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Lodi Garden’s forgotten Baoli

Kyun mata-e-dil ke lut jaane ka koi gham kare, Shahr-e-dilli mein to aise vaqiye hote raheThe national Capital is like ‘Phoenix’ – a city which has been destroyed several times but has revived itself every time from the ashes. The city still holds impressions, in the form of structures/monuments, of all its bygone eras. While some of the structures have been revived over the time, few have completely lost their identity. One such forgotten structure is the Baoli, or stepwell, which once existed in the Lodi Garden, but got lost in colonial landscaping.A first monument list created by Maulvi Zafar Hasan, an archaeologist with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), worthy of preservation in 1916, refers to the Baoli in need of attention. Hasan’s list features 1,317 buildings in the Capital, of which 174 are currently protected by the ASI. While Hasan did not include the Baoli in his list, but he has written about it in his book ‘Monuments of Delhi, Lasting splendour of the Great Mughals and Others’.”To the North-East of the Sheesh Gumbad are the remains of a garden, the four walls of which, brick built, are broken in several places. The double-storeyed entrance is in no better condition. To the south of the latter is a mosque also ruined and neglected. The Baoli in front of the entrance outside the enclosure is in the same condition. In the center of the garden is a small brick-built enclosure furnished with arched openings, apparently intended for a tomb but now containing no grave.”The Baoli and the mosque came under the’Khairpur’village area back then. In 1936, Lady Willingdon, wife of the then Viceroy of India, got the villagers relocated and landscaped the garden which was then known as’Lady Willingdon Park’. It is believed that the Baoli was also landscaped around that time. But, its name was changed to Lodi Gardens post-independence.”There are such Baolis lost in time, most important being the ‘Palam’ and ‘Khari’Baolis, but we may never be able to unearth them due to the dense settlement around them. However, we should still try and revive this Lodi Garden Baoli. If the ASI and the government decide to restore these structures, they would attract a lot of visitors,” says Vikramjit Singh Rooprai, a heritage activist.A total 25 Baolis have been identified by historians in Delhi, of which 11, including Hauz Khas Enclave Baoli are not accessible to the public. Of these 25, 12 can be easily revived.

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Board exams to start from March 12


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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 31 December 2017 5:07 ISTMust readGujarat: Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quitGujarat elections 2017: 30 seats saw other parties making it to third spot<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Gujarat State Examination Board has declared dates of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams to begin from March 12. While the examination for SSC will go on till March 23, for Science and general stream HSC, the exams will continue till March 28.RI Patel, Exam Secretary, Gujarat State Examination Board, said, “While the registration for boards are going on, approximately 17 to 18 lakh students will appear in boards this year that includes 10 lakh for SSC, 5.5 lakh for general stream and nearly 1.5 lakh for Science stream.”In previous boards, 17.59 lakh students took the class X and XII examinations. Around 178 jail inmates had also taken the board exams, and arrangements for them were made in prisons.

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FACELIFT: Jaipur Jn gets 4th escalator this NEW YEAR !

Passengers using Jaipur Junction will soon get one more facility in the form of escalator at the second entry exit gate of the railway station in the new year.The escalator work is almost complete and soon, few more things are being done to make it ready.Sources inform that in January, the inauguration of this facility may be done though a final date is yet not fixed. The escalator would start near the stairside after the passenger crosses the baggage scanning portion of the railway station from the second entry point.It will take you to the bridge which connects various platforms of the station.The facility will be a boon for the passengers who have to carry heavy baggage through the stairs. Using an escalator would ease the burden henceforth.As DNA correspondent visited the railway station, the work of escalator was seen towards completion. While people, many of whom were senior citizens were seen carrying their luggage with difficulty.This escalator will be the fourth such escalator on the railway station. While one is at the main entrance gate near the previous meter gauge line opening , another one is located between platform number 2 and 3. There is a third one between platform number 4 and 5 .Sources informed that earlier the budget of an escalator was slated to be around 55 lakhs. However, there may have been some changes in it due to cost escalation factor.Notably, the fourth escalator one was planned in this financial year itself. Suresh Prabhu who was railway minister till recently, had come to Jaipur in the month of June, when he had made announcement in this regard. This addition will be a great help for the passengers coming from the second entry exit point. Thousands of passengers living in colonies like Jhotwara, C-Scheme, Civil Lines, New Sanganer Road, Sodala , Tonk road and large part of outer colonies of Jaipur use the second gate.HighlightsPlanned in this financial year, the fourth escalator is getting completed in the same year. Suresh Prabhu who was railway minister till recently, had made the announcement. Jaipur Junction has three escalators already at the railway station. Budget of individual escalator in past had been about Rs 55 lakhs. Thousands of passengers living in colonies like Jhotwara, C-Scheme, Civil Lines, New Sanganer Road, Sodala, Tonk Road and large part of outer colonies of Jaipur use the second gate, which will now have the facility of an escalator.

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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
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
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Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Kamala Mills fire: Lack of ventilation was primary reason people died, say doctors

The post-mortem report of 14 deaths due to fire at ‘1 Above’ in Kamala Mills, Lower Parel has revealed that people lost their lives due to suffocation. Doctors in KEM Hospital stated that due to lack of ventilation 14 people lost their lives. All of them were found inside the toilet and were unconscious when rescued by the fire brigade authority.“The people who died tried to save themselves from the fire by hiding in the toilet but faced suffocation due to a mixture of chemical gases. While bodies were handed over to the family members after post-mortem, blood samples were preserved for further chemical analysis. Primarily, blood samples from all the deceased were seen of cherry red color which indicates mixture of carbon monoxide combined with haemoglobin. All died due to asphyxiation, none of them have died in flames but due to fumes. A proper evacuation plan could have avoided this,” Dr Harish Pathak, head of the forensic department, KEM Hospital.Dr Rajesh Dere who performed post-mortem at KEM Hospital said, “there are hardly any burn marks on the deceased people’s body. These people would have locked themselves with an aim to saves their lives and escape a fire.”Besides KEM Hospital, injured were also shifted to other hospitals such as Masina hospital, Breach Candy hospital, Hinduja hospital, Bhatia Hospital and civic-run Sion hospital. While the majority of the injured were discharged from all the hospital, 14 injured are taking treatment at Bhatia Hospital.“Three people have been admitted to the burns unit with 15 to 30 per cent burn injuries of which two are in critical condition. The patients are showing improvement. Other 11 patients are in stable condition and will be discharged within three days,” said a spokesperson from Bhatia Hospital.”

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
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
“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!
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Travelling from Borivili to Churchgate in a Mumbai local has never been cooler

The silver-blue exterior of the country’s first AC local train was gleaming as it arrived at Borivili station’s platform 9 at around 10.10am on Monday. On the inside, it is furnished with the same blue and grey polycarbonate seats found in the second class compartments of a regular local which was disappointing considering I expected better after paying Rs 165 for a one-way journey. Fortunately, there was ample place to sit despite it being the maiden journey as the ticket collector asked travellers without a ticket to alight before the train finally departed right on time.This being the first AC local train, I was keen on walking down the vestibule coaches from end to end and experience the frenzy. While the Railways have provided separate coaches for women and reserved seats for physically challenged passengers and senior citizens, one tends to miss the difference as you walk into the coaches. The Western Railways may have to better demarcate the coaches reserved for women, like in the Metro.The luggage racks, although sturdy, are too low. Most importantly, the coaches of the AC local need CCTV cameras which the administration has promised to install soon.The air conditioning was pleasant and the fans complimented the cooling. However, the far ends of the coaches, particularly near the motor coach, it seemed a bit warm. Each coach is equipped with two fire extinguishers, a talk back system with instructions to ensure the safety of passengers, notices regarding pulling of chain, and a list of dos and don’ts.

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Toyota Prius trademark case: Law versus justice

Last week, the Supreme Court decided an interesting case regarding trademark in favour of an Indian automobile spare part company and against the Japanese automobile giant Toyota. This decision, though in favour of the Indian company, is obviously following the path of strict legality and totally ignoring the fairness and justice part of the business dispute.It so happened that by the turn of the century, Japanese giant Toyota had created a new trademark Prius, which gained popularity abroad, but was not launched in India. An Indian automobile spare parts company started selling products under the brand name of Toyota, Innova, and Prius a few years later. The Japanese company did not take any action immediately at that time, and it is quite natural also that the Japanese company might not have even known about this development.Sometime later, when Toyota initiated legal action, the issue in the trial court was more about the protection given to registered versus unregistered trademarks, that is the comparison of the strength of protection to registered trademarks and the remedy of passing off under the common law. It is very well known in the legal fraternity that the protection granted to registered trademark is much more than that of passing off. However, an important consideration is that the registration itself must be genuine and without an intention of misusing already established marks, even if unregistered.In the instant case, the trial court had no problem in deciding that the Indian automobile spare part company had wrongly – in law – used the trademarks Toyota and Innova. This decision was upheld by the High Court and Supreme Court.The interesting aspect of the case was regarding the use of the word Prius. Toyota had not registered it in India and was relying on its reputation globally. Twenty years ago, the SC had decided in the landmark judgement of Whirlpool that global reputation of huge multinational corporations and the reputation spilled over transcending geographical boundaries. In that case, the court had gone ahead and deviated from the path of strict legality to decide the matter on the basis of fairness and equity so that the unscrupulous persons copying well-known marks should not get legal sanction.In the instant case, it is most surprising that the courts have completely ignored the aspect of the dishonest intentions of the Indian company, which picked up the trademarks very well-known to most of the people in the elitist circles, and definitely to those who were doing business or even remotely connected to automobiles. The SC has reasoned that at the turn of the century the Internet penetration in the country was very low, and hence, it would not have been possible to consider the global reputation and a spillover effect. This is erroneous reasoning as any reputation did not and does not transmit only through Internet. What would have happened to the cases in the pre-Internet era? Did people not travel from one continent to another? Did they not talk to each other over telephones? Typically, the top-end brands are bought and used by the rich and powerful. It would be wrong to say that the reputation of any such brand would spread only through the Internet.The SC has also ignored an important issue which pertains to the target segment of the market. While marketing to the rich and elite, any company would not focus on marketing the product to all sections of society and hence it is not necessary that most of the people in a territorial jurisdiction should be aware of the trademark which is in dispute.This ruling will be treated as landmark, however, it ignores the fairness aspects and intention of the accused party. Such decisions send wrong signals to the society as all litigants are expected to come before the courts with clean hands. India, unfortunately, does not have a very high reputation for protection of intellectual property, and this decision would not help in bettering it.

