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Kamala Mills Fire: BMC sleeps while illegal restaurants mushroom in Mumbai

Despite the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) administration being aware of that the restaurants were running illegally in Kamla Mills compound, it delayed action in the name of following standard operating procedure. While F South ward of BMC delayed action against Mojo’s Bistro and 1 Above, it took action against four such pub and bars in its jurisdiction on Friday soon after the huge fire reported on the midnight of Friday.Also readKamala Mills Fire: Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam demands CBI probe or Judicial inquiryPrashant Sapkale, assistant commissioner of G South ward, who has now been transferred to K East ward said that he took action against Mojo’s Bistro in August and September following complaints of violation of open space on the terrace. “We had given three inspection reports to the owner of Mojo’s Bristo as part of the standard operating procedure (SOP) for violation of open space on the terrace and took action on August 2 and September 22,” said Sapkale.Surprisingly, the civic administration took action against Social Hotel and Sky View Cafe both located in Kamla Mills premises while Shisha Sky Lunge and Panay N Fumes in Raghuvanshi Mill compound in Lower Parel under the G South ward jurisdiction. However, while taking action against these eateries, the civic body did not follow the SoP.Also readKamala Mills Fire: Cops say no, but patrons say there were hookahsSapkale said that there are around 60 restaurants registered in its jurisdiction and 36 of them are within the Kamla Mills compound. “We have issued notices to seven rooftop restaurants in our jurisdiction and took action against six,” said Sapkale.Shockingly, the civic administration in a right to information reply, it said that it did not have information regarding action taken against various eateries that included permit bar and pubs. Even, the civic administration showed its inability to share rules and regulations regarding the permit given to serve hookah in eateries.Dinesh Vaghela, an RTI activist said that the civic administration did not provide this information as they were aware that these eateries were serving hookah. “At any place where hookah is being served, no food item can be served,” said Vaghela. He added that the civic body violated rules and regulations while granting licence under section 394 of Mumbai Municipal Act.

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

Declare missing fishermen as dead: Fr Churchill

Representatives of fishermen in Kanyakumari and families of missing fishermen have urged the Central team, deputed by the Union Home Ministry to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Ockhi, to declare 237 missing fishermen as ‘dead’ if they fail to return by December 31. This will enable the fishermen’s families to claim compensation and relief. After their hopes of seeing the breadwinners during Christmas were dashed, the families are now conducting Holy Mass in memory of the missing fishermen as there was no information on them since the devastating cyclone hit on November 30.Of the 237 missing fishermen feared dead, 170 are from eight fishing villages of Kanyakumari, while 67 are from other districts and states. “Most of these fishermen could have been rescued if the Indian Coast Guard and Navy commenced the rescue operation immediately after the cyclone passed the district on November 30. But our distress call was ignored,” alleges Fr Churchill, general secretary of South Asian Fishermen Fraternity, who submitted a memorandum to the centre’s team on Thursday.“There is a very remote chance of survival of the missing fishermen. Hence they should be declared dead on December 31 as it will enable the families to get the compensation of Rs 20 lakh and a government job,” he said. He demanded that the Central team take steps to declare Kanyakumari district as a disaster-affected district.State Relief Commissioner K Satyagopal said the government hoping that some more fishermen would return to the shore before New Year.

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

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

Top Jaish-e-Mohammad commander gunned down in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama

In a major success for the security forces, top commander of Jaish e Mohammad was gunned down in an encounter at Samboora village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday.The terrorist has been identified as Noor Mohammad Tantray alias Noor Trali, a three feet midget who had jumped parole in July and taken over the command of Jaish in South Kashmir. Tantray was arrested in Delhi in 2003 and sentenced to life by a POTA court in 2011.”The encounter has been going on since last evening in Awantipura district. There was input about presence of two to three terrorists near National Highway planning to attack convoy. One dead body of terrorist recovered so far, search for others going on”, tweeted Dr Shesh Paul Vaid, director general of police, Jammu and Kashmir.The anti-terror operation started on Monday evening after security forces received a tip-off about the presence of terrorists in the village.Also readJammu and Kashmir: Pakistan violates ceasefire; targets Indian forward posts along LoC at PoonchImmediately the village was cordoned off and when the search team was zeroing in on the target, militants opened heavy fire.The fire was retaliated and in the ensuing gun fight one militant was gunned down. “Dead body of one mulitant with arms and ammunition recovered. Search continues”, said a police spokesman at Srinagar.Also readJammu and Kashmir | 3 terrorists gunned down in Handwara encounter, ‘raining whole night,’ tweets DGPThe 2017 also saw highest number of over 206 militants being killed since 2010. Figures reveal that 270 terrorists were killed by security forces in 2010. The figure came down to 119 in 2011. Around 84 terrorists were killed in 2012 followed by 100 in 2013, 110 in 2014 and 113 in 2015.Despite unrest, security forces killed 165 terrorists in 2016. This year close to 100 local youth have joined the terrorists ranks in the strife-torn Kashmir Valley, which is the highest in last seven years.

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Mumbai: 65-foot tall tree, India’s tallest, attracts revellers in Worli

At 65 feet, or as tall as a seven-storey building, a pine conifer at a society in Worli here is attracting visitors, for its tag of being India’s tallest fully decorated Christmas tree.The tree, located at a garden in Adarsh Nagar society in South Mumbai’s Worli area, has been decorated with over 10,000 lights, bells, images of reindeer and snowmen, and a waving Santa Claus.The Saldanha family, originally hailing from Mangalore, acquired the tree from a neighbour who grew it on his verandah, for Rs 250 over four decades ago, Douglas Saldanha said.”My sister Twila and I re-planted it and watered it regularly,” the 56-year-old landscape architect told PTI.Saldanha said he has been tending to it for over four decades.”For the past 12 years, we have been decorating it on every Christmas, from top to toe as you may call it,” he said.”My sister Twila used to help me in the decoration, till she left for the US and died in 2005 after battling cancer. I have been doing it since,” he said.”Twila’s last wish was that I keep on decorating the tree fully so that she could see it from heaven,” he said.Saldanha claimed that the pine conifer has “entered record books as India’s tallest naturally grown fully decorated Christmas tree.”Come Christmas and the Saldanha family sees a steady stream of visitors who come to watch the tree and click selfies with it on their smart phones.Meanwhile, Mumbaikars heralded Christmas with a midnight mass, the most prominent one being at the Mount Mary Church in suburban Bandra.

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Rayalaseema Express derails in Telangana, passengers safe

The Rayalaseema Express train derailed near Sirnapally in Nizamabad district on Saturday morning.All the passengers were reported to be safe and unhurt in the accident.Central South Zone Railways spokesperson Uma Shankar told ANI, “Rayalaseema express was derailed near Sirnapally. All the passengers are safely moved to Nizamabad station.””In between Uppalvai and Sirnapalli stations on Secunderabad – Mudkhed section, two wheels of a coach of Tr. No. 12793 Tirupati – Nizamabad Express slipped the track at around 08.05 hrs today. Acting swiftly, railway authorities transshipped passengers of the train to their destination,” Shankar informed.Due to the derailment, the train traffic on the section was affected for few hours.The spokesperson said the section is expected to be restored for normal train services by afternoon.

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Delhi Shocker: Depressed woman under influence of alcohol allegedly shoots mother, brother

A 47-year-old woman allegedly shot at her mother and brother late last night in south Delhi’s Defence Colony, the police said on Friday. The accused Sangeeta, who has participated in state-level shooting tournaments, was apparently drunk at the time of the incident, they said.The woman’s brother Harsaran told police that Sangeeta shot at him and his mother around midnight. Harsaran along with his mother is now out of danger.Romil Baaniya, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South), said the woman has been detained and the pistol seized.She was also into adventure tourism and used to go to Sohna, Gurgaon. For the last one year, she had stopped going for shooting practise and stopped meeting people, said the officer.Her father said Sangeeta was suffering from depression and on medication.Last night, she took her medicines, sleeping pills along with alcohol and allegedly attacked her mother and brother, police said.

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Delhi Metro: Magenta Line train crashes into boundary wall during trial run

A train belonging to Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line that will be officially inaugurated on Christmas Day, crashed through a wall during a test run.Fortunately, nobody was hurt, NDTV reported on Tursday.As per information, the train, which was empty, went through a wall at the Kalindi Kunj depot and barely missed crashing into the ground.The 12.64-km section, which will reduce travel time between Noida and south Delhi, was granted safety approval by the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) last month.The 12.64 km section, part of metro’s upcoming Botanical Garden-Janakpuri West (Magenta) Line, was granted safety approval by the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) last month.Also readDMRC’s Magenta line: New metro to cut off travel time to 45 minutes from Noida to South DelhiMetro’s new generation trains, which can run without drivers, will run on this section where an advanced Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling technology that will facilitate the movement of trains with a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds will also be pressed into service.However, for an initial period of two-three years, the trains will have drivers. Currently, for travelling to South Delhi areas, commuters from Noida have to change trains — from Blue Line to Violet Line- at Mandi House Metro Station.After this new section of the Delhi Metro is opened, commuters will be able to travel directly to Kalkaji Mandir Metro Station, which is on the Violet Line, cutting the travel time by about 45 minutes.Once the entire corridor from Botanical Garden till Janakpuri West (38.23 km) is opened, commuters from Noida will be able to go to Gurugram by changing trains at Hauz Khas station.The Botanical Garden has been developed as the metro’s first-ever inter-change station outside the boundaries of Delhi.

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How Yogi Adityanath delivered the Hindu votes for BJP in South Gujarat

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath played an important role in writing the script for the BJP retaining power for sixth time in a row in politically crucial Gujarat Assembly elections.After becoming CM, in just nine month Yogi Adityanath catapulted himself to top among the list of BJP star campaigners and earned a place in party’s top front-line leadership with his administrative and oratory skills.It was a part of the well-thought strategy of the BJP President Amit Shah to press Yogi Adityanath into campaigning, particularly in South Gujarat, to unite Hindu voters. The main aim was to woo UP and Bihar migrants population working and settled in Southern Gujarat industrial belt.Also read’What jolt? 19 states are now with us,’ BJP takes down Rahul Gandhi on Gujarat verdictThere are about 60 lakhs UP and Biharites who are working in this part of Gujarat. In many seats from Umagaon to Vadodara in South Gujarat, Hindi-speaking voters from UP and Bihar play an important and decisive role in deciding the fate of candidates.Also readGujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will boost morale, says Ashok ChavanKnowing his image among the core BJP vase, Amit Shah had given a specific task to Adityanath to campaign aggressively in Southern Gujarat targeting voters from UP and Bihar to ensure victory of BJP candidates. Till 2012 polls, 70-75% votes from this region used to go to the Congress but Amit Shah’s strategy changed the equations in BJP’s favour. From November 26 to December 12, Yogi Adityanath made as many as eight whirlwind tour to Gujarat, mainly concentrating on the Southern Gujarat districts.Amidst his hectic campaigning back home in Uttar Pradesh for party candidates in crucial urban local bodies’ polls, Yogi Adityanath held rallies in as many as 29 districts in Gujarat where Hindi-speaking people from UP and Bihar are working and settled.Results show that Yogi Adityanat not only succeeded in countering the influence of Patidar movement but also JHA effect (Jignesh Mewani, Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakur) to help the party unite Hindus against their caste affiliations.Barring a few day meetings, most of his rallies, meetings and road shows were well attended in Assembly constituencies of Valsaad, Navsari, Surat, Pardi, Chikhli, Gandevi, Kabeelpur, Bhuj, Sukhpur, Mankuwa, Bidada, Mudara etc.“Party’s strategy for this part of Gujarat was viewed with success even before polling and results were out when gatherings at Yogi’s meetings swelled in numbers,” disclosed a senior BJP state leader who accompanied the Chief Minister during his Gujarat campaigning.For Yogi Adityanath, it was an opportunity to go up the ladder in the party leadership hierarchy. “He proved his political mettle in Gujarat elections beyond doubts,” pointed the party State General Secretary Vijay Pathak.The BJP’s victory in Gujarat has overnight enhanced the political stature of Yogi Adiyanath and bracketed him among top five leaders in the party central leadership. From BJP MP to UP Chief Minister to earning this distinction, it took only nine month to this firebrand Hindutva leader in achieving this rare feat.

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Jammu and Kashmir | 2 terrorists gunned down, encounter still on in Shopian

Stepping up their anti-terror offensive, security forces killed two top terrorists in a fierce gunfight at Bat Muran village of South Kashmir’s Shopian district.The encounter started on Monday evening after security forces received a tip-off about the presence of terrorists in the villageImmediately the village was cordoned off and when the search team was zeroing in on the target, gunmen opened heavy fire.The fire was retaliated and in the ensuing gun fight two were gunned down.”Two terrorists have been killed. Operation is in progress”, said an army spokesman at Srinagar.One of the terrorists have been identified as Tanveer Bhat.Another terrorist is a foreign national and efforts are on to identify him. Army sources said there is likelihood of third terrorist hiding in the house and operation is on to neutralise him too.Sources said the firing has resumed this morning after contact was established with the hiding militant at encounter site. Sources said it was during search and mopping operation, the third hiding terrorist opened fire from the same house triggering the gun fight again.The 2017 also saw highest number of over 200 militants being killed since 2010. Figures reveal that 270 terrorist were killed by security forces in 2010. The figure came down to 119 in 2011.Around 84 terrorist were killed in 2012 followed by 100 in 2013, 110 in 2014 and 113 in 2015. Despite unrest, security forces killed 165 ultras in 2016.This year close to 100 local youth have joined the terrorist ranks in the strife-torn Kashmir Valley, which is the highest in last seven years.

