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Red Corridor operations: CISF to get additional manpower for countering Maoist threat

April 2009: Eleven Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel were killed battling more than 200 armed Maoists while protecting Asia’s largest bauxite mine Nalco in Damanjodi, Odisha.

May 2012: Six CISF jawans were killed in a Maoist ambush, while on duty at the country’s largest NMDC iron ore mines at Kirandul in Bailadila, Chhattisgarh.

Between 2009 and 2012: Twenty CISF were personnel killed in 21 attacks in Naxal-infested zones in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

The figures reflect gravity of the threat that the CISF personnel face while guarding the government’s economic installations in the Red Corridor spread across Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the control of which is vital for the economy of the region.

Representational image. Reuters.

Representational image. Reuters.

A recent order of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that has increased the ceiling of CISF manpower to 1.8 lakh from the current 1.45 lakh is a shot in the arm for this industrial security force in their war against red terror. Besides, an increase in manpower, the two additional battalions — one of which is likely to be posted in the Maoist hotbed Bastar in Chhattisgarh, has been sanctioned.

Of the 49 CISF units across the country, 11 are in these hyper-sensitive Maoist zones, known as SRE (Security Related Expenditure) districts. While there are two units in Bastar, the CISF has an inspector-general (IG) rank official posted in Jharkhand, who oversees 19 units spread across Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha.

Following the Centre’s stand towards zero-tolerance against terrorism, the CISF has given a major thrust on countering Maoist attacks on economic activities. As a result, a chunk of the additional 35,000 CISF personnel will be deployed in Naxal areas.

The Naxal threat looming over the economic installations like mines, steel and power plants, gas pipelines, rail tracks, etc in the Red Corridor and on the CISF can be judged from the fact that the newly appointed director general, CISF, OP Singh immediately after assuming his office in September this year, made his first visit to Kirandul to take stock of the situation.

The Red Corridor is a region that experiences considerable Left Wing Extremists (LWE) or Maoist insurgency and is spread across 10 states. Over the years, the number of districts coming under the Red Corridor has increased.

Though securing airports and Metro rail stations are part of the CISF agenda, safeguarding the production units in Maoist-infested zones is of paramount importance for the force.

“This increase in manpower will help the CISF to strengthen its operations in Red Corridor, as we’re guarding the economic sector in this zone. Our men have risen to the occasion by not only providing security to installations against LWE but also in managing a big public domain — thousands of staff members working in the industrial sector, by proving safety and security to them,” Singh told Firstpost.

The CISF will strengthen its existing anti-terror operations, give specialised training to its jawans, track landmines and monitor mechanism. “Protecting all the industrial centres in the Red Corridor is one of the top priorities of the CISF. Chhattisgarh is one of the most important Naxal-infested states. It’s very difficult and challenging to monitor due to its large terrain and forest areas. Jharkhand is another state, where the CISF is protecting the uranium mines in Jadugoda and the coal mines of Central Coalfields Ltd,” he added.

Following frequent Maoist attacks on government and non-government establishments in the recent past, the importance of the CISF has become inevitable.

According to an MHA source, the central government has been monitoring the incidents of terror attacks and reviewing the threats to economic installations in the Red Corridor for over a long period. “Considering these factors, the Centre envisaged handing over the security arrangements of sensitive and major establishments to the CISF. Based on the request from the CISF, now the manpower ceiling has been increased and it’ll be a big boost to the force,” the source added.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 20:01 IST

Bihar provides 50% reservation in lower judiciary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a historic move, the Bihar government has assented to provide 50% reservation to socio-economic weaker sections of the society in lower judiciary in the state.A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Bihar cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, on Tuesday and will come into immediate effect after a notification in this regard will be issued by the general administration department on Wednesday.The reservation will apply to the recruitment of subordinate judicial services (munsifs and magistrates) and superior judicial services (additional district judges and district judges), general administration department principal secretary Dharmendra Singh Gangwar said.At present, while there is no reservation in superior judicial services, there was 27% quota for SC/ST and EBC in subordinate judicial services.Gangawar said the move was historic as the Bihar government was trying to reserve 50% seats in subordinate and superior judicial services for the socio-economically backward classes for the last 25 years, but, the move was rejected by the Patna high court at least eight times.According to the statement, 21% seats will be reserved for EBC, 16% for SC, 12% OBC and 1% for ST. A horizontal reservation of 35% to women and 1% to physically challenged candidates, as per the provisions made in the seven resolves of Nitish, has also been provided for.Sources said, most states at present do not have reservation in the judicial services. The decision comes after the Supreme Court judgment in ‘Government of Bihar and others versus Dayanand Singh’ earlier this year, in which the court had permitted the state government to initiate the process of consultation with Patna high court and Bihar Public Service Commission despite upholding Patna high court’s decision quashing amendments relating to providing reservation in judiciary.Gangwar said the Bihar government has accordingly consulted the Patna high court and BPSC and then decided to provide 50% reservation in the two types of judicial services.According to the data available with the government, about 1,100 posts are vacant in lower judiciary.