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Orders dip as GST hits Jodhpur craft exporters

Handicraft exporters are in crisis. Due to GST, handicraft items of Jodhpur have become expensive in the international market and their demand has decreased. The handicraft export business of Jodhpur has declined nearly 40 percent and business worth Rs 700 crore has been reduced since the implementation of GST.Before GST, where 150-180 million exports of handicrafts from Jodhpur were going on every month, right now it has come down to 75 to 90 million per month. The provision of GST from 12 to 28 percent on handicraft furniture has hit exporters and foreign customers are now heading towards China, Vietnam and Indonesia.Nirmal Bhandari, Chief patron of Jodhpur Handicrafts Exporters Federation said that the government has imposed five percent GST on brass handicrafts of Moradabad, while the 28 percent GST was recovered from Jodhpur handicraft till November and now 18 percent in December, due to which, demand has started decreasing in overseas countries. While there is no GST refund yet and it is becoming very difficult for the exporters to work. Not only this, even crores of rupees of VAT have not been refunded. Now, the situation has reached in such condition that the exporters have started refusing the order.According to exporters, orders were taken from buyers from UK, Europe and USA in April for Christmas season. The orders have been supplied in August, September, October and mid-November, but exporters had to supply this order at 28 per cent loss, because the government has implemented GST in July. So far, the handicraft industry was completely tax free, but now 18 per cent tax has been levied. The order that has been supplied will be paid by the buyers 120 days after the shipment arrives. In such a situation, exporters are unable to understand how to compensate for the 28 per cent loss from the previous supply.

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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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Dawoodi Bohras extend helping hand to community members

With an aim to help the underprivileged families from their own community, the Dawoodi Bohras have organised a five-day ‘upliftment’ drive from Thursday. While it is the third edition of the project, this is the first time that over 21,000 members from the community have come together voluntarily to take part in the novel initiative.According to the members of the community, people from across the country as well as among those staying abroad have joined to volunteer in the project. During the last edition of the project, over 4,000 community members volunteered. However, in the third edition of the initiative, over 21,000 members volunteered.Speaking about the initiative, a spokesperson of the community said, “While there are various initiatives organised for the five-day upliftment drive, the major activity is House upliftment. Through these initiatives people from our community who are less fortunate will be helped by the volunteers. The upliftment drive involves various works like repairing or cleaning homes, providing food, giving basic necessities, building toilets if required, providing sanitation and providing education facilities. This will ensure that livelihood facilities for the families are available.”In Mumbai, the house upliftment project will be mainly organised in Marol, Mumbra, Dombivli, and Kandivli area among others. Volunteers from the the community include clergy and community officials, doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, businessmen, homemakers, and students.”The aim is to improve the well-being of members of the community as well as society at large. Beside house upliftment, every night there will be workshops on health, sanitation, education at religious centres across cities,” added the spokesperson.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | I will join a party that approaches me first: Bhupendrasinh Khant

Defeating BJP’s Vikramsinh Dindor and Alpeshbhai Damor of Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) supported by the Congress, independent candidate from Morva Hadaf located in Panchmahal district won with 4,366 votes, thereby giving a shock to many.All eyes were on this seat as BJP had replaced its sitting MLA whereas Congress gave up the seat for an ally. While Bhupendrasinh Khant wanted to contest on Congress seat, he contested as an independent candidate when Congress gave up its seat to Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP).Speaking with DNA a day after the victory, Khant said that he is willing to join a party. He says, “As of now, I am happy being in the Opposition. No party has yet approached me. The party which approaches me first, I will join them.”Determined to wrest the seat, which his mother won in 2012, Khant garnered 58,513 votes as against BJP’s Dindor who got 54,147 votes. The seat was won by Khant’s mother Savita in 2012 with a margin of 11,289 votes. She had defeated BJP’s Bijalbhai Damor. While Savita had got 56,886 votes, Damor had got 45,597 votes. But Savita Khant died on the day results were declared, days after having passed into coma on the day of the elections.In 2013 by-election, Congress fielded Savita’s son Bhupendrasinh in the hope of winning back the seat on sympathy but lost. Interestingly, this year BJP changed its sitting MLA Nimisha Suthar to field Vikramsinh Dindor.Speaking about priorities, Khant said, “I will mainly focus on roads, drinking water and education. These are some of the core issues that people here have been facing for many years. I am happy that I won despite contesting as an independent candidate and shows people’s trust in me.”

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Pending queries double at anti-corruption cell

The number of pending inquiries at the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has increased in the past few years. As per details provided under the Right to Information Act, the number of pending inquiries has jumped from 26 and 36 in 2014 and 2015 to 70 and 67 in 2016 and 2017 in the Mumbai range of the ACB.The information was provided under RTI to applicant Kamlakar Shenoy, who in his application had sought details of the total number of complaints filed, first information report (FIR) registered and inquiries pending.As per information, the cases in which FIRs were still not filed was 48. These initially jumped from eight in 2014 to nine in 2015 and then 21 to 2016 and 10 in 2017. In the same period, the total number of acquittals stood at 27, 64, 48 and 21. While the acquittals fell, so did conviction cases. From 12 in 2014, it fell to 4 in 2015, 3 in 2016 and 6 in 2017.”The courts have said that the preliminary inquiry should be done within 15 days. They end up giving sufficient time to the accused to kill evidence. Their conviction rate is also poor. None of the big cases they are solving in which prominent politicians are involved,” said Kamlakar Shenoy, the applicant who sought information.

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No life insurance for leopard rescuers

The leopard rescue team from Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) has been effectively managing increasing human-animal conflict situations including rescuing leopards that enter human-dominated habitat. However, the team faces one of the biggest challenges —absence of insurance despite several assurances by the Forest department.Case in point is the recent incident when a leopard had to be rescued in the Sher-e-Punjab area in Andheri east. The Thane rescue team was the first to reach the site. The leopard was tranquilised by the leopard rescue team from SGNP, which was on its way back from Chalisgaon where it had helped capture a leopard suspected of killing seven people.Both the leopard rescue teams have eight to ten members. Most of these members work on a contract basis called forest labourers (van majoor). While the forest officers are covered under the Government Insurance Scheme (GIS) the contract labourers who earn less than Rs 10,000 a month as wages have no insurance nor any benefits in case of an injury or death during rescue operations.”We do not let our work suffer and rush for any leopard rescue. We ensure that neither any human nor the leopard is harmed during a conflict situation. It feels sad that even the forest department doesn’t think about the work we do and the risk we take. Despite several assurances we are still awaiting the insurance scheme promised to us, which could help us or our families in case of an eventuality,” said a member from the rescue team who is on a contract basis.According to Pawan Sharma, honorary wildlife warden of Thane, a dialogue with a few insurance companies and agents was initiated five months back, and they were ready to provide insurance cover.

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Residents of Worli Koliwada hold candle march against decision to declare 4 acres of land as slum

Nearly 10,000 residents of Worli Koliwada came together to protest against the area being declared as slums. The residents of Koliwada claim that there is an attempt from the Slum Rehabilitation Authority and also from certain developers to declare around 4 acre land as slum, which it isn’t.Prahlad Worlikar, secretary of the Worli koliwada Owners Welfare Cooperative society, said, “Today we held a candle march as a silent protest and nearly 10,000 people from all over Koliwada came to protest against this plan. We aren’t slums, today they are targeting 4 acres, soon they will target whole of Koliwada. We are against it and hence we held the protest.”While only 4 acres is being affected because of this decision, but residents of unaffected parts also participated in the protest. “We have been here even before many people came to this city, we are original habitats not slum dwellers. We need a proper planning for redevelopment and we hope that government doesn’t treat it this way,” said Darshan Worlikar, resident of Koliwada.Koliwada is spread over 65 acres of land, and after the Worli sea link came up, various developers have been eyeing this piece of land to redevelop and hence residents claim this slum issue has cropped up.“Why residents of non affected part came in support is because today they are talking about 4 acres after this they will target whole of Koliwada,” said Worlikar.

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Tourism goes tech-savvy: Book your tickets to 32 heritage sites online

In coming days, booking a ticket for visiting monuments or museums in the state will become totally online and IT-enabled. Department of archaeology and museums is working on a scheme in which the private partner will be roped in to provide this service in PPP mode. While in Jaipur online ticketing is being done at several other places, however, this facility will cover more areas. Sources informed that, attempt is being made to set up a state of art Web-based and onsite Integrated, Interactive, end to end, IT-enabled System integrated with payment gateway to provide an easy, transparent and secure avenue for visitors to procure tickets for visiting the monuments and museums through web-based, mobile application and Point of Sale (POS) counters as well as on-site presence is being worked out.Currently, 32 state monuments and museums have been selected under this project. At present, the Department has manual ticketing system at these monuments & museums with no or minimal IT/ technology interventions except the online ticketing system for monuments in Jaipur which has been initiated recently. The visitors can log onto the website of the department of archaeology and museums to book the tickets online for monuments in Jaipur currently.To enrich the experience of tourists, streamlines the processes, increase efficiency & of services this new initiative is being planned informed the sources. If this system, works well, then in coming times the facility travel insurance, FORX services etc may also be offered from to the visitors. GOING DIGITALTo visit the famous cellular jail in Andaman, you can book the tickets online sitting in Jaipur. One has to provide the details of Aadhar card, the name of group leader and few other details. There is no waiting manually at the ticket counter. Similarly, 10 monuments in Jaipur are offering online tickets.

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Cops nab gang leader operating in East Delhi

Delhi police has managed to nab Pramod, the kingpin of a three-member gang operating in Shahdara, on Sunday. Pramod was wanted for robbery, extortion and cases under the Arms Act in UP and Delhi NCR.”Pramod was a resident of Krishna Vihar Kuti in Sahibabad, UP. He owned a jewellery shop with the name of Manish Jewelers at Harsh Vihar which later shifted to Krishna Vihar, Kuti in Shaibabad, UP,” Nupur Prasad, DCP Shahadra, said.Coming to the other two gang members, police said that on November 24, a gold chain robbery was reported from Vishwas Nagar area. While scanning CCTV footage, photos of the accused were obtained and circulated for all the area cops to remain vigilant.Police said that it was on November 29 when Beat Constable Vivek was on patrol, he spotted the two other gang members. As they engaged them, there was an heavy exchange of fire by the accused to which he retaliated. During this time Constable Vivek managed to nab one of the duo. He was later rewarded.Prasad said, “Around 1 pm when Beat Officer Constable Vivek was on patrol, he spotted the two criminals near Nehru Gali. On seeing Constable Vivek, they turned towards a narrow street. Soon as he asked them to stop for checking, they tried to flee. Vivek followed and intercepted them, to which they opened fire at him. Displaying immense courage, he fired back in retaliation. While one of them managed to flee, one of them accused was injured and overpowered by Vivek.”Police say that during interrogation the accused Monu was found to be previously involved in 18 cases of robbery, snatching and attempt to murder in UP and Delhi NCR.Asked as to the gang’s modus operandi, Monu confessed he had met his aide Amit alias Sardar in jail where they became friends.