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Vector-borne disease season ends, but 45 cases reported last week

The season for vector-borne diseases has come to an end, with a municipal report on Monday saying that only 45 dengue cases were reported last week, taking the total number of people affected by the disease this year in the national capital to 9,214.The numbers of malaria and chikungunya cases recorded this year, till December 16, stood at 1,140 and 933 respectively, the report said. The total number of people affected by dengue in Delhi this year, till December 9, was 9,169.Of the 9,214 dengue cases this year, 4,704 patients were from Delhi, while 4,510 had come to the city from other states for treatment, the report said. Cases of vector-borne diseases are usually reported between mid-July and November-end but this period may stretch up to mid-December.This year, however, the disease had spread much earlier. The mosquito-borne tropical disease had claimed its first victim in the city this year on August 1, when a 12-year-old boy died of dengue shock syndromes at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH).Three more deaths were reported in October by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), which tabulates the data for the entire city.The civic body, however, is yet to acknowledge two fatalities due to dengue at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital and the death of a boy at the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital.

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Gujarat Election Results: No matter who wins, when will a villager reap benefits of development?

Two years ago, when I visited a young Alastiben after treading downhill for close to two hours in the scorching sun, I found her helpless. In her early twenties, she was eight months pregnant. She was expecting her third baby. I asked her if she wanted to deliver her baby in a hospital. She nodded, but she said she was unable to. There was no motorable road for close to four kilometers in her hamlet of Nilungi in Narwad village of Kaprada block. There was no way she could walk so much with a baby in her womb to reach the highway.One of the worst blocks of South Gujarat, Kaprada constituency in Valsad district is not buying into the ‘development’ model propagated by the BJP. This is primarily because development has not reached there in the truest essence.The non-motorable road in Nilungi – Maitri PorechaEven as Congress candidate Jitubhai Chaudhari has won in Kaprada by a narrow margin of 120 votes, neither congress nor BJP have done much to fasten development in terms of health or education in the constituency.A narrow road from adjoining Moodgaon hamlet leads to Nilungi. Vehicles have to be parked at the mouth of the rocky road at Moodgaon. The road to Nilungi is replete with heavy rocks. It must be traversed by foot.At the base of the hill, in the hamlet of Nilungi, I met two pregnant women. Alastiben is one of them. She was shy. She did not want to interact with outsiders. She had many chores to finish at home. Later, she would go and work in her rice fields. Her two children, Sooraj (5) and Jayshree (2), flit around her, constantly clasping at her sari.After much coaxing, Alastiben sat down to chat. She says there are no maternal and child care services in the hamlet. “Nilungi is cut off from the world. The aanganwadi in Nilungi is non-functional. Last month, I had to walk four kilometres to and fro to the adjoining hamlet of Khadki to get myself checked. How do you expect a pregnant woman to undertake such arduous treks, uphill and downhill, on foot, to access medical care?,” she asked. The Gujarat government provides financial incentives to pregnant mothers, so that they may consider delivering babies in hospitals. But Alastiben was in no position to access such an incentive. Her biggest worry is that she may not be able to reach the hospital, due to lack of roads.Alastiben was illiterate. She was not aware of the date so as to when her baby is due for delivery. She did not know what time of day was it. She returned back to sweeping the floor of her house and to other chores at her farm. Closing the conversation, she said, “I would like to get hospitalised for my delivery, but it’s impossible as there are no motorable roads to take me there.”Village after village in Kaprada had hamlets bereft of motorable roads. Villagers said that women had gotten used to delivering babies at home because there would be no facilities to take them to hospital. At least 14 people had died over the last two decades because they could not avail emergency medical care on time. A major cause of death was due to falling off a tree and subsequent delay in reaching the hospital for treating internal bleeding. Another was diarrhoea and dehydration due to drinking water from contaminated sources. Also prevalence of leprosy is eight times more in Kaprada as compared to its urban counterpart of Valsad block.The urban-rural divide is stark in the results of Gujarat’s Assembly Elections this year. Kaprada falls in Valsad district consisting of six talukas. It is one of the most backward districts in Gujarat. On the other hand, 60 kilometers away in the very Valsad district, urban Valsad constituency has developed into a buzzing city with top-class facilities.BJP candidate Bharatbhai Patel has won by a margin of 43,092 votes in urban Valsad constituency, while Congress has registered a win in Kaprada. Two blocks at either ends of the development in Valsad district have different party leanings. In one of them, the buzzing urban Valsad block, BJP enjoys undivided confidence of the voters, while in the other, the rural hilly Kaprada, one of the most backward block in South Gujarat lying in the farthest corner of the Valsad district, a Congress candidate has registered a win, even if by a very narrow margin.But no politician had ever visited Nilungi, where Alastiben waited her pangs of labour to begin any moment. Her third baby was delivered at night in her hut. A relief is that her baby was born healthy and she is doing fine. But no political party has ever bothered to facilitate the construction of motorable roads there or question its absence till date.When I first wrote about the dire condition of Kaparada on social media, I received a phone call from the collector of Valsad – Ravi Kumar Arora. He had been embarrassed after reading my heart-wrenching posts of under-development in this corner of Gujarat on Facebook.Over the phone, Arora told me, “Madam, it is not like the government is not doing anything for the development of Kaprada.”I retorted back, “Why don’t you come and see the conditions for yourself?”The administration had run a search on my name and were curious to know what I was up to in Kaprada and my background as well as that of my family members.On January 27, a day after the Republic Day celebrations had wound up, Arora landed in Nilungi along with a battery of officials – a total of over 50 in all. They were block level officers, engineers, chief medical officers, nurses and health workers. He made each one of them walk downhill – a trek of four kilometers to reach Nilungi. Later, he promised Rs 1 crore for the village including building a road to Nilungi. Estimates were drawn and filed by engineers.Two years down the line, sitting from my office in New Delhi, I follow-up with the Sarpanch of Narwad village every month to know if the works of the new road have begun in Kaprada. They have still not begun. And I wonder, no matter which political party wins in Gujarat, will a villager ever reap the benefits of a decent motorable road?

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South Central Railway proposes recreational tour to Singapore, Malaysia for its lowest-paid staff; to bear 75% expenses

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, non-gazetted employees of Secunderabad-based South Central Railways will be taken on a foreign trip on government expense purely for recreation purposes, a report said today. The South Central Railways (SCR) has proposed a six-day “recreation tour” of Singapore and Malaysia for non-gazetted serving employees, including gangmen and trackmen. Employees with lowest-pay level and those approaching retirement will be given preference for the tour, a circular said. Also read9 lakh seniors give up ticket subsidy in 3 months, Railways saves Rs 40 croreWhile the employees have been asked to pay 25% or Rs 15,000 via demand draft, the remaining 75% expense will come from the Staff Benefit Fund, a report in The Indian Express said. The zonal railway has tied up with a private tour operator selected for being the lowest bidder among three vendors for the tour. The total package is for around Rs 59,000 including airfare, hotel stay and entry fee to Universal Studios and the like, the report said. Also readShort-staffed Rlys extends age limit for re-engagement to 65The Staff Benefit Fund is created from railway coffers every year and given to all zones for philanthropical purposes but does not extend to a pleasure trip in a foreign land, the daily quotes sources as saying. The SCR gets Rs 800 per employee towards creation of this fund from the Railway Ministry through Budget for its estimated 80,000 employees. The ministry has alloted Rs 100 crore for the purpose which is distributed among all the zones. There are strict rules that govern the Staff Benefit Fund and for what purposes they can be used. “There is no provision of a foreign recreation tour in staff benefit fund. It is not done and can’t be done,” said Shiv Gopal Mishra, head of All Indian Railwaymen’s Federation, a union of Indian Railways employees.They are usually used for scholarships of wards of lower-rank employees, women empowerment activities including seminar, camps, training programmes and gender sensitization camps, recreation other than sports, recreational facilities at institutes and clubs among other purposes.

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South Delhi Municipal Corporation beautifies space under two major flyovers

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has beautified the space underneath Raja Garden flyover and Mayapuri flyover, constructed by PWD on the main roads. The aim, officials said, is to work on the look and image of the city .According to SDMC officials, an amount of Rs 78 lakh has been spent on this. The civic body had deputed employees of Horticulture and Engineering and Electrical Department and their resources for the purpose. Sarita Jindal, Chairperson, West Zone Ward Committee, said a few councilors and West Zone Deputy Commissioner Mona Srinivas were present for the occasion, along with West Delhi MP Pravesh Verma and Deputy Mayor Kailash Sankla.”The SDMC has been striving hard to beautify all its localities including flyovers that come under its jurisdiction. Keeping in view the instruction of L-G Anil Baijal, a number of flyovers have been beautified within the shortest possible time,” said Verma.He added, “The beautified spaces under the flyovers will glorify the image of Delhi in future, including in January 2018, when leaders of other countries will be in Delhi to attend a summit.”More than a dozen flyovers have been developed in the process so far. All the flyovers are being developed as per different themes. The details of the illustration for each were prepared separately and respective departments undertook the work assigned to them.”The Electrical Department also meticulously executed the work assigned to it. The entire work was undertaken under a mission to get rid of an atmosphere of filth and stink leading to an unhealthy ambiance and anti-social activities. Locals are now visiting the spaces for evening walks,” said Kailash Sankla, Deputy Mayor.”The actual work was done quickly once the unauthorised occupants were evicted. The entire work has been completed in a period of 30-40 days,” he said.

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Gujarat elections 2017: South Gujarat sees highest voting, Kutch lowest

South Gujarat, which accounts for 35 seats in the state Assembly, say the highest voting, an analysis of the voting pattern in the two phases reveals. Kutch, which had gone to polling in the first phase, saw the lowest turnout.Polling for the Gujarat Assembly elections took place in two phases. Saurashtra, Kutch and south Gujarat went to polls in the first phase on December 9, and north and central Gujarat on December 14.The analysis reveals that south Gujarat, which sends 35 MLAs to the Assembly, recorded 70.40 per cent voter turnout, the highest among all regions. Of 83.56 lakh voters, nearly 58.83 lakh cast their votes.Central Gujarat, which accounts for 40 seats, was second in terms of voting with 70.04 per cent. Of 93.57 lakh voters in the seven districts of the region, 65.54 lakh exercised their right to vote.North Gujarat, which sends 53 representatives to the Legislative Assembly, recorded 69.99 per cent voter turnout, the third highest. Of 1.29 crore registered voters in seven districts of the region, including Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, close to 90.5 lakh cast their votes.Incidentally, Congress had done exceedingly well in central and north Gujarat in the 2012 elections, winning 44 seats as against BJP’s 49. Even as it is expected to increase its tally in Ahmedabad city and open its account in Vadodara city, it is seen as losing a significant number of seats in central and north Gujarat.Saurashtra, the most crucial zone in any election, recorded 64.42 per cent turnout on December 9. As against 1.14 crore registered voters, 73.71 lakh cast their votes. The low turnout in Saurashtra, a stronghold of the BJP in the past couple of decades, came as a surprise to many.Kutch saw 63.95 per cent turnout when it went to polls on December 9. Over 9.13 lakh of 14.28 lakh registered voters cast their votes in Kutch. BJP had won five of the six seats in 2012, but Congress is eyeing at least 2-3 seats in these elections.IN SOUTH GUJARATSouth Gujarat, which sends 35 MLAs to the Assembly, recorded 70.40 per cent voter turnout, the highest among all regions. Of 83.56 lakh voters, nearly 58.83 lakh cast their votes.

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

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

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Supreme Court raps Delhi govt over ‘illegal constructions’

The Supreme Court on Friday posed searching questions to the Delhi government on the issue of rampant unauthorised constructions in the national capital and asked whether it was prepared to stop them.A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said the Delhi government should reply to its queries in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the issue.”Are you (government) interested in stopping unauthorised constructions? Is the Delhi government prepared to stop illegal constructions in Delhi or not? We are asking you a simple question. Answer in yes or no,” the bench told the counsel appearing for the government.Responding to the court’s queries, the counsel said “yes” and told the bench that the city government would file an affidavit in this regard.The court directed the government to file an affidavit indicating the exact plan to stop unauthorised constructions.The bench posted the matter for further hearing on February 15 next year.The South Delhi Municipal Corporation had on Thursday told the apex court that it was taking action against illegal constructions in its area from time to time.The court had earlier said the rule of law over sanction to construct buildings has “completely broken down” and expressed concern over rampant illegal constructions here.It had decided to restore powers of the 2006 Monitoring Committee, which was relieved in 2012, to identify and seal unauthorised premises and construction in the city.The Monitoring Committee, comprising K J Rao, former advisor to the election commissioner, Bhure Lal, chairman of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up in March 24, 2006, by the apex court to oversee implementation of the law relating to sealing of offending premises.