Demonetization: Sushil Modi attacks Lalu for his remarks against PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Launching a scathing attack on RJD supremo Lalu Prasad for his “chauraha” comment against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday said people would prosecute hoarders of black money at the public square after December 30.”People are standing solidly with the prime minister on his decision to scrap high value currencies and they are ready to prosecute hoarders of black money who would be unmasked at the public square after December 30,” he said in a statement. Prasad had asked Modi to choose a “chauraha” (roundabout) where people can punish him on demonetization and December 30 marks the end of 50 days after the scrapping of high value notes when, according to the PM’s assurance, the situation would ease.Sushil Modi said the RJD dharna against demonetization here tomorrow would meet the same fate as that of Bharat bandh and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s dharna against it.”The deposit of Rs 104 crore in BSP bank account has exposed the reasons behind protests by Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee and Lalu Prasad against demonetization,” he said.”Does Lalu Prasad, who has been convicted by court in a corruption case due to which he has been debarred from contesting any election have the moral right to talk on black money to fight against which the PM took a decision to scrap Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes?” he asked. “Lalu Prasad is the first such leader of Bihar who has been sentenced to five year punishment by Supreme Court in the Rs 700 crore fodder scam, due to which he cannot even fight election for even a mukhiya post,” he added.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Mumbai-bound Jet Airways veers off runway; ED to investigate Mayawati’s kin; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Jet Airways Goa-Mumbai flight with 161 on-board veers off runway, passengers safeJet Airways flight from Goa to Mumbai skids off the runway, Airport operations closed til 12.30 PM. Read more.2. Sonia Gandhi’s attempts to revive Oppn unity coming a cropperCongress’ allies in Bihar—Left and the JD(U) decide to stay away from Tuesday’s meeting. Read more.3. Political parties relying on dubious sources of funding: reportThe report, commissioned during the UPA regime in 2011, explains how political parties receive funds. Read more.4. Rs 104 cr deposited in BSP accounts after note recall, blow to Mayawati as ED investigatesBig blow to Mayawati as ED officials investigate the bank account of her brother as well. Read more.5. IND vs AUS: Nearly two months to go but Smith starts battle with Virat KohliOz captain says India skipper is emotional and will use it against him when they tour subcontinent in February. Read more.

Naxal-hit areas to get 11 new Kendriya Vidyalaya, 5 Navodaya Vidyalaya

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eleven Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) and five Navodaya Vidyalaya (NV) will be set up in Naxal-hit areas by the Centre in its efforts to reach out to the people living there.The central government-run schools will be set up by the HRD Ministry at the initiative of the Home Ministry which has identified the areas where basic education was lacking.Those districts where the KVs will be set up include Nawada (Bihar), Sukma, Kondagaon, Bijapur (all Chhattisgarh), Khunti, Giridhi, Chatra, Dumka, Palamu (all Jharkhand) and Gadchiroli (Maharashtra), official sources said.There are 35 worst Naxal-hit districts among the ten Maoist affected states in the country. Out of these districts, 24 districts presently have 52 KVs.The five new NVs to be set up in Ramgarh, Khunti (both in Jharkhand), Narayanpur, Bijapur, Kondagaon (all in Chhattisgarh) districts. At present there are 33 NVs in 30 Naxal-hit districts.

Mamata arrives in capital to attend joint Oppn meeting, Left to stay away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Raising the stakes in her fight against Modi government on demonetization, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived in New Delhi to attend a meeting of opposition parties and a joint press conference tomorrow along with Congress, DMK, RJD and other parties.Mamata, who is spearheading the fight against demonetization, will be part of the joint opposition meeting, TMC sources said. Banerjee told reporters at the Kolkata airport, “The Congress has called me for the meeting. Let’s see what happens!” She will attend the media briefing at Constitution Club along with other Opposition leaders including representatives from DMK and RJD among others, sources added. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi are expected to attend the meeting.While the Left parties announced they are staying away, the JD(U) also gave hints that it may follow suit. A top TMC leader told PTI while reacting to CPI-M’s pull-out, said, “It is the CPI-M’s internal matter. But we feel that it is for them to decide on which side they are.” TMC chief will be in the capital for three days and expected to meet several leaders from different political hues during her stay.We want to highlight the hardships caused due to demonetization across the country, a senior TMC leader claimed. CPI(M) not to attendCracks appeared in the Opposition’s unity as the CPI(M) today decided to stay away from a press conference by the opposition parties convened by the Congress, citing “lack of coordination and consultation” among the participants. “We have decided to stay away from the press conference of opposition parties convened by the Congress because there has been no proper consultation and coordination among the parties,” CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told a press conference here.”Most of the parties were neither consulted nor informed about what will be the agenda of the meeting. Several opposition parties have reservation about the way the meeting has been convened,” Yechury said.The Congress is striving for uniting the Opposition on the issue of Rahul Gandhi’s charges of “personal corruption” against the Prime Minister and plans are afoot for a joint press conference by its president Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders on December 27.Yechury said that a few days back he had received a call from the Congress leadership inviting him to the press conference on December 27. “But when I wanted to know what will be the agenda of the meeting, plan of action and whether all opposition parties have been called, I didn’t receive any answer,” Yechury said. On being asked if the decision to stay away would not provide ammunition to the BJP camp, Yechury said,” When you want to take the opposition unity of 16 parties from a Parliament level to a political level then you need to hold consultation and discussion with the political leadership. A decision should be taken on the basis of proper consultation.That was not done, which is unfortunate,” the veteran leader said.He noted that in order to take forward the unity of opposition parties, references should be taken from the efforts that the CPI(M) has taken during the 1996 United Front government and UPA-I government. Yechury wondered why only the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee was invited to the press conference and Chief Ministers of Tripura, Bihar, and the NCP leadership were not properly consulted. “Why are you only inviting Chief Minister of West Bengal and not calling CMs of Bihar, Tripura and other states which have non-BJP governments?” he questioned.

Talk to real people about demonetization, you will get beaten up: Lalu to PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at Narendra Modi over his remark that people can punish him for demonetization after the 50-day window, Lalu Prasad on Monday asked the Prime Minister to choose a “chauraha” (roundabout) where people can punish him for triggering a chaotic situation in the country. “PM should chose his favourite ‘chauraha’ (roundabout) where people could punish him for leading the country to a chaotic condition in the name of demonetization to fight black money,” RJD President Lalu Prasad told reporters after flagging off Rath to drum up support for party dharna across Bihar on December 28.Prasad was reminding the PM of his utterances at Goa where he had asked people to give him 50 days for fight against black money through scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. Launching a scathing attack at the PM, the RJD chief said “Madari ka khel bana diye hain kabhi notebandi to khabi cashless economy (he is re-enacting play of monkeys in the name of demonetization and than cashless economy)”.Prasad said the PM was under “illusion” that people are appreciating him by chanting “Modi, Modi”. It’s a few RSS men who occupy front seats in his rallies and shout Modi, Modi which he is reading as voice of masses”. “If election is held in the country today BJP would draw a nought,” the RJD chief said.Prasad said that the saffron party would bite dust in Uttar Pradesh poll. “BJP ka koi ata-pata nahin rahega Uttar Pradesh ke chunav mein (BJP will be no nowhere in UP polls),” he said.The RJD chief predicted victory for Samajwadi Party in UP and said like in Bihar he and other leaders from the state would campaign for Mulayam Singh Yadav party to ensure its victory in UP. Asked if family feud in SP would mar his chances in the election, Prasad who is related to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family, dismissed it and said minor fight happens in every family.

What 2017 has in store for BJP…

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If BJP retrieved some momentum back in its favour in 2016 with a maiden assembly election win in Assam, the biggest question on the minds of its top brass was whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization gamble will pay off in the new year in a series of assembly polls, especially in Uttar Pradesh. BJP President Amit Shah will look back at the passing year with fondness as it presented him with some promising rewards and shored up his authority after back-to-back massive defeats in Delhi and Bihar in the preceding year had prompted leaders within the party, including veterans like LK Advani, to point fingers at him.The saffron party put up a creditable show in Kerala and West Bengal, two states where it has been traditionally weak, pulled off wins in bypolls held across the country, including in Assam and Madhya Pradesh, besides in local polls in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Its impressive show in Maharashtra and the tiny municipal corporation of Chandigarh was held by the party as an evidence of people’s support to demonetization at a time it has come under intense attack from a united Opposition over the decision, cited by the government as a measure against black money and corruption.While economic fallout of the radical exercise will take some time to be evaluated, there won’t be a long wait before its political implications are out in the open. Five states, including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, are going to the assembly polls early next year and demonetization has clearly emerged as the war cry of not only the saffron party but also its rivals, who have latched onto the hardships facing people in form of long queues outside banks and ATMs to term the measure anti-people.Besides Uttar Pradesh, it has a lot at stake in polls to three other state assemblies, including Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa. In Manipur, it has never been in power but has forged a strong regional alliance to have a realistic shot at power. In Punjab and Goa, the presence of AAP has upset the conventional poll dynamics and BJP, which is in power in both the states is trying hard to keep the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit at bay while battling its traditional rival Congress.However, it is capturing the big prize of Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha compared to 22 of four other states together, that is at the heart of BJP’s poll strategy in the fag end of the outgoing year. After taking over as the party chief in January for the second time, Shah continued with his efforts to build the organisation in states which he has identified as important for BJP’s poll prospects in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He believes that it is imperative for the party to put up a decent performance in states like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Telangana and Kerala– the coromandal region– besides northeastern states if it is to repeat its strong show in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.It will be hard for the party to repeat let alone better its landslide win in the western India besides the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and any loss in these regions can be made up by better shows in the coastal and northeastern states, BJP leaders believe. A win in Assam and vote share of more than 15 and 10% in Kerala and West Bengal were seen by the party as a big step to this direction.Though its performance in Tamil Nadu was disappointing it looks at ruling AIADMK as a friendly outfit with which it can have a political understanding. The untimely death of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has brought the leadership of two parties closer as the state government leans on the central government for support.Appointments of a number of state chiefs, including in Punjab and Bihar, underlined efforts of the saffron outfit, which has for decades been identified with Brahmin-bania support base, to broaden its appeal among the backward castes and Dalits, two Hindu groups which may have supported it in the past but never embraced it.Shah surprised many within the party by appointing Manoj Tiwari as Delhi BJP president as he is seen as an outsider with no ideological upbringing of the sort its regional satraps are expected to have. It was a clear indication that he was willing to move on from the city’s entrenched leadership which has failed to deliver in polls.If 2014 was the milestone year in the BJP’s history as it emerged stronger than ever before, 2015 exposed it to the limits of solely banking on Modi’s charisma. This year, BJP used its organisational heft and credible local leadership, as in the case of Assam where Sarbananda Sonowal turned out to be its lucky mascot, to expand into newer territory. However, it will be the new year that can provide the strongest signal yet of whether its hope of a repeat of 2014 landslide in the next Lok Sabha polls will ride on firm foundations or not. Uttar Pradesh will decide.

V K Sasikala all set to take over AIADMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The New Year could likely bring new tidings for V K Sasikala after ruling AIADMK’s district secretaries rallied round the Jaya aide. The former owner of a video rental store is all set to take over as the general secretary of a powerful political party with 49 MPs. The General Council and Executive Committee of the AIADMK will meet on December 29 to elect Sasikala as the new general secretary of the party. Sasikala, rather than showing haste in taking up the party post, has waited for all the district units to adopt resolutions backing her leadership. Almost all the ministers are in charge of the district units of the party as well. Thus, it has been easy for the ministers to hold meetings of the party units in their respective districts and drum up support for Sasikala. Although this is an orchestrated campaign, the ease with which Sasikala has been able to establish a stamp of authority so soon, has confounded the BJP which was hoping to fish in Tamil Nadu’s troubled waters.Meanwhile, the BJP is apparently trying to force the AIADMK into an alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as a cushion in case it does not get a majority on its own.Facing the prospect of a reduced number of MPs from UP and Bihar, and fearing a backlash in the wake of the demonetization chaos, the BJP is forced to look at new allies to shore up its strength with an eye on the next Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.The AIADMK, which bagged 37 out of 39 Lok Sabha seats, is the best ally for PM Modi in his attempts for a second term as PM. After 2004, the AIADMK led by Jayalalithaa had steadfastly ignored the BJP’s overtures for an alliance. An impression is gaining round in political circles that the BJP would like to do business with the ‘submissive’ CM Panneerselvam and not with Sasikala. Sasikala is expected to take small and significant steps to assume total control. Chinna Amma, as she likes to be called, will be a subtle replacement of the Amma.

Lalu calls Narendra Modi ‘Uncle Podger’, lends support to Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RJD chief Lalu Prasad demanded the Prime Minister reply to charges of alleged corruption against him levelled by Rahul Gandhi on Thursday, even as he compared Narendra Modi to ‘Uncle Podger’ for “messing up economy” by his demonetization move. Demanding the charges be probed under supervision of the Supreme Court, the RJD chief said, “The allegations levelled by Rahul Gandhi against Narendra Modi of receiving huge money is even a bigger quake than talked about. He gave details of sum of money with dates on which payments were made.” “The Prime Minister should reply to the accusation and if the allegations are wrong why does not he file a defamation suit against Rahul Gandhi?” he said. “The Prime Minister should announce a high-level probe under supervision of the Supreme Court into the allegations,” he added.Launching a blistering attack on the Prime Minister for “ill-planned” demonetization, Prasad mockingly described Narendra Modi as ‘Uncle Podger’– a bumbling character from Jerome K Jerome’s ‘Three Men in a Boat’– for “messing up economy” and “pushing it towards anarchy”. “Demonetization has flopped and those raising voice of people over anarchy caused by it are termed as traitors,” he said as a retort to PM’s comment on rivals at Varanasi.Prasad whose party has already announced a dharna against scrapping of notes in district headquarters of Bihar on December 28 said later a rally would be held at Gandhi Maidan in Patna. He said he would tour the state before the rally.
ALSO READ Rahul Gandhi is now trying to be new Kejriwal: BJPPrasad claimed support of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said Kumar has also dismissed plea of converting the country into cashless society. “Nitish Kumar has said he would review demonetization after December 30…there is no difference in the grand alliance…we are strongly united,,” Prasad, whose party RJD is running coalition government with JD(U) and Congress in Bihar, said. He also supported Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s assertions that “only 5-6 big families close to PM are eating into the wealth of the country”. The RJD chief said the PM had sought 50 days from people for ending the problems caused after demonetization out of which only few days are left now. “This (demonetization) would also end up as ‘jumla’ like promise to give Rs 15-20 lakh to every citizen out of black money brought back home from abroad,” he said.

Bihar: Nitish Kumar govt set to approve 7th Pay Commission

Patna: The Bihar government on Wednesday paved the way for providing benefits of the 7th Pay Commission to the state officials and pensioners by announcing the setting up of a fitment committee for the purpose.

The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of state Cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna.

The three-member fitment committee would be headed by retired bureaucrat and former state Chief Secretary GS Kang while Secretaries of Finance and Rural Works Department Rahul Singh and Vinay Kumar respectively will be the members, Principal Secretary, Cabinet Coordination Department Brajesh Mehrotra told reporters.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PTI

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PTI

The committee would be asked to submit its report in three months, Mehrotra said.

There are around 4.5 lakh employees under Bihar government and 3.5 lakh pensioners who will get the benefit of new pay scale.

Ever since announcement of the 7th Pay Commission benefits for the central government employees, demand for similar benefits for the Bihar government have been coming.

The state Cabinet at its meeting today approved 20 proposals of different departments.

In another important decision, the Cabinet gave its nod to a proposal of the Home Department to enhance honorarium of SAP (State Auxiliary Police) personnel.

While junior commissioned officer of SAP would get a monthly honorarium of Rs 20,700 now in place of Rs 18,000 earlier for jawans the hike would be Rs 17,250 from Rs 15,000, Mehrotra said.

The cabinet also gave its nod to a proposal of state Civil Aviation Department to hire a new 7+2 seater helicopter on wet lease for five years at a cost of Rs 93,15,00,000.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 22:25 IST

Road permit blocks Patna women auto drivers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2013, when eight women, for the very first time, stepped outside the confines of their home and took the driver’s seat in commercial auto-rickshaws in Patna, passengers wondered whether they were visiting a metropolis where it was not so uncommon to see female auto-drivers.For a state like Bihar, it was a novelty. Auto-rickshaw unions, the district administration and the transport authorities combined their efforts to make it possible and promised all help to the women drivers. However, half of them eventually left the profession.Three years on, in April 2016, more than 100 women expressed an interest to take up commercial three-wheeler driving. Top administrative and traffic officials inaugurated the training programme and again promised help—facilitating driving licenses, getting road permits and coaxing banks to disburse, finance among other things. But, over six months after the training programme ended, all but five are yet to hit the roads.The reasons are many, but the major hindrance is denial of road permits to women auto-drivers. “The regional transport authority (RTA), despite promising to grant road permits to women drivers, has failed to do so,” said Raj Kumar Jha, general secretary of Bihar State Auto Chalak Sangh.Jha said it was the same in 2013, when the state government had assured tax benefits in registration and facilitation in issuing necessary permits commercial licenses to women drivers, but failed to do so, resulting in only eight of the 35 trained drivers hitting the roads.This time, a few of them are on the road without permits. Among them is Ranjana Chauhan, who rues the apathy of the government, which “so vocally promises women empowerment”. “Every day we are harassed by cops because we don’t have permits. After the training was complete, my loan was sanctioned by the bank. What would I have done if not plied an auto-rickshaw?” asks the mother of three who started in August and earns Rs 500-600 per day.Most women drivers operate only prepaid rickshaws, either from Patna airport or railway station. “Prepaid is safer. One cannot haggle with a male passenger at their destination,” says another female auto-driver. Listing other hiccups faced by them, another woman driver said the auto-stands do not have basic facilities. “Competing with male drivers for passengers and at times facing indecent behaviour from travellers also a deterrent for many,” she adds. Naveen Mishra, rued absence of female-only auto stands.

BR Chopra’s Mahabharata is back: All India Radio to broadcast episodes from 19 December

BR Chopra’s iconic Mahabharata TV serial from 1988 that created history — alongside Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana — in its day by getting audiences hooked to mythology drama is set to make a comeback on a different medium. Doordarshan News tweeted that All India Radio (AIR) will broadcast the mythological show from 19 December on its primary channels and FM Gold stations of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

The ‘Hindi Zone’ to which the DD News tweet alludes comprises the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and Union Territories of Delhi and Port Blair reported Zee News.

“Tuning in to Mahabharata on Akashvani, will certainly be an experience for life and it can be enjoyed even if you are on the move through car stereos or in built mobile radios. Program will also be live streamed on allindiaradio.gov.in,” an AIR official said to The Times Of India. 

The original teleserial comprised of 94 episodes and was broadcast on DD National from 2 October 1988 to 24 June 1990. The serial was directed by Ravi Chopra and was produced by his father BR Chopra.

The programme will be aired from Monday to Friday at 11.30 am to noon, announced Doordarshan News. According to the tweet by Doordarshan News, the show will be divided into 140 episodes with the duration of a single episode at 30 minutes.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 11:41 IST

JD (U) lodges complaint with I-T dept over BJP land deals ahead of demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling JD U on Friday filed a complaint with the income tax department seeking lawful action into the land purchased by the BJP in various districts of Bihar for establishing their party offices just ahead of demonetization.In a memorandum submitted to the taxmen, JD (U) spokespersons Sanjay Singh, Neeraj Kumar and Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, have alleged irregularities in the deals made by the saffron party office bearers in the state and sought action under Income Tax Act, 1961 into the matter.The complaint comes after the expiry of the JD (U)’s 24 hour ultimatum to the Bihar BJP unit to declare the funding sources behind the deals as well as answer various other queries relating to the large-scale purchases. The party has also said it will review its stand on demonetization after looking at situation post December 30.“A part of the payments have been made in cash and as per our information, black money has been used in the dealings,” they said. The party had earlier made public the registry documents of land purchases in different districts of the state in support of their allegation of corruption. They had also claimed of having details of land purchase by the BJP in 31 places in Bihar between August and November.According to the complaint, “The registration of the lands have been made in the name of BJP, the payment has been made by somebody else. In most cases, the PAN number provided are of persons other than those who made the payment.”It may be recalled that Bihar Registration, Excise and Prohibition minister and congress MLA Abdul Jalil Mastan too had said he had asked for the registry papers from the districts and will look into the matter.

SC order vindicates prohibition decision: Nitish Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hailing the Supreme Court order to ban all liquor shops on national and state highways across the country, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said it vindicated prohibition decision in the state.”The apex court order banning all liquor shops within 500 metre radius of national as well state highways has vindicated our decision to implement total prohibition in Bihar,” Kumar said addressing ‘Chetna Sabha’ here as part of his ‘Nishchay yatra’. “I had suggested Union Surface Transport minister Nitin Gadkari earlier that prohibition would help control accidents on national highways and now Supreme Court has given an order on this,” the JD(U) chief said. He was addressing the meeting as part of the fourth phase of his ‘Nishchay Yatra’ to take feedback from people on the effectiveness of the prohibition as well as preparation for implementation of “Seven Resolves” of development. Kumar, who has taken the prohibition in a mission mode, highlighted positive