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First time in three decades, Himachal to get a fresh face

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will form the new Himachal Pradesh government, but minus its chief ministerial candidate, Prem Kumar Dhumal. This bitter-sweet victory for the BJP over long-time rival in the state, Congress, has ensured that for the first time in nearly three decades, a new face will emerge in the state, despite two party stalwarts — Shanta Kumar and Dhumal — still being around.For the record, Congress’ Rajinder Singh Rana has emerged as the giant killer by defeating his one-time political guru Dhumal from the Sujanpur constituency. Another tragedy that struck Dhumal was that it was he who played a crucial role in ensuring the consolidation of the dominant Thakur community in the Hamirpur region.The state has alternately elected Congress and BJP governments since 1985.In the last election in 2012, the Congress won 36 seats and the BJP 26, while six seats went to Independent candidates. While the Congress won’t accept that the corruption charges against CM Virbhadra Singh made a big difference, BJP’s own lack of confidence in any leader’s ability robbed them of quite a few seats.Dhumal’s supporter and state BJP chief Satpal Satti also lost his Una seat to Satpal Singh Razda of Congress. His close confidantes — Ravinder Ravi, Gulab Singh, and Randhir Sharma — also failed to win their respective constituencies.Dhumal, who moved from farming to teaching English and then to politics, was expected to become the CM for the third time. The Congress plank to counter the move with the criticism of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation failed to make much impact on the voters, primarily because Himachal is an employee-dominated state.For all of the 68 Assembly seats, a total of 337 candidates were in the fray. Singh won his Arki seat without much of a threat and also ensured his son Vikramaditya Singh’s debut from Shimla (Rural).The prestigious Shimla (Urban) seat was once again won by BJP’s Suresh Bhardwaj, who defeated Singh-backed rebel Harish Janartha. While CPI (M) came in third, Congress’s own candidate Harbhajan Singh Bhajji stood a poor fourth. Anil Sharma, who resigned from the government and the ruling Congress and joined the BJP just before the polls, along with his father and former telecom minister Sukh Ram, retained his Mandi seat.The CPI (M) is celebrating the victory of Rakesh Singha from Theog, despite it being a Congress stronghold. It must be mentioned that Vidya Stokes has held this seat many times during her long political career.Behind the scenesThe Gudiya rape and murder case, which came to light in the run-up to the elections, remained a major factor behind the Congress’s defeat in the state. Singh’s government was defamed for its apparent effort to shied the culprits. Though the Congress managed to retain the Jubbal-Kotkhai seat with over 9,000 votes, where Rohit Thakur defeated BJP’s Narinder Bragta, the negative publicity helped the rival party gain a huge ground elsewhere in the state.Another factor that helped the BJP score big in this hilly state was the absence of any top Congress leader during the campaigning. In fact, none of the party’s top leaders camped or campaigned in the state, with even party president Rahul Gandhi paying just one visit to address a couple of election rallies.Himachal was left to Singh, despite knowing well that he was fighting with his back to the wall, following the corruption probe. Also, the last five years could well be termed as his worst-ever tenure as he had no achievements to count. His tenure saw the emergence of a few retired bureaucrats, on extension, from his erstwhile state Rampur Bushair, who ran it like a princely state.The BJP, on the other hand, left nothing to chance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed over half a dozen election rallies and all top leaders of the party, including BJP president Amit Shah, home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, camped in the state for long periods.BJP, however, had nothing much to offer to the voters. The party counted Singh’s failures while Congress pointed at PM Narendra Modi’s three-and-a-half year of “misrule”.Finally, the anti-incumbency sentiment against the Singh government proved much stronger. The impact of demonetisation and the GST had little adverse impact in the state as compared to that in Gujarat.

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Gujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: Modi wave all over again? BJP leads on 53 seats

All eyes are set on Gujarat as the much-awaited results of the bitterly fought Assembly polls, which saw a political Mahabharat contest between the two leading parties – the BJP and Congress, will be announced today.The counting for the two phase Gujarat Assembly elections has begun and the results are expected to come out by afternoon.Gujarat has 26 parliamentary constituencies and 182 assembly constituencies.A total of 977 candidates were in the fray in the first phase of elections, out of which 57 were women candidates and over 2.22 crore people took part in the election to decide their fate. While in the second phase, 851 candidates fought, out of which 69 women candidates contested.8:00 IST Monday, 18 December 2017: Counting begins at the 37 centres that will decide the future course of Indian politics. 8:19 IST Monday, 18 December 2017: Early leads for BJP, the ruling party leads in 15 seats, whereas Congress is ahead on 4 seats. BJP had predicted 150 seats in the state. If initial trends are anything to go by, BJP may be heading for fifth straight win in PM Modi’s home state. 8:25 IST Monday, 18 December 2017: Visuals from Vadodara show the the buzz. There are seven seats in Vadodara district. The BJP had won 6 out of 7 seats in 2012. 8:35 IST Monday, 18 December 2017: The morning leads are showing strong position for BJP. Looks like the ‘Modi magic’ is working again. The ruling party is leading on 53 seats, whereas the Congress comes at distant second on 35.

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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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MU asks colleges to provide supplements after Bombay HC’s order

A day after the Bombay High Court directed the university to give supplements to undergraduate and postgraduate students, the University of Mumbai came up with a fresh circular on Saturday asking colleges and exam centres to provide supplements to the students.On Friday, the court had passed an interim order while hearing a writ petition filed by Manasi Bhushan a final year law student at GLC college opposing an circular of the varsity that barred students from asking for supplements released on October 9. While the varsity did release a circular asking colleges to abide by the court order on Saturday, several colleges still did not issue supplements to students on Saturday morning as they had still not received the circular.Also readBombay High Court dismisses PIL to restart AC buses, cites BEST’s discretion”Despite asking for a supplement the supervisor denied giving it to me. While I mentioned the recent HC order, the supervisor said that the new circular had not reached them yet” said a law student at one of the suburban colleges.

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Gujarat elections 2017: 12 of 14 marginal seats see drop in voter turnout

Most seats that were won by a margin of up to 5,000 votes in the 2012 elections registered a fall in voter turnout in phase 2 of polling in Gujarat. While the rise in two seats is marginal, the drop in a dozen seats is up to 16 per cent according to the final voter turn out.Sharp deviation in voter turnout in such constituencies means that the vulnerability of the past winner has increased in the 2017 election. Of the 14 Assembly seats in the second phase, Congress had won eight seats in the previous elections, BJP won five and NCP one. All the seats where BJP won witnessed a fall in turnout in the 2017 elections. While two constituencies where Congress had won witnessed a nominal rise in turnout, the rest of the seats saw a drop between one and 16 per cent.The turnout in Jetpur-ST constituency dropped from 72.54 per cent in 2012 to 56.21 per cent in 2017. Congress had won it by a margin of 4,273 seats in 2012. The party attributes the fall in voter turnout to giving the constituency to ally Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP). “As the Congress candidate was not contesting for the seat, workers were not motivated enough and so their participation was low, resulting in lower voter mobilisation,” said Kailash Gadhvi, spokesman of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee.He attributed the fall in voter turnout to the disenchantment of voters with the 22-year BJP rule in Gujarat. “These voters have been disillusioned. They had hopes, which BJP failed to deliver. So these BJP voters either did not vote or voted for the Congress,” said Gadhvi. The longer duration of voting because of the use of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) also caused a lag of about second seconds per voter. This had an effect in booths that had traditionally high turnout, he said claiming that Congress has emerged stronger in both rural and urban seats in 2017.The Patidar factor could also have affected in Patel dominated seats of Kalol, Bapunagar, Gandhinagar-North and Anand.

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Mumbai: BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar raises Asiatic Society Central Library building roof leakage issue

The roof leakage of Asiatic Library would be done away with permanently since state Government has decided to seal the issue forever.BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar had raised the issue of water leakage leading to damage of hundreds of books in Central Library Asiatic Society. While raising the issue through a starred question Bhatkhalkar asked whether there would be any action against the contractor who undertook maintenance work of the roof last year after leakage. He also demanded blacklisting the contractor for repeated leakage of the roof. PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil informed the House that there was leakage five years ago and the repair work was carried out then. He informed that last year there was roof leakage but since any repair contract can not be guaranteed for more than five years, it was not possible to take action against the contractor. Ashish Shelar pointed out that the Asiatic Library is a construction of British Era and the lowest step of the Library is at sea level and the British construction ensured that water should not enter from below during high tide and heavy rains. Shelar criticised Government saying, “British ensured that water would not come in from steps and that is the reason our Government is allowing the water inside the library from the roof.”Bhatkhalkar asked how was it possible to have leakage again this year if the contractor had repaired it last year. He also questioned as to who was responsible for faulty tender which did not ensured maintenance after repair. Chandrakant Patil informed that he would take action against the contractor and hold a meeting soon after the winter session to sort out all the issues pertaining to repair and maintenance of Asiatic library for ever.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | More tribals in poll queue despite violence in Dahod

The tribal seats in the districts that went to the polls on Thursday continued with the trend of high percentage of voting. The tribal districts saw around 70% of voting during the first phase too.As for this election, 13 tribal seats spread over five districts of Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Panchmahals, Dahold and Vadodara went to polls on Thursday.Banaskantha saw 74% of voting and the tribal seat Danta recorded 65.28% while Sabarkantha saw 77% polling. The latter reported some trouble with the EVMs in three places in Bhiloda seat. The issue was later resolved.The polling percentage for other districts were Panchmahals (72%), Dahod (65.36%) and Vadodara (73%). While Panchmahals and Vadodara saw a bit less voting than 2012, Dahod saw a considerable dip. The district had registered over 69% voting in the last assembly election.Both Khedbrahma and Bhildo in Panchmahals saw over 70% voting. In Vadodara too, the tribal seats recorded a heavy turnout. Seat specific voting percentage for the three seats in Vadodara were not available at the time of going to print. In Dahod district, Fatehpura seat saw two incidents of violence. Both the incidents involved workers from BJP and Congress battling each other over some issues in voting.Dahod has six seats of which five are reserved for tribals. Fatehpura is one of them and saw 60.91% of voting. The other seats are Jhalod (67.23%), Limkheda (71.21%) , Dahod (64.56%) and Garbada (50.98%).The district saw 78 instances where one of the parts of EVM had to be changed.Looking at dahodDahod has six seats of which five are reserved for tribals. Fatehpura is one of them and saw 60.91% of voting. The other seats are Jhalod (67.23%), Limkheda (71.21%) , Dahod (64.56%) and Garbada (50.98%).