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Mehbooba Mufti clamps down on separatists to thwart ‘resistance’ march in Anantnag

Strict restrictions have been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s Assembly constituency of Anantnag to thwart the march of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of separatists to the South Kashmir Township on Friday.“General Public is informed that restriction is imposed in certain parts of Anantnag town under police station Anantnag for mitigating any law and order situation”, tweeted deputy inspector general of police, South Kashmir Range.JRL had asked people to march to Anantnag for a rally to counter the narrative of the government that separatists have lost the battle for azadi in Kashmir.JRL is an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who spearheaded the last year’s unrest in Kashmir Valley that left 100 people dead and thousands others injured and blinded.Authorities, however, went into an overdrive and placed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house detention. Few days ago JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik was arrested when he defied orders and tried to lead a march from in Srinagar.Hurriyat hawk continues to remain under house detention at his residence at Hyder Pora.Authorities have also imposed restrictions in four police areas of old Srinagar city and two police stations areas of uptown to prevent people from marching towards Anantnag on Friday.Hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani said police arrested and raided residences of several leaders to thwart the march to Anantnag on Friiday.“Such coercive measures and repression won’t break our resolve. Most of its leaders and activists succeeded and reached Anantnag”, said a spokesman of Hurriyat.Appealing people of south Kashmir for their participation in Anantnag rally, Huriyat said that it will symbolise their dedication and commitment with “freedom movement”.On the other side a crucial meeting of moderate Hurriyat Conference was held at the Awami Action Committee headquarters at Rajouri Kadal and it was decided in the meeting Mirwaiz will try to leave for Anantnag at 11 am on Friday.“JRL leaders will address the people and announce their future strategy,” a spokesman of Hurriyat said.

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Robbers target Indian homes in UK for gold

Police say ten of millions of pounds worth of jewellery have been stolen from South Asian homes.

India-South East Asia links have been deep: Dharmendra Pradhan

A conference titled India-ASEAN [email protected] was held on December 13 at the Taj Mansingh. The event was organized by Kalinga International Foundation (KIF), a think tank that brings together the east and north-eastern region of India with our neighbours, the ASEAN states and the wider Indo-Pacific region. The Conference started at 2 PM and had as its Chief Guest Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, at the inaugural session.There were five thematic sessions that included the inaugural and valedictory, with the participation of distinguished scholars, former diplomats and ambassadors of the ASEAN states.The inaugural session called the India-ASEAN Strategic Partnership and the Act East Policy was followed by a session on Economic Co-operation with ASEAN, Regional and Bilateral Co-operation, Security Challenges, and The Importance of the North East and Eastern Region of India for the Act East Policy. Pradhan spoke of Odisha’s deep interactions seeped in history with South-East Asia.“Our interactions over centuries have extended beyond Indonesia to include expressions of shared heritage and culture that are dotted across the region and find expression in strains of the everyday life of the people. Historically and culturally, the links between India and South-East Asia have been deep and profound,” Pradhan said.CONFERENCEThe Conference started at 2 PM and had as its Chief Guest Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, at the inaugural session. There were five thematic sessions.

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Colaba footpath cleared for VVIP movement

Residents of Colaba have expressed happiness after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) cleared footpaths on Wednesday owing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit for an official event in South Mumbai. Residents applauded civic body’s move and requested that footpaths are maintained and ensure that they are encroachment-free in the future.Parvez Cooper, Vice President, Clean Heritage Colaba Residents Association, said that the authority must implement a policy to ensure that footpaths are free from encroachments. “We cannot walk on the footpath on any given day. Senior citizens and school children are the affected the most,” said Cooper, adding that, “The footpath is cleaned only when there is VVIP movement,” he added.An official from the A-ward said that from time-to-time they remove hawkers. “The BMC has been working on the hawkers policy and soon, it will declare hawking pitches where hawkers will be allowed to do their business,” said an official from the ward. He added

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Housing board moots extra area at lower cost

Tenants of dilapidated cessed buildings situated in South Mumbai should be allowed to buy up to 200 square feet of extra space at ‘construction cost’ from the developer redeveloping their building. This is one of the suggestions of the state government constituted a committee on housing. Currently, a tenant is entitled to get 300 sq ft house following redevelopment. If accepted the new rule may reduce the differences between tenants and developers and will also allow tenants with bigger families to stay together. There are more than 14,000 such dilapidated cessed buildings located in South Mumbai. These buildings pay a cess to MHADA for their repair. Many projects in the area are stuck either because of the tenants’ refusal to vacate their houses or when the developer delays a certain project. While the suggestion sounds good, architects who plan the building say that the tenant should at the time of planning of the building inform the developer about the extra space. “While giving extra space at construction cost wouldn’t be feasible for a developer but it can bring in liquid at initial stage to the developer, which will be of help to him in carrying out construction,” said Arqam Shaikh, of Arc associates.

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The deity who gave the city its name

Located near the crowded alleys and by lanes of Bhuleshwar in South Mumbai is the iconic temple of ‘Mumbadevi’. The city of Mumbai derives it’s name from this deity and hence is widely revered by a cross-section of Mumbaikars. The word” Mumba” is derived from the Sanskrit root “ Maha-Amba” or Great Mother and is one of the important shrines in the city praying the God Mother in the form of Shakti.The legend goes that the original Mumbadevi temple was built in 1675 in Boribunder (now called CST area). However, the original temple was demolished around 1737 and then rebuilt in Bhuleshwar where it currently stands. The land to build the current temple was donated by ‘ Pandu Sheth’ and his family were traditionally the caretakers of the temple. Later on ‘Mumbadevi Temple Board’ was formed after a High Court (HC) order. Till date, the temple board is entrusted with the administration of the shrine.People from the fishermen or the Koli community, who are also the original inhabitants of the island city revere the godmother as their ‘protector’ from any obstacle that comes from the sea. Hence, she is worshipped during any pious occasion in their family. The shrine continues to be one of the top attractions for national and international tourists visiting the commercial capital.

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Gujarat elections 2017: In turnout, South Gujarat beats Saurashtra hands down

In Saturday’s polling, the South Gujarat region recorded more than 70% voter turnout, sharply higher than just a little over than 64% in Saurashtra, polling statistics released by the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer, show.The 35 seats in Narmada, Bharuch, Surat, Tapi, Dangs, Navsari and Valsad saw voting by 58.83 lakh out of 83.56 lakh eligible voters, a turnout of 70.40%.In Saurashtra, which is divided into 48 assembly segments, 73.71 lakh out of 1.14 crore eligible voters exercised their right to vote. The turnout in the 11 districts of Saurashtra was 64.42%.Kutch, the third geographical region which went to polls in the first phase on Saturday, saw 63.95% turnout with 9.13 lakh out of 14.28 lakh voters casting their votes.The huge contrast in voter turnout in the different regions is also clearly visible in assembly-wise voter turnout.An analysis of the statistics reveals that the all ten seats with the highest turnout were from south Gujarat. All of them, barring Vagra in Bharuch, are tribal reserved seats.In contrast, eight of the ten constituencies with the lowest voter turnout were from Saurashtra. At 54.18%, the lowest turnout was reported in Gandhidham (SC) seat of Kutch, while Karanj in Surat recorded 55.77% voting.

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Cyclone Ockhi aftermath: Goa government to compensate legal shacks that were damaged

The Goa government would provide compensation to shacks having legal validity, for the damages suffered during the Cyclone Ockhi last week. The shack owners, whose establishments suffered damages following high tide during the cyclone, had earlier decided to approach the state tourism department to seek compensation for their losses. The office of North Goa’s district magistrate had also done a preliminary assessment of the damage caused in Pernem and Bardez talukas, where several prominent beaches, including Morjim, Arambol, Candolim, Baga and Calangute, are located, an official release earlier said. State revenue minister Rohan Khaunte yesterday said he is still waiting for the reports from collectors of North Goa and South Goa districts to ascertain the exact amount of losses suffered by the shacks. He said the state government is clear in its stand that only those shacks which have legal validity would be provided the compensation. After the devastating high tide, the tourism business, meanwhile, is getting back to normal with Christmas and New Year celebrations around the corner. “The shack owners have almost finished reconstructing their structures which were washed away due to the ingress of water. The business is getting normal on the coast. We have tourists coming in,” Manuel Cardoso, the general secretary of Goa Traditional Shack Owners’ Association told PTI yesterday. He said shack owners have spent from their savings to ensure the business is not lost during the peak season. “The claims for the compensations would be filed from tomorrow onwards,” Cardoso added. The state government has said that the affected shack owners would be compensated after a proper survey is conducted jointly by officials of tourism and revenue departments and coastal zone management authority. A senior official of the tourism department, however, said the shacks, whose cases will be taken up for compensation, will not be blacklisted. “If they are illegal, then they will not be getting compensation and will face action. But if they are legal they need not worry,” he said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Morbi village boycotts election to protest water woes

Zero voting was recorded at Gajadi village in district of Gujarat today as the locals, fed up with water shortage, boycotted polling.While long lines were seen outside polling booths in Saurashtra and South Gujarat in the first phase of Assembly polls, none among the 1,000 registered voters in Gajadi turned up to cast vote, officials said.The village, though situated in Tankara tehsil of Morbi, comes under Kalavad constituency of Jamnagar district.The district administration said they tried their best to persuade villagers to vote.”Villagers had announced a few months ago that they will refrain from voting. Their main grievance was about water supply. Though the village is being supplied water through a pipeline, they claimed it was not enough and demanded another pipeline,” said Morbi Collector and District Election Officer I K Patel.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Phase 1 comes to an end; Porbandar, Botad see lowest voter turnout, highest in Navasari, Morbi”Even today senior officials went to the village and urged them to cast vote. But no one turned up at the polling booth,” he added.”When we told them there are plans to lay a new pipeline, villagers asked us to give the assurance on paper. As the model code of conduct was in place, it was not possible to give it in writing. Such an assurance on the day of polling would also set a wrong precedent,” the Collector added.

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Gujarat elections phase 1: BJP will look to grab early initiative in South Gujarat and Saurashtra

With 89 seats in the fray in the phase one of Gujarat election including the bell-weather Saurashtra region, the result of Gujarat elections 2017 may well get sealed on Saturday. That is, if BJP can even show 70% of its past domination in Saurashtra-Kutch and South Gujarat, areas that are going to poll on Saturday.But with a rampaging Hardik Patel attracting massive crowds in Surat, Rajkot and other urban fortresses of BJP, CM Rupani trapped in a tricky fight and simmering resentment among cotton and groundnut farmers in Saurashtra, the saffron party can barely catch a break or afford to be complacent.For Congress, aided by nitro boost given by the trio of Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani, it is harbouring hopes of winning seats in places where they have virtually given walkover in last two decades.As Rahul Gandhi said, a wind of change is blowing. Congress will hope the wind is strong enough to blow away the best laid plans of Shah-Modi. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: BJP released manifesto after we raised questions about it, says Rahul Gandhi(Hardik Patel connecting with voters- PTI)48 seats in Saurashtra and 6 in Kutch are BJP’s best bet to take an early stride in the elections. It hopes the presence of Rupani contesting from Rajkot west and state president Jitu Vaghani will give the party much needed boost and shield them from Patidar anger. Patidars are the second-most largest voting group in this region only next to the Kolis. Reports indicate while the younger Patidars are steadfastly behind Hardik , the older ones haven’t still forgotten the snub they received during Congress’s KHAM formation. Even among the Patels, the Kadva Patels look increasingly galvanising behind Hardik, while BJP still has hope of finally getting a sizeable chunk of votes from Leuva Patels. In Saurashtra and Kutch, BJP won 38 of 54 seats in 2012. What goes in their favour is Keshubhai Patel’s GPP merged with BJP in 2014, which cut significant share of votes in 2012. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Priest says he was attacked for supporting BJP and HindutvaBJP is almost consigned to suffering some losses in places like Rajkot, Jamnagar, Morbi where there is significant impact of Patel agitation. But considering it was leading in 52 of the 54 Assembly segment in 2014 general assembly, the party hopes that it has a sufficient buffer to emerge ontop even after suffering some loss in its fortress. The party’s headache has been only increased with presence of Shaktisinh Gohil of Congress contesting from Mandvi, which is in Kutch. Congress hopes to make inroads in Kutch so far dominated by BJP with Gohil’s presence. (Rahul Gandhi in Kutch- PTI)In South Gujarat, BJP virtually swept in 2012 winning 28 of the 35 seats including all 12 in Surat. It has increased clout in South Gujarat in successive elections under Modi winning 15 in 2002, and 18 in 2007. However like rest of Gujarat, it is finding the going rough in South Gujarat as well. The double whammy of demonetization and GST has taken the sheen off the party’s goodwill among the larger trader class in cities like Surat, Vapi, Valsad, etc. The party hopes that tweaking of GST norms would help it to ride the choppy waters. It enjoyed a nearly 20% gap in popularity in the urban centres. Even if it is down by 10%, the party can hope to win a decent number of seats. But that will be only known on December 18. BJP has given 31 Patidars tickets in phase 1, more than Congress. However Congress too is looking to get Koli-dominated seats by giving tickets to people from that caste. Finally, it all boils down whether Gujaratis get enticed by the message of change brought by Congress or repose faith in NaMo magic. The difference may even be the low blow given by Mani Shankar Aiyar, pun intended. Whatever be the result, the build-up has been the most thrilling in close to two decades. Who would have thought that was possible after the 2014 BJP whitewash?

