamu and Kashmir with India. They term it mysterious,” he said. He said the Bar body had come up with suggestions but they have not filed them. “The Government of India is willing to consider the suggestions”. With regard to the standard operating procedures (SOP) being followed by the security agencies in the state, the law officer said that the SOP cannot be parted with as it was confidential. The bench asked the Bar body to file its suggestions in the meantime. Earlier, the government had ruled out talks with separatist elements or those raising the issues of “accession or Azaadi” in the Kashmir Valley. It had said that a dialogue to restore normalcy was possible only with the legally recognised stakeholders. The top court had asked the Bar body at Srinagar to come up with suggestions to resolve the crisis, including stone- pelting and violent street protests in the Kashmir Valley. The Centre had made it clear that politics cannot be allowed as the talks to restore normalcy in the Valley was going on at the highest level between Prime Minister and J&K Chief Minister. “The Chief Minister is with the Prime Minister, what further dialogue is required? The Prime Minister has invited the Chief Minister. She (Mehbooba Mufti) is their CM,” the then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had said. The bar association is insisting that there should be a “unilateral declaration of cease-fire”, withdrawal of security forces, revocation of AFSPA and stoppage of using pellet guns. It also blamed the governments after Atal Bihari Vajpayee of not taking forward the initiatives undertaken by him to resolve the contentious issue plaguing the state. During the hearing on April 10, the Centre had told the Supreme Court it was exploring a crowd control option that is akin to rubber bullets but not as lethal as pellet guns which were being used as a last resort to quell the violence.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gulmarg ropeway tragedy: In-charge officials says safety norms followed, accident ‘an act of God’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after seven persons died in a tragic cable car crash in Gulmarg in Kashmir, officials incharge of the ropeway claimed that safety norms were followed and the accident can be best explained as an “act of God”.The Jammu and Kashmir government had yesterday ordered a probe into the incident in which four of a Delhi family and three local youth had lost their lives.”There was no deviation from the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The weather suddenly turned bad and strong winds caused the uprooting of a tree that fell on the cable,” Director, Tourism, Mehmood Shah said.General Manager of the Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation, Reyaz Ahmad, said the accident was an “act of God”.”We always follow the safety manual and never operate the cable car if any risk is involved. The uprooting of the tree due to abrupt blowing of high velocity wind, which led to the accident, can at best be explained as an act of God,” Ahmad said.
ALSO READ Cable car snaps in Gulmarg, 7 die, 4 from one Delhi familyPolice have registered a case into the incident and started investigations into whether there was any violation of SOP.Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has yesterday ordered a probe and also announced ex-gratia relief of Rs five lakh in favour of next of kin of the killed.Meanwhile, the bodies of the four members of a Delhi- based family, who died in the accident, have been brought today evening to Nagpur, the city the deceased hailed from.Jayant Andraskar (42), his wife Manisha (38), their daughters Anagha (4) and Janhvi (7), and three local tourist guides had died in the Gulmarg accident.Their bodies were brought to Nagpur around 5.15 pm in a Jet Airways flight for last rites.The Andraskars hailed from Nagpur, but had shifted to the national capital seven years ago after Jayant started working in the Directorate of Technical Education there.His wife was a homemaker. One of their daughters was a student of class I, while the other was in playschool.With the news of their death, a pall of gloom descended on Old Subhedar layout area here, where his family members, including his parents and siblings, live.Jayant’s brother-in-law Saurabh Wandhare told PTI that they were supposed to come to Nagpur on June 29 to attend his (Jayant’s) mother-in-law’s death anniversary.”Jayant and his family members were on a vacation in Nagpur between May 12 and June 6 and they also attended my marriage last month,” he said.One of the neighbours remembers Jayant as a good and humble person.”He was very respectful towards others,” he said.Sachin, one of Jayant’s cousins, said, “Before joining the Directorate of Technical Education in Delhi seven years back, Jayant had taught in an engineering college in Nagpur and had also worked in Nagpur Improvement Trust.” Assistant professor Mahendra Umre, who had worked with Jayant when he was teaching in the engineering college, said, “He was a very hardworking and ambitious person with a lot of technical knowledge. His untimely demise is saddening.” The Andraskars, who lived in Shalimar Bagh in northwest Delhi, had gone to Kashmir for holidaying on June 22.