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Town Vending Committee to decide fate of hawkers

While the Bombay High Court ordered that hawkers can be allowed only in designated hawking zones, no such zones exist in the city as of now. It is the Town Vending Committee (TVC) that will survey and demarcate legal and illegal hawking zones in the city.Vendors across the city are demanding the implementation of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, which stipulated the formation of a TVC tasked with the job of ensuring that all existing street vendors, identified in the survey, are accommodated in the vending zones.The TVC’s formation has been delayed for three years now, as it awaited the state government’s approval. The civic body has brought on board eight hawkers associations in the proposed TVC to involve all the stakeholders.

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Shashi Tharoor does it again! Twitter goes crazy over ‘rodomontade’

When we are talking about Shashi Thaoor, it will not be farrago of lies and distortions to say that he is best known for his clipped Oxbridge accent and affable smile, while speaking to anyone who cares about the ills of British Raj in India. Tharoor’s unique vocabulary where he often uses obscure words nonchalantly has become a raging Internet meme and anyone using polysyllabic words in common conversation is often accused of doing a ‘Tharoor’. Saying simple things in complicated way has become a legitimate joke format too. Now Shashi Tharoor, who enjoys a cult-like following among people across the aisle has obviously seen the funny side of the entire phenomenon. He gave a long explanation about why he doesn’t use exotic words for the sake of it and words just flow in his normal vocabulary. They are the best ones for the idea he wants to convey. But as usual there was an Easter Egg in his tweet. It was the word rodomontage. which means boastful or inflated talk.Also readLet’s not forget the ‘chill’ within Chhillar: Miss World Manushi Chhillar reacts to Shashi Tharoor’s tweetAnd naturally, Twitter went all crazy with it. While it didn’t make as much of a splash as his ‘farrago’ tweet, it has got 7.8 thousand likes and over 1.6 thousand retweets at the time of writing. Even ex-J&K CM Omar Abdullah couldn’t help but comment.Also readHe has exposed his debased thinking: Haryana ministers attack Shashi Tharoor over demonetization-Chhillar jokeHere are some of the best reactions.

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State govt considers ban on plastic use by shopkeepers

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

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2 IIT-B students told to help out at animal NGO

In what might be the first-of-its-kind step taken by an educational institution in the city, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay asked two of its students to serve a total 72 hours of community service with animal welfare organisations after they were found guilty of being party to an animal cruelty case.As per sources in IIT-B, the incident took place on the campus last year and a disciplinary committee was set up immediately to investigate it. While the committee did not charge the main accused due to lack of evidence, two students, who were found guilty of abetting the crime were sentenced to carry out community service.Shakuntala Majumdar, President of Thane SPCA said, “They were given tasks from cleaning animal enclosures to cutting vegetables and even assisting in providing medical treatment for injured animals,” she said, adding that the person clearly seemed shocked to see and learn the animal suffering and even narrated how he developed a change of heart.Majumdar is also planning to write to the University and other major institutions to take strict action against students found involved in animal cruelty cases as well as those abetting or supporting it.

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Winter Session to mull over 25 bills

The government and Opposition are warming up to face each other in Parliament Winter Session to be held from December 15, a day after the end of Gujarat polls. While Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar has called a meeting of the leaders of various parties on Thursday evening, Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has also convened a meeting of Opposition leaders to evolve a joint strategy. With 14 sittings, a heavy agenda awaits the session — there are 25 bills to be tabled for discussion. 14 bills are scheduled to be introduced, one is listed for withdrawal.To ensure a smooth session, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has also convened a meeting of party leaders in the Lok Sabha.The first actual working day of the Winter Session will be Monday as the Houses will adjourn on Friday as a mark of respect to the members who died since monsoon session. The working day coinciding with Gujarat and Himachal poll results is expected to be heated as the ruling BJP and the Congress-led Opposition has several issues to lock the horns.The agenda of the session is to discuss crucial bills including the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, Good and Services Tax (Compensation to State) Amendment Bill, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, to name a few.While the Centre has been keen on passing the bill to outlaw triple talaq, the Opposition has been rallying under the Women’s Reservation Bill that has not been passed for decades. The Bill provides reservation of one-third to women, and was introduced by the UPA in May 2008. Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that the Opposition will not leave the Centre with any chance of not passing the bill.”You (government) will have to give the women reservation. The Congress party will not leave you with any choice,” Gandhi said while meeting members of the Mahila Congress.Gandhi’s mother, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi had met the Prime Minister in September, urging him to pass the bill. While Sonia said that the bill had been passed in the Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2010, when the UPA was in power, the Centre said that the Congress was aiming for the optics.The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has come under attack from the Opposition for delaying the dates of the Winter Session to accommodate the Gujarat Assembly elections. Usually, the Winter Session convenes from the last week of November and ends in the third week of December. A two-day holiday for Christmas has been approved.

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Housing board moots extra area at lower cost

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

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Global Partnership Summit: Employability of educated youth a big challenge

Experts who deliberated on the education and skill initiatives on day one of the 2017 edition of the Global Partnership Summit (GPS) called for a complete overhaul of the system as well as the attitude of general public.While taking pride of India’s demographics, which has an average age of 29 at present, Rakesh Agarwal, joint secretary in the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship said even though the country is making great strides in education field, most of the graduates and post-graduates are non-employable. While employability of IT graduates and those coming out of poly-techniques is a mere 25%, it is 42% for ITI alumni and 48-50% for engineering graduates.He said the government was coming out with a scheme so that more youth are not only attracted to learning skills, but also will set up a trans-national standard, so the certificates are recognised in foreign countries. He said MoUs are being signed with different countries so that youth can have long-term internship periods with industries there. He called on industry to play a pro-active role and change its mindset of encouraging cheap labour to rather a high-productive labour. “Relying on cheap labour is self-destructive not only for the country but also to industry in the long run,” he concluded.RCM Reddy, managing director of IL&FS said the societal problem of looking down at the skilled person as second class was an issue that needed to be tackled with. He said instead of a network of ITIs, there was a need to merge skill with the general education system. “Why we cannot introduce basic electric engineering, plumbing, automobile engineering and other such trades at the 12 grades?” he asked. He also said that people with skills and trades should be recognised as diploma or certificate holders to allow them to seek jobs in organised sector. “Bring education and skills together,” he added.Author Shantanu Gupta also agreed that skills are not aspirational in India, but for drop-outs. Shankar Goenka, country head of WOW factors also suggested linking skills with school education system.Sushil Ramola, managing director of B-Able said 70% of jobs existing today will not fetch leverage 20 years later, demanding a long-term vision while imparting skills to current young generation. He said blending school education with skill development and then superimposing it with value education is the only panacea available to prepare youth for nation building in future. Speakers also warned that demographic dividend though needs to be celebrated, but in absence of jobs can be dangerous as well creating instability in the country.

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Madhya Pradesh farmer ends life after notice for power bill of over Rs 9,000

A 60-year old farmer allegedly committed suicide after getting a notice to pay his pending electricity bill of over Rs 9,000, police said today.The body of the farmer, identified as Dinesh Pandey, was found floating in a well at Abgaon Kala village this morning, Harda’s Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar Singh said.The farmer’s son, Sanjay Pandey, said three days back the police served a local court’s notice to his father, asking him to pay his pending electricity bill of Rs 9,111.Dinesh Pandey was under stress after getting the notice and yesterday afternoon he went missing, his son said, adding that the family members and villagers spotted his body floating in the well at the village this morning.Abgaon Kala’s deputy sarpanch Ganesh Ram Jat said the villagers found some clothes near the well. While looking around, they spotted the body in the well and subsequently informed the police.”It is suspected that the farmer committed suicide by jumping into the well. The tehsildar and local police station in-charge were sent to the spot. The body was sent for postmortem,” the SP said.”A detailed investigation is underway. The exact reason behind his alleged extreme step would be known after the inquiry,” he added.

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Uttar Pradesh: 16-year-old suffering from cancer gangraped in Lucknow

A 16-year-old girl suffering from blood cancer was allegedly gangraped by a group of men in Lucknow, on Saturday.The Circle Officer (CO) of Sarojini Nagar, Lalta Prasad Singh, informed that the victim had gone to buy groceries when an acquaintance convinced her to come along with him. He, along with his friend, raped her and later left her on the roadside.The victim was raped for the second time in the day when she sought help from a passerby.On the complaint of the victim’s family, an FIR was lodged against two persons. While one accused, Virendra Yadav, has been arrested, the search is on to nab the other one, the police informed.Meanwhile, the third culprit is absconding.Last week, another case of gang-rape of a minor surfaced in the state, wherein a 17-year-old girl was allegedly gangraped at gunpoint in Hamirpur’s Majhgaon.

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Two held for blackmailing and extortion in Kota

Two people were arrested in Kota on the charge of blackmailing and extorting money from a businessman. The accused were today produced before the court that sent them to judicial custody.One of the two accused Monu alias Ashish Nama (35), a resident of Dadabari area of Kota on Friday noon called Rajesh Jain, a local businessman, to his home and assured him that he would get back Rs. 7 lakh that he had lent to Gyanesh Jain who was refusing to repay. On the pretext of repaying him, Nama took Jain to a house where he also called a woman named Afshana alias Rekha alias Khushabu (29). While the three were in a room, Nama forcibly took obscene pictures and made video clips of Jain with Afshana on his mobile and demanded Rs. 5 lakh otherwise they threatened they would circulate the pictures and video.Jain tried arrange money but in the meantime he gave the slip and escaped. The victim allegedly that he had to run from pillar to post for getting report registered at a police station. With no police station prepared to lodge his report, he , through friends contacted home minster and at his intervention that the local police agreed to register his FIR.