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Mumbai Bank offers Rs 50 cr loan for self-redevelopment

One of Mumbai’s banks gave a presentation to MHADA on Tuesday that it will give loans to societies to the tune of Rs 50 crore for self redevelopment. The bank in question is the Mumbai Bank.There are nearly 30,000 societies across the city, including cessed buildings located in South Mumbai, which need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the MHADA to go ahead with redevelopment.The bank has said that it will directly pay the authority the money required for the permissions and will sanction the loan from the start of the project. This will eliminate the developer, to an extent, and the dependency of the societies on them for redevelopment.There are nearly 14,000 cessed buildings in the south of Mumbai, which are not only dangerous to cohabit, but also need urgent redevelopment as there’s a lack of transit accommodation within city limits. Many developers have got into redevelopment of these buildings but projects are stuck for various reasons, one of them being that tenants of these building do not want to shift to far away transit camps, thus not vacating the buildings. Apart from this, real estate market is also suffering a financial crunch, leading to many developers delaying their projects. Tenants thus continue to stay in dangerous buildings.Recently, this paper reported on how a committee of MLAs to look into the housing issues of the city had suggested that self redevelopment of cessed buildings be given certain concessions such as extra FSI. However, experts had raised the question of societies generating the initial finance required to get permissions, hire contractors and even architects. Under self redevelopment, the committee of the housing societies appoints a contractor to carry out construction and pays them. They get a larger space and a larger corpus amount too.Milind Mahiskar, CEO and VP, MHADA said, “The idea is good and MHADA will fully support it.” MHADA will be the authority that will be issuing the no objection certificate to cessed buildings.A bank official said, “This will also be of benefit to buildings which are under CRZ and under the funnel zone of the airport.
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Police cracks the murder case of Kashmiri army soldier

Sepoy Irfan Ahmad Dar of Shopian chose country over his self. He preferred to die rather than to succumb to the pressure of terrorists in South Kashmir.New details have emerged about the assassination of the 23-year-old off-duty soldier Irfan Ahmad Dar of 175 Territorial Army (TA) by terrorists at Wuthmula village in South Kashmir’s Shopian district on November 25.While one militant has been arrested, three others — including the top commander Sadam Padder — are on the run. Superintendent of Police, Shopian, Ambarkar Shriram Dinkar said terrorists wanted Sepoy Irfan to work for them but he refused which became one of the causes of his assassination. “The terrorists tried to motivate him to work for them. But they could not succeed and ultimately they decided to kill him. Plus security force men are always the target of the militants”, he said.Sepoy Irfan Ahmad Dar, who was on a vacation, had left home at the Senzen village in his car on November 24 but did not return. On November 25 morning, his body, was riddled with bullets, was found in an orchard in the neighbouring Wuthmula village in Shopian district.Investigation conducted so far revealed that four militants — including Saddam Padder, Bilal, Touseef, newly recruited unidentified man and over ground worker (OGW) Muzamil — hatched a conspiracy to kill Sepoy Irfan.Accordingly, Muzamil went to the native village of Sepoy Irfan and took him to a pre-determined spot at Wuthmula where Saddam, Bilal, Touseef and unidentified militant were waiting in the orchard. “They came out from the orchard and fired at the Sepoy Irfan, resulting in instant death of the victim”, said a police spokesman.Based on the hard evidence, police unearthed the entire chain of conspiracy and finally nabbed one of the accused Muzamil. “The lookout for the other three militants is on and necessary legal proceedings are in progress to complete the investigation”, said the spokesman. Superintendent of Police, Shopian said, the killing was carried out jointly by the militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujhadeen.”Two of the terrorists belonged to Hizbul Mujhadeen outfit. Touseef belongs to Lashkar-e-Toiba. Muzamil was an OGW of slain Lashkar militant Waseem Shah. He worked for Saddam Paddar. They had hatched the conspiracy to kill him in the house of Touseef”, said Shriram.A massive hunt has been launched to track down the three terrorists who are on the run. “Either we will arrest them and bring them before the court or they would be eliminated”, said another officer.
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‘Vandal’ MNS leaders denied bail by court

The Mumbai Esplanade Court on Wednesday rejected the bail application of eight Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers including Sandeep Deshpande, a former corporator from Dadar, who were arrested for allegedly vandalising a Mumbai Congress party office in South Mumbai on 1 December.The MNS workers’ lawyer, Parag Pradhan, had filed a bail plea that was heard on Wednesday. Apart from Deshpande, the Mumbai police had arrested Santosh Sarode, Abhay Malap, Yogesh Chile, Vishal Kokne, Harish Solanki, Diwakar Padwal and former corporator Santosh Dhuri.The Azad Maidan police opposed the bail saying that if the accused are released, they will again create law and order problems. Considering the argument by the prosecution, the magistrate rejected the plea. The MNS workers will be lodged in Arthur road jail till December 18.The Azad Maidan Police had registered a case of rioting, damaging property and house trespassing against the MNS workers, after they allegedly vandalised a Congress office in South Mumbai on 1 December at around 11.30 am with paver blocks, wooden batons and stones. Windows and glasses of Congress Mumbai President Sanjay Nirupam’s cabin were damaged. Soon after the attack, local leader Sandip Deshpande took responsibility for it via a tweet and called it a ‘surgical strike’ on Congress.The attack had sparked a controversy and Nirupam had warned Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that if he fails to take action against the MNS goons, the Congress party will give befitting reply to MNS in their own style.”We opposed the bail considering the recent atmosphere and clashes that have been breaking between MNS and Congress party workers,” said Vasant Wakhare, senior police inspector at Azad Maidan police station.We opposed the bail saying that if they came out, its possible that they might just repeat what they have done earlier which will ultimately create law and order situation.”
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Admin braces for Ockhi storm

Gujarat government reviewed pre-calamity preparations on Monday in view of the onset of Ockhi storm, which could reach state’s coast at the midnight of December 5. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and chief secretary Dr JN Singh convened two different meetings in a day at Gandhinagar and ordered the concerned authorities to stay alert taking serious view of the possible natural calamity.The storm had settled at 870 km in South-South West direction at Monday afternoon and is proceeding towards Gujarat. However, the intensity of the same is gradually decreasing, chief secretary Singh said.”The winds can blow at the speed of 50 to 60 km per hour and heavy rain in parts of Saurashtra and South Gujarat are likely due to deep depression. When the Ockhi would reach at Gujarat coast, its intensity is likely to be weaker, but the Gujarat government is fully prepared to combat with the situation. We have alerted all the district administrations of coastal area in state. Control rooms have been made active round the clock at every taluka and district headquarters of coastal zone,” he said.”Our administration has been on high alert since last 24 hours and we are continuously keeping watch over the situation. We request the fishermen to not to go for fishing and other people to not to go close to seashores in state. Moreover, the officials of fisheries department also have been directed to stay put at headquarters,” added Singh.The Chief Minister Vijar Rupani, amidst the busy schedule of poll rallies, reached Gandhinagar and reviewed the condition through meeting with the senior officials of the state government.Rupani said, “As many as 50 boats of fishermen from Kerala have drifted towards the shores of Gujarat due to heavy blow of winds and all have been provided shelter in Veraval. The state administration is fully prepared to combat with the situation and sufficient precautionary measures have been taken.”Revenue secretary Pankaj Kumar said, “The Ockhi may bring heavy rains in parts of Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Dangs, Bharuch, Tapi in South Gujarat, Amreli, Gir Somnath and Bhavnagar districts in Saurashtra region and Diu-Daman and Dadra Nagar Haveli union territories. One NDRF team each has been deputed in Surat and Navsari districts while two teams have been deputed in Rajkot.”DANGER ALERT“Our administration has been on high alert since last 24 hours and we are continuously keeping watch over the situation. We request the fishermen to not to go for fishing and other people to not to go close to seashores in state,” chief secretary Dr JN Singh said.
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Cyclone Ockhi weakens on way to Gujarat coast

Destructive Cyclone Ockhi is on the way to Gujarat and may likely make a landfall in Surat on Tuesday midnight. After crossing Lakshadweep on Sunday, it is moving towards north and is expected to enter state in the next 24 hours, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which issued an alert and has warned fishermen against venturing into the seas as coastal areas are likely to experience strong winds.A bulletin issued by the IMD stated, “The very severe cyclonic storm Ockhi over the east-central Arabian Sea moved further north-northeastwards with a speed of 13 kmph during the past six hours and lay centered over east-central Arabian Sea about 590 km southwest of Mumbai and 770 km south-southwest of Surat on Monday. It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by the night of tomorrow, December 5.”After the IMD warning, the state government has been keeping a close track on Ockhi’s movement and taking necessary steps to prevent any major damage. An emergency meeting was headed by Chief Secretary J N Singh, taking stock of the disaster management groups’ preparedness in the event of a cyclone. Though the cyclone’s intensity has decreased, the departments have been asked to remain on alert to tackle any situation. Pankaj Kumar, principal secretary of the revenue department, said cyclone Ockhi is likely to cross south Gujarat near Surat by December 5. “We are continuously monitoring it through consultation with the IMD. Control rooms have been set up at the district and taluka levels. People have been advised to remain alerted. We have called back around 10,000 of fishermen from the sea,” said Kumar.“In coastal areas, we have asked authorities concerned to take precautionary measures. In city areas, we have to make sure that electric polls, transformers and tall structures are taken care of and, in case of any necessity, we will cut off power supply and clear road blockages,” Kumar noted, adding that there was no need to be scared, people just need to remain alert.Though Ahmedabad is not expected to see any impact, city authorities have initiated some preventive steps. “We have activated our control room at Paldi and zonal control room. We have pur fire system at standby in case of necessity,” said Mukesh Kumar, municipal commissioner.The Gujarat government issued instructions to district magistrates, asking them to take adequate precautionary measures. Two NDRF teams have been put on alert and deployed at Surat and Navsari.HEAVY RAINFALLLight to moderate rainfall is very likely at a few places over Saurashtra and south Gujarat region on 4th December. Light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy rainfall at isolated places is very likely over Saurashtra and south Gujarat region on December 5 (Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Gir- Somnath, Bhavnagar, Diu, Daman, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli districts) and light to moderate rainfall over Gujarat region at many places on December 6.SEA CONDITIONSea condition would be rough to very rough along & off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts from today, 4th night to 6th December 2017 morning. (iii) Damage Expected over south Gujarat (Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Gir- Somnath, Bhavnagar districts),Action suggested: South Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts: Fishermen are advised not to venture into the Sea along & off South Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts from 4th December to 6th morning.FERRY SERVICE SUSPENDEDWith the onset of Cyclone Ockhi, Gujarat Maritime Board has suspended operation of Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro Ferry service till December 5. The officials will meet on Tuesday evening and will decide whether to revoke suspension on the service on December 6 or not, after checking the situation.
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PM Narendra Modi calls it ‘Aurangzeb Raj’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi likened Rahul Gandhi’s imminent elevation as Congress president to “Aurangzeb Raj” or the rule of the 17th century absolutist Mughal emperor.”Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today said there was no poll when Shah Jahan came in place of Jahangir, or when Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan. It was known from the start that the Emperor’s son will be the heir,” he said.”This means that Congress’s senior leaders admit that Congress is not a party but a clan. And their coming to power means the emperor’s son taking the throne. Let them be happy with this Aurangzeb Raj,” Modi said in South Gujarat’s Dharampur on Monday, five days prior to the first phase of polls. Aiyar had also said, “…but in a democracy, elections are held.”Modi said the Congress was promoting someone against whom a case has been registered on court orders. “This shows that the Congress has gone bankrupt,” he said, apparently referring to the National Herald case.He accused the Congress of having an anti-Gujarat mentality, pointing out to the “injustice” meted out to leaders such as Sardar Patel and former Morarji Desai.The PM also accused the Congress of being “neck deep” in corruption, citing various alleged scams such as Coal Scam, 2G scam and others. He said there was no charge against him in all the years as PM and CM.In another rally at Bhavnagar later in the day, the PM said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi did not trust her son Rahul enough to declare him the prime ministerial candidate.”If you don’t have democracy at your own home (Congress party), how can you practise it in the country? Those who have no internal democracy cannot work for people” the PM had said at a rally in Gujarat’s Surendranagar on Sunday.”A youngster Shehzad (Poonawalla) has exposed the rigging that is taking place in the Congress presidential election. And Shehzad is a senior Congress leader in Maharashtra. Congress has tried to muzzle his voice and wants to even remove him from their social media groups. What tolerance is this?””They spoke so much about tolerance but when a responsible leader of their own party raised a question, they were quick to release a fatwa against him. What Shehzad is saying is not unusual it is the culture of Congress to promote one family. I applaud Shehzad for his bravery but this is what has happened in Congress,” he had said.Eighty-nine seats of south Gujarat and Saurashtra will go to the polls in the first phase of the Assembly elections on Saturday. The second phase of polling in Gujarat will take place on December 14. The results for the 182-seat Assembly will be announced on December 18.
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Delhi police failed to solve 66% cases

