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Water dept saves Rs 6 crore on electricity

At a time when several parts of the city are not getting sufficient water supply due to a frequent breakdown in the pipeline network, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is giving presentations to other local government bodies on how its water department saved Rs6crore last year on the electricity bill.The civic authority gives credit to Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) not only for the saving but also for utilising 23 MLD (Million litre per day) water that was going to waste.City engineer Jagdish Patel said, “This project includes monitoring of water quantity, quality and energy parameters of 148 water distribution centres, four french wells and four water treatment plants. Soon, we will add 51 water distribution centres in the system.”He added, “After one-year monitoring on the system, we found that we have saved Rs6 crore as electricity bill and also utilised 23 MLD water which was being wasted.”Biren Raval, additional chief engineer, said, “The unit here works round the clock. We monitor all the water stations attached to the system. There is an automatic message and automatic alarm for any trouble which fixes the problem in a couple of minutes. With the online system, we have recently introduced automated valve operating system.”He added, “It will prevent discrepancies and solve water deficiency. If the water tank is filled, the valve will be closed automatically. No manual operations will be required unless there is some technical fault.”Still, there is a problem of inadequate water supply to the end user. One of the engineers said, “SCADA system monitors only measure and gives an audit of water distribution centres and treatment plant. There is no audit from water distribution centres to the end users. Many of the walled city areas have water pipelines which are more than 40 to 50-year-old and leakages occur there.”Criticising the system, leader of opposition Dinesh Sharma, said, “The BJP-run civic body always hurries in announcing its achievements. There are thousands of people in the city who have to struggle daily to get drinking water. Water tankers are being provided by the AMC to many slum pockets on a daily basis. What has the SCADA done for them?”…& ANALYSISSCADA can be effective only when it audits water till end users. There is no water audit from distribution station to water tanks and then to end users. Still thousands of litre of water goes waste.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

What the Indian economy in 2017 can tell us about the year ahead

This was Narendra Modi’s toughest year on the economic front, writes the BBC’s Sameer Hashmi.

Confident of meeting asking rate: NC Goel

Q) What will be your priorities now as a Chief Secretary?A) There isn’t a single priority of the CS. The government’s priorities and visions are on top of my agenda. Infra projects, includings roads, energy, drinking water, irrigation will be my priority. A lot of public money is being spent for these and the same will be concluded on time.Q) You have been with JDA and have played an important role in Jaipur Metro, what will be your focus related to Jaipur?A) JDA is currently working on many fronts and is doing good work, My focus will surely be on timely completion of Drvayavati and Ring road projects.Q) You will have to bring the refinery project ASAP. How do you plan to do that?A) Spadework has already been done in this regard. After the new MOU, the state will have less financial burden. The environment clearance has already been taken. I will ensure that there is coordination between officials for the timely completion of this project .Q) You have done a lot of work in tourism and forest department. Is there any project which needs completion even as you have been elevated to this position?A) Govt job is a continuous process. There are works which are in progress or are at the concept stage. I am happy that the number of tourists coming to the state have increased. Last year, there was increase of 17% and going by the inflow of tourists this year, the number is likely to go up.Q) Have you spoken with CM Vasundhara Raje?A) Chief minister Madam called me during the day to wish me. I thank her for this responsibility.Q) Your father is extremely happy with your success? What has been his role in your achievements?A) He was always there for me. Like a rock. He accompanied me to all IAS examinations and interviews.

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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
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
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

Kamala Mills Fire: Hookah bars may fizzle out after new BMC rules

After a devastating fire in Kamala Mills compound killed 14 and injured several others, hookah parlours may now get a new set of rules and regulations. The state government has been considering laying down stricter rules for establishments serving hookah to its customers. The fire is said to have been caused by one of the burning coals used in a hookah. The new set of rules will include licensing of such establishments and an age bar on patrons that they can serve.“Though the Supreme Court had struck down a ban on hookah parlours, we are looking at regulating them… the question is what kind of regulation is feasible. We are planning to amend the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003. This will regulate the sale and advertisements of tobacco products (including hookah) for the state with the consent of the Centre,” said a senior home department official, adding that they had recently held discussions in this regard.The BMC had imposed a ban on hookah parlours in 2011 in restaurants where smoking otherwise was permitted. This was challenged in the SC which struck it down in 2014.“We can, however, regulate these hookah parlours by laying down a set of rules on the minimum age of their patrons (after concerns that even those who were under-age had access to hookahs), the amount of nicotine used and the number of people to be accommodated in an establishment,” said another official from the department.A senior official said that as of now, these hookah parlours lacked separate licensing or regulatory mechanism. “There is a thin line as on today… Some sort of regulation for hookahs is necessary. You need permissions to start restaurants and even a shop act registration for a xerox centre but no special license for a hookah bar. There must be some system to give licenses and regulate them,” the official admitted, stating that these hookah bars, which were proliferating in Mumbai and also in areas like Pune, fell in a legal twilight zone.“These hookah bars invariably serve liquor,” he said, adding that minors also accessed these spaces leading to public health, and law-and-order concerns.Meanwhile, a senior state excise official said that 1 Above and Mojo Bistro were serving liquor outside the area for which they had been given a license. “They were serving alcohol outside the designated area for which they had a permit room license. The service area had been extended to the terrace where liquor was served. This is a violation,” the official claimed.A home department official said a private member bill seeking to ban hookah bars had also been moved in the state legislature during the recent winter session at Nagpur.State excise commissioner Dr Ashwini Joshi had cracked down on one-day liquor party permits in restaurants as these temporary club licenses, which are meant for functions, were used by rooftop restaurants and eateries to serve liquor across the year.

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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
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
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

Historians, member of erstwhile royal family reject ‘Padmavati’

Two historians and member of the erstwhile royal family of Mewar who attended a special screening of Padmavati held by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) have expressed disagreement with the sequence of events in the film made on the life of Padmini, the queen of Chittorgarh.Those who attended the screening included historians Prof Kapil Kumar of IGNOU, New Delhi, Dr Chandramani Singh of Jaipur, and erstwhile royal of Mewar — descendants of Padmavati — Arvind Singh. There were four other persons including CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi at the screening held on the evening of December 28.According to sources, the film was rejected by all three. Arvind Singh looked quite miffed after seeing the film. The source further added, “The copy shown did not have any love scene between Khilji and Padmavati, but one can clearly understand the point from where it has been chopped off. It shows Khilji in a bath tub fantasising with his eyes closed. Then there is a jump in the scene that shows him in a love situation with a slave and a curtain being drawn.” He added, “The three experts conveyed their disagreement to Prasoon Joshi verbally.”Speaking to DNA, Prof Kumar confirmed the screening saying, “Yes I did see the movie. Arvind Singh Mewar and Dr Chandramani Singh were present.”He said, “I saw Padmavati with an open mind — as a historian, an audience, and as a person concerned about social harmony. I respect freedom of expression, creativity, but they are not be used to create a situation of disharmony in society.””There is nothing like ‘historical-fiction’. It is either history, or it is fiction. You cannot take characters and events from history and create a story around it. Today history is not what Persian historians tell you. It is a highly developed subject that uses local sources, including oral history and folklore. All these factors have to be taken into consideration before declaring anything as myth or imagination”Meanwhile, all efforts to contact Arvind Singh were futile. Dr Chandramani was also unreachable.Vishvaraj, erstwhile royal, questions the ‘cosmetic changes’In a strong worded letter, written on Saturday 30 December, to CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi, Vishvaraj Singh, a member of the erstwhile royal family has questioned the cosmetic changes and cuts that have been proposed for the film. He writes that he has come to know about the cuts, and another royal member Arvind Singh being called for a screening through news reports. Vishvaraj said he was also called for a screening, but he had asked a few questions to Joshi. He alleged that the questions remained unanswered. The ‘royal’ tussle -Vishvaraj Singh is the son of Mahendra Singh, the elder son and thereby the natural successor to the title of erswhile king. However, Arvind Singh, his younger brother holds the title. There is conflict between the two and their supporters over this issue.Prasoon Joshi first invited Vishvaraj to view Padmavati, then Arvind Singh was present at the screening. Vishvaraj Singh has alleged in his letter that Joshi discontinued communication with him and questioned the veracity of inviting Arvind Singh when the head of the family is is father or him, he has written in the letter

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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
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
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

Parliamentary panel concerned on cybercrime in Railways

The committee expressed dissatisfaction at the fact that despite having a Vigilance Directorate and a Centre for Railway Information System, the Railways were completely dependent on the CBI. Previously, the ministry had stated, "There is no infrastructure to deal with cybercrime. Cyber related crimes pertaining to Railways have only been found in the computerised reservation area. Cases involving outsiders are handed over to CBI."”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Saturday 30 December 2017 2:29 ISTMust readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral Mumbai Fire | ‘Don’t know how I got out alive,’ survivor recalls inferno horror<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>A parliamentary panel on Friday expressed serious concern over the revelation that the Ministry of Railways was unable to tackle cybercrime seriously and has been relying on CBI to probe incidents. To that end, the Railway Convention Committee urged the ministry to “seriously consider inducting persons with ample experience in handling cybercrime”.The committee expressed dissatisfaction at the fact that despite having a Vigilance Directorate and a Centre for Railway Information System, the Railways were completely dependent on the CBI. Previously, the ministry had stated, “There is no infrastructure to deal with cybercrime. Cyber related crimes pertaining to Railways have only been found in the computerised reservation area. Cases involving outsiders are handed over to CBI.”

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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
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
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“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
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5 factors that show Mumbai’s Kamala Mills fire was a tragedy waiting to happen

The fire that engulfed a rooftop restaurant in the Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel area of Mumbai, killing 14 people, most of them women, was a tragedy waiting to happen, an activist has alleged. Activist Mangesh Kalaskar said he he had warned the BMC about illegal structures in the Kamala Mills premises but Mumbai civic body ignored the warning saying “nothing wrong here”. “I made several complaints regarding illegal structures in Kamala Mills’ premises, but the BMC replied that there is nothing wrong here,” Kalaskar, who is also a member of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, said. Also readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral According to initial reports several fire safety rules were violated by the “1 Above” restaurant at the Kamala Mills complex. Here are 5 facts that could have led to the tragedy on Thursday night: Also readKamala Mills Fire: Two young men enter into death trap to save aunt, never to come back1- No fire extinguishers:Early reports suggest that there were no fire extinguishers in the restaurant when the fire broke out. Also readMumbai fire| Kamala Mills is a death trap, BMC responsible for ‘murder,’ says BJP’s Kirit Somaiya2- Illegal construction (Dry bamboo ceiling):The restaurant had a false ceiling made of dry bamboo, which is known to easily catch fire. The Munbai Fire Brigade in its initial assessment found that illegal constructions exacerbated the fire. 3- Gas cylinder:There were nearly half a dozen LPG cylinders stored by the restaurant. 4- No emergency exits:There were also no emergency exits in the restaurant which led to people being stuck in the fire. 5- Clearance despite violations: The restaurant was given NOC (No Objection Certificate) despite fire safety violations, BJP MP Kirit Somaiaya said. He alleged that “the place where fire took place was illegal.”