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Asthmatics rejoice as Capital gets first pollen count station

Delhi has got its first pollen count station to monitor the levels of airborne grass pollen. The station inaugurated at Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute will benefit people with asthma and other respiratory ailments, as they can check the forecast and take preventive measures, like taking anti-histamines or staying indoors and minimising the health risk.”Pollution apart, airborne pollen also has a major impact on our respiratory system. While much efforts towards raising awareness and education on impact of pollution on health are being made, effects of pollen on health of patients with respiratory disorders are not given its due importance, although it is affecting a significant number of patients. Having a pollen count station can be crucial for such patients, who would be able to check the pollen count status in the vicinity and take necessary steps to avoid exposure,” said Dr Raj Kumar, Director (Acting), Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute.A recent study found that 30 per cent of the population reportedly suffers from one or the other allergic ailment and the majority is not even aware what exactly worsens their condition and how to avoid it.According to the study, the maximum and minimum pollen count recorded in past years was in the month of September (4,805 pollens) and December (1,973 pollens), respectively. The pollen concentration starts increasing in the months of September, October, and November (282.65, 275.73, and 245.44 pollens/m3 /month) and starts declining December onward.Experts say that for patients with respiratory problems and asthmatics, the pollen count would be an indispensable resource to help manage their symptoms and take precautionary measures. Many studies have also found that not only vehicular and industrial emissions, but pollen grains, fungal spores, dust mites, insect debris, and animal epithelial are also major contributors to allergies, breathing problems and respiratory disorders.

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Mumbai-Nagpur E-way: Trust deficit hits land acquisition

While one of the largest land acquisition exercises is currently underway in the state for the construction of 701-km Mumbai Nagpur Super Expressway, officials involved in the process claim that due to trust deficit in the government, few landholders are opting for land pooling, and are instead selling their land to the government.Under land pooling, landholders get 30 per cent of the developed land after 10 years, which is one of the reasons behind not much are willing to wait for 10 years. The Rs 46,000 crore Expressway will need 10,000 hectares of land and the distance of 700 km between Mumbai and Nagpur will be covered in just 8-10 hours.The project is currently at bidding stage and the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) claims to have acquired 2,500 hectares of land out of the total required 10,000 hectares of land for the Expressway.An MSRDC official said, “Majority of the landholders who are giving their land for the project are not going for land pooling and instead directly selling their land. This is because inland pooling landholders have to wait for 10 years to get developed land, and it seems there is a trust deficit in minds of people when it comes to dealing with the government.”The MSRDC is offering five times more the rate than the prevailing ready reckoner rate of a particular area in case an individual coming to give its land for the project on its own.The official, added, “But very few are opting for land pooling considering they will have to wait for 10 years to get the developed land, and also there is trust deficit. But even selling off their lands is not causing any loss. They are getting more than what is the actual market rate.”

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Gujarat elections 2017 | Gujarat headed for massive political earthquake: Yogendra Yadav

Taking a dig at two main political parties in the country, Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav on Thursday said that any government who plays with farmers’ demands will be shown the doors. “Farmers will be the real winners in Gujarat assembly election. The trend will begin from Gujarat as BJP has broken the record of NDA-regime of being anti-farmer. Congress is not valid for votes but due to people’s anger with the BJP, Congress will benefit out of it.”Addressing the media on three core issues, Yadav said, “While the overall growth rate of Gujarat is better but it has failed immensely in terms of agricultural credit. In Gujarat, the agricultural growth in past five years has been only 1.6%. Farmers have suffered major losses in just two commodities, specifically cotton and groundnut produced here. While the guaranteed price for both is nearly Rs 4,500 but the groundnut is being sold at Rs 3,000 to 3,200 and cotton Rs 3,500 to 3,600 per quintal. Because of this, farmers have borne losses of Rs 9,895 crore in just one season.”Speaking about false claims on irrigation issue, Yadav said, “It is shocking that the fabled Gujarat model does not have an agriculture policy document which clearly shows the priority BJP gives to the largest section of voters of Gujarat. The long-standing promise of irrigation from Narmada project has not been realized, out of 18 lakh hectares only 3 lakh hectares have received water.While not delivering irrigation water, the BJP government has enforced power cut for agriculture from 8 to 10 hours, that too alternatively on day light and night hours. The insensitivity and lack of understanding of agrarian issues by the BJP government and the centre and the state was exposed when demonetisation was announced at a most inappropriate time – the start of Kharif marketing season in 2016 and due to this there was all round crash in prices of agri-products and perishables. The surgical strike of central government impacted the farmers of Gujarat most as huge stocks of tomatoes traditionally exported to Pakistan were blocked and were sold at throw away rates. I am not against foreign policy but at least compensate for the losses of the farmers.”Ajit Jha, General Secretary of Swaraj India said, “Voice of farmers has to be heard by elected governments if they wish to survive in power. We see the Gujarat election as a test of the farmers vote and a taste by the government of the power of that vote.”Speaking about supporting Jignesh Mewani contesting from Vadgam, Yadav said, “We are here to see uprising of a historical change, that will bring in the voice of the farmers in the mainstream of Indian politics. We have shown our support to Mewani because we can see strength and honesty in him.”
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Gujarat elections 2017: In Phase 2, Congress has more criminal candidates than BJP

The Congress party members may be busy questioning the misdeeds of the BJP government in the poll-bound Gujarat. However, the ground picture is that the Congress itself is shelling out tickets to candidates with criminal backgrounds.According to an analysis recently conducted by the Gujarat Election Watch and the Association of Democratic Reforms on 822 of the 851 contesting phase two of the elections, the Congress party leads in terms of candidates with criminal cases against them.About the remaining 29 affidavits, the agency said that the records were not yet analysed as they were either not properly scanned or the data provided by the candidates to them remains incomplete.Elections in Gujarat will be held in two phases: December 9 and 14. The analysis was carried out for constituencies that go to polls in the second phase on December 14.Twenty-five out of 88 candidates (28%) contesting for the Congress has criminal cases registered against them. Of these, 18 candidates (21%) have serious criminal cases registered against them.For the BJP, 22 of the 86 candidates (26%) have criminal cases registered against them. Of these, 13 candidates (15%) have serious charges labelled against them.Also, 101 of 822 candidates (12%) have criminal cases against them. Of these, 64 candidates (8%) have serious criminal charges registered — including those related to murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and rape — registered against them.Interestingly, the number of candidates contesting the 2017 elections with criminal backgrounds has increased for the Congress with respect to the previous 2012 elections. While in 2012, the Congress floated 21 candidates with criminal cases, the number rose to 38 in this year’s election. Also, the percentage of candidates with serious criminal allegations rose from 12% in 2012 to 22% in 2017.However, things remain constant for the BJP in terms of percentage and fell minutely in terms of absolute numbers. In 2012, 24 of the party’s total 180 candidates had serious criminal charges against them, while, in 2017, 23 of its 175 candidates had such charges against them. In percentage terms, this comes to 27% (2012) and 25% (2017).NUMBERS TO BE NOTED2 candidates have charges of murder registered against them 7 candidates have charges of attempt to murder cases registered against them 2 candidates have rape charges registered against them 3 candidates have charges of kidnapping registered against them
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EDMC proposes 3 new tax slabs for next financial year

The BJP-led East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has proposed to introduce three new taxes — professional (three slabs), betterment (15 per cent of property tax) and education cess (5 per cent) — in its budget for the 2018-19 financial year. While the party had promised to not increase or bring in new taxes in its manifesto, it has also proposed to hike the entertainment tax.East MCD commissioner Ranbir Singh said that with the introduction of new taxes, the cash-strapped civic body aims to earn revenue of around Rs 25 crores.The East civic body is the smallest of the three municipal corporations, having 64 wards only. However, the body has been struggling for funds since the trifurcation in 2012.The professional tax will be levied in three slabs — Rs 1,200, Rs 2,400, and Rs 2,500, if the taxes are approved by the House. The tax is proposed to be levied on individuals who have an annual income of Rs 5 lakh and above. This would generate Rs 5 crore, the commissioner said.”It is proposed that education cess of 5 per cent of property tax be charged. It would realise Rs 10 crore annually to the corporation. This amount would be used for education purpose. The betterment tax is proposed to be charged at the rate of 15 per cent of property tax. This will generate additional revenue of Rs 10 crore annually,” said Singh.
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Police clueless about guidelines for staff undergoing sex change

Following the case of Beed police constable Lalita Salve, the police department in the state continues to remain clueless about service guidelines and rules for such cases. According to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer (LGBTQ) community activists, the case of Salve will be a landmark case in India for future references.Harish Iyer, LGBTQ activist who has been interacting on the LGBTQ issues with the police training academy in Kolhapur and also globally, said, “I have once interacted with a male police officer in New York who transformed himself to female but he was not given any special treatment after the surgery. The job profile too remained the same. While in the case of Boston police inspector, he was interacting with local groups on decrease in crime against LGBTQ. However, globally the scenario is different than in India.”Iyer, added, “While the Kolhapur police training academy has a module on sexuality, it is good to know that people are valuing it. There is a need to value the science behind such transformation. There are no guidelines because people are not really aware about the issues. The case will create a revolution.”Speaking about the rights in the Indian law, Advocate Sayed Ejaz Abbas, who is fighting Salve’s case, asserted, “It is a person’s fundamental and private right to undergo sex reassignment surgery if he/she needs it. The police department does not have any rules or guidelines on the change of gender for getting employment. While right for medical leave is also one of the basic rights, there are no specifications regarding sex change surgery.”Tinesh Chopade, Assistant Program Manager of the Humsafar Trust, said, “Police is right on their part as per the protocol since it is difficult to accept the case. While I was doing few sessions with the Nashik Police Training Academy, I experienced that they are not denying the fact and are ready to accept it.”
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UP civic polls rigged; BJP won from places where EVMs were used, says Samajwadi Party

Alleging that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the just-concluded Uttar Pradesh civic elections were rigged, the Samajwadi Party (SP) today claimed that the BJP won from only those places where the EVMs were used and performed poorly when it came to ballot papers.SP chief general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav also said the use of voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, along with EVMs, would enhance the confidence of the political parties as well as the candidates in the poll procedure.Addressing a press conference here, Yadav pointed out that while the BJP won 14 of the 16 mayoral posts in the civic polls, the ruling party did poorly in the nagar panchayat and nagar palika parishad elections.”The BJP won (in the civic polls) only at those places where EVMs were used…votes cast in the EVMs in favour of the candidates of the political parties were transferred to the independents,” he alleged.Referring to statistics, Yadav said while the saffron party got a 43 per cent vote share in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls earlier this year, it went down to 30 per cent in the civic polls.Responding to a question on why arch rivals the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) did not join hands to defeat the saffron party in the elections, he said, “Let the time come…it is too early to say anything.”While the BJP won 68 of the top posts in the nagar parishads, the SP won 45, BSP 29 and 43 posts were won by Independent candidates.Of the top posts in the nagar panchayats, the BJP won 100, while the SP won 83 and BSP 45. The independents won 181 of these posts.
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Commerce courses take the cake in IDOL admissions