Army foils Infiltration bid in J&K, recovers AK-47, warlike stores

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Indian Army foiled an infiltration bid by terrorists on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir?s Palanwala sector. The alert soldiers deployed along the LOC detected and engaged suspicious movement of a group of terrorists in the early hours of June 21. As the army jawans opened fire, the terrorists returned fire and ran back across the LoC. An intense combing operation was conducted in the area which resulted in recovery of one AK-47 rifle with ammunition and other war like stores. In another development from Pulwama, an officer of 50 Rashtriya Rifles on late Wednesday night sustained injuries in an encounter with terrorists. The encounter was underway at the time of filing this report between armed forces and terrorists, believed to be affiliated to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). According to security officials, fierce stone pelting that began during Pulwama encounter might have helped terrorists escape the cordon. 50 Rashtriya Rifles, Special Operations Group (SOP) and 183 CRPF battalion are involved in the encounter.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

LG orders quick action against road encroachments

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Clamping down on encroachers, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal issued directives to civic agencies to make a time-bound action plan for encroachment-removal for each road stretch. He gave a deadline of three days for the removal of encroachments from 29 stretches in the national capital.The L-G also stated that he will seek compliance of the directives. “A video of the act should be recorded and the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) should be followed to prevent re-encroachment,” he said.Baijal also held a meeting with all the stakeholders to discuss the issues of major encroachments and road blocks in different parts of Delhi, as raised in the writ petition in the High Court. He noted that 29 major road stretches have been identified by HC for removal of encroachment on a permanent basis.The L-G also pointed out that the local bodies are statutorily empowered to remove the encroachments and PWD shall ensure logistical assistance to the respective local body in cases of roads that are maintained by it.He directed the Delhi government’s Urban Development Department to be the nodal department by creating a special cell which shall monitor the stretch-wise action taken by the local bodies on a weekly basis as well as devise an SOP in coordination with the concerned agencies for prevention of re-encroachment in cases where action has been taken.”Each agency should draw up an action plan within three days to remove encroachment from roads,” he said. He further directed that the concerned agencies should coordinate with police in advance so that the force could be provided to assist in the encroachment removal programme.Baijal also directed the concerned agencies to undertake videography of the removal of encroachment and road blocks.He stressed upon the need of compliance of the judicial pronouncements in letter and spirit. He directed all local bodies to launch an immediate crackdown on temporary encroachments such as parked vehicles. He also added that those parking contractors of the local bodies who are allowing parking on roads should be penalised.He also directed Commissioner (Transport) to take action against errant vehicles which are not following the rules while plying on the road. Commissioner (Transport) assured that we will take action against these vehicles as per law.Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain, who was also in the meeting, stressed that there should be a heavy penalty on those who are encroaching the roads and footpaths for their personal use, in complete disregard to the interest of the general public. He also referred to the need for enforcing various judicial pronouncements particularly those of Hon’ble NGT with respect to challans/fines on violators, which was endorsed by Hon’ble L-G.

NCW suggests making passport details part of marriage records

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Commission for Women has recommended including the employment status, social security number and passport details of couples in marriage registration records in a bid to deter NRI men from fraudulently marrying Indian women. It has also proposed to make registration of marriages mandatory. In view of the increasing incidents of NRIs deserting their Indian wives, the Ministry of Women and Child Development had last year set up an inter-ministerial committee to examine the issue. The committee drafted a standard operating procedure (SOP) for dealing with such issues and sought the opinion of the commission on the same. The NCW today discussed the issue with stakeholders in NRI matrimonial disputes and finalised the set of recommendations which will now be put before the ministry for its approval. Once approved, the suggestions will be incorporated in the final SOPs to be issued by the ministry. The NCW suggested that if either of the spouses is settled abroad, his/her social security number should be made part of marriage registration records. In fact, Gujarat and Punjab have implemented this recommendation at the state level, it said. In matrimonial disputes, the agencies should utilise more tech savvy means for issuing summons or warrants such as e- mails and record statements through video conferencing, it said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Child marriage consultation stresses on universalisation of age across different laws