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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
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
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Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
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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
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Permissions to rooftop restaurants will be made more stringent, BJP’s answer to Kamala Mills tragedy that killed 14

The fire that engulfed Kamala Mills late Thursday and claimed 14 lives has left the city reeling and leaving its citizens asking questions.On Friday, Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar said that one needed to review several parameters before handing over permissions to rooftop restaurants in future, while the owners of the Mojo, which is located a floor below 1 Above, where the fire broke out said, “We are extremely saddened by the incident. Mojo’s has all its fire safety norms, certificates and procedures in place. The staff are thoroughly trained in fire drills hence our staff were able to evacuate all our guests and themselves out to safety with zero injury. There were NO cylinders on our premises. We are fully complying with the authorities to help in anyway we can.”Also readMumbai fire| Kamala Mills is a death trap, BMC responsible for ‘murder,’ says BJP’s Kirit SomaiyaIf you look at Mumbai’s history when it comes to fire-related tragedies, they have mostly been due to lack of fire-safety norms. The BMC and the fire brigade on Friday suggested that 1 Above had flouted the norms while setting up the rooftop bar. A similar case was reported when Escobar, a popular nightclub in Bandra was gutted in October 2014. Then, too, it was discovered that the pub had flouted fire-safety regulations. With Yuva Sena Chief Aaditya Thackeray announced that he was working towards making Mumbai a 24×7 city, people rejoiced. However, if this dream is to be a success, there is a major need to ensure restaurants and hang out spots meet all necessary norms, and those who flout them are immediately shut down.Also readKamala Mills Fire: ‘Postmortem reveals all the deaths due to suffocation’ in MumbaiIn 2013, a building in Kemps Corner caught fire resulting in the deaths of seven people. At the time, fire officials stated that the building, which was constructed in 1984, had no refuge floors for emergencies. But fire isn’t the only problem that has plagued Mumbai. Earlier this year, a stampede at Elphinstone Road station that killed 23 and injured over 30, highlighted the high-handedness of the railway authorities. The pedestrian bridge that would shake due to the high influx of individuals moving in and out of the station was dangerous, and the perils had been highlighted to authorities for the past several years. However, it was only after the stampede that the authorities sprung into action.Earlier this week, another incident, this time on Mumbai’s Harbour Line shocked the citizens of the island city. Services were stopped after a power failure near CBD Belapur. However, a video shared by veteran railway journalist Rajendra Aklekar highlighted how an accident was waiting to happen. The video shows a train moving, but the electric cables that usually power the locomotives dangerously close to the coaches, which could have resulted in a major accident.People still talk of the spirit of Mumbai. There was never any spirit. The city is reeling and nobody seems to care. It’s an ‘I need to rush so that I am first’ syndrome that is taking the city nowhere.Related Photos
5 Pics
In Pics: Massive midnight fire at Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound kills 14; many restaurants gutted And with this attitude, forget Shanghai. Mumbai will no longer be Mumbai.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
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

The Indian who became the first female doctor in the UAE

Zulekha Daud started practising medicine in the UAE when it had no proper hospitals or doctors.

Allahbad University spends all its money fighting 300 legal battles

A month after the Ministry of Human Resource Development requested for a Visitor inquiry against Allahbad University Vice Chancellor Professor Ratanlal Hanglu, an audit report of the university has found that it has been fighting as many as 300 court cases and all the funds go into fighting legal battles rather than focusing on academic development.The committee appointed by University Grants Commission (UGC) was one of the committees conducting audits of ten central universities across the country. The audit team that visited the university between November 13-15 has recently submitted its report to the ministry. In the report, the committee has mentioned that the university administration is “wasting all its time, energy and funds in fighting the numerous court battles that have arisen as a result of the internal politics in the university”.”There is a group of retired teachers in the university, which has been conspiring against the Vice Chancellor and his work is getting affected because of it. There are many cases of corruption and financial irregularities levelled against the VC,” the committee in its report said.Because of the current situation, the university has been facing serious lack of funds and everything from academic development to salaries of employees is getting affected due to this. There is no co-ordination between the registrar and finance officer of the university and the university has no plans for its future, the committee said.The committee also said that law and order situation in the campus is very bad, in fact “it cannot be worse in any other university campus”, it said in its report.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
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

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

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

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Pak at it again, probing Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife shoes

Anger mounted in India on Wednesday against the mistreatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family when it met him in Islamabad two days ago, but it has not stopped Pakistan from continuing with its propaganda. Pakistani authorities have sent the shoes worn by the former Indian Naval officer’s wife for forensic testing to examine the alleged presence of “a metallic object”, reports said on Wednesday. Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Mohammad Faisal suspects it could be a camera or a recording chip.“There was something in the shoes. It is being investigated. We gave her a pair of replacement shoes. Her other belongings were returned after the meeting,” Faisal said. India said on Tuesday that Pakistan went so far as to have the mangal sutras, bangles and bindis of Jadhav’s mother and wife removed before they could meet him. India also accused Pakistan of disregarding cultural and religious sensibilities of the family in the name of security.India also said Pakistani press was allowed to approach the family closely, “harass them despite a clear agreement the media would not be allowed close access.

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Karnataka: Over 3,500 farmers committed suicide in five years, says state report

As many as 3,515 farmers in Karnataka committed suicide between April 2013 and November 2017, out of which 2,525 were due to drought and farm failure, statistics provided by the State Agriculture Department said.”3,515 farmers were reported to have committed suicide from April 2013 to November 2017, and from April 2008 to April 2012, as many as 1,125 farmers were reported to have committed suicide,” it said.Out of the 3,515 suicide cases reported, agriculture department accepted 2,525 cases which were due to drought and crop failure, the data said.From April 2015 to April 2017, as many as 2,514 suicide cases were reported, of which 1,929 cases were accepted, it added.From April 2017 to November 2017, when the state received sufficient rainfall, as many as 624 suicide cases were reported. Of these, 416 cases were accepted, it said.Agriculture Director B Y Srinivas told PTI that as many as 112 suicide cases were pending for the want of ratification by a state government panel since 2013.”There are 105 pending cases this year till November, and seven cases the previous year,” he said.The highest number of suicides (1,483) were reported during 2015-16 and lowest (106) during 2013-14, Srinivas said.”Sugarcane growers top the list of suicides, followed by cotton and paddy cultivators,” he said.The government has taken relief measures asking banks not to force farmers to repay their dues and turn their short and medium-term crop loans into long-term loans with waiver of interest, he added.?Agriculture Officer Kumaraswamy said the government has registered cases against private money lenders, who give loans at exorbitant interest rates, ranging from 30 to 40 per cent.”As many as 1,332 cases have been registered against money lenders, of which 585 have been arrested in last three years,” he said.The government has also hiked compensation from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to families of farmers who committed suicide.Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had in 2015 made the announcement before a public rally in Ranebennur taluk.

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‘Kavi sammelan’ spreads cheer in jail

The courtyard at the Pratapgarh jail resonated with laughter, clapping for India. There was hearty singing of national songs too. No, it was neither Independence Day or Republic Day. The occasion was a ‘kavi sammelan’ organised for the inmates by the jail authorities as part of its efforts to initiate the inmates to the finer aspects of life.For over three hours, the prisoners listened in rapt attention to the poems of love and longing; as they wiped a tear or two in memory of those who awaited them outside the prison walls. They laughed out loud to the lightercreations and took avid interest in the poems about current issues like national security, Pakistan, Kashmir Ram Rahim and several social issues.The event organised on Monday morning was a part of the initiative by Pratapgarh jail authorities to introduce some fresh enthusiasm in the lives of the inmates. It was supported by the All India Human Rights MonitoringCommittee, Pratapgarh. There were total ten poets, four local and five from other states and one from Sharjah too.When contacted to perform in the jail, the poets were initially very apprehensive to be in the company of hardcore criminals. “My first reaction was of apprehension and fear. Performing for criminals for over four hourswas not a very comforting idea,” said Vijay Vidrohi, a local poet from Pratapgarh to DNA. “But it was an amazing experience! For four hours they were the best audience a performer can hope for. No one got up even to drinkwater,” added Vidrohi.Speaking to DNA Harish Vyas, another poet said, “I was very apprehension to perform in the jail. But it was an amazing experience. For three hours they were not inmates, they were poetry lovers. They were the best audience Ihave seen, which was very surprising for us. I would be willing to do it again in any jail.”The initiative was well received by the inmates.Inmates who had not been smiling for years were cheering and laughing at the performances. At the same time we had urged the poets to take up issues like cleanliness, national integration, Army and security personnel. They also delivered poems against liquor and crime,” informed Paras Jangid, jailer, Pratapgarh jail to DNA.

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

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

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Homes stuck in pipeline, citizens spend a decade in transit camp

Nearly everyone dreams of owning a house in Mumbai but the number of homebuyers and tenants that have seen their hopes dashed is a cautionary tale for others. Many are awaiting possession, and even construction, of their houses years after paying the developer. Others, like slum dwellers and tenants who opted for redevelopment, moved to temporary accommodation but remain stuck there even after years, for they haven’t got the promised homes.DNA is launching a series to bring out the stories of people who have seen their housing dreams sour.Shyam Gupta is one of them. Gupta vacated his Worli hutment in 2007 after he was promised a larger and newer home at the same location. But 10 years after he moved out of his 10×10 shack, his 269-square-foot home in south Mumbai is still not ready. He has been staying on rent in Mira Road.Gupta is in the company of hundreds of other tenants who consented for their slums in Maryam Nagar, which falls in Coastal Regulatory Zone, to be razed and rebuilt as towers.But they never got to move back after they vacated the premises.The redevelopment project Gupta and his neighbours had agreed to in 2003 was initiated by Akshay Sthapatya Private Limited. Currently, the site houses transit camps.Many of Gupta’s neighbours were made to leave Worli even before 2007. Most haven’t been able to return as their houses are not ready. The developer, Akshay Sthapatya, claims they couldn’t start the work for about four years since they did not have an access road to the site of the project. They also blame policy changes for the work getting stuck.Neeraj Rungta, the company’s director, said, “There were 1,500 tenants and 1,100 of these were eligible to get new homes. We first constructed a proper bridge structure to have access to the area. Then we constructed one tower, but then the government changed the policy, and we were required to give tenants bigger homes. So the building constructed was of no use. We have converted it into a transit camp.”Another tenant, Ramlal Pal, vacated his house in 2014. He has been given a home in the transit camp built on the land where his house once stood. “I am lucky that my house was brought down only recently. There are many who left in early 2000s and we don’t even know where they are now. My transit accommodation is good. But in most cases, the transit camp is crumbling. The developer stopped giving rent to tenants. After we protested and had a series of meetings with them and the government authorities, we started getting the rent back,” said Pal.According to Rungta, there has been so many policy flip-flops that the project remains incomplete. “Because the land falls under Coastal Regulatory Zone, my project has not got extra FSI. Whatever FSI I have will be used up in constructing homes for the existing tenants. I will get no money. I am hoping that the current government makes it a point to provide housing for all. I may get some relief. As of now, I don;t have any sale component. The entire area will be used for construction of rehabilitation buildings,” said Rungta.Tomorrow, we are going to review the situation of tenants who had to vacate their buildings for redevelopment.