This year, 66.39% (43,804) of the total number of students admitted under IDOL have taken up courses in the Commerce faculty including BCom and MCom. While 18,310 students enrolled for BCom this year, a total of 25,495 students registered for MCom part I and II. “A large number of working students also prefer to take these courses to boost their careers,” said Dhaneshwar Harichandan, Director, IDOL.”
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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>Commerce courses take the cake in IDOL admissions University of Mumbai
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByAnkita Bhatkhande <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 5 December 2017 6:30 ISTMust readCome to Byculla and attack hawkers: AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan dares Raj ThackerayNCPCR invites tips to arrest CSA crimes<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Even after a delayed admission season, 65,978 students enrolled under the various courses at the University of Mumbai’s Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL). While the total number has gone down by over 10,000 as compared to 2016-17, demand for Commerce courses remained high even this year.This year, 66.39% (43,804) of the total number of students admitted under IDOL have taken up courses in the Commerce faculty including BCom and MCom. While 18,310 students enrolled for BCom this year, a total of 25,495 students registered for MCom part I and II. “A large number of working students also prefer to take these courses to boost their careers,” said Dhaneshwar Harichandan, Director, IDOL.
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Maharashtra govt hikes reward for excise officials who crack liquor smuggling cases

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After over 40 years, the state government has hiked the rewards given to state excise officials and informers who crack cases of liquor smuggling, duty evasion and bootlegging.The previous policy, which was formulated in 1976, gave a pittance of up to Rs 500 to officials and informers regardless of the type of the case and value of the seizure. At times, members of the raiding team contributed money as ‘baksheesh’ (prize) to informers for the tip-off. The state government has now increased this reward to over Rs 10 lakh depending on the type of the case.“Under the new policy, committees under the district superintendents will have powers to sanction rewards up to Rs 50,000. It will be up to Rs 1 lakh for the divisional deputy commissioners, Rs 2 lakh for the director (vigilance and enforcement), up to Rs 10 lakh for the excise commissioner. For amounts above Rs 10 lakh, the approval will have to come from a committee under the additional chief secretary or principal secretary of the state excise department,” said a senior state excise official. ALSO READ Bihar: Special police unit for execution of liquor ban, crackdown on violationsDuring their service tenure, officials will be able to get a maximum reward of Rs 25 lakh. While the names of the informers will be kept confidential, the money will be given to them through the official whom they tipped off. The reward for state excise officials will be between 5 to 7% of the based on the amount of excise duty saved due to the preventive action or the amount of liquor, beer, mohua flowers, toddy or duplicate liquor seized, whichever is less and 5% for informers and private individuals.State excise officials admitted that the paltry amount given out earlier inhibited their ability to expand their network of informers or adequately compensate them after a successful raid based on these tip-offs. A strong informers network due to higher rewards will also help strengthen ground-level intelligence collection about hooch and liquor smuggling and duplication rackets.Officials claimed that some unscrupulous informers, when they were unable to extract a promise from officials for a substantial reward, chose to first tip them off and later strike a deal with smugglers or bootleggers to help them evade the dragnet. ALSO READ Municipalities across country will exempt from liquor shops ban on highways, says Supreme CourtOf the around 3,600 officials and staff in the department, around half—largely sub-inspectors–are based at manufacturies for supervision. Up to 1974, the department had no punitive powers like the police, which were later granted to inspectors and subsequently to sub-inspectors in 1991. Up to 1985, these officials checked consumption permits of those coming to wine shops and permit rooms for drinking.Maharashtra follows a policy of discouraging liquor consumption through high prices and low sales and has one of the highest excise duty regimes in India. However, neighbouring states and union territories like Goa and Daman have comparatively liberal policies and the cheaper costs of liquor there lead to a huge incentive for smugglers and bootleggers to smuggle in the brew to Maharashtra. With neighbouring Gujarat under prohibition, Maharashtra has also become a transit point for transporting liquor from states like Haryana and Madhya Pradesh to the dry state.

Milk packets tampered with, sealed twice: Chirag Zalawadia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Looking at the difference in the quality of the milk dropped by the distributor every day, a Malad resident started collecting the milk packets for few days. Chirag Zalawadia, of Raheja Township, found that the milk packets were tampered with and looked like sealed twice.Zalawadia raised the issue on social media by posting pictures and a video while interrogating the milk distributor.Speaking about how he got to know about the tampered milk packets, Zalawadia, said, “We usually purchase two litres of Gokul milk packet daily. My wife was complaining about the low quality of the milk they have been getting since few days. While boiling the milk she could find out the difference. Later, I started collecting milk packets for few days. We could see the packets were tamper and sealed in a different way.”He added, “They are changing the quality of milk by opening the company’s sealed packet and repacking it after adulteration. I have stored all the plastic packets which were delivered to my house where we can clearly see that the seals are resealed.”While Zalawadia contacted the company for consumer complaints, they haven’t given any reply to him. “I have filled up consumer complaint forms and called them too. They refused to give any complaint Id nor did they contact due to which I thought of posting it on social media to make other people aware of the milk adulteration issue.”WHAT TO LOOK FORThe milk should be cold/room temperature
Stitches should be zigzag and sealed
Four corners should be pointing outwards
Name and address of the manufacturer should be mentioned
Net quantity should be written
MRP must be visible
Type of milk must be mentioned on the packet
Expiry date must be mentioned
FSSAI license number must been written on the packet
Nutrition table should be printed

TISS cuts scholarship for SC students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a decision that might affect thousands of students, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) would not wave off hostel expenses of SC students from outside Maharashtra from the academic year 2018-19. As per the institute’s recent admission notification, SC students who would be admitted to the institute would have to bear their hostel and dining expenses as the institute would no longer continue to bear the same. While the initial announcement regarding this was made in May this year, the institute would start implementing the policy from the upcoming academic year.Students said that the institute’s stand of cutting down on fellowships and fee waivers is a discriminatory move. “the institute has asked students to pay money first even as they might be awaiting their scholarships from the government. Several students who come from the SC/ST/OBC backgrounds cannot afford to pay the fee amount. This decision would make TISS an elite institution yet again” said a research scholar from the institute.Dr S Parasuraman, Director, TISS said that the institute is facing a severe fund deficit as a result of which it cannot continue with the assistance. “The institute has a deficit of over 20 crores as the government is yet to reimburse the scholarship amount of students. The institute can thus no longer support hostel and dining expenses. Students would however be supported in all ways to avail loans or partial waiver if need be” said Parasuraman. In 2016-17, the institute had stopped giving non NET fellowships to researchers in the absence of funds. In May 2017, the institute declared that it will not be able to provide financial aid to students from SC/ST/OBC category(with family income below GoI norms). “There seems to be a systematic attempt to stop students from the marginalised backgrounds to take higher institutions in premiere institutes like TISS. Even if the institute lacks funds, it cannot put the financial burden on students” said another student.

More chaos likely as Mumbai University gets extension to form bodies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the state government giving extension for state universities to form their governing and statutory bodies by February, the University of Mumbai would now have to function with ad hoc bodies until then.Since 2015, after the previous bodies dissolved, MU has been running with an ad hoc management council, academic council and other bodies awaiting fresh elections as per the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016. While state varsities including MU were supposed to form fresh bodies by November 30, the extension given by the cabinet would now allow them to do so till February 28. With some of the key posts at the varsity being occupied by incharge officials , delay in formation of bodies would lead to further chaos, said experts. “The university has been running on an ad hoc basis. The VC, Pro VC, registrar , Director , Examinations are all temporary appointments. At such a point the delay in forming bodies would impact the decision making process at the University ” said Sanjay Vairal, ex Senate member of the university.

Most schools to charge by the month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Schools across the city are in a fix over new admissions. While the admission season for nursery begins after Diwali, this year the same has been delayed.Due to an unclear picture, most schools have changed their admissions as per the Fee Regulatory Act. Most schools have decided to charge admission, term, and monthly fees on a per-month basis. MP Chandran, spokesperson of Association of Progressive Schools (AoPS) said, “We have communicated to our member schools that we have decided to charge admission fee for only one month as per the Act, subject to the decision by the HC. We are considering only sibling cases in JG International school.”Parents and school community have been in confusion since March 30 when the state government through its Gujarat Self-Financed School (Regulation of Fees Bill), 2017, put a cap on annual fees of self-financed schools across Gujarat at Rs 15,000 for primary section, Rs 25,000 for secondary and Rs 27,000 for higher secondary classes.Manan Chokshi, Managing Trustee, Udgam School for Children said, “Since there is no clarity from the state government as well as the HC yet, we have decided to start our admissions from December 1…. We have decided to charge admission fee only for one month along with regular fees. At the moment, we are only accepting inquiries and shortlisting them.”

WATCH: Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar hits a man taking selfie

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar while addressing the media on Tuesday, hit a man who was clicking a selfie right behind him.Karnataka Energy Minister Shivakumar was at a Child Rights’ event at a Belagum college when the incident took place. While addressing the media, the minister happened to turn around, disturbed by the man trying to take a selfie, hit him. Shivakumar had hit him on the arm, according to the video posted by ANI. Evidently the irritated Minister lost his cool and hit the man in front of the media. The video is doing rounds on Twitter. Lately, the minister had been in the news because of his properties in Bengaluru. Income Tax department raided all his properties in Bengaluru and in other states. Denying all the allegations, Shivakumar blamed the BJP government for the raids.

BMC’s babus, netas on Guj poll duty from next month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) day-to-day functioning is likely to take a hit next month as two additional municipal commissioners (AMCs) as well as corporators from political parties will be on poll duty in Gujarat for the assembly elections. While civic officials have been chosen by the government for poll duty, political parties are sending their corporators to campaign for their respective parties.The two AMCs, both IAS officers, will be on poll duty from the first week of December.Requesting anonymity, a senior civic official said that the AMCs’ absence will stall important works in departments like solid waste management, IT, roads where a quick decision is required, and added that it would put additional pressure on deputy municipal commissioners.Congress and BJP are sending their corporators to areas bordering Maharashtra. Ravi Raja, a Congress corporator and leader of opposition in BMC, said, “All our 30 corporators will be on poll duty in Gujarat from next week.”BJP is sending around 15 corporators, mostly Gujaratis, to different constituencies. While BJP group leader Manoj Kotak will be in Porbandar in Gujarat, another BJP corporator Sandeep Patel is going to Surat.Shiv Sena, banking on Marathi voters in Gujarat, is sending its corporators too. Rajul Patel, a Shiv Sena corporator from Andheri is going to Rajkot. A total of 16 Shiv Sena corporators are concentrating on Surat, Valsad, Navsari, Vapi, and Baroda.

Cause driven by emotions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>I am looking at a change.org plea asking me to oppose cutting of trees coming in the way of a national highway. As the plea is forwarded by a very erudite professor, I decided to study it, only to discover an interesting misconception that really needs our attention.This plea and many more similar ones have one central theme. They all presume a link between air quality index (AQI) and trees, so the uncouth me is forced to look at the science behind the hazardous AQI numbers that they are riding to support their cause.AQI is a composite index based on levels of five major air pollutants, i.e. ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. And the bitter truth (for saviours of trees and planet) is that these pollutants and trees have no positive correlation linking them.In most cases (other than dust storms, volcanic eruptions or forest fires), it is the normal human activities that produce these pollutants. So they are present across the globe wherever the population is dense. Their presence becomes more pronounced in winter as cold air stagnates close to ground. While I invite tree-lovers to explain their version of science of how any of the parameters considered for AQI will improve by having trees, I would like to bring to your attention a phenomenon that points exactly in opposite direction, especially in India.In the air quality index, the number that is really worrisome for us in Ahmedabad or Delhi is of particulate matter (PM), more specifically of PM 2.5 levels, i.e. of particles that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. These extremely small particles are highly dangerous because they pass through all the natural defences of our respiratory system and cause long term damage to our lungs. The smog that has become symbol of pollution in India is caused by the high PM levels.World over, particulate matter is produced due to industrial activities, partial burning of fuel by vehicle engines and also because of burning of organic material. While we are guilty of having polluting industries and chaotic traffic, there is one uniquely local factor that could be a big source of particulate matter in our cities, and that is trees.As winter is a season of fall, leaf litter forms a large part of waste material in our cities. As it is simple to burn it, city administrations are unable to wean our sanitation workers off it even after working hard at training them. Citizens are also equally guilty of disposing organic waste by burning it. This problem is compounded in cold weather as those forced to live outdoors are tempting to burn litter and wood for warmth. All this burning produces a massive amount of particulate matter that hangs around in cold air and gives an alarming spike to AQI. So, while not contributing much in improving AQI, a city-dwelling tree is possibly guilty of abetting increase in PM2.5 levels.The real learning from the story of trees is that understanding is a greatest requirement for love to be meaningful. We need trees, but we also need to understand the comprehensive role they play, or it is entirely possible that having more trees can end up contributing to increasing pollution instead of reducing it. So, if you are a tree-lover and really want to improve air quality, invest your energy in preventing burning of leaf litter instead of wasting time in raising objections to building of a road that may be smoothening transportation and reducing pollution. Pollution is a massive crisis that is getting bigger because emotion-driven “lovers” of nature have hijacked our response to it. We need to break free from these obsessions and allow scientific reason to prevail, if we want real solutions.

India now firmly investment grade: Twitter reacts to credit rating upgrade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US-based Moody’s today upgraded India’s sovereign credit rating by a notch to ‘Baa2’ with a stable outlook citing improved growth prospects driven by economic and institutional reforms.The rating upgrade comes after a gap of 13 years – Moody’s had last upgraded India’s rating to ‘Baa3’ in 2004.In 2015, the rating outlook was changed to ‘positive’ from ‘stable’.The ‘Baa3’ rating was the lowest investment grade — just a notch above ‘junk’ status.”The decision to upgrade the ratings is underpinned by Moody’s expectation that continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will, over time, enhance India’s high growth potential and its large and stable financing base for government debt and will likely contribute to a gradual decline in the general government debt burden over the medium term,” Moody s said in a statement.Sovereign rating is a barometer of the country’s investment climate. It gives investors insight into the level of risks associated with investing in a particular country and also includes political risks.For long, India was rated by other rating agencies at Baa3, the lowest investment grade and just a notch above the junk grade, which has now been upgraded a notch higher by Moody’s.The Narendra Modi government has been pitching for an upgrade for quite some time now citing various reforms initiatives.The upgrade comes days after India climbed 30 places to rank 100th on the World Bank’s Doing Business Report. The stock market and the rupee reacted positively with a sharp rally today.The global ratings agency, however, cautioned that high debt burden remains a constraint on the country’s credit profile.”Moody’s believes that the reforms put in place have reduced the risk of a sharp increase in debt, even in potential downside scenarios,” it said.Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the Government of India’s local and foreign currency issuer ratings to ‘Baa2’ from ‘Baa3’ and changed the outlook on the rating to stable from positive, the statement said.Stating that reforms will foster sustainable growth prospects, the US-based agency said the government is mid-way through a wide-ranging programme of economic and institutional reforms.”While a number of important reforms remain at the design phase, Moody’s believes that those implemented to-date will advance the government’s objective of improving the business climate, enhancing productivity, stimulating foreign and domestic investment, and ultimately fostering strong and sustainable growth,” Moody s said.Here’s how Twitter reacted:

BJP brings back ‘potato factories’ to slam Rahul Gandhi, asks how can he talk about farmers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the Gujarat elections date nears, the BJP is sharpening its attack against the Congress. The ruling party launched a scathing attack on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his recent pro-farmer stance.BJP’s Kisan Morcha chief Virendra Singh said that Gandhi was “ancestrally” anti-farmer.“While Bardoli peasant leader Sardar Patel was busy securing the integrity of India post-independence, Jawaharlal Nehru was busy writing love letters to Lady Mountbatten and signing documents of the Partition. While BJP leaders go to the fields after Parliamentary sessions, Rahul Gandhi retreats to his romantic escapades,” the MP said.He appealed to the peasants of the poll-bound state not to be misled by Gandhi “whose family had dishonoured Gujarat and such of its icons as Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi.”“While Gandhi wanted to preserve the nation’s villages, pro-foreigner and pro-urban Nehru and Indira Gandhi were busy destroying that vision,” Singh added.The peasant leader from UP also said that a crack team of Kisan Morcha, to be called ‘Kisan Sena’, would be launching an all out campaign in Gujarat from November 20 to demolish the “lies being spread by Rahul Gandhi” and to take the pro-farmer schemes of the Narendra Modi government to the farmers.Invoking history, Singh said that while Nehru did not let Sardar Patel become the Prime Minister, his daughter Indira Gandhi did the same to Morarji Desai.“The Congress party has always dishonoured Gujarat and its icons. It was also from Gujarat that the first voices of protest against Indira’s Emergency came under the leadership of Jayprakash Narayan and Morarji. They were both incarcerated for 19 months,” Singh said.Citing that PM Modi came from a humble background and that he too was hounded by the Congress government at Centre when he was the state’s chief minister, Singh said political-social activist Amit Shah was put in jail for two years.“How can Rahul even talk of the farmers of India. His father had appealed the farmers to sow jaggery in fields meant for sugarcane farming while he talks about potato factories.”The senior BJP leader said that while the Modi government was the first ever in history to have allocated 42 per cent of the budget towards the farm sector and farmers’ welfare, the Congress governments had not allocated even half that amount.

Brothers forge hall tickets to appear for college exam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nagpada police on Monday arrested two brothers for allegedly forging a hall ticket for a college exam. The elder brother was the one to appear for the college exam instead of the actual candidate, the younger brother, using the forged hall ticket. The accused are siblings and the younger brother was a second year student pursuing a diploma in mechanical engineering.The police said, that the elder brother then pasted his photo on his brother’s hall ticket and took a colour xerox of the hall ticket. With the forged hall ticket, the accused entered the exam hall and signed an attendance sheet. While he was getting ready to appear for the exam, and was waiting for the question paper, the exam supervisor saw him and got suspicious.”The teachers knew the younger brother well and when the elder brother sat for the exam on his behalf, they immediately identified him. The college professors informed us and a case of cheating and forgery was registered against the accused,” said a police officer.The accused told the police that the younger brother was weak in a particular subject and was fearing he would fail. He thus asked his elder brother to appear for the exam on his behalf. “We have arrested both of them on Monday and have booked them for forgery,” said Sanjay Baswat, Senior police inspector of Nagpada police station.THE REASONThe accused told the police that the younger brother was weak in a particular subject and was fearing he would fail. He thus asked his elder brother to appear for the exam on his behalf.

Robber fires at petrol pump owner, steals Rs 15L

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A petrol pump owner was shot at outside a bank while he was walking towards it in order to deposit the cash in South Delhi’s Malviya nagar area on Tuesday morning. The auto-rickshaw driver who was present at the location intervened to save the victim but was hit by the accused men.Kamal Jeet Singh Sethi, owner of a petrol pump in the Lado Sarai area reached the federal bank in Malviya Nagar in his Swift car to deposit the cash. He was carrying the cash collected during the weekend from the petrol pump. The robbed amount is stated to be around Rs 15 lakhs.The entire incident has been captured on CCTV cameras which showed Jeet walking towards the co-driver’s seat in order to pick up the black bag full of cash. He then picked up the bag and walk towards the bank. Suddenly the attacker came running behind him and fired at him after which he picked up the bag.An auto-rickshaw driver identified as Pankaj intervened to save the man but was hit by the accused. “I had dropped my wife and was passing through the road when I saw the man screaming for help. I stopped and rushed to save him but the accused hit me we the butt of the gun. I felt dizzy and fell on the floor. He ran with the bag alone,” said Pankaj.Jeet sustained injuries and was later discharged and is undergoing treatment at Max hospital.Prima facie it appears that the attackers were three in number and were trailing the accused from Lado Sarai. While one of them was stationed near the bank the others stood at a distance in order to help him flee.A case under appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was regsitered. Further investigations are underway.

As election nears, sanitation drive ‘markings’ send shivers down Ahmedabad residents

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents of Paldi, a small suburb in Ahmedabad received a scare after they found their front doors marked with a cross on Monday. While locals initially thought it was targetting of a particular community, they later discovered that it was part of a sanitation drive, The Times of India reported.According to the report, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation health workers had marked the buildings in red as their stock of stickers to mark societies that got exhausted.Residents, however, expressed fear as such markings in the past were used in the past as a way to identify residents to be targeted during the 2002 communal riots. Paldi was one of the areas that witnessed violence in 2002.Residents had even written to the Election Commission and the polic chief AK Singh fearing that the motive was to disrupt peace in the area. However, Singh informed that the markings were made by sanitation workers, but added that an inquiry will be conducted. “If the houses are being marked as part of a garbage collection drive, we will send our teams to ensure that the residents are informed about it,” Singh told TOI.

Pregnant woman crushed to death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 24-week pregnant woman was killed and her husband injured after a car rammed into them in Noida’s sector 18 market on Sunday night. The couple was heading back to their car when a parking attendant lost control of a car that he was trying to park. He first hit two other cars and then mowed down the woman and finally hit a pole. The couple was expecting their first child.The couple Mansi Singhal, 29, and Prateek Singhal, 32, had come to the mall to watch a movie and after eating at a restaurant in Sector-18 were walking towards their car. Meanwhile, a person in his Honda City car, who was visiting one of the shops, handed over his car keys to a parking attendant due to lack of parking space.The 18-year-old parking attendant identified as Abhishek sat behind the wheels and while trying to park the car, accidentally pressed the accelerator. The impact was such that he hit two cars ahead, mowed down the pregnant woman and dragged her for few meters before ramming into a pole.The police were informed immediately who rushed to the spot and took the duo to the hospital. While Mansi was declared dead on arrival, her husband was treated for injuries and later discharged. The doctors at Kailash hospital stated that the woman was 24-week pregnant and due to excessive blood loss could not survive.The body was handed over to the family members who have taken it to Bareilly for the last rites. “The couple was expecting their first child and we rushed the woman as soon as possible. However, we could not save her and the child. It is a really unfortunate incident,” said a police officer.According to the other parking attendants, Abhishek had come as a replacement for someone and did not know how to drive. “The medical examination of the boy was conducted where he was found to be 18 years of age. He does not have a driving license. We will take strict action against the contractor who had employed him without a background check,” said Arun Kumar, SP City, Gautam Budh Nagar.

NCP to improve focus on Vidarbha where it bagged 1 seat in 2014

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nationalist Congress Party has decided to increase focus on Vidarbha region that sends 62 legislators to the 282-member state assembly.NCP chief Sharad Pawar will be on a four-day tour of Vidarbha starting November 15. The party currently has only one MLA from the region, which was dominated by the BJP with 44 legislators in 2014 state elections. While the Congress has 10 MLAs, four belong to the Shiv Sena.Pawar is likely to visit Gadchiroli, Wardha, Chandrapur, Yavatmal districts in Vidarbha. “The BJP came in power with the promise of implementation of Dr Swaminathan report on fair prices to farm produces. However, the reality is different, said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.The NCP leader said Vidarbha has reported the most cases of farmer suicide in Maharashtra despite the chief minister hailing from the region. “Moreover, in Yavatmal, while spraying pesticides over crops, several farmers lost their lives because faulty products were allowed in the market. There is huge anger among farmers,” said Malik.Earlier, NCP’s senior leader Ajit Pawar and party’s state unit president Sunil Tatkare had also toured the belt, which often faces drought-like conditions, extensively.“The assembly and Lok Sabha elections are far away, but we want to connect with the people of this region by raising their issues. People had a lot hope from BJP so they voted en masse to it in last elections. But what happened?” asked the NCP leader.Malik said farmers have a lot of faith in NCP. “Pawar saheb has done a lot of good work during his tenure as the agriculture minister. They are still waiting for the farm loan waiver benefit.“The government had promised farmers would get money on eve of Diwali. Now, it has been more than 20 days, people are still waiting for farm loan waiver,” said another NCP leader.BJP DOMINANTVidarbha sends 62 MLAs to the state assembly
In 2014, BJP won 44 seats from here and Congress was a distant second with 10 seats
While Shiv Sena has four MLAs, NCP has only one from the belt

Online bargain lands CISF jawan in trouble

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawan shared his identification documents online with an unknown person who promised him a discounted iPhone. While the jawan never received his phone despite making a payment, the conman used his documents to dupe other people online. The Vakola police are now on the lookout for the accused.According to police sources, the complainant was lured by an online advertisement that claimed to sell an iPhone at half the price. Posing as a policeman, the accused then asked the jawan to send his scanned documents for identification, along with Rs 25,000 for the phone.”The use of his documents for further online fraud came to light when a police officer from Madhya Pradesh contacted the jawan’s senior officers telling them that the jawan was involved in some cyber fraud. The accused had even secured a SIM card on the jawan’s name,” said an officer from Vakola police station.

City’s CCTV project set to get a boost

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After rolling out the installation of 4,717 cameras in the city under the Mumbai CCTV surveillance project, the state government is planning to identify areas where women, children, and senior citizens are vulnerable to street crimes and expand this network there. The state will also install more thermal cameras along the city’s coastline and beachfront to enhance coastal security.Sources from the state home department said that in a meeting on Wednesday, additional chief secretary (home) Sudhir Srivastava had asked police officials to map out such areas within a month for the setup of additional cameras.”We are looking at expanding our CCTV coverage in parts where this network is poor, in densely populated areas and places where street crimes against women, children, and senior citizens have been reported. Thermal cameras will also be set up on the coastline,” said a senior state home department official.The Rs 949 crore Mumbai CCTV surveillance project was floated after the 26/11 terror attacks and a network of 4,717 cameras have been installed at 1,510 sensitive locations. While these systems have been installed at most places, work is underway on around two to three per cent locations.Though the Mumbai CCTV project initially planned to establish 6,020 remotely-controlled, high-definition quality IP cameras, the number of cameras was reduced due to the decision to increase the number of poles at the sites for better coverage. The project also includes the installation of around 20 thermal cameras on the coastline.”The actual number of cameras may be much more than the original 6,020 that was envisaged,” the official added. “There are some areas which have not been covered. The crime hotspots have also shifted,” explained another official, adding that the police had been asked to inform the home department about their requirements.KEEPING A WATCHThe project includes two control rooms at the police commissioner office and traffic police headquarters, a disaster recovery room at Kalina, two data centres, 10 mobile vans with mounted cameras to help control rooms monitor the ground-level situation through live feeds and a picture intelligence unit and facial recognition software.
GPS-based tracking of 1,000 police vehicles, integration of the city’s spatial information with a GIS system for a shorter response time and a vehicle tracking system with automatic number plate recognition are also included.

Fake number plate racket likely to see an increase

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Starting Monday, the odd-even formula will be tougher to implement than imagined. As a reality check by DNA showed, if one drops in at any of the numerous shops at the outer circle of Connaught Place, central Delhi or NCR, and anywhere between 15 minutes and two hours, you can easily walk out with a new number plate for your vehicle — that too without producing the registration certificate (RC) or any other documents. Traffic cops say a close watch will be kept on the menace.Fake number plates top the list of the many challenges the government and traffic police are going to face in implementing its clean-up plan for the Capital. According to norms, a number plate can be procured only from an authorised dealer and after producing the RC of the vehicle and other related documents.However, when DNA accessed the black market, the reality seemed different. Shops providing fake registration number plates not only put on display a number of designs and styles but also did not bother to ask for document or ID proof.”We have number plates starting from Rs 250 and the costliest is Rs 3,500. While the cheapest one has sticker digits, styles vary from stylish embossed fonts to illuminated digits with custom-made logos,” said a dealer who owns a shop in Noida’s sector 16 car market.Another dealer, who has a shop in Connaught Place, says that a simple number plate would cost Rs 800 while a legal one with holograms can only be made after the customer provides transport authority’s approval. “Last year, during the scheme, demand for fake number plates was high, the same is expected this year,” he said.When asked about the flourishing hidden business of fake registration number plates — which can lead to a severe national security threat — a senior traffic police officer said, “The only way this market can be curbed is to conduct raids on such shops and take legal action.”Price rangeRs 250 to 500 with sticker digits, simple, non-styledRs 500 to 1000 embossed stylish digits, custom made designs, change of languageRs 1200 to 3500 number plates with fancy lights, golden silver design, change of fontsHidden BusinessShops at Connaught Place, Kashmere Gate, Karol Bagh and NCR provide fake number platesPrice range varies from Rs 250 to 3500 depending upon styleNo vehicle-related document or ID proof required

Low visibility leads to car crash, 2 dead

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Low visibility claimed the lives of two youth and injured three others after their car fell into Yamuna river due to fog and poor visibility in North Delhi’s Timarpur area on Thursday.According to the police, five friends Deepak, Krishan, Anand, Akash and Deepak Jangir were travelling in a swift car to Shyamghat Yamuna Khadar.”We received a call at around 3.40 am about a Swift car that fell into the river. While Deepak Jangir and Krishan who were in the front drowned,” said Jatin Narwal, DCP, North.Investigating officers revealed the five had made a stop at the river for a while. Later, when they started moving, owing to low visibility the car fell into the river. While the bonnet got immersed and turned turtle, three who were sitting behind managed to escape.Two of them were declared dead on arrival while the other three were treated and discharged. A case of rash and negligent driving and death by negligence have been registered. The deceased, Deepak Jangir and Krishan Yadav, both 23, are residents of Hauz Khas and were children of police officers.

The bizarre MahaRERA case of a homebuyer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here is a case study on how homebuyers pay money and do not even know whether the person taking the money is a developer, an agent or the developer’s employee.In a bizarre case, a man approached the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA), seeking refund of money he had allegedly given to the developer. However, the authority later on realised the complainant himself isn’t sure to whom he paid the money, nor was aware as to whether the person who collected the money was the employee of the promoter or agent. The complainant is named Ashok Pawar and he had filed a complaint against a top developer (Lodha Palava). Pawar was seeking refund of Rs 90,000 allegedly paid by him as the booking amount for flat D-0904, Sophistica. He had contended that he cancelled the booking in July 2016 but the developer did not refund the booking amount. The complainant filed his complaint against developer but mentioned the number of project which actually belonged to an agent. While hearing the complaint the authority also realised that Pawar wasn’t sure himself, to whom he paid the money, nor was aware as to whether the person who collected the money was the employee of the developer or agent.The authority after verifying all the information also came to the conclusion that the project against which Pawar had complained wasn’t even registered with MahaRERA. The Advocate who appeared for the developer was present and even produced the occupancy certificate dated March 2016 to show that project was already completed and hence need not register with the authority. BD Kapadnis, member and Adjudicating officer of MahaRERA, while dismissing the Complaint passed an order that as the said project is not registered with MahaRERA, it has no jurisdiction to entertain this complaint. MahaRERA came into force in May 2017, where all ongoing projects which have started sale, or advertising their projects need to register with the authority. But those who have an OC need not register. The authority till now has heard more than 50 complaints.

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