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The varying provisions on the minimum legal age across different laws is a legal loophole leading to problems in curbing child marriage. Owing to this, the National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) held national-level talks to smoothen these contradictions, and will soon issue standard operating procedures on the issue. The meet, held at Delhi, was attended by representatives of the ministry of law and justice, the law commission, the Delhi Legal Service Authority (DLSA), district and session judges, legal authorities from states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan where the problem is prevalent, advocates and civil society organisations.One of the talking points was the anomaly between the The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006. While section 375 of the IPC says that marriages of children between the age of 15 and 18 years is legal, the POCSO Act deems any marriage of individuals below the age of 18 as unlawful. As per the census, over 12 million children in India are married before they reached the age of 10 years. “There are some contradictions in the legal framework which are creating a roadblock for the redressal of acts of child marriage, especially in states like Rajasthan and Telangana where the incidences are high. For instance, while the PCMA says that anyone involved in a child marriage is liable to a jail time of two years, it exempts women, who are sometimes the driving force behind these marriages. We will now come to a conclusion on these issues as soon as possible, and a SOP will be prepared,” said Yashwant Jain, the nodal officer at the NCPCR for the POCSO Act, who was present at the meeting. A draft SOP will be sent to the stakeholders for suggestions, he added. Another stakeholder, present at the meeting said that one of the major problems that workers face is the provision under the PCMA under which child marriages are not considered unlawful, except in two specific scenarios.“Only in the case where an injunction has been issued beforehand after authorities or rights workers are made aware of such a marriage, the marriage stands nullified. And, in the case where it can be proved that the child was trafficked to be married off,” said the stakeholder, who wanted to remain anonymous. A representative of a civil society organisation, who was present at the meeting, said that because the roles of the judiciary and the administration is not spelt out properly, there tends to be duplication of duties. “For instance, in the meeting, five cases from Rajasthan were discussed, wherein girls who were married at a young age went to the court. It’s been two years, and their cases are still pending in court,” said the representative.

When in doubt, don’t shoot: CRPF to troops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the uproar over the use of controversial pellet guns on civilians in Kashmir continues, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has issued new guidelines for its troops elaborating on a step-by-step process for better crowd dispersal. Notable in the guidelines is the underlying principle of “when in doubt, don’t shoot”, while operating on the ground to prevent lethal injuries, and casualties, among civilians.The new seven-stage guideline will soon be printed in a pamphlet and distributed among CRPF troops in J&K.The Center and CRPF have time and again reiterated that the use of pellet guns is imperative to disperse crowds during search and cordon operations, which form part of counterinsurgency operations in Kashmir.“We were following the SOP for crowd control, rioting and guide issued by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D). The new guidelines mention seven stages, including ammunition or measures to be followed before pellet shots are fired using the Pump Action Gun (PAG),’’ a senior official from the Ops division of CRPF said. He added that while forces on the ground were operating under the principle of ‘maximum restraint, minimum force,’ it will now be mandatory to follow the seven stages.Violating these guidelines will invite action. The list says that while plastic pellets (non-penetrative) can be aimed at particular targets, pellet shots should be fired with deflectors only on the foot or on the lower half of a person’s body. To prevent firing on unsuspected targets like children, the new guidelines reinforce the principle of ‘when in doubt, don’t shoot.’The existing SOP for crowd control by the BPR&D does not include ammunition like tear smoke and pellets, that are currently in use by the CRPF and the J&K police.“The new guidelines and SOP have incorporated different munitions in use, as they were previously not introduced,’’ the officer said. Accordingly, PAVA shells, Oleoreisin, Stun Lac grenade, rubber bullets, plastic pellets and lead pellet shots are included in the new guidelines. If these measures fail to disperse crowds, the security forces resort resort to live ammunition or aerial firing.However, an CRPF officer from Srinagar said that forces follow the basic operating procedure and use pellet shots as a last resort.STEPS TO ENSURE MOB CONTROLWarning, mediation, negotiation
Employ the use of water cannons
Tear smoke munitions CV/Pava/Oleoreisin
Tear smoke grenades
Lathicharge
Plastic pellets/rubber bullets
Pump action guns spewing pellets with deflectors