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Gardens, street lighting priorities for Asarwa MLA

As the newly elected candidates get ready to represent you for the next five years, DNA reviews the credentials and promises of each so you know what to expect from their term governing your constituency. Today, the focus is on Pradip Parmar.From a booth level worker, Parmar has risen to an MLA from BJP. Before Parmar, a former bureaucrat, who was fielded by the BJP, had won the election in 2012.Parmar represents Asarwa, which a reserved scheduled caste seat in Ahmedabad. A member of the BJP for past three decades, Parmar said it was an honour for him that a booth level worker like him was selected to contest the assembly election. He believes his victory is mainly because of his connect with people.“Local people know me as I have worked for them and raised their questions and issues. There are many things that have orked for my victory. I will continue to serve people with focus as I now have a larger area to look after,” said Pradip Parmar.His list of priorities include beautification of gardens in the constituency. “I also want to introduce modern amenities in my area, there are some light pole which needs to be replaced with LED light.”Having Asia’s largest hospital in his constituency, the first-time legislator wants to build amenities for visitors to the area. “I want to open more libraries and reading rooms in my area for the locals as well as those who visit the area for different purposes.”

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X’mas bells in Valley church after 50 yrs

History will be created on Monday when the sacred bell at the British-era Holy Family Catholic Church in Srinagar will ring after 50 years, on the occasion of Christmas.The 105 kg bell, the largest of its kind in Jammu and Kashmir, was installed in the 121-year-old church in October this year. The belfry of the church was torched in 1967, in an incident of arson, and since then there had been no bell to call the faithful for the prayers.”It is a very happy and historic occasion. Most of the Christian people here are less than 50 years of age. They have never heard bells ringing on the occasion of Christmas. Only few elderly people remember that,” said SM Rath, spokesman of the Church Committee.Traditionally, the bell is used to call worshipers to the church for a prayer service and for announcing times of daily prayer. “There was no bell since 1967. We put up a bell only in October this year. Now every Sunday, the bell rings in church. This will be first time that this bell will ring on Christmas,” Rath said. Midnight prayer services, however, will not be held due to the security reasons.”We have one prayer service on December 24. Usually, the service should be held at 11.30 pm but we have not been holding the midnight services for the last 25 years. Our prayer service will be held at 6 pm on December 24. On Christmas, we will have a prayer service at 10 am,” Rath said.He further said that there are less than 200 Christians — Catholics and Protestants — living in Srinagar. There are five churches in Kashmir and regular prayer services are held only in three of them.

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2G scam verdict: Court raps witnesses for ‘evasive response’

As a Special court pronounced the acquittal of the 21 accused, including former Union Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, Special Judge OP Saini ripped apart the witnesses who had given ‘evasive response” and “skirted the real issues”.Of the several witnesses examined by the prosecution during the seven-year-long trial, the court came down heavily on the officers namely D S Mathur, AK Srivastava, K Sridhara, Nitin Jain, PK Mittal, RJS Kushvaha and D Jha.The judge also raised questions in the manner in which the witnesses propped up just days before the filing of the chargesheet.”It is surprising as to how many witnesses suddenly acquired all the knowledge of the case and became virtual goldmines of information. This puts a question mark on the credibility of the prosecution case and lends credence to the theory of pressure on witnesses…In the end, pressure on witnesses cannot be ruled out and this puts a question mark on fair investigation,” the court said.The court also held that the witnesses were in the witness box and they could have expplained all the circumstances.”…..Prosecution must have afforded an opportunity to the witnesses to explain the deficiencies in the documents, but it remained silent at that time and is now endeavouring hard at the bar to condemn the witnesses and documents executed by them, behind their back,” the court added.The court termed it ‘surprising’ as to how many witnesses suddenly acquired all the knowledge of the case and became virtual goldmines of information.”This puts a question mark on the truthfulness of the prosecution case and lends credence to the theory of pressure on witnesses,” the court said.The court also said that the officials in the Department of Telecom had created the entire mess in the matter of processing of application for UASL and grant of licences was created by the officers.”It is the result of their lack of sense of responsibility and clarity about the way official business is to be conducted. Not only this, most of the officers have exhibited fickle mindedness and timidity by disowning the written official record. They even disowned the record prepared by them and tried to shift the blame to others by making oral statements contrary to official record,” the court said.”The conclusion is apparent that everything happening in the DoT was conveyed by concerned officials to each company in advance. Everything was leaking in DoT. There was no secrecy or sanctity. Who is responsible for it? There is no evidence. In such a situation, no blame can be cast on any of the accused alone,” it adeed.”This is clear from perusal of their testimony. The prosecutor was hesitant in putting straight questions and witnesses were equally evasive and hesitant in their reply,” the court said”The witnesses from DoT were either highly guarded, and if I may say so hesitant, in their deposition, and also went against official record rendering themselves unreliable,” the judge said.

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Maharashtra government to provide compensation to cotton farmers for crop damage

Maharashtra government will provide compensation of Rs. 30,800 and Rs. 37,500 per hectare for cotton growers whose crop was damaged by the attack of pest Pink Bollworm, Minister for Agriculture Pandurang Fundkar announced today. The compensation for farmers on irrigated land would be more than the same for non-irrigated land, he said. Speaking in the Maharashtra Assembly, Fundkar said that cotton growers would be provided bonus of Rs. 200 per quintal. Maximum limit for which bonus can be availed would be 50 quintals, he said. Cotton growers in the state have incurred huge losses due to crop damage this year after the crop was attacked by pink bollworm pest. There is 41 lakh hectares of field on which cotton is cultivated and according to farmers’ organisations, almost 50% of crop is damaged. State government sources said that 25% of the crop is damaged due to pest attack. Fundkar informed the state assembly that the government has decided to provide compensation for farmers who incurred losses due to Ockhi cyclone after their vegetables and horticulture produce was damaged. Also readOpposition takes on Maharashtra govt over cotton prices, to raise farmers issues in Winter sessionHe said that for horticulture produce, compensation would be paid upto Rs 43 thousand depending upon insurance cover and for vegetable produce the compensation upto Rs. 13,500 would be paid depending upon crop insurance cover for the respective farmer. The rice producing farmers would also be provided with compensation in the range of Rs 6,800 to Rs. 23,250 depending upon whether the farmer is from irrigated or non-irrigated areas. Bonus for paddy or rice would be paid at a rate of Rs. 50 per quintal with maximum limit of fifty quintals for availing bonus.

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DNA Edit: A Zero-Sum trial

Years wasted, business ventures stalled/finished, reputations tarred -in some cases, forever. This, in 11 words, is the sum and substance of what we all know as the 2G scam, post the judgement delivered by Special CBI Judge OP Saini on Thursday morning.Was there a scam? Yes, most certainly. After all, rules aren’t changed overnight, unless to give undue advantage to somebody. But, it was the CBI’s and Enforcement Directorate’s job to follow the leads and deliver a water-tight case. That they didn’t proves, for the nth time, that the country’s premier investigating agencies don’t deserve the “premier” tag.Was the scam really worth Rs 1.76 lakh crore? Ask Vinod Rai, the then Comptroller and Auditor General of India, who came out with this figure.Today, when the Special CBI Judge OP Saini acquitted every accused, including politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats in the 2G spectrum allocation case dating back to the UPA-1 era, the main question that requires an immediate answer is: Who killed the telecom sector, or at least pushed it back by several years? Shouldn’t Rai be answering questions on the ‘presumptive loss’ theory? Shouldn’t the CBI and ED officers be held accountable for the shoddy probe that has allowed the accused to get away?A single sentence in the 1,552-page judgment is enough to indict the CBI and ED: “However, by the end, the quality of prosecution totally deteriorated and it became directionless and diffident.”It is not without reason that Judge Saini laments: “For the last seven years, on all working days, summer vacation included, I religiously sat in the open court from 10 am to 5pm, waiting for someone with legally admissible evidence in his possession, but all in vain. Everybody was going by rumour, gossip and speculation.”Another line in the judgment that merits some thought is: “Thus, some people created a scam by artfully arranging a few selected facts and exaggerating things beyond recognition to astronomical levels.”There are many who seem enraged by the fact that Judge Saini acquitted all the accused. They forget that a judge delivers a judgment on the basis of material before him, without falling for “rumour, gossip and speculation”. The job of convincing the court about the illegality and arbitrariness of a decision was left to the prosecution and its lawyers.Judges, not all unfortunately in these media-driven times, are seldom impressed by big numbers, unless they come with enough proof.Now that both CBI and ED have announced their intention to appeal against the judgment in the high court, one only hopes the premier agencies would do a better job there.

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The Indian teenagers who were expelled from school for hugging

The teenagers were found to have engaged in an “indecent and immoral public display of affection”.

Thakkarbapa Nagar MLA to withdraw cases against PAAS

There is some good news for Patidars of Saurashtrian Patel dominated seat, Thakkarbapa Nagar, that witnessed Patidar wrath in 2015 over reservation row. The new MLA, elected for the second time in a row, Vallabhbhai Kakadiya, has decided to withdraw all 12 cases registered against Patidars. Kakadia is a Patel and is involved in diamond business and had defeated Gita Patel of Congress last time.While listing developments that took place in past five years, Kakadiya is prompt enough to name a new crematorium, flyover, library, RCC road, etc. While Kakadiya garnered 88214 votes, he defeated Babubhai Mangukiya with 34088 votes. In 2012, he had defeated Gitaben Patel of Congress with 49251 votes.Quick to respond when asked about his priorities, Kakadiya, who himself is a Patidar says, “One of my main priority will be to withdraw cases against all Patidar’s. There are about 12 such cases registered so I will get them released. Another big issue in my constituency is illegal settlements on government land and others. In many places, the construction do not have proper documents and because of which for example even if a house is for 1 crore, a person does not get loan of even 2 lakhs. We will legalize all such sites.Since Patel will be representing the constituency for next five years, this is an endeavour of DNA to help you know your MLA.BACK TRACKNew MLA, elected for the second time in a row, Vallabhbhai Kakadiya, has decided to withdraw all 12 cases registered against Patidars. While listing developments that took place in past five years, Kakadiya is prompt enough to name a new crematorium, flyover, library, RCC road, etc.

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Facebook page admin arrested for posting ‘abusive’ memes on on famous personalities

Kolkata Police on Wednesday arrested a man who allegedly posted abusive and defamatory memes about famous personalities including Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda. The man, who ran a Facebook page, ‘Specified Tarkata’, was identified as Manimay Aich, the Indian Express reported. Police arrested Manimay Aich, 20, of West Midnapore​ on Wednesday after months of search. “He would create obscene memes of such great personalities like Netaji, Tagore, Swamiji and so on. There is a subtle difference between humour and audacity. This page has crossed its entire limit”, an official said.“Several efforts were made to identify the person behind the page but it was difficult since he would keep his identity a secret. Finally, officials of the Kolkata Police’s cyber department successfully traced the youth and he was arrested. He was staying in a paying guest accommodation near Garia station. He is a third-year physics student at a city college. A mobile phone and pen drive have been seized,” a senior police officer was quoted as saying by the daily. Another police officer said that the accused would create obscene memes of great personalities like Netaji, Tagore, Swamiji and so on.”There is a subtle difference between humour and audacity. This page had crossed the limit,” he said. Sources said the page was created around two years ago and initially posted humorous memes using pictures of actors.

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Illiteracy, lack of good candidates pushed many to take NOTA route

From illiteracy to dislike of candidates, people of Gujarat had various reasons to opt for the None of the Above (NOTA) in Gujarat Assembly 2017 elections. Over 2% of NOTA votes this election had caught everyones attention as on many seats, it was even more than the victory margin.National parties like BSP scored less than NOTA in the assembly elections and NOTA got 5.23 lakh votes. Interestingly, the number seems strange as only 1.1 per cent NOTA votes were registered in 2014 General elections.While people attribute ‘mistake’ as one of the reason for NOTA, some also cite the anger people had against the candidates contesting.Speaking about the scenario of NOTA in Morva Hadaf, winner Bhupendrasinh Khant who fought independently said, “There are lot of uneducated people in Morva Hadaf and that is one of the main reason for people opting for NOTA. They opted for NOTA by mistake.”Giving a different perspective, ex-Sarpanch there Anilbhai Sangada said, “Most women in our community are uneducated. While they were asked to press button one, they got confused as the voting machine was kept in a different direction. Hence, for them number 1 from top became number 1 from bottom and hence they opted for NOTA.”A farmer Jitendrabhai Ahir from Rapar in Kutch said, “There could be two reasons for people here opting for NOTA. The BJP candidate is from Sangh parivaar and hence people are not happy with the choice whereas for Congress, people think that the woman candidate is a housewife and will not be able to put our representation in assembly.”For Vibhu Sanghvi, a social worker from Mandvi, the reason for people opting for NOTA is their anger for both the candidates. He said, “Both candidates were outsiders and demonetisation has upset businessmen here. Hence they opted for NOTA.”The lowest votes to NOTA was garnered in Mehsana (686) followed by Karanj (900), Surat North (912) and Limbayat (940).The top six constituencies that recorded highest votes to NOTA include Jetpur, Halol, Chhota Udepur, Jhagadia, Jhalod and Morva Hadaf with Jetpur topping the list with 6155 votes to NOTA. Over 5.51 lakh voters had opted for NOTA this year. In several constituencies, NOTA votes even outnumbered the votes received by second runners up. In percentage terms, 1.8 per cent voters in Gujarat pressed the NOTA button on electronic voting machines in Gujarat.

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Over 250 MHADA flats to be on offer

Here’s good news for homebuyers who have been looking for affordable houses within city limits. According to senior MHADA officials, the forthcoming lottery that in most likelihood will be held in May will have 278 homes in the affordable segment in the Wadala region. If one doesn’t consider Sion, then the authority hasn’t had many affordable home projects on this side of the city. This will help MHADA have its image correction as the lottery in November had only eight homes in the Economically Weaker Section.MHADA faced criticism from various corners after the November lottery had very few homes on offer — 820 to be precise. But what was worse that the number of homes for the EWS category was the lowest. MHADA is expected to construct homes for that segment of the society which cannot afford the homes constructed by developers in Mumbai.According to a senior officer from MHADA, its Mumbai board is carrying out redevelopment of a chawl in Wadala’s Antop Hill, where it will be constructing nearly four towers of 25 floors each. “The total number of homes that will be on offer from this redevelopment project will be around 700, which will be used for rehabilitation purposes. There are flats that will be used for transit accommodation. Then, over 250 homes which will be around 300 sqft each will be put in the lottery,” said a MHADA official.Repeated attempts to contact Subhash Lakhe, chief officer, MHADA’s Mumbai board, failed.

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Nagpada junction to get 20 m flag pole

A 20-meter flag pole and congestion-free Nagpada junction is on its way. According to sources the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently approved a complete makeover of the junction that is famous for its congestion. The Nagpada Junction is one of the oldest junction in the city. Currently it is a traffic nightmare, where commuters get stuck for a long time. The local corporator Rais Shaikh, along with architects came up with a plan to redesign the area and give it a new look. Shaikh said “We will have a landscaping for the area done so that no one encroaches the area again and there is a smooth flow of traffic,” said Shaikh.According to Shaikh, the municipal commissioner recently gave the proposal an administrative consent and the work may start soon on the junction.The junction will have a small garden that can be used by the locals. “We are also planning to have a flag pole as huge as 20 meters. This flag pole will hoist the flag throughout the year. There are certain things like proper lighting and other regulations to be followed for the flag to be hoisted day and night, all of that is being worked out and will be followed,” added Shaikh.Shaikh claims that the makeover of the junction will help the locals have a beautiful place and also solve traffic and other problems like illegal parking in the area near the junction. Already that issue has been talked about and action on illegal parking has been taken on several occasions.

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Docs told to send plaints to Health dept via email

With an aim to limit the number of doctors and medical staff visiting the Delhi Secretariat for petty issues, the Department of Health and Family Welfare has asked them to now take the virtual road for their grievances.The department recently ordered the staff and doctors to send their complaints to their heads of the departments, who would later forward them to officials on their respective email ids.The Delhi Secretariat houses the administrative heads and officers of all major departments. According to sources, regular visits from doctors and medical staff was hampering the overall functioning of the hospitals.”It was being noted that regular visits by the medical staff was affecting the functioning of the hospitals. The medical staff is supposed to offer treatment to patients and not visit offices for administrative work,” a senior Delhi government official said. As per directives, if no response is received within 15 working days, a reminder should be sent by the head of the medical institution to the department of health. Once the reminder is sent, the staff can visit the department along with copies of mails.”This will also ease out the entire process. The visits were not only hampering the working of hospitals but also at the Delhi Secretariat, where the officials are dealing with serious issues. There are a large number of other issues that need attention,” the official added.In case of emergencies, the staff can visit only after getting a permission from the heads. “Except the above, any visit to the head office of the department would be liable to be treated as a violation of departmental directions and may attract disciplinary action, as per rules against the staff concerned,” the order from the department stated. The order, dated December 18, has been sent to all heads of the medical institutions, requesting them to communicate it to their employees.WORK HAZARDAccording to sources, regular visits from doctors and medical staff was hampering the overall functioning of the hospitals. In case of emergencies, the staff can visit only after getting a permission from heads.

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Maharashtra shops can run round the clock; bars and liquor shops excluded

The state government on Tuesday issued notification about amended shop and establishment act which would free almost 34 lakh out of 35 lakh shops and establishments in the state from Licence Raj. There are 35 lakh shops and establishments in the state out of which 22 lakh do not have any employee while there are 12 lakh shops with employees less than ten employees. The amendments makes it mandatory to avail this licence for only those shops and establishments which have more than 10 employees. Minister for Labor Sambhaji Nilangekar-Patil told that the notification also enables the shops and establishments to run their businesses round the clock in three shifts and Government expects that it would provide additional employment to 35 lakh persons in addition to present 35 lakh persons.The minister told that the act is coming in to force from today. Shops hotels, restaurants, theatres, architects, banking and financial consultants, offices of the construction companies, grocers and various other establishments in almost all the sectors of society are covered under this notification. Box itemMinister informed that the establishment having restaurants and bar together as well as liquor shops, beer bars are excluded from this notification. These establishments would not be able to avail these benefits.

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Gujarat elections 2017: One rebel leader eats words, other remains defiant

After BJP’s victory in Gujarat assembly election, the party’s MP Sanjay Kakade, who had predicted BJP’s loss on Monday stated that he is happy that prediction has gone wrong. Giving credit of Gujarat victory solely to the prime minister Narendra Modi,” Kakade said, adding, “Modi is real hero and I am zero.”Kakade had predicted dismal performance of BJP in Gujarat elections. He had claimed that his team had carried out a survey in Gujarat and as per the outcome of the survey, the BJP would get enough number of seats to form government in the state.However, after the results were out on Monday, Kakade stated that he is happy for party’s win and gave credit to Modi. “There was an anti-incumbency factor in the state and I had said that in spite of negativity against the party in the state, if it still wins, the will be only because of Modi.”Meanwhile, Nana Patole, the MP who rebelled and quit the party said, “The BJP has miserably failed to achieve 150 plus target set by Amit Shah. This despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing over 34 poll rallies and the party pulling in chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, Union cabinet ministers and ministers from the state governments. The BJP’s performance has been a reality check for the party.”

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Celebration muted at BJP HQs despite win

While the BJP is set to form the government for the sixth consecutive term, this is for the first time that the party’s total seat share has come down to double digits. The most shocking result came from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state and party’s national president Amit Shah.Poll celebrations during the Modi-era in the state, until 2014, were far granter in scale, with winners and party workers pouring in at the party headquarters, beating drums, playing garba, chanting Modi slogans and bursting crackers throughout the verdict day. The headquarters itself would be dressed in saffron colour and gulaal.However, this time around, visitors to Shri Kamalam, the BJP headquarters near Gandhinagar, were disappointed to see it relatively deserted. There were no leader being cheered by exhilerated supporters, and a few who arrived there were huddled behind closed doors. A few workers from Gandhinagar reached the spot to mark their presence and soon Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, too, arrived to address a press conference. The CM left, the crowd dispersed and for Shri Kamalam, the day came to an end by 6 pm.During the press conference, Rupani said, “We accept the verdict and will try to live up to Gujarat’s expectations in the coming five years, as the people have given us another opportunity to serve them.

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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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There are going to be new, exciting faces in Congress: Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has said that major changes will be undertaken in Congress under his leadershipIn his first exclusive interview since taking over as Congress President, Rahul Gandhi told NH that he would help the party embark on a path of greater democratisation & bring in interesting facesNewly-elected Congress President Rahul Gandhi says that the party will undergo major changes under his leadership, with more exciting people being projected in key positions.In his first exclusive interview since taking over as party president, Rahul Gandhi told National Herald that he would help Congress embark on a path of greater democratisation and bring interesting and young faces within the party fold.The 47-year old leader also rubbishes BJP’s claims that his party fought the recently held Gujarat state elections of casteist lines, instead highlighting that Congress brought the OBC, Dalit and the Patidar communities together on a Congress platform.Edited excerpts from Rahul’s interaction with National Herald’s Editor-in-Chief Neelabh Mishra and Qaumi Awaz’s Editor-in-Chief Zafar Agha. DNA present excerpts.Neelabh Mishra: Congratulations to you on being elected as President of the Congress Party. Thank you for giving this interview, which is the first since your appointment as party head.Rahul Gandhi: Thank you very much.NM: So, where do you go from here, in the Congress party as well as for the country?RG: I liked very much Mr Manmohan Singh’s formulations today, which is the politics of hope versus the politics of fear, or you can say the politics of anger. The BJP has divided the society. And they have created a false animosity between our people. I think Congress party’s role is to create a bridge between our people, start a conversation, where we can once again start to say that we all are Indian. Not a particular class, caste or religion, but our first identity is that of an Indian. And after that, come all other identities. And that is something that the Congress ideology can do.Zafar Agha: The problem is that Congress’ ideology of secularism and harmony is itself threatened now. There is tremendous fear and insecurity among the people. Isn’t this a great challenge before the country and the Congress?RG: Yes, periodically — look at Indian history — this has happened. A sort of polarisation you saw in the 1990s as well. But I primarily think that this country stands together, and we believe very deeply in love and affection. This country does not believe in hatred. And of course there has also been a large organised defamation campaign against the Congress party, carried out by the BJP and the RSS. Very organised, systematic, against its leaders, against its workers, against its ideas, against its past. I really felt this in Gujarat, that certain myths have been created, which are just lies. I mean, in Gujarat, the myth is that Sardar Patel and Jawahar Lal Nehru didn’t get along. It’s a lie. Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sardar Patel were friends. They spent time in jail together. They disagreed on certain things, but they were friends, and Sardar Patel had strong views against the RSS. He had also banned the RSS.As I said in my talk in the US and also during my campaign speeches in Gujarat, there is a central problem that India is facing, which is, India is simply not producing enough jobs, for the number of youngsters of this country.ZA: People say that Congress is not ready organisationally to take on the challenge posed by the RSS-BJP combine. Do you feel this is a problem for Congress?RG: There is lot of work that Congress has to do. There are a large number of new people that we have to bring forward. There is tremendous talent in the Congress party that we have to utilise. But one has to realise that there is a systematic campaign against the Congress party, and we are going to show to the country, the true face of the Congress Party. You are going to see a change in the Congress party, you are going to see more of people who excite you, people about whom you can say that they are somebody very interesting who have been put there by the Congress party. We would like to be associated with decent persons.NM: Will the Congress democratize itself more?RG: That is certainly my intention. We have done a lot of work in the Youth Congress and NSUI, and very successful work at that. We would like to bring in as many new faces, young faces, exciting faces and dynamic faces (as we could). That’s not to say that people who are experienced or older should not have space.

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Failed unions ruin working women too, says court

Working women are devastated when their marriage crumbles and they require considerable time to garner strength, a Delhi court has said, while enhancing the maintenance for a woman who had alleged that she was getting a meager amount whereas her husband was living luxuriously.Additional sessions judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said women should not be dependent on men for survival and courts should be slow in awarding maintenance just because a woman demanded it. Women need strength to overcome marriage woes, he said.”There is no doubt that when there are talks of gender equality, it is expected that a woman should not be dependent on a man for her survival, particularly when she has capacity to make her own living. Courts should be slow in awarding maintenance on the mere asking for it by the wife and must consider the capability and capacity of the claimant to earn her livelihood.At the same time, one has to consider the fact that many a times, even a working woman is so devastated when her marriage crumbles that it takes considerable time for her to gather the strength to beat the reality,” the court stated.Ekta Puri, who had studied filmmaking and was yet to start her career, had filed an appeal against an order passed by a Metropolitan Magistrate, whereby she was entitled to Rs 1 lakh for a year and another Rs 70,000 for accommodation after separation from her husband Vikramjit Singh Puri.Her counsel contended that her husband concealed his income and did not show records of movable and immovable assets in the court. It was also submitted that he was spending over Rs 70,000 on his entertainment and other expenses but was not ready to pay proper maintenance to his wife.The court, while deciding the case in favour of the woman, said the qualification that Ekta possesses can be utilised only in the film industry, which offers a very uncertain career and work on the principle of out of sight, out of mind. To regain her foothold in the film industry will not be an easy task for her, considering the mental state she must have been in after the broken marriage.The court further held that Vikramjit was maintaining high standards of living and had concealed his income documents. “Therefore, without going into the matter as it is only at the initial stage and a prima facie view of the facts is to be considered, I would say that the husband is maintaining a high standard of living, which a person cannot achieve and maintain with only Rs 1 lakh per month. Needless to adhere that the appellant being his wife is entitled to live the same lifestyle,” the court said in its order.The judge directed Vikramjit to pay Rs 2 lakh per month to Ekta and to pay Rs 70,000 for alternate accommodation.

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60 sports teachers for over 9 lakh students in 1700 govt schools

Even as the AAP-led Delhi government has been promoting public schools and sports in the city, the situation of sports facilities of schools operating under the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs) tells a different story. Hundreds of these government-run schools do not have a basic working playground.As per the recent data released by an NGO, 24% schools from North MCD, 11% from SDMC and 12% from EDMC did not have playgrounds in the academic year 2016-17. The schools operating under the MCDs offer education till class V.Even the number of physical education teachers in these schools is surprisingly low, prompting a call for a massive recruitment drive.”There are only 60 Physical Education Teachers for over 9 lakh students in 1,700 MCD schools,” said Ramniwas Solanki, general secretary, Municipal Corporation of Teachers’ Association.”When the schools across the world are promoting extra-curricular activities, we are depriving our children by not even providing the teachers,” he added.In a bid to apprise the authorities about the situation, the association had also written to the commissioners and mayors of the three civic bodies but to no avail. However, officials at the civic bodies, claim that the process of hiring new teachers is”underway”.”With no physical education in hundreds of MCD schools, students are neither getting proper physical training nor getting a chance to participate in any recreational activity. Many of these kids are from poor families and if we don’t channelise their energy, there is a risk of them getting involved in anti-social activities,” said a teacher at an MCD school in east Delhi’s Patparganj.MATTER RAISEDIn a bid to apprise the authorities about the situation, the association had also written to the commissioners and mayors of the three civic bodies but to no avail

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City sees a 43% rise in debit and credit card frauds

Mumbai city has seen a whopping 43 per cent rise in cases of debit/credit card fraud as compared to last year. While as many as 546 cases of credit/debit card fraud were registered in Mumbai from January till November this year, 382 cases were registered last year during the same period.Experts say that the increase was reportedly due to demonetisation as a huge number of citizens went for cashless transactions after November last year.While, debit/credit card fraud cases are on the rise, the detection of these cases have come down. According to Mumbai police’s statistics, while 50 people were arrested in these cases from January till November last year, this year, 35 people were arrested during the same period.”An increased number of citizens have gone for cashless transactions following demonetisation last year and hence the instances of debit and credit card frauds have increased. There are various modus operandis that cyber-fraudsters use to dupe citizens. The most common of them is where debit cards of users are being cloned using skimming devices,” said a senior Mumbai police officer.Speaking about what precautions one can take to ensure they are not duped, the officer said, “One must not share his/her card number, CVV number and expiry date of a card. In case of suspicious transactions, one should immediately notify the bank. Also, please beware while swiping your cards at restaurants and bars; do not share your PIN with the waiters and enter the PIN for the card yourself in the swiping machine.””Around three years ago my credit card was cloned and the bank refused to file a case in this regard. The numbers revealed in the police statistics are actually very low than what it should be. Such massive frauds are not possible without the connivance of bank officials. It is highly possible that bank officials give customers’ debit card/credit card data and client phone numbers to the cyber-frauds, which they use for their benefit,” said cyber expert Vijay Mukhi.In a bid to increase the detection and conviction rate of cyber crimes in the city, Mumbai police have set up specialised cyber crime investigation units at each police station in Mumbai. “The policemen working in these cyber-units are well trained and the main aim for setting up these units is to take the burden off the Cyber-Crime police station,” said another police officer.HOW TO STAY SAFE?Do not share your card number, CVV, and expiry date Notify the bank immediately about suspicious transactions Do not share PIN with waiters at bars and restaurants

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Muslims in India are also Hindus: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

Anybody living in India is a Hindu, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said today, asserting that the meaning of Hindutva is to unite all communities.Hindutva is different from Hinduism, he told a public function at the Swami Vivekananda Maidan in the heart of Tripura’s capital.”The Muslims in India are also Hindus,” the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghchalak said.Bhagwat, who is on a five-day tour of Tripura since Friday to review the organisational work of the RSS in the north-eastern region, said, “We have no enmity with anyone. We want welfare of all. To unite all is the meaning of Hindutva.” Maintaining that India is a land of Hindus, he said “tortured” Hindus from across the world come to the country and get shelter. The RSS supremo said, “Hindus believe in truth, but the world respects strength. There is strength in organisation. Being organised is the natural law.” Also readRSS expresses concern over ‘growing’ casteism at samnvaya baithakReferring to the Partition, he said parts of India got separated in 1947, leading to the weakening of the spirit of Hindutva and a decline of the “Hindu Samaj”. “India was united for so long. There was unity among the Hindus,” Bhagwat said.Highlighting the rich heritage of the country, he said, “A perturbed and confused world is looking at India for a new world order that can accommodate the materialist as well as the idealist.” Also readWill support BJP, RSS if they shun politics of hatred, says Jamiat Ulema-e-HindHe urged the Hindus to get organised and trained at RSS “shakhas” (daily meetings), saying these were the only places where one could prepare for nation-building and self- development.The “sanatan dharma” wants to work together with everybody on board, Bhagwat said. The Left Front-ruled Tripura is scheduled to go to polls early next year and the BJP is making a serious bid to increase its footprint in the north-east. Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur have BJP governments.

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Make basic qualification must to become minister: Ex-CEC TS Krishnamurthy

Former Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishnamurthy has pitched for a minimum educational qualification to become a minister and also a higher age limit to get such berths.Krishnamurthy recommended that one should be at least 35 years’ old to become a minister (both in states and at the Centre), from the present 25.Asked if he thought there should be a basic educational qualification to become legislators, he said it is a very debatable point, adding that there are some “intelligent uneducated politicians and foolish educated politicians.””I don’t think education by itself makes a person competent. But ministers, yes, if they have some basic education, it’s good because they have got to look at files and take decisions,” Krishnamurthy told PTI.Also readElection Commission must address queries related to working of EVMs: Omar Abdullah”For legislators, I am not one of those who strongly believes that there must be an educational qualification,” he said.Krishnamurthy said an age limit (to become a minister) may be probably better.”Make it 35 if you want. There may be some more maturity (by that age) but educational qualification by itself does not assure you an effective legislator, character is more important than education,” he said.”I would say make it 35 (to be a minister). I would say no person can be a minister unless he is 35 or 40. Some maturity will be there (then),” he said.Speaking in general terms, Krishnamurthy said some ministers and legislators make “loose comments”.So, at least as ministers they must be more responsible.Also readRBI, Election Commission have no information on bonds for political parties funding: RTI reply They cannot be indulging in loose talk, he said stressing the need to set an educational qualification minimum of graduation or equivalent — for becoming ministers and higher age limit to get those posts.”Make it 35 or 40. (Also) against whom criminal cases are pending, they should not be appointed as ministers,” he said There can be a system of recall of legislators also which, he said, would serve as a deterrent. This provision should kick in after legislators complete two-and-a-half years of their five-year-tenure.”If they have not performed in those two-and-a-half years and if they have indulged in any criminal activity, then I would say you must have a provision of recall which again may serve as a deterrence and improve the performance of legislators and ministers,” Krishnamurthy said.Asked if he is in favour of barring candidates from contesting on two seats, the former CEC said that in 2004, he had in a letter to the prime minister clearly said it is not desirable (candidates should not be allowed to contest from two segments).

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Family helps man kill wife, dump body

A 37-year-old property dealer confessed to strangling his wife to death and disfiguring her face with a hammer before dumping her body in a gorge in Mussorie.Lalit Jain, along with father and brother, hatched a plan to kill her as they were having financial and dowr-related disputes. Lalit, a resident of Pitampura, along with his brother, sister-in-law and father, initially played the victim card and claimed that he did not know where his wife had gone. However, during sustained interrogation and CCTV footage which showed Jain and his brother along with their friend putting her body in the car, they confessed to the crime.On December 3, Jain strangled his wife as her in-laws held her hands and feet. He then used a hammer to hide her identity, stuffed her body in a gunny bag and took it to Mussorie and threw it off the hills.Silky’s parents who knew relations she was being beaten by her husband, grew suspicious after they could not get in touch with their daughter after December 3.Police officials revealed that the couple earlier had a dowry related financial dispute which was brought to the notice of the Crime Against Women (CAW) cell and was resolved amicably.When her family enquired about her whereabouts, Lalit maintained that she was busy. He then called the police station on December 11 and filed a missing persons complaint.”There were lot of discrepancies in the statement of the family members. The parents of the deceased expressed suspicion on the husband and the family,” said Aslam Khan, DCP, North-West.Those arrested include the husband, his father, his brother, his sister-in-law and sister-in-law’s brother.Khan added that to destroy evidence the accused painted the house, cleaned their sofa and furniture in the house and burnt the clothes they wore during the murder.Baby taken alongThis family sticks together especially when it comes to murder. Police said the sister-in-law drove the car, on the way to dump the body, as they were less likely to be stopped. Also, her two-year-old child was in the car with the body.

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Telecom sector will stabilise in 6-8 months, says MoS Manoj Sinha

The crisis-ridden telecom industry, which has witnessed hyper competition since the entry of a new player — Reliance Jio — last year, is expected to stabilise in the next 6-8 months.Saying this, Union Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha added that such a disruption had happened in 2003 as well, and the market had stabilised within a year at that time.”There has been some impact in the last few quarters but in the next 6-8 months, the sector will stabilise,” Sinha told DNA in an interview.”We are in a consolidation phase. Globally, there are 2-3 players in telecom sector. Here also, only 4-5 players will be left. There is stiff competition and tariffs for voice and data are very low. Indian mobile market has huge potential,” the Minister said.Telecom players together have a cumulative debt of around Rs 5 lakh croreLast year, Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Jio entered the telecom industry creating a disruption with its free voice calls and dirt cheap data tariffs. Existing telecom players such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellula and BSNL were forced to match the tariffs to retain their user base, but it impacted the margins and profits of the telecom companies substantially. Since then, a consolidation in the sector is underway. Vodafone and Idea have announced a merger, Airtel has acquired Telenor India and will be soon acquiring the wireless business of the Tata Group while Reliance Communications merged Shyam Sistema’s wireless business with itself and has shut down its 2G services.When asked if the telecom industry is witnessing hyper competition, Sinha said, “Let’s wait for results of the next two quarters, then we will take a view on it.”An inter-ministerial group under the Department of Telecommunications has also suggested some measures to ease the financial stress faced by telecom players. The measures include an increase in tenure of deferred spectrum instalments (for spectrum bought in auctions) to 16 years from 10 years, while lowering the rate of interest charged on penalties on delayed payments.”These have already been approved by the Telecom Commission and will be sent to the Cabinet soon. Telecom is a success story and the government will ensure its continuity,” Sinha said.India is the second largest telecom market in the world with 1.2 billion mobile users and around 450 million internet users. The telecom industry generates four million direct and indirect jobs.Last year, the industry was engulfed in the issue of call drops which had forced the government to step in and take a regular update from operators on improvement of existing infrastructure besides asking them to invest more for resolving this call drop menace.”Compared to last year, call drops have significantly reduced and even telecom regulator TRAI’s latest report has proved this,” he said.Talking about the forthcoming new Telecom Policy, the Minister said the new policy would include all the new technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT), 5G, among others.”The objective is to make India future ready at a time when data adoption is increasing at a fast pace and will be the centre of many things. 5G technology will speed up the digital transformation,” Sinha added.

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Air quality plummets, close to becoming ‘very poor’

A cold wave prevailed in the Capital for the second consecutive day on Friday with the air quality plummeting from Thursday’s 265 units to 272 units. While the air quality is still in ‘poor’ category, it is close to reaching ‘very poor’ (300 units).While scientists at the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said the air quality will fluctuate between ‘poor and moderate’, a further drop in temperature is likely over the coming fortnight.The maximum temperature on Friday was recorded at 19.5 degrees Celsius, a few notches above yesterday’s 19.1 degrees Celsius, the lowest maximum the season has witnessed.”There will be shallow to dense fog with slight drop in temperature. Winds from the northern region are bringing the cold wave. The air quality may improve with more winds,” said a CPCB official.The AQI units are measured against PM 2.5 — the most prominent pollutant in Delhi-NCR.After a brief respite on December 6 and 7, which were tagged as “good air days” in the month, pollution levels spiked again on Friday, with the AQI shooting up to 390 units. The permissible standards for PM 2.5 — the most prominent pollutant in the city — are 60 units.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Talkshows and public rallies, AMC gets rich by Rs 17.25 lakh

People are busy discussing opinion polls, exit polls and surveys related to elections as the poll hangover is still on. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), on the other hand, is counting notes.AMC earned Rs17.25 lakh during the poll season. The amount is very nominal for AMC, whose annual budget is more than Rs 6,000 crore. Apart from the riverfront space, not a single community hall of AMC was booked for political meetings.For talk shows in different news channel, AMC rented the space at Sabarmati Riverfront. As per data given by the civic authority, a total of 36 such talk shows were organised at the riverfront. This generated an income of Rs2.12 lakh.Also three major public meetings were held at riverfront which has fetched Rs9.33 lakh to AMC’s bank. “We are renting open spaces commercially. There are many religious events, sports events, and other functions. During elections, private news channels and political parties had approached us,” said a senior civic body officer.”By renting out space at Sabarmati riverfront, AMC earned Rs11.45 lakh. Space for advertisements and hoardings brought us another Rs5.80 lakh,” added the official.”The income of Rs 5.80 lakh is from political parties and applied via a single window system. Election related advertisements were also from the Collector’s office regarding voting awareness. We haven’t charged anything from the Collector’s office,” remarked the official.Also, the civic body is renting out space for shooting purposes, since 2014. However, income generated from renting out space for shooting is lesser than the entry to visiting the Riverfront park and Flower park.

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Try to loot booth during Panchayat elections: Mukul Roy dares TMC

BJP leader Mukul Roy threw a challenge at TMC daring them to loot polling booths in the panchayat election next year.“Will you be able to loot votes during the panchayat election? We will see about it at the ground level,” Roy said speaking outside the office of the state chief electoral officer (CEO).He had been to the CEO office demanding free and fair polls and to ensure that all voters can reach the polling booths to cast their votes. Referring to the upcoming bye-election at Sabang Assembly constitution in West Midnapore district, he said that they are keeping a tab on state CEO Aariz Aftab. “You will have to stick to the election norms. There are 306 booths at Sabang. Each and every booth needs to be manned and managed by Central force. There should not be any bike rally 48 hours prior to the polls and there should be area domination to instil confidence among voters of the area,” he said. Roy alleged that the state CEO has been deviating from the spirit of the constitutional post owing to his allegiance to the ruling party. “We have your bio-data. We know how many posts of the state government you have held but that should not deter you. If you are unable, then you must remember this is not the last election which you would be conducting,” he said.Mukul Roy said that BJP would get good result in Sabang and later in all the elections leading up to assembly elections in 2021. “Bhunia had been the alliance candidate of Congress and CPI(M) and he had fought against the TMC. Now he has defected to the TMC and his wife is the TMC candidate. As a result, workers of both Congress and TMC are heartbroken. They will not vote for him. After the elections of 2019 and 2021, BJP will come to power in Bengal,” Roy said.In another development, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, on the sidelines of a meeting at Basirhat in North 24 Parganas said that the way people were defecting from TMC to BJP, before the panchayat polls, TMC organisation would be broken. Speaking about arrest of TMC leaders, he said, “CBI is investigating chit fund cases under the supervision of the court and those who need to be arrested would be arrested. BJP has nothing to do with it.”

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Give powers to CAPFs to buy new vehicles: Home Ministry

Flooded with delays in replacing vehicles damaged in ambush the Home Ministry has written to the Finance Ministry seeking powers for chiefs of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to buy new ones.There is a huge backlog of damaged vehicles that need to be declared non-operational, sources said.Among the most severely hit forces is the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) serving in Maoist conflict zones as they are targeted by rebels planting improvised explosive devices on the roads. Sources said there are nearly 400-500 vehicles that need replacement.Currently the powers lie with the Finance Ministry and get stuck in bureaucratic delays leading to forces using obsolete vehicles.”A damaged vehicles needs to be declared non-operational. Till the process does not take place it cannot be replaced,” said a home ministry official.This is part of the plan to give a push to the modernisation drive for police forces. The Home Ministry has already laid out a blue print for the Rs 25,000 crore modernisation schemes. Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a review meeting on Thursday took a low down on the plan that is expected to give a push to modern technology to enhance internal security measures, women safety, better surveillance and use of better weapons. There has also been a five time increase in the amount sanctioned for CAPFs as part of a two year modernisation plan. The Home Ministry has also approved the plan worth Rs 1054 from the corpus of Rs. 25,000 crore for the years 2018 and 2019.CRPF AFFECTEDAmong the most severely hit forces is the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) serving in Maoist conflict zones as they are targeted by rebels planting improvised explosive devices on the roads.

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Congress spews venom on Vasundhara Raje rantings

200 kms away from the capital Jaipur, when chief minister Vasundhara Raje was celebrating 4th anniversary of her government in Jhunjhunu and counting achievements of BJP government amid much fanfare, the opposition Congress was busy spewing venom against her rule and pressing its countdown button in Jaipur. Congress state President Sachin Pilot accused government of corruption and said that BJP has pushed the state back bringing anarchy in the system.“There is no sign of law and order and governance in the state. If at all the government is doing anything honesty, that is corruption deeds,” said Pilot.He said that the countdown of Raje government has begun and public will teach a strong lesson to BJP in the next elections.“Right from youth to women to farmers, every section of the society is suffering. The government has failed on all the fronts,” he said.Going a step ahead, leader of opposition in assembly Rameshwar Dudi termed BJP government as one of the biggest ‘political crash’ in the history of Rajasthan. He issued a ‘Black Box’ of Raje’s misrule and said that the box is a collections of failures of Raje government.“Black Box in an aeroplane contains the data to determine the cause of air crash. Likewise this Black Box has the causes of all the failures of BJP government,” he said. He said that he had 52 questions covering more than 250 issues for CM which she must answer to public. He said 52 questions will lead BJP to fall like pack of 52 cards. “Four years back, BJP had come to power making 611 poll promises. Unfortunately they have not been able to fulfill even 40% of them. BJP had been an utter failure and now chief minister has only few months left,” he said.He questioned BJP about the promised it made regarding farmers loan waiver and asked why government is silent on suicides of farmers in the state. He asked government why the inter state water treaty is not being implemented and why renovation of Indira Gandhi Canal has not taken place?Dudi said that there is a visible public anger against BJP. Government employees are staging demonstrations, farmers are agitating, policemen are going on strike, Physically challenged are challenging the government and youth are stiil waiting for 15 lakh job opportunities which BJP had promised. Showing law and order in poor light, Dudi said that there has been rise in atrocities against women and dalit and the state has witnessed communal violence in last 4 years.“More than 70,000 newly born babies died for the want of proper medical facilities. Thousands of schools have been closed without reason and BJP government stalled mega projects which started during last Congress government like Jaipur Metro, Barmer Refinery, Banswara Rail project or Kota’s Parwan Irrigation Project with malicious intent,” he said.Taking a dig at Raje government, Dudi said that the government topped in corruption.“There was 45,000 crore mines scam, several thousand crore of PHED scam and several other scams that gagged the development. The government failed miserably in bring big ticket investment to the state despite spending crores of rupees on summit like Resurgent Rajasthan.As the government enters into the election year, BJP state president Ashok Parnami is also seen sprucing up the organisation. He is getting ready to answer accusations and allegations levelled by Congress on ground zero. Parnami, a close confidante of Raje, has a task cut out to manage the grassroots and dispel the image Congress is trying to weave for the ruling party.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Police on their toes in Patidar localities

Even as security has been beefed up across the city and state in view of the elections, security forces and police are taking additional precautionary measures in Patidar-dominated areas of the city.Officials said deployment of police and personnel of paramilitary forces had started 48 hours ahead of voting. A higher number of police personnel have been deployed in areas such as Ghatlodia, Bapunagar, Nikol, Naroda, Thakkarbapa Nagar, Ranip and Gota, which are either Patidar dominated or have a significant population of Patidars. “We have done additional deployment of security personnel in sensitive areas of the city to prevent any law and order issues,” AK Yadav, additional commissioner of police, sector II, said.The Patidar dominated areas in the city such as Ghatlodia, Naranpura and Bapunagar witnessed violence in the aftermath of the police lathicharge on protesting Patels in August 2015. There were complaints of cops forcibly entering many residential societies and resorting to violence and arson.

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Winter Session of Parliament: Govt convenes all-party meet tomorrow

The government has convened an all-party meeting tomorrow, ahead of the winter session of Parliament where the opposition is likely to raise the issue of a delay in calling the session.The parliamentary affairs ministry has sent out invites to the leaders of major political parties that have representatives in both Houses of Parliament for the meet.The winter session will be held from December 15 to January 5. There would be a total of 14 working days.Last year, the session began on 16 November and ended on 16 December, with 22 sittings.The opposition has claimed that the ruling BJP delayed the session fearing that it would raise various issues ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls government.The government has, however, maintained that there were precedents of session dates being changed in view of elections.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will also host a dinner for the leaders of all parties tomorrow.Two ordinances on insolvency code and amendment to the Forest Act have to be approved by Parliament in the winter session.

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I have a deep unshakeable bond with Rajasthan: Vasundhara Raje

Q: Looking back how would you evaluate the four years ? How satisfied are you with your performance ?A: Four years is a very short period. I cannot say I am satisfied, it is work in progress. We have done some good work and with the continuation of programmes you will see Rajasthan upwardly mobile. We inherited a shaky economy. The four years have been used to change despondence to hope because of opportunities.Q: You got a brute majority; how far have you been successful in fulfiling the expectations of the people ? A: My connect with the people is constant. Our programmes and their implementation have been for the benefit of all sections. Going digital with our schemes is a major achievement. We are giving rations through POS machines, Bhamashah Swasthya Beema Yojna has helped provide better health care. The Mukhymantri Jal Swavlamban Yojna has been a success story that is heartening. People have come forward to support it. At the same time we have launched intra state air connectivity. Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Kota, Ajmer are connected through air. The list can go on. Q: How many announcements that made have been completed ? What is your biggest success ? What achievements can you cite ?A: We did not make enormous announcements. We have some 10-15 flagship schemes that are aimed to benefit the common people. We are assiduously following their implementation. The Bhamashah Yojna, Annapurna, Nyay Aaapke Dwar and Rajshri are schemes that have reached out to people to make a difference. Our programmes have been covering the various stages where state intervention is required to provide necessary support and bring the needy under state intervention.The schemes are also very encompassing. For example; A woman gets vaccinations when she is expecting a baby; the baby too gets vaccinated; the girl child gets financial benefit on completing school; scooties are provided to assist movement to education places. Over a span of several years these focused interventions through programmes bring concrete positive results. Q: What can one expect from the 5th Budget of this tenure ? What populistic works will be done keeping the election in mind ? A: In the next budget, announcements will be minimalised. The budget will be about implementations. We will use the money to complete pending works. Our focus will on delivery. Q: Don’t you think hate crime incidents like the Rajsamand put forward need for tightening up of law and order situation ? A: I condem such acts. We will not tolerate them. Immediate action was taken in the Rajsamand case, and let me tell you, all people irrespective of their caste community are equal before us. Q: What would you consider is the biggest achievement of this tenure ?A: The contact that has been established with the people is a major achievement. I have been meeting people through the Mukhymantri Jansamwad Karyakram and hearing them first hand. It is a learning experience. Action is being taken on spot. The Jhunjhunu ration issue is a very recent example. The message has gone out that those not performing duties will be penalized.Q: But is not too late?A: We started with Sarkaar Aapke Dwar, but that was too huge. We trimmed it to Aapka Zila Aapki Sarkaar. We further trimmed it to Mukhymantri Jansamwad where I myself go to a district for three days and sort out people’s problems at hand. Now only 17 districts are to be visited. I am enjoying it as I am meeting people personally and solving their problems.Q: When is Prime minister expected to lay foundation stone for the refinery?A: We have requested for the Prime Minister’s time and we expect him to come in January.Q: The government is facing litigations related to decisions that should have been taken; for example the one about vacant posts in the boards and commissions. When will they be filled ?A: We have been making appointments. But this is a continuous process. The posts that remain vacant will be filled soon.Q: Is there any chance of next edition of Resurgent Rajasthan in last year of your government?A: In my first stint as chief minister I made mistake by holding the event in 2008 which was last year of the government. So the succeeding government scrapped the MoU signed in the event. In the current tenure the event was organized in 2015 so the MoUs could be implemented. Now see the result we are implementing them successfully. So, no Resurgent Rajasthan this year.Q: Doctors are agitating, Government employees are striking over pay commission implementation. Why is this not being addressed?A: In a democracy all have a right to put across their opinion. But doctors have to address their human responsibilities too. As for the employees they are our backbone and I have always been with them, even during the implementation of the sixth pay commission. As a part of our family, they But they too will have to understand our financial conditions.Q: There have been several communal incidents across the state what is the reason? A: The government is committed to control all such incidents immediately. The police has done a good job in containing the incidents. I congratulate the police.Q: Cow vigilantism and crimes related to cattle smuggling are on the rise. What is the reason?A: We do not support any illegal acts. Action will be taken against all wrong doers. We are committed to this and it reflects in the action we have taken.Q: Padmavati controversy has prompted you to ban the film in the state. How fair is it?A: Padmini is an issue of pride not just for Rajasthan but for the entire country. We support an artist’s right to expression, but injury to our dignity will not be accepted. We have merely respected public sentiment.Q: There is much talk about you not sharing cordial relations with the Centre and also about you being called to the Centre. What is the truth ?A: Rajasthan is surging ahead and scaling new heights of progress. As for having a troubled relation with the Centre; even I hear such talks. I heard it all through last tenure and all these four years. But, see I have a deep unshakable bond with Rajasthan. That cannot be severed. And my efforts will be for the betterment of the people of the State. Q: What is the government’s intent on loan waiver to farmers?A: We are committed to supporting farmers. A committee has been set up that is in the process of studying various models of loan waivers in different states. On basis of their report we will work out the waiver. Q: What are the expectations from the bypolls ?A: We continue to be tested and I believe we will return in these areas.Q: Congress has turned out to be a formidable opponent in Gujarat. Who will win the Gujarat, Rajasthan next year and the Parliamentary polls after that ?A: Undoubtedly we will win in Gujarat and Rajasthan and form a government again at the Centre.

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35% dip in DTC bus travellers: Centre for Science and Environment

The number of daily commuters on the government’s Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses has come down by 35% over the past four years, revealed a report prepared by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).The average ridership of the state-run public transport came down from 47 lakh in 2012-13 to around 30 lakh by the end of 2016, the report said. “As per the latest available DTC statistics, about 30 lakh passengers are carried daily, of which only 14 lakh (45%) are ticketed passengers. The rest 16 lakh (55%) use passes. Thus, a pass holder is counted as travelling nine times during the course of a single day and that inflates the daily trip number. It is possible, therefore, that the daily ridership is expected to be much less than the estimated 30-lakh figure,” it stated.The report comes at a time when the AAP government has received much flak for not adding to the depleting bus fleet of the state-run bus service as well as no upgradation in the existing transport infrastructure.The report highlighted that the DTC bought new buses in 2011-12. “There has been almost no addition to the fleet in the past five years. If no new buses are added now, the entire fleet will get nearly phased out by 2025.”It further said, the DTC also does not use around 700 buses on any given day, mainly due to breakdowns. This is leading to the “rapid loss” of daily ridership, the report stated. The DTC currently operates 3,800 buses while Delhi Integrated Multi Modal System (DIMTS) runs around 1,600 buses under the Cluster Scheme. “There is a shortage of 5,000-10,000 buses based on required estimates and the mandate,” it stated.It also found loopholes in the utilisation of the bus fleet by the DTC. “DTC’s fleet utilisation has come down to 83.63% in 2015-16, from 85.51% in 2013-14,” it said.The Delhi government has started the process for procurement of 1,000 buses each for the DTC and Cluster scheme.The report suggested for speeding up the process. The city requires at least 11,000 more buses to cater to the growing demand of the Capital.

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New device soon to rescue trapped birds

To rescue birds that trapped in electric wire or kites thread, the Mumbai Fire Brigade has decided to buy telescopic pole for all its fire station. The Mumbai Fire Brigade believes that the telescopic pole will not easily rescue birds but also prevent fireman falling from electric pole or getting electrocuted. As per the plan, the MBF will buy 35 telescopic poles for 34 fire stations. According to MFB, they receive around 4500 calls annually about birds caught in kites thread in any building or electricity wire. However, the fire department does not have specialised equipment to rescue these birds. “There were occasions, when fireman injured while rescuing birds,” said an official from the MFB. Even, three firemen had sustained severe burn injuries while rescuing a bird that was trapped in high voltage wires, near the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in December last year. The three had to be admitted in Airoli burnt centre, owing to seriousness of their injures. There are various incidents when firemen themselves received injuries while rescuing bird. “After telescopic pole will be made of carbon fibre or fibre glass which will light in weight and can be easily used,” said the official. A proposal regarding to buy 35 telescopic poles for 34 fire stations will come for discussion during the standing committee meeting on December 4. And, each telescopic pole will be cost Rs 1.66 lakh while the total cost of the proposal will be Rs 99 lakh.

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Police rue lack of CCTV in Zaira case

Absence of a close circuit television (CCTV) camera inside the Vistara flight, in which a 17-year-old actress alleged that she was molested, has made it difficult for the police to provide technical evidence in their case.”CCTVs play an important role in the aircraft and are most crucial in case of any hijack situation. CCTVs inside the flight that could have given us technical help in this case. There is nothing to recover from the arrested person in the case, hence we will take a call on whether further police custody is required or not. We will wrap up the case fast and will submit the charge sheet in court,” a police officer said.Vikas Sachdeva, 39, who has been arrested by the Sahar police on charges of allegedly molesting the minor actress, has not denied the incident, but claimed that it happened by “mistake”, police sources said.An aviation industry official, meanwhile, said, “There is no mandatory provision for installation of CCTV inside an aircraft to keep surveillance on the passengers,”Explaining the use of CCTVs inside an aircraft, the official said, “Only one CCTV is installed at the gate of the cockpit, which is used by the pilot to keep track on the identity of the person trying to enter the cockpit and to check suspicious movements. In case of any problem in the passenger area, the crew members are trained to handle the situation. Only in cases when the situation turns uncontrollable and requires interference from the pilot, he/she is informed by the crew.”

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Supreme Court to pass orders on disable friendly educational institutes

The Supreme Court today said it will pass order on a plea seeking to make higher education institutions physically accessible for disabled students.A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said that it will pass certain directions on the issue and give some time for its compliance.The bench was hearing a plea filed by an organisation Disabled Rights Group in 2006, espousing the cause of a disabled girl who is 100 per cent wheelchair bound.The girl, who wanted to study law, could not study at the National Law University and managed to gain admission in a private university.Counsel for the petitioner organisation said the college at the private university does not have facilities for disabled students despite a law which mandates provision of facilities to such students.”She was made to stay in a hostel in a shared room with two other normal students, the bathroom did not have a ramp and there was no escort facility in the hostel for such students,” he said.He said Persons for Disabilities(Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, provided certain guidelines to be followed, which were not adhered to by higher education institutes.The bench said three per cent reservation provided under the law is now being followed by the educational institutions.”There is no tracking or monitoring whether these institutes are providing reservation or not to the disabled students. There is no reporting mechanism for the institutes,” the counsel said.The bench then outlined three issues– provision of reservation in higher educational institutions for disabled, all educational institutions being made physically accessible for disabled students and the scope of several provisions of the Act.”We will pass order with regard to these issues,” the bench said.

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Thief turns extortionist, demands Rs 10K

A 28-year-old Mumbai-based man, whose laptop bag was stolen while he was sleeping on a train, is now being blackmailed by the thief who is demanding money in return for the bag.The thief is abusing the victim via text messages and threatening him to pay the money via Paytm or else he will burn all his valuables.According to the victim, Dhagesh Desai, he was returning to Mumbai from Indore in Avantika Express on December 4. Desai claimed that his bag was missing when he woke up in the morning.He immediately lodged a complaint with Borivili Government Railway Police. However, the next day he received a call from an unknown number.The caller told him that he had stolen the bag and if Desai wants it back, he will have to pay Rs 10,000 immediately failing which he will destroy all his documents.”He then started sending me messages on WhatsApp and threatened me that if within 10 minutes I did not pay the money then he will destroy everything. The bag contained my laptop, my wallet and other important office documents,” Desai told DNA.”I am wondering what kind of security the railway is providing in the coaches. There were few more passengers on the train who lost their mobile phones and other valuables. Is been 5 days that the FIR has been lodged but the police have not done anything,” he added

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Geeta does not recognise Bihar couple who claim to be parents

Geeta, a speech impaired girl who returned to India in 2015 after spending several years in Pakistan where she had landed accidentally as a child, today didn’t recognise a Muslim couple from Bihar who had claimed that she was their long-lost daughter.The authorities will now go for DNA testing of the couple to determine if they are her parents.In-charge district collector Ruchika Chauhan said that Geeta used sign language to convey that it was not her family.She said, “Geeta conveyed that she worshipped Hindu deities- Lord Shankar and Hanuman- and does not belong to a Muslim family.”Chauhan said that the family comprising Mohammed Isa, his wife Julekha Khatoon and other family members were allowed to meet Geeta as part of the initiative to re-unite Geeta with her parents.The family is from Mirajpur village in Bihar’s Saran district and had claimed that Geeta is their long-lost daughter Rubeida who went missing when she went out to watch a marriage procession.Chauhan, however, said that DNA samples of Mohammad Isa and his wife Julekha Khatoon have been collected for verification.The family members, meanwhile, have not lost hope with Mohammad Isa’s son Himtaj telling reporters that Geeta failed to recognize his father possibly because she had stayed away from the family for a long time.On being asked that Geeta termed herself as a follower of Hindu faith, Himtaj said that it could be because of the cultural harmony in his native village.”There are many temples along with a mosque around our house and Hindus and Muslims celebrate each other’s festivals together. We visit Hindu families during the festival of Chhath,” he said.”There may be the memories of worshipping deities in Hindu temples in her subconscious mind,” Himtaj added.”We hope that the DNA examination will clear the situation,” Himtaj said.District collector Chauhan informed that the DNA verification process would be the same even if Geeta recognises anyone as her parent.The official said that a family from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, which had also claimed that Geeta was their daughter, did not turn up for a scheduled meeting today.Earlier Geeta had met a family from Sokha Kishku village of Jamtara district of Jharkhand but she did not recognise them either, said Chauhan.The DNA samples of the couple have also been sent for verification, she added.Geeta was found by Pakistan Rangers on the Samjhauta Express at the Lahore railway station when she was around seven years old. Karachi-based Edhi Foundation looked after her while she was in Pakistan.After returning to India in October 2015, Geeta has been living at an institution for hearing impaired children run by an NGO here.

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Earthquake of magnitude 4.5 hits Jammu and Kashmir, no loss of life reported

A medium intensity earthquake of magnitude 4.5 hit Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, THE India Meteorological Department reported in a statement.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>There was no immediate report of any injury or destruction in any part of the state, which was jolted at 4:48 am.Earlier on Saturday, an earthquake of magnitude 4.7 hit Jammu and Kashmir.Further details are awaited.

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Jawaharlal Nehru divided the nation, Sardar Patel united it: RSS leader Indresh Kumar

RSS leader Indresh Kumar today said those who do not love India should leave the country and a law should be enacted to punish those who disrespect the tricolour. Alleging that the Congress divided the nation, he said it was a big lie that it helped India attain Independence. “If you cannot love Bharat then leave Bharat. And, a law should be enacted to punish those who disrespect the country or the national flag,” Kumar said at an event here. “It is a fact that the Congress divided India and it is a big lie that it helped the country attain Independence. Who divided the nation – Jawaharlal Nehru. Who united the nation – Vallabhbhai Patel,” he said. Kumar said there was no “temporary article in any constitution in the world like Article 370 in the Constitution of India”. There was a need to bring the people of Kashmir into the mainstream, he said. The RSS leader said China had to bow down to India on the Dokalam issue under diplomatic pressure.

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Delhi-NCR to receive light rain tomorrow

Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) will see fresh and season’s first widespread rainfall activity soon.As per Skymet Weather, an active Western Disturbance is likely to approach the Western Himalayan region on Sunday evening.An induced cyclonic circulation is likely to form over West Rajasthan. This will be responsible for the widespread rainfall activities over Delhi NCR region on December 11 and December 12.The intensity of these rains is likely to be more on December 11 while, during the latter half of December 12, some clearance is expected.However, light spells can again be anticipated in Delhi NCR on December 13 and December 14.Skymet Weather has predicted that the downpours will leave a considerable measure of dampness in the air, leading to misty or foggy conditions.Moreover, the mugginess level will be high. There will be a drop in temperature and light breeze conditions will prevail.The winter chill, which often sets in the long stretch of December, is yet to begin.

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MiG-21Bison makes emergency landing

In second instance in a week’s time, a MiG-21 Bison aircraft of the Indian Air Force made an emergency landing during a test flight at Sanganer Airport here.Airport officials said the fighter plane was under repair at the airport and had taken a test flight on Friday. During the flight it developed technical snag, following which it dropped three fuel tanks mid air in Bassi area. There was however no blast. It may be recalled that the same plane had made emergency landing at Jaipur airport last Saturday after it developed technical snag.On Friday as soon as it took off for trial flight, it once again developed technical snag and asked permission for emergency landing.The landing was safe but the runway was blocked for nearly half an hour which affected the operation of a few regular flights. Four flights — one of Indigo airlines, two of Air India and one of Spice Jet — were kept on hold mid-air.The fighter plane had to be later toed away form the runway using tractor. After about 45 minutes, the impasse ended and the flights were allowed to land at the airport.

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‘Just another operation’: Paratrooper who was involved in Army’s surgical strikes

A paratrooper, who was involved in the Indian Army’s surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir last year, today described the daring action as “just another operation” for the special forces albeit on a larger scale.The captain-rank officer of the 4th unit of the special forces said the strikes were “designed and planned” to send a “message” to Pakistan, which he thinks the Indian forces did in the “best way” it could.India had carried out surgical strikes at seven terror launch pads across the LoC on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, 2016 with the Army inflicting significant casualties on terrorists who were preparing to infiltrate from the PoK.Also readCongress doesn’t believe Army about surgical strikes, celebrates release of Haifz Saeed: PM ModiThe strikes had come within two weeks days of a terrorist attack on an Army camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir which claimed the lives of 19 jawans.Sharing his experience during the country’s first ‘military literature’ festival here, the officer said his unit had just 10 days to plan and prepare for the operation.Also readOne year after surgical strikes: India has killed 175 terrorists, lost 79 men”This was a large-scale operation. Once we were given a go ahead, we went ahead with normal preparedness. To be very frank, it was just another operation for us. But it was a large-scale operation, wherein the strength was more, the damage and the attrition we caused was much more than other operations,” the officer told PTI.The operation, he said, was carried out at such level of secrecy that even the neighbouring units were not aware of it.Also readSurgical strikes: ‘India can easily target Pakistan’s terror camps now'”We did not tell our neighbouring units (about the strikes). The most important thing (in such strikes) is surprise (element for targets). When you reach there, sit down and just observe and wait for the time. There were three targets (places) actually, the 4th para troops took on two of them and the 9th para troops on the third one.” “So, there were three strikes carried out in conjunction at three different places, three different targets and I was part of one of that,” he said.Speaking at the event, the soldier said nothing much has changed in his life since the surgical strikes, but added that he relished the Army lifestyle and described it as the “best one can get”.”Life has not changed… (it is) very much normal,” said the officer, when asked if his life changed after the strikes. “What keeps you going (in the Army) is perhaps the kind of life style… probably it is the best you get here,” he said, exhorting the youth to join the defence forces.

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Industry dept close to meeting promised no. of jobs

The state government had set an ambitious target to generate 15 lakh new job opportunities in state when they were elected to power. Celebrating the fourth year of the Raje government, the industry department claims to be close on target with 11.82 lakh jobs created in private industries.Industries minster of Rajasthan addressing the media in advance of state government’s 4th anniversary claimed that in addition to investment made by industrial heavyweights, there are 2,23,431 medium, small and micro industries registered in the state. These with investment of 31,257 crore rupees have created over 11 lakh job opportunities.However, the industry department did not have any mechanism to recall the number of those industries to have closed during the period.“There is no model that takes in consideration number of the industries to have gone close,” Industries minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat was unable to answer questions on the same.“However, we are aware that it happens to many of those unable to compete with market and technology changes and have various programs to assist the small industries that find changes more difficult to adapt,” he added on a positive note.The minister stood firm on the employment claims and said more will be added in coming year as the state is now the ‘top preferences of investors from nation and abroad’.He also mentioned the steps taken to assist the investors through ease of doing business and placing 69 services of 13 departments online. He happen to mention that 19,800 youth have also been granted loan of 795 crore through RFC for establishment of their own business.
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Yogi Adityanath

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