The Delhi police’s average crime solving percentage across all its administrative districts till November 19 this is as low as 33.37%. This is when the National Crime Records Bureau has ranked the city as the worst in increasing crime cases.Confidential police documents accessed by DNA show that the force has been struggling to clear case backlogs. This is when the Commissioner of Police recently told the media that the number of crimes is high in the city because more cases are being registered.The New Delhi district headed by DCP BK Singh is the worst despite having the biggest police deployment. It managed to solve only 23% of the 3,120 cases. Then comes Rohini that could solve 26% of the total 18,046 cases.The North district achieved a rate of only 29%. It registered 9,513 cases. It is followed by the Southeast that could solve 30% of the 20,549 cases. The East district scored 31%. It registered 15,659 cases. The outer district managed to solve 33% of the 14,961 cases.The Northwest also clocked 33%. It recorded 19,400 cases.The police in West, Southwest and Northeast districts have solved 36% of the 16,105, 14,474 and 15,613 cases, respectively.The Central district recorded 9,564 cases and solved a 37% of them.The Shahadra district performed better and scored 41%. It recorded 12,798 cases. The South district has fared the best. It solved 44% of the 19,786 cases.The IGI airport police, which does not usually witness heinous crimes at it falls in a sensitive zone and has round-the-clock security by the CISF, solved 56% of the 577 cases that included only one murder and a rape as heinous crimes.Railways and Delhi Metro, however, were the worst in non-major police pockets. Both solved 21% and 22% cases, respectively. The Railways recorded 3,683 cases, while the Metro saw 11,872.
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Security agencies entered ‘Tora Bora’ of Kashmir to kill JeM militants

A recent encounter in which four Jaish-e-Mohammed militants were killed in Budgam’s Pakharpora area is being seen as the security forces’ maiden entry into an area popularly known as ‘Tora Bora’ because of the heavy presence of foreign militants there, officials here said.The militants are often in hiding in the area’s deep forests, a maze not very different from the labyrinth of caves of Taliban-controlled Tora Bora in northern Afghanistan, they said.The Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir police and Army carried out its first operation in this region on Thursday, killing the four terrorists.Also readIslamic State claims it captured Osama bin Laden’s Afghan hideout of Tora BoraIn April this year, two militants were killed at Hyat Pura, 8km from Pakharpora, but that officials said was a chance encounter as the incident followed a routine check.Militants have been particularly active over the last year in Pakharpora, located strategically in the district of Budgam, for it leads into South Kashmir as well as Srinagar city.Also read5 militants killed in two separate encounters in KashmirHeightened militancy this year has been receiving ground support, with local people strongly resisting the forces, especially during counter-insurgency operations.The Valley’s ‘Tora Bora’ had figured prominently in many meetings of security agencies after the area, 45km from here, became the infiltration route for militants entering South Kashmir, the epicentre of unrest following the killing of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group, on July 8 last year.An official said the region has become the “reception area” for foreign militants who sneak into South Kashmir via Pakharpora. The dense forests and deep gorges in the region provide a natural cover to the militants.There is also a constant stream of people visiting Pakharpora because of a shrine there which has become popular in the last couple of years. This makes it difficult for security forces to swiftly identify the militants, the official said.After it came to light that terrorists were using public roads instead of the usual mountainous path while moving towards the south, security agencies had suggested barricading the roads and increasing patrolling in the area — a move turned down by the state government.Not much has been done to plug this route despite repeated warnings by the central intelligence agencies, official sources said.However, the Army recently moved in a battalion comprising 1000 men around the area and also established a camp near Pakharpora, which is a part of the Beerwah Assembly constituency represented by former chief minister Omar Abdullah, to give a semblance of security to the region.According to intelligence reports, accessed by PTI, there are various villages around Pakharpora which witness militant movements and have a network of militants.These villages include Kuzwera, Magray Pora, Behrampora, Kaisemullah, Gowharpora, Qazipora, Wanbugh, Hayat Pora, Malpora, Tujan and Dalwan, the reports said.The reports highlighted that these areas are among the most dangerous in the twin districts of pulwama and Budgam.
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Actor Vishal to contest Tamil Nadu bye-poll

Taking everyone by surprise, actor Vishal, president of Tamil Nadu Producers Council and general secretary of South Indian Artistes Association, on Saturday announced that he would be contesting the December 21 RK Nagar Assembly Constituency by-poll as an independent candidate.The actor said he took the decision after consulting with his friends and supporters on Saturday.Sources said he will file his nomination papers to contest in the RK Nagar seat, which was held by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, on Monday. “He will explain why he took the decision and also to his plan to enter politics after filing the nomination papers,” the source said.While interacting with friends and supporters, the actor told them that the time had come for him to enter politics as he could not sit and watch anymore.”I know the risk involved . I am prepared to face it,” one of his close friends quoted him as saying.Amid talks of Tamil superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan entering politics, the actor has surprised everyone by his sudden announcement. The announcement marks the continuation of the trend of film personalities entering politics in Tamil Nadu. DMK founder CN Annadurai and his successor M Karunanidhi were successful film scriptwriters who went on to become the chief ministers, AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran and party supremo Jayalalithaa were successful film stars.Vishal also openly took on BJP’s national secretary H Raja during the controversy involving Tamil movie Mersal and he also took on the ruling AIADMK in the recent case of a Tamil producer committing suicide following harassment by a financier.Political analyst Gnani felt that it was too early to talk about the impact of actor Vishal’s entering the fray in the RK Nagar. “We don’t know why he is contesting, what kind of politics is he going to pursue and who will he oppose? We can only know if there will be an impact if we had answers to these questions, ” he said.
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Teen’s high-rise acts raise security concerns

Videos and photographs of a 17-year-old mechanical engineering student that had gone viral on social media on Wednesday has brought to fore the issue of unguarded high-rise buildings in the city that could possibly be used for criminal activity.The youth had performed daredevil stunts on the top of four high-rises in South Mumbai buildings by breaching security. He was summoned by the police after the police were informed about it on Twitter.On Wednesday, DNA had reported about Pranal Chavan, who claimed to be India’s only ‘Urban Free Climber’. Chavan had started performing stunts last month and had uploaded at least three videos of him performing stunts, on social media. Chavan claims to have performed stunts at Lodha The Park at Lower Parel, Lokhandwala Minerva at Mahalakshmi and Worli Omkar 1973.“There is a need to crack the whip on persons who risk their lives by performing stunts. The teenager, if caught, can be booked under cognisable sections 447 (criminal trespass), which attracts imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months,” said former IPS officer-turned-lawyer YP Singh.“It has raised serious questions on the security measures inside the under-construction buildings. Any untoward incident could have led to a major accident at the building. The builder or supervisor should not allow outsiders to enter the building,” said Singh.APOLOGYThe teen on Wednesday deleted videos uploaded by him fearing police action and a warning. “Next time I will take permission from the builder before performing any stunts,” he said.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Depression alert over south Andaman Sea, Navy strives to resue stranded fishermen

A low pressure system over the South Andaman Sea is expected to turn into a depression in the next 48 hours, which may bring more rainfall to Tamil Nadu, as the death toll due to Cyclone Ockhi in Kanyakumari district rose to five today.The deaths occurred in cyclone-related incidents in the district. Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced a solatium of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of each of the victims, said an official release. “A well marked low pressure is lying over South Andaman Sea and its neighbourhood. It is expected to concentrate into a depression in the next 48 hours,” Regional Meteorological Centre Director S Balachandran said.Balachandran said the system is likely to move towards north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra coast in the next four days. “This is the current situation and we are monitoring the system.” In the next 24 hours, more rainfall is expected in most places in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Heavy rainfall can be expected in Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Theni and Dindigul, he said.Also readCyclone Ockhi updates: More than 80 fishermen go missing; 8 dead in Tamil Nadu, KeralaFishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea along the Kanyakumari coast and Arabian sea, he added. Cyclone Ockhi, which in Bengali means ‘eye’, today intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and moved to the Arabian Sea. An IMD bulletin said Ockhi over Southeast Arabian Sea continued to move west-northwestwards with a speed of 13 kmph. It lies over Lakshadweep area and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea about 90km northeast of Minicoy and 270km south-southeast of Amini Divi.”The system is very likely to intensify further during the next 24 hours,” the bulletin said. Widespread rainfall has been reported in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry with Papanasam (Tirunelveli district) recording 45 cm rain, Balachandran said. The Indian Navy is putting in “maximum effort” to rescue fishermen from the sea which is very rough under the influence of Cyclone Ockhi, a top Navy official said today. Rescue operations are on. Some fishermen have already been rescued by the Navy which immediately dispatched aircraft and ships besides helicopters to carry out rescue operations in the sea which is very rough, said Vice Admiral A R Karve, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command.”Maximum efforts have been put in,” he said at a press meet held on board the INS Tir on the occasion of Navy Day at the Naval Base here. “We have responded immediately. We will continue to meet the requirement of safety and security of our fishermen. As soon as we got the request from the government of Kerala for search operations, we have started that,” Vice Admiral Karve said. According to a defence spokesperson, the navy is continuing search and rescue operations in coordination with the Indian Coast Guard and the state administration in the coastal areas of Kerala.At present, 69 people stranded in the sea have been located and the exact numbers are being corroborated, he said.Twenty people have been rescued and efforts are on to bring others to safety. Continuous sorties of aircraft and helicopters are being undertaken in coordination with the units at sea, the spokesperson said. Top navy officials said they have deployed two ships to the Lakshadweep Islands for carrying out rescue and rehabilitation operations in the island which is under threat of the cyclone.Ockhi, which has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm, moved to the Arabian Sea today.
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Delhi HC orders re-investigation of all acquittal cases by POSCO judge

The Delhi High court has ordered the re-investigation of all the cases of acquittal by a POCSO judge deputed at the Saket court complex in the national capital after it found some “fundamental and serious error in the approach of the learned Judge in deciding the cases.A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice P S Teji called for all the case files of the decision rendered by Additional Sessions Judge Sunil Chaudhary while hearing an appeal in one of the acquittals.“We have come across several decisions rendered by the same learned Judge in cases under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and they all, prima-facie, appear to be laconic.“There is a fundamental and serious error in the approach of the learned Judge in deciding the cases which have come to our notice,” the court.The bench held that the situation demanded them “to examine all the decisions rendered by the Additional & Sessions Judge Sunil Chaudhary while discharging functions as the ASJ-01, South-East District, New Delhi, in cases under POCSO Act”.The court directed the District and Sessions Judge, South East District, New Delhi to place before the court all the decisions delivered by ASJ Chaudhary on the next date of hearing for examination by invoking its powers under section 397 and 401 CrPC.Section 397 CrPC empowers a high court or a sessions judge to call for and examine the record of any proceeding before any inferior criminal court within its jurisdiction.The court’s direction comes while hearing an appeal by Delhi police challenging the acquittal of a youth who had allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 10-year-old in the year 2010.​Additional Standing Counsel for the state, Rajat Kaytal said that “the judgement borders on perversity” following which the court found substance in the claim and held, “Prima-facie a reading of the impugned judgment gives us the same impression.”The court also took note of the three different appeals which had come from the judgments pronounced by the same judge and henceforth recalled all the records from the District and Sessions Judge.
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CPEC will aggravate tension between India and Pakistan: US think-tank

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The multi-billion dollar China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will deepen China’s already formidable presence in the South Asian nation, and “aggravate” tension between India and Pakistan, a US think-tank said today.”CPEC will deepen China’s already formidable presence in the country and clearly aggravate India-Pakistan tensions. In addition, real questions persist about Pakistan’s ability to finance its share of new energy investment,” Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director and Senior Associate for South Asia Program at the Wilson Center said in a report published today.According to him, even though the CPEC may enable Pakistan to generate more power, it will not solve the country’s broader energy crisis, which is rooted in factors that go well beyond supply shortages.”Stability in Pakistan’s security situation and economic performance is increasingly in critical interest for Beijing because it is a precondition for CPEC’s success. Given New Delhi’s strenuous opposition, CPEC will exacerbate India- Pakistan tensions,” Kugelman wrote. ALSO READ ‘Ready to strengthen connectivity…’: China hints it may rename CPEC to address India’s ‘concerns’Among other things, CPEC cements the already deep presence of Washington’s top strategic competitor in a region where the US has a much lighter footprint, he said.”The project also generates additional obstacles for the Indian efforts to access markets and natural gas reserves in Central Asia — a region that India cannot reach directly by land because Pakistan denies its transit rights on Pakistani soil,” he said.According to Kugelman, Beijing’s messaging is very similar to Islamabad’s — it uses only the most positive of rhetoric and with a triumphant and confident tone. Like Pakistan, China has much at stake, he said.As per the report, CPEC is in some ways a test case of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) because it includes some of the initiative’s first projects to become fully operational. ALSO READ Tiff between ‘all weather friends’? Confusion over Pakistan’s move to exclude PoK dam from CPEC”Privately, however, China worries about the security risks to CPEC, even as terrorist violence has subsided in Pakistan since 2014, when the Pakistani military launched a major counterterrorism offensive,” the report said, adding that many of the attacks that have taken place since then have occurred along or on envisioned CPEC routes in Baluchistan.Separatist rebels have targeted energy infrastructure in the province for a number of years and remain an active threat.”Furthermore, criminal gangs pose threats to CPEC projects in Punjab Province. One such outfit, known as the Chotu Gang, abducted 12 Chinese engineers working on a highway project in Punjab back in 2005,” he wrote.Kugelman said in private conversations, Pakistani officials and analysts offer a sobering appraisal of the project.”Privately, Pakistanis also express concern about the country’s ability to pay back loans in the coming years, as well as about the security threats ranging from terrorism and separatist insurgency to organized crime that threaten CPEC construction,” he said.Referring to India’s reaction to CPEC, Kugelman said New Delhi’s biggest objection to CPEC is that it entails building projects in Gilgit-Baltistan.”New Delhi does not formally oppose BRI as a whole; rather, its stated concerns are restricted to CPEC, which it has described as a violation of Indian sovereignty, he noted. ALSO READ Pakistan PM accuses India of unleashing propaganda against CPEC

Mumbai: Body of infant found dumped in garbage bin, murder case registered

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The MRA marg police have registered a case of murder against unidentified persons, after a body of a newborn girl was found dumped at the garbage bin at Ballard pier in South Mumbai on Sunday late night.The police believes following an unwanted pregnancy, parents may have killed the infant. According to MRA Marg police, a body of a day old baby was found by a sweeper dumped at garbage bin at Ballard pier on Sunday late night. The police said the baby was wrapped in a plastic bag and a handkerchief was stuffed in her mouth. The baby was immediately rushed to St. George hospital at CST, where doctors declared her dead. After the postmortem, the police found that the baby was a day old and was physically healthy.”The postmortem report indicated that she was choked to death and there were bruises on her neck. As her umbilical cord was not cut, we suspect that her delivery was not done in a hospital. We have registered a case of murder and suspect that the she may have been killed by her parents due to unwanted pregnancy. We have found CCTV footage of the area and are in the process of scrutinising it,”said a police officer from MRA Marg police station.”We have sent the handkerchief to Kalina Forensic Science Laboratory,”he added

Gangster believed to have killed Samajwadi Party leader nabbed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 33-year old contract killer— wanted in the murder case of Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Zaid in Lucknow — has been arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday morningMannan alias Khalifa alias Murtaja alias Monu was not just a well known gangster but one of the best shooters of the Shaukat Pasha and Satya Prakash gang in South East Delhi.”Khalifa has over 22 criminal cases registered against him including murder, dacoity, robbery, attempt to murder, kidnapping, snatching. After he killed Zaid, the UP police declared a reward of Rs 12,000 for his arrest,” said Romil Baaniya, Deputy Commissioner of Police, South-East.The arrest took place at around 1:45am on Monday morning. The police team investigating the case were informed the accused shooter would be coming towards Moolchand late on Sunday night. They then erected a barricade not just on the main road but the service road as well.When police officials deployed at the barricade saw a Hero Honda motorcycle coming from Moolchand and heading towards LSR college road, they intercepted the motorcycle. But instead of stopping the rider hit the barricades and tried to flee. The police team then intercepted him from all sides, over-powered him and took him into custody.Police said Khalifa was responsible for a shootout last Thursday in the Okhla Mandi area where a person identified as Mohammad Zaki was shot on the leg. Investigating the case, police officials said that during the probe they found that Zaki was was having problems with his wife Ayesha, and their suspicions fell on a man Ayesha had been seeing regularly — Khalifa.”While Khalifa was lodged in Tihar jail he met Zaki and both of them became friends. Post their release from jail, Khalifa started visiting Zaki’s home where he got close to his wife Ayesha. This became a problem for Zaki who objected to this,” Baaniya said.Police officials said that Ayesha, along with her brother Sarfaraz, hatched a plan to eliminate Zaki. They took Khalifa into their confidence and offered Rs 5 lakhs to him in order to eliminate Zaki. Police officials said that Khalifa got an advance of the money but only shot Zaki in the leg as he did not receive full payment.Asked about his background, police said that Khalifa was a member of the Satya Prakash alias Satte Gang who were responsible for robberies and dacoity in Delhi and neighbouring areas.He had been arrested many times and while he was in jail in 2016 he got in touch with the notorious gangster Salim who is facing trial in many criminal cases.Salim had then allegedly given him the contract to kill Samajwadi Party leader Mohammed Zaid which he is believed to have carried out last year police said.

Why BJP is comfortable in Gujarat despite Congress onslaught: Inside party’s formidable messaging machinery

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite all-out attack launched by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Gujarat BJP is not ruffled. The confidence stems from the vast machinery it has built in every nook and corner of Gujarat to connect with its primary members. BJP has married its content and messaging strategy aided by technological support.To start with, Surat itself has 3200 WhatsApp groups operated by BJP workers, which are directly linked with each and every office bearer of the party. These groups further diversify when the content reaches primary members for distribution. “In a minute’s time, we have the capacity to touch base with 6 lakh people,” said PVS Sharma, BJP’s in-charge of South Gujarat.BJP has also tweaked its social media strategy. It is heavily banking on WhatsApp and Twitter platforms than Facebook. The war room boys feel that Facebook content is not instantaneous. i.e it doesn’t directly reach all users in real-time. For this very reason, BJP has WhatsApp groups at assembly level, Shakti Kendra and booth levels.
ALSO READ Gujarat Elections | All the ‘kichad’ thrown at me will help lotus bloom: PM Modi BJP has tried to connect with the workers and primary members in a three-pronged manner.Every assembly segment in Gujarat has a dedicated call centre. The job of the call centre through the election is to reach out to all primary members. They are harnessing the data which BJP collected during its missed call campaign. For example, Surat BJP has created a database of 11 lakh individuals who are its primary members.
ALSO READ Gujarat elections: Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani to fight as independent candidate from Vadgam ConstituencyThe call centres check all the missed calls they received and verified the numbers and personal addresses before connecting with them. It helped them to identify primary members up to booth level.The job of the call centre is to establish a personal connect with the voters. “We make them feel part of BJP’s larger family. From this set, Panna Pramukhs too are identified who are given responsibility of 40 to 45 voters. Their job during elections is to ensure that out of the list, all BJP sympathisers come out to vote.
ALSO READ Paresh Rawal compares PM Modi to Gautam Buddha, urges Gujaratis not to vote along caste lines These call centres are coupled with one war room in each district to monitor political developments in the area. The second component of the electoral strategy is the Audio Bridge, a technology BJP is using to connect all its rural workers. There are 35 constituencies in Surat and BJP has been able to connect almost all rural workers through the Audio Bridge technology. The call is initiated from a BJP district office and workers connect to the number. The Con call has the capacity to handle 1400 people at time. Sources say that the HQ can even monitor the numbers of the calls dropped during con call and they are immediately requested to connect again. Sources say that Audio Bridge was deployed in rural areas specifically because of limited bandwidth capacity.The last leg of the triad is Video Conferencing. It connects Central Offices with field offices of the candidates. The Central Offices have ensured that cameras with 360 degree views are installed to get a ground feel of the camp offices of the candidates. It is this formidable machine which is keeping BJP confident. Insiders say that if they can mobIlise their own primary members, through their elaborate messaging machinery, they will comfortably win this election. Jury is still out on it.

Congress releases 3rd list of 76 candidates for Gujarat polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Sunday night released its third list of 76 candidates for the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly election, filing of nominations for which ends on Monday.The party, which has been seeking to dislodge the BJP from power in the western state, earlier announced the names of 86 candidates in two phases.The party, however, could not finalise the names of its candidates in 20 more seats.Congress general secretary Oscar Fernandes released the third list to the media tonight.The list featured at least 11 candidates from Scheduled Tribes and three from Scheduled Caste communities.The Congress has been out of power in the crucial state for over two decades.The polling for the two-phase elections in Gujarat, having total 182 seats, will take place on December 9 and 14 and votes will be counted on December 18.Eighty-nine seats of Saurashtra and South Gujarat region are going to polls in the first phase, while the remaining 93 seats in central and northern region would go for polls in the second phase.

Child rights panel summons principal, staff

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) on Thursday has summoned the principal and three staff members of a private school in Dwarka where a four-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by her classmate.“The commission is in receipt of a complaint regarding the sexual assault of a minor in your school during school hours. Considering the seriousness of the matter you are asked to appear before the commission on November 27 and bring along the two teachers concerned and the aaya,” the commission said in its notice.The girl’s mother on Wednesday had approached the police and alleged that her daughter was “inappropriately touched” by a classmate. According to the mother, when the girl returned home from school she complained of pain in her private parts. She was taken to a hospital where the doctors confirmed sexual assault.Based on a complaint filed by the mother, a case was registered at the Dwarka (South) police station. The school administration was booked for negligence.The school authorities, however, denied the allegations of negligence and non-cooperation in the complaint filed by the mother.“We are cooperating with the police, and the video footage and other evidence sought from us have been provided to them. All necessary actions are being taken to help the investigating agency to probe the alleged incident,” the school’s legal adviser S Rajapa said.

145 cases against policemen in 2015, no arrest: Survey

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a surprising revelation, despite over 12,000 complaints received against the Delhi Police officers in 2015, of which 346 were declared false, only 145 criminal cases were registered, according to the data released by Praja Foundation on Thursday. It further stated despite 145 criminal cases, no policeman was arrested.The foundation revealed that the number of complaints received in 2015 against the police was 12,913 of which 346 were declared false. Only 145 criminal cases were registered but no police personnel got arrested. The Same year, of 1,057 cases registered against the police, 62% were either withdrawn or disposed of, while 69 were dismissed and in 292 cases major punishment was awarded, it said.A number of incidents were reported in 2016 where rogue policing also came to light. In December 2016, a head constable was suspended after allegedly helping women pickpockets at a metro station when the act was caught in a CCTV camera. In the same month, a constable and five others, including three women were arrested for allegedly honey-trapping businessmen and government employees in Burari area. Two months ahead of this, in October, an inspector was suspended for his alleged involvement in a corruption case of fake coin manufacturing.Apart from this, while in September, three cops from the Delhi Police’s Special Cell were dismissed for extorting money, in August a head constable and two others were booked for carrying out unauthorised construction in Hari Nagar.The data also mentioned that 50% of the respondents to crime do not feel secure in Delhi, whereas 60% do not feel that Delhi is secure for women, children and senior citizens.”67% respondents from Chandni Chowk and South Delhi find Delhi to be unsafe/not secure for women, children and senior citizens. South district of Delhi Police recorded very high occurrence of molestation with women,” it read.57% of the respondents do not feel secure while travelling in Delhi, of which the highest number of respondents was of North East Delhi i.e. 63%, Praja data stated.”A comparison between Delhi and Mumbai numbers (Annual Survey of Households), strictly going on people’s perceptions, Delhi is not considered to be as secure by its residents,” it stated.

Visual relief for commuters as artwork to adorn Phase III Metro stations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Commuters using Metro on a daily basis are in for some visual relief and even enjoyment as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has decided to beautify the stations with the use of creative artworks.As many as 11 stations on the upcoming Majlis Park–Shiv Vihar corridor of Phase III will be beautified under the project. These stations include Netaji Subhash Place, Shalimar Bagh, Naraina, Bhikaji Cama Place, Sarojini Nagar, South Extension, INA, Lajpat Nagar, Vinobha puri, Nizamuddin, and Ashram.”As part of the project, digital glass prints will be installed on the entire shafts of lifts. The graffiti and artworks are expected to add aesthetic value to these structures as well as brighten up the premises,” a DMRC official said. All these lifts run from ground to concourse and concourse to platform levels of these underground stations.The artworks have been inspired by themes such as nature, Indian classical dance forms, and so on, and have been meticulously prepared by the DMRC’s team of architects.”Delhi Metro always endeavours to design its stations in an aesthetic manner. Artworks and installations have been put up at many of the Delhi Metro’s stations. In Phase II, the lift shafts at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Metro station were decorated,” the official said.Also, on the Heritage Line, stations have artworks depicting the history and culture of the area. In the upcoming Botanical Garden–Kalkaji Mandir section also, artworks have been installed to beautify stations.PROJECT METROAs many as 11 stations on the Majlis Park–Shiv Vihar corridor of Phase III will be beautified including Netaji Subhash Place, Shalimar Bagh, Naraina, Bhikaji Cama Place, Sarojini Nagar, South Extension, INA, Lajpat Nagar, etc.

Indrani Mukerjea leases her property for Rs 3.46L/month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indrani Mukerjea, who is accused of killing her daughter Sheena Bora, and is currently behind bars, recently gave her 2,756 sq ft property on lease. The property that was in news after her arrest is in Phoenix House, Lower Parel, and she has given it on lease for a period of 55-months.Documents available with DNA show that she will receive Rs 3.46 lakh per month as rent which will increase to Rs 4.01 lakh towards the end. A deposit of 18 lakh has also been accepted.The deal was signed in September and a micro finance company located in Chennai has been leased the office space.On Indrani’s behalf, a certain KMT Radhakrishnan signed the deal, the address mentioned is of Marlow building, Pochkanwala, Worli.The property leased by Indrani Mukerjea is located on the fifth floor of C Wing in Phoneix House, Lower Parel. A stamp duty of 51,600 was also paid to the government.According to a real estate broker from South Mumbai, there’s not much to read into the deal. The price at which the office space has been leased is as per market standards.After the arrest of Indrani Mukerjea in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, this particular property did feature in several news reports as several angles were being probed into to find the motive behind the murder.

Rajasthan: Booklet, pamphlet on love jihad ‘distributed’ at spiritual fair

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A controversial booklet and a pamphlet warning Hindu girls of ‘love jihad’ were allegedly distributed at a stall in an ongoing Hindu spiritual and service fair here, prompting the police to order an inquiry.The pamphlets, carrying a picture of a Bollywood actress, warned the people against ‘love jihad’ and also claimed that two Muslim actors had left their Hindu wives. Amid claims that the material was handed out at a stall of Bajrang Dal, its coordinator Ashok Singh said it was not distributed from their stall.Fair organiser Somkant Sharma said the content was not related to the fair. “I have no idea if such pamphlets have been distributed. The fair is totally based on the work of service,” he said. DCP South Yogesh Dadhich said an inquiry was ordered to look into the matter. “On reports of such material, I have asked the additional DCP to probe the matter to ascertain who distributed these things in the fair,” he told PTI. The fair is being held from November 16 to November 20

Mood change for Moody’s? P Chidambaram mocks at Narendra Modi govenment’s sudden love

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mocking at government’s elation over the sovereign rating upgrade by Moody’s, former finance minister P Chidambaram said only a few months ago the regime had flayed the rating methodology.”Just some months ago, government had said the Moody’s methodology was all wrong… A long letter was written by Shaktikanta Das (ex-economic affairs secretary) questioning Moody’s ratings methodology, saying they’ve to revise their methodology as it’s all wonky,” he sadi at an event in Mumbai on Saturday.Moody’s had on Friday upgraded the sovereign ratings by a notch to Baa2 with stable outlook, citing the Modi government’s various reform programme and higher growth prospectus. The last rating upgrade was in 2004.Ridiculing the way government has reacted to the upward rating revision, the senior Congress leader recalled that for the government “Moody’s, whose methodology was all wrong circa 2016″.On higher growth, which was cited by the agency as one of the key reasons for the rating action, he said the same agency and government project growth at 6.7 per cent for the current financial year.”It was 8 per cent in 2015-16, 7.1 per cent in 2016-17 and will be 6.7 per cent in 2017-18. Is that North or South, you conclude,” he said.According to him, there are three key indicators– gross fixed capital formation and within that private sector investment; credit growth, especially for small businesses, and jobs — which are critical to assess the health of an economy.”But the dashboard is flashing red on all these three indicators,” he lamented. Reeling out numbers, Chidambaram said gross fixed capital formation is down 7-8 points from its peak and there’s no sign of it recovering in the near future as well.Further, he said private investment is at its lowest in the past seven-eight years. In addition, several projects are stalled on one hand and may companies are on the other being referred to the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code. All these would lead to closures and downsizing and loss of jobs.Secondly, the former finance minister pointed out that credit growth has been the lowest in two decades. “It has crept up 6 per cent year-on-year, but for medium industries it has been negative credit growth…SMEs are struggling and have to find finances outside the formal lending system.”He also referred to the criticality of job creation saying, “government is unwilling to come up with reliable and authentic data…CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy), which is a quite credible agency, stated that between January and June 2017, as many as 19,60,000 jobs were lost.”The senior Congress leader also said over 90 per cent of jobs are in the SME sector which requires an urgent push to boost the economy.

Cheating plaint lodged against SoBo gym

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An event-management company has lodged a complaint with Marine Drive police, alleging that four partners of a South Mumbai-based gymkhana have charged them Rs 49 lakh for renting a venue and not giving them the amenities as promised while making the deal.According to the police, the event company had organised an exhibition called ‘Code and Shopping festival’ and had taken a venue for rent from Wilson Gymkhana. The complainant has alleged that the accused had promised to give several facilities like safety and security of the venue, electricity backup and CCTV cameras at the venue while making the agreement. However, no facility was provided on the day of the event.Several incidents of theft have also taken place at various stalls during the event as no security measures were given by the gymkhana, company’s owner Monika Singh alleged. However, Amin Pawar, representative of Wilson Gymkhana refuted all the allegation and said,”We had provided everything which was promised and the company had issues with their exhibitors.””After receiving the complaint from Singh, we registered a case of cheating against the four partners of the gymkhana.The accused have not been arrested yet,” said an inspector of Marine Drive Police station.

MMB to have jetties at Borivali, NCPA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The fate of its proposed water transport project on the route may be uncertain, but the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) may go ahead with the construction of standalone jetties at Nariman Point and Borivali.The MMB had floated expressions of interest (EoI) for developing passenger ferry services between NCPA at Nariman Point and Borivali with plans for stoppages at locations like Bandra, Versova, Marve, Juhu in the subsequent phase to link South Mumbai and the western suburbs. However, the rough seas on the western seaboard which affected operations, the proposed coastal road between South Mumbai and Kandivali and the likely low rate of return, led to second thoughts on the already-delayed project.”The MMB is planning to develop the proposed jetties near NCPA at Nariman Point and at Borivali. Regardless of the fate of the water transport project, these jetties can be used for purposes such as decongesting the anchorage at the Gateway of India and New Ferry Wharf, tourism, cruises, water sports and seaplanes. The jetties can be used for launching ferry services to other locations, including Goa and the Konkan,” said a senior MMB official.This will also reduce the MMB’s dependence on the jetties at the Gateway of India and the New Ferry Wharf, which are under the control of the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT).”The two jetties can be developed on standalone basis. The NCPA jetty can be used for water transport operations across Maharashtra’s coastline while the jetty at Borivali, the site for which is located in the creek, can be used across the year due to the sheltered waters which makes it ideal for tourism purposes… the process is underway and instructions have been given to examine the viability,” he added.The MMB board, which met under chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, had approved a study for the west coast water transport project. Officials from the board claimed that through the creation of public transport facilities may not be financially viable, it was necessary from the point of view of public convenience.The potentiality of the water-transport sector in Mumbai and on Maharashtra’s 720km coastline remains under-utilised. Conceived almost a decade ago, the west coast water transport project has been overtaken by subsequent infrastructure addition plans including the coastal road.NO JETTY JITTERSMMB had floated expressions of interest for developing passenger ferry services between NCPA and Borivali. Stoppages will be at Bandra, Versova, Marve, Juhu in the subsequent phase, and will link South Mumbai with western suburbs. MMB board had approved a study for the west coast water project.

Kashmiris line up to become proud Indian army soldiers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When militants killed 22-year-old army officer Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz in May, little did they realize that their actions will only strengthen the resolve of the Kashmiri youth to serve the motherland by joining the Indian army.Militants had abducted Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, of the Rajputana Riffles from his maternal uncle’s home in Batpora village of South Kashmir’s Shopian district, where he had gone to attend cousin’s wedding on May 10.Lieutenant Fayaz, who was unarmed and had come home on leave, was taken to the neighboring Harmain village, where he was shot dead. Hailing from the Sadsun village of Kulgam district, his assassination had shocked the entire nation, since the officer was unarmed and commissioned in the Army just a few months ago. Six months on, thousands of youth swarmed the army recruitment rally in Kupwara to don the olive greens and defend the motherland against the inimical elements in the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.Army’s Recruitment Rally commenced on November 15 at Panzgam garrison for the candidates of the border districts of Kupwara and Bandipora in North Kashmir.“An overwhelming response was visible among the locals of the remote border district as youths in thousands turned up for participating in various tests conducted for enrollment into Indian Army”, said an army spokesman at Srinagar. The rally which is being conducted from November 15 to 23 will test the candidates for their physical standards and other ground tests followed by an aptitude test and medical examination. A candidate has to clear all these tests and examination with high standards so as to get a seat in the final merit list. “Candidates were seen to be highly motivated and over-exuberant as they braved out the winter and came in thousands for the early morning run. The huge turnout of youth is a clear indicator that they pay no heed to the calls given by inimical element and want to be part of elite Indian Army and participate in nation building”, said the spokesman.This is the second time in four months when Kashmiri youth have defied odds to join the Indian army. More than 3000 youth from Jammu and Kashmir appeared for the written exam for the selection of officers in the Territorial Army in July. Of whom, more than 800 youth hailed from the restive Kashmir valley alone, a figure which is almost double than the previous year.

From demanding tougher action in Kashmir to BJP supporters trusting media: 10 things Pew survey said about India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pew Research asked a host of questions to 2464 Indians selected strategically from 16 of the 18 most populous states (except Kerala and Assam). Some of the replies fit with the general perception whereas others may come across as counter intuitive to the general narrative commonplace in newsrooms and political circles. Indians extremely happy with the state of democracy:How often have we seen columns about democracy dying in India? Well, it may be for the Lutyens elite, trying to cope with the changing realities but common people clearly don’t share the feeling. 85% people trust democracy and 79% are satisfied with the way democracy is running. So the rhetoric about failing democracy clearly holds no currency with those who matter, the voters.However, India won’t mind a military regime too: If the Pew survey is to be believed, 53% Indians are okay with being ruled by the military. In a separate question, 86% respondents have said that military has very good influence in the country. The acceptance of a hypothetical military rule is in contrivance to the above point of people being happy with democracy. What can explain this apparent dichotomy? Perhaps it is the high respect the armed forces get in the country and the inherent notion that military would impart a much-needed discipline missing in public life. Almost 55% also support a strong leader, and it is skewed heavily amongst BJP supporters and those in urban areas. That may possibly explain the enthusiastic response towards demonetization, which was largely hailed as a dramatic measure done to cleanse the financial system.People in South India are more happy with economy:This probably comes as no surprise. The Southern states are well off on average than their fellow countrymen. Hence, 91% are satisfied with the state of economy, whereas it is only 79% for Eastern India. Only one in three care for communal relations:While there is tonnes of newsreel and TV time spent on discussing several instances of communal disharmony in the country, that is not exactly the concern of the common Indian. However, it doesn’t mean it is not a serious issue. It merely shows the politicians and media aren’t on the same page as the audience. Crime and terrorism are the top recall issues plaguing Indians. From Russia, with love:Nearly 44% Indians have favourable views about Russia, little less than US enjoying 49% of favourability. This is counter-intuitive considering the amount of pop culture influence one can see in urban India. The goodwill of US has fallen from 58% to 49%, possibly owing to talks of tightening norms for H1B visa among others. Indians though have a 41% approval rating for Donald Trump, much higher than what he enjoys in many other countries. But what explains India’s love for Russia? Perhaps the historical bond and presence of a strong leader in Putin who is seen as a man who can get things done. We hate Pakistan, South India a little less: If Youtube comments in Coke Studio Pakistan videos are to be believed, India and Pakistan can totally be friends but it’s the politicians who are keeping the feud going. That theory though is not exactly backed by data from this survey. 72% have a negative view of Pakistan and in fact Modi government’s ambivalent Pak policy has got extremely low ratings (22%). So the shroud of suspicion is pretty high about Pakistan. However, only 36% in South India have an unfavourable view about Pakistan, much lesser than in East, North and West. Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai misnomer?56% Indians are wary about China’s growing military clout. Nearly one in two Indians also feel, their growing economic dominance is bad news for us. Globally, China’s dominance comes third in list of threats for Indians, only next to global climate change and threat from ISIS. This survey was done in pre-Doklam era, so the ill-feeling towards Chinese is likely to grow more. Jholawalas are more trusted than godmans:In India, the human rights organisations have often come from severe criticism from different sections for peddling their own agenda. They have been derided as jholawalas by sections of media and people in social media. Some have even been branded as ‘anti-national’. But Indians in general, have a positive view about them. About 67% think they have positive influence, whereas for religious leaders, it is way below at 53%. This again, was before teh Baba Ram Rahim Singh fiasco. So favourability for religious leaders may have plummeted further. More BJP supporters believe in media than Congress: The mainstream media has often been vilified online, with one Union Minister even coining a colourful name for the press. However if the survey is to be believed, 76% Indians believe media has good influence in general, though the intensity of faith has significantly gone down from 2015. The survey says, 79% BJP supporters believe media has a good influence, nearly 20 points more than that of Congress supporters. It would come as a surprise for people who inhabit a Twitter echo chamber. Spare the rod, spoil insurgents in Kashmir:About 63% Indians are in favour of more stringent military action in Kashmir. Only 8% advocate for less. So while the doves may call for withdrawal of AFSPA and other measures, the Indian public is overwhelmingly hoping for the state to crush the insurgency in the Valley. This survey was done, when the unrest in J&K post Burhan Wani’s death was still simmering. So the continued media reports from that timeframe may have somewhat skewed the response. Read the full report here

After India-US-Japan-Australia quad, France to deepen ties with India in Indian Ocean Region

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>France aims to enhance cooperation with India in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the issue will figure prominently in the upcoming high-level talks between the two sides, the French envoy here said today.Alexandre Ziegler’s comment comes against the backdrop of a quadrilateral meeting of officials from India, the US, Japan and Australia on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN Summit in Manila.The meeting assumes significance as it is seen as an attempt to counter China’s growing dominance in the region.The issue will also figure during French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian’s engagements during his upcoming visit to India from Friday and President Emmanuel Macron’s trip in early 2018, the envoy said.Zieglar said issues that form the major framework of the strategic partnership between the two countries, including “growing cooperation” in the IOR, defence and space will be addressed during the talks.Briefing reporters on the French foreign minister’s visit, the ambassador said he will also travel to Jaipur on Saturday where he will inaugurate a four-month-long mega ‘Bonjour India’ festival which will have performances, debates, seminars and exhibitions.Separately queried about the recently-held quadrilateral meeting, French diplomatic sources said while France was not averse to joining the multilateral fora, it wants to ramp up bilateral cooperation in this sphere.”We have specific interests in the region and naval bases in one of the islands. So there is scope for greater cooperation in the region. But we are also open to multilateral cooperation,” a source said.France has around 10 islands in the region with Reunion being the biggest one with a population of over one million.It has military bases in Reunion as well as Djibouti, which borders the Indian Ocean.The move to set up the quadrilateral comes in the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.The use of the term “Indo-Pacific” by US President Donald Trump has led to speculation that Washington may be preparing the ground for a revival of the quadrilateral alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India to counter China’s rise.

Even as Delhi chokes, over Rs 1500 crore green fund lying largely unused

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Authorities in Delhi have over Rs 1,500 crore, collected as green fund to combat air pollution, lying largely unused, even as the national capital struggles to ward off a toxic haze.The lion’s share of the amount – Rs 1,003 crore (till November 10) – comes from an Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) imposed by the Supreme Court in 2015 on trucks entering Delhi while the rest is made up of cess on every litre of diesel sold, in effect since 2008. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has amassed Rs 62 crore as one per cent cess from dealers selling diesel cars with engine capacity of 2000cc and above in the Delhi-NCR region following a directive of the Supreme Court in August last year.The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) collects the ECC and hands over the amount to the city’s transport department every Friday, Usman Nasim, a researcher with the Centre For Science and Environment (CSE), said. The cess on diesel was announced by the Sheila Dikshit government in December 2007 as part of its efforts to control air pollution due to vehicular emissions. The corpus, known as ‘Air Ambience Fund’, is maintained by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). Over the years, it has assumed a substantial size and stands at around Rs 500 crore currently, Nasim said.When contacted, a senior transport department official of the Delhi government said that only yesterday a decision has been taken to use the fund to subsidise the procurement of electric buses.”We will use the fund for electric mobility. E-buses are very costly upfront and need to be subsidised in the first phase. Subsequently, running them does not entail much expenditure,” the official said. However, it could not be immediately confirmed as to how many electric buses the government is planning to buy and the amount required to do so. Moreover, around Rs 120 crore from the ECC corpus will also be used to install radio-frequency identification devices (RFID) on trucks for effective and credible collection of levy and the ECC, according to a 2016 Supreme Court order.The CPCB plans to use a part of its green fund, collected as the diesel cess, for conducting studies on improvement and management of air quality in the region, while around Rs 2.5 crore is being used in setting up pollution monitoring centres across NCR. The apex pollution regulator recently invited Expression of Interest (EOI) and proposals for such studies, which, it said will lay major emphasis on boosting its pollution monitoring infrastructure. According to the EOI document, the projects will have to focus on areas such as the health impact of air pollution and on possible steps to create awareness among the masses by installing LED panels displaying pollution levels among others.

ASEAN: PM Modi takes veiled jibe at China, says India supports rules-based security architecture

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today strongly pitched for putting in place a rules-based regional security architecture, reflecting growing convergence among major players like India, the US and Japan to have a coherent approach to deal with China’s aggressive posturing in the Indo-Pacific region.In an address at the ASEAN-India summit, Modi identified terrorism and extremism as the major challenge facing the region and said time has come for the countries of the region to join hands to collectively deal with it. Seen as a reference to China’s military maneuvering at the South China Sea (SCS) which has cast a shadow over the ASEAN summit, Modi said India will continue its support to the ASEAN for achieving a rules-based security architecture in the region.”India assures the ASEAN of its steady support towards achieving a rules-based regional security architecture that best attests to the region’s interests and its peaceful development,” he said. Modi’s comments came a day after he and US President Donald Trump discussed shared commitment of the two countries for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The issue is understood to have figured in Modi’s talks with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.
ALSO READ PM Modi showcases reforms, seeks global investment at ASEAN Business and Investment Summit On Sunday, India, Australia, Japan and the US held their first meeting to give shape to the much talked about quadrilateral alliance to keep the Indo-Pacific region “free and open”. Prime Minister Modi also called for concerted efforts by countries of region to deal with terrorism and extremism. “We have individually strived very hard to fight terrorism and violent extremism. It is time that we jointly address this challenge by intensifying cooperation in this crucial area,” he said.Favoring deepening of trade ties, Modi said, “Maritime links established thousands of years ago between India and ASEAN countries have enabled our trade relations in the past and we have to work closely to further strengthen them.” The 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region and India and several other countries including the US, China, Japan and Australia are its dialogue partners.The issue of China’s aggressive posturing figured prominently during the ASEAN summit also. China claims sovereignty over all of SCS, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries including Vietnam, Philippines and Brunei have counter claims. India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the SCS in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.The ASEAN has been pushing for a legally binding code of conduct for all stakeholders in the SCS but Beijing has been opposing such a framework asserting that it will resolve the dispute with respective countries under bilateral mechanism. Prime Minister Modi also talked about shared values and common destiny between India and ASEAN.”The befitting theme of ‘Shared Values, Common Destiny’ for our 25th anniversary celebrations has been jointly celebrated with a number of commemorative activities. I look forward to a befitting culmination of the commemorative year and receiving you at the India-ASEAN Special Commemorative Summit on 25 January 2018 in New Delhi,” he said. Modi said 1.25 billion people of India are keen to welcome the ASEAN leaders as the Chief Guests at India’s 69th Republic Day Celebrations.Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei are the members of the ASEAN. The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upswing. The ASEAN region along with India together comprises combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one fourth of the global population and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion.Investment from ASEAN to India has been over USD 70 billion in the last 17 years accounting for more than 17 per cent of India s total FDI. Prime Minister Modi also participated at a meeting of leaders of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The RCEP, comprising 10-member ASEAN bloc and six other countries — India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, is engaged in negotiations for a free trade pact.

Cops, local admin help Dalit man in wedding

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Dalit man from Jaipur sought the help of the local police and administration ahead of his wedding. Suspecting opposition by the locals on carrying out a Bindori — a procession atop a horse taken out across the local area — the man wrote a letter to district collector Jaipur, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) and other administrative and police officials. seeking protection from certain groups in the area.Bhagwan Sahay Raigar — a native of Barala in bassi tehsil area — has written that he is to be married on November 13, for which the Bindori procession would be taken out in the afternoon. He further states that for the past several years there has been a tradition in his village that Dalits are not allowed by the higher castes to take out the procession atop a horse, leading them to beat and threaten the dalits and lower castes.Terming it a social evil, the man states that although the family wants to take out the Bindori procession, they are afraid of the higher caste groups. Raigar further said that if any ill occurence happens, the administration and police would be liable.In fact, the authorities did come to the man’s aid on Monday and helped him take out the procession. “A team from the Shivdaspura police station was sent to the village where other officials including a tehsilar were also present to ensure a peaceful procession. No ill incident occurred as the procession was carried out with a vigil of a dozen police and administrative officials” said Deepak Khandelwal, station house officer, Shivdaspura police station.

Keep smaller and simple goals: Shreyas Iyer’s advice to kids

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Who was your inspiration while growing up?Obviously, it was Sachin Tendulkar. He is called the God of cricket, and everyone who grew up watching him play has followed him. I was also one of them. So he was my inspiration as a child.Is there anyone else you look up to outside the cricketing world?Yes. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden footballer currently playing for Manchester United). I just finished reading his book. I love his attitude, his way of answering questions that can be uncomfortable. I love the way the speaks and carries himself around. He is so confident about himself and in whatever he does. That is something that I want to follow as well. I want to be as natural as possible in everything. I don’t like restrict my actions. I like to speak my mind, and that is what Zlatan does too.What is your dream as a cricketer?For any cricketer, the ultimate dream is to be a World Cup champion. My dream is to win the World Cup for India. I want to be part of a World Cup-winning squad. I want to see to it that I lift the trophy for my country.Can you describe the experience of being part of the Indian team in the recent T20I series against New Zealand, when you made your international debut?At first, I was really nervous when I was selected in the team. At the same time, I knew I deserved to be there. But the atmosphere of being part of the Indian team is totally different from any other team. People start looking at you in a different way. But the senior players and support staff really helped me in ease into the team. So yes, I really enjoyed the seven days that I was part of Team India.Is there any one particular team you enjoy playing against?Well, I have so far only played against New Zealand (at international level). But I enjoyed playing in South Africa when we went for the ‘A’ tour there earlier this year. They play their cricket really hard, try to sledge you. And that somehow gets the best out of me. They try to bully you. But we are Indians, so we gave it back.How different is your behaviour on the field compared to when you are off the field?See, on the field, you have to act like you are a champion. There is a famous quote by the great Muhammad Ali: “To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.” So that’s what I believe in.How important is focussing on diet when you play cricket?That’s a good question. Diet is really important. Nowadays, there are many fitness tests if you want to be part of the Indian team. There are Yo-Yo tests and many other things like that, in which every player has to cross a particular mark. But as for me diet and fitness, I am a natural athlete. Now, with so much competition around, you have to be in your best shape in order to give your best performance every single time. So unlike in my younger days, I have to watch what I eat, and maintain a strict diet.Do you play any other sport than cricket?Yes, I love playing table tennis and badminton. I was also a footballer in school. Following and playing other sports is something I believe it. It challenges you to look at sports from a different point of view. I strongly believe in playing multiple sports.Who would you love to face or bowl to in international cricket?I liked facing Dale Steyn (South Africa fast bowler) and Mitchell Starc (Australian fast bowler). They are both so quick, that when I faced them for the first time, I couldn’t see the ball. But eventually, I got used to the pace and starting enjoying the challenge and contest.
Who are the biggest pranksters in the teams you play in: Mumbai and India?In Mumbai, all of us are. We all grew up playing cricket together, so all of us are really close. We all play pranks against each other. But Siddhesh Lad and Shardul Thakur are the biggest ones. As for Team India, everyone has a lot of fun together.What is your goal in life?Look, I am someone who does not believe in setting long-term goals, because then you start looking too far ahead. I always set short-term goals. I like to stay in the present. So my goal right now is to travel to Andhra Pradesh (for next Ranji Trophy game) and do well for Mumbai there. Obviously, my ultimate goal was to play for India, which I have already achieved.Which is your favourite match that you have watched?The 2011 World Cup final (at the Wankhede in Mumbai). I was there watching the game from the stands. It was such an amazing feeling.How do you switch off from cricket?I like going out with friends and watching movies with them. Apart from that, I like to play football. Also, I love playing cricket on the street with the tennis ball with my colony friends. In front of my house, we have a big space to play. So that is a lot of fun.Have you changed since you played for India?Not at all. Like I said, even now I play street cricket with my friends. That is something I do even now every Sunday if I get a chance. So I have not changed, and neither have the people who play with me. They are all of different age groups, some are older than me and some younger. But all of them still look at me the same way.What was your daily routine when you were in school?I used to practice from 7am-9am. From there, I used to go to school, which would start at 9.30am. I was allowed to leave one hour early so that I could practice, because by then I had started playing for Mumbai in different age groups. From there, I used to attend my tuition. I was an average student in school.How important was your parents’ role in shaping up your career?My parents were really supportive. During times when I wasn’t doing so well as a kid in cricket, my parents wanted me to shift to studies and leave cricket. But I wanted to prove them wrong, and that got me really motivated to take up cricket fully and make a name in that. But you should always respect your parents.What is your advice to kids growing up?My advice is to keep smaller goals. Stick to whatever is your goal. If you lose your focus, you will lose your confidence as well. So keep things as simple as possible.

ASEAN: Musical play on Ramayana at opening night shows our deep historical bonds and shared heritage, says PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A musical performance based on the epic Ramayana on Monday drew loud applause from several world leaders and delegates at a grand opening ceremony of the two- day ASEAN summit.The play reflected India’s cultural linkages with the Philippines and several member countries of the 10-member powerful bloc.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and several other leaders from ASEAN s partner countries attended the glitzy opening ceremony at the highly fortified Cultural Centre in this bustling metropolis.The Ramayana in the Philippines is called ‘Maharadia Lawana’ which means king Ravana. The Philippines’ famous dance is called ‘Singkil’ which is based on the Ramayana.”You would be happy to know that the @ASEAN opening ceremony included excerpts from the musical Rama Hari, based on the Ramayana. Various parts of the Ramayana were beautifully highlighted in the Rama Hari. This shows our deep historical bonds and shared heritage,” Modi tweeted.The musical performance was choreographed by Alice Reyes of Ballet Philippines, a leading ballet company in the country founded in 1969.The prime minister said the Ramayana is widely popular among ASEAN nations and he complimented the cast and crew of the play for their “stupendous performance”.”ASEAN celebrates 50 years of robust cooperation and working towards a better tomorrow. India cherishes the strong ties with the @ASEAN family,” Modi said.The ASEAN leaders later began deliberations at the summit which is taking place under the shadow of China’s growing military build-up in the resource-rich South China Sea.China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei have counter claims.India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the South China Sea in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.The ASEAN have been pushing for a legally binding code of conduct for all stakeholders in the South China sea but Beijing has been opposing such a framework asserting that it will resolve the dispute with respective countries under bilateral mechanism.Prime Minister Modi will attend the ASEAN-India summit on Tuesday.

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