Assistant Commandant of OSAP placed under suspension

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Assistant Commandant of the Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) was today suspended for dereliction of duty in connection with the landmine blast in Koraput district in which eight police personnel were killed on February 1, officials said. Assistant Commandant Gopabandhu Tripathy has been placed under suspension with immediate effect for dereliction of duty in connection with the landmine blast, Special Secretary in Home department Lalit Das said,. Disciplinary proceedings would also be conducted against the police officer in the matter, he said. Eight police personnel were killed in the landmine blast that took place on February 1 in Sunki Ghat when a truck carrying 13 people, including driver of the vehicle, was on the way to Angul via Cuttack for training. Ten of the 13 people in the vehicle were working as assistant drivers under Koraput District Police, police said. As resentment was brewing in the lower police rank and file over the killing of eight personnel in the blast, the state government had rushed a team of crime branch officials to probe the incident. Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has also sought a report within two weeks from the Home secretary and the DGP, Odisha Police on whether SOP (standard operating procedure) was maintained during force movement in the Maoist hit area bordering Andhra Pradesh. Sources said the state government ordered a Crime Branch probe into the landmine blast suspected to have been triggered by Maoists, after Odisha Police Constable, Havildar and Sepoy Mahasangha raised question on the SOP.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Odisha Crime Branch takes over probe in Koraput blast case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With several questions raised by the police rank and file over the killing of its eight personnel in landmine explosion in Koraput district, Odisha government today rushed a team of Crime Branch officials to probe the incident. The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has also sought a report within two weeks from the Secretary, Home and the Director General of Police (DGP) on whether the standard operating procedures were followed during the force’s movement in the Maoist-hit area bordering Andhra Pradesh. The state government ordered a Crime Branch probe into the landmine blast suspected to have been triggered by Maoists, after the Odisha Police Constable, Havildar and Sepoy Mahasangha raised question on the SOP. Mahasangha president Prasant Mohapatra alleged the senior police officers did not follow the SOP. He said the force movement should be done using private vehicles in order to avoid Maoist attack as per the provision of the SOP. However, this provision was not applied when the senior officers decided to take the newly-recruited drivers for training to Angul via Cuttack, Mohapatra alleged. The Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Division of the Crime Branch would investigate the incident, said Crime Branch Special DG BK Sharma, adding that a four-member team headed by a DSP-ranked officer has left for the accident site to probe into the tragedy. “The CB team headed by DSP P K Mishra will probe the matter and verify the kind of explosives used in the blast, whether SOP was maintained and other aspects. The team would be accompanied by forensic expert team. Statements of eyewitnesses and blast survivors would be recorded,” Sharma said. Earlier, the Home department had rushed Inspector General (Operations) R P Koche, Intelligence Director Sunil Roy and DIG S Shyni to the spot of accident where 8 personnel were killed and five others suffered injuries. The incident took place at Sunki ghat while 13 assistant drivers and driver havildar were travelling in a police vehicle towards Angul to attend a training programme. Though two days have already passed since the landmine explosion, the Maoists have so far not made any claim, which is considered as contrary to their style of functioning. Meanwhile, the OHRC today admitted petitions on the Sunki Ghat landmine incident. Pradipta Nayak, a Human Rights defender and Chandranath Dani, Advocate and HR defender, Bhubaneswar presented a petition before the Commission drawing its attention to the tragic death of police constables on February 1. The petitioner alleged that due of non-adherence to Standard Operating Procedure in the matter of movement of unarmed police personnel in a Maoist prone area such an unfortunate incident took place.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

CRPF turns down query on use of pellet guns in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CRPF has refused to disclose the SOP for use of pellet guns and quantum of ammunition fired by the force to quell protests in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the RTI applicant who had made the query had levelled no allegations of human rights violation or corruption.Human rights activist Venkatesh Nayak had sought to know the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for using pellet guns which led to large-scale injuries and blindings during the recent prolonged unrest in the Kashmir valley, and quantum of ammunition used since July 1, 2016 till date. He also wanted the rank-wise number of CRPF personnel injured while conducting operations since July 1, 2016.”In the instant case, there appears no violation of human rights as well as the facts do not attract allegations of corruption. Moreover, your application does not make any reference to such allegations. Hence, this department is not liable to provide any information under the RTI Act, 2005,” the Central Public Information Officer said.Reacting to the response of the force to his query, Nayak said,”When SOP is kept a secret, how can victim bystanders assess whether the actions taken by the CRPF personnel were excessive or not. How can they make a case for compensation and demand accountability of security personnel who caused them injury for no fault of theirs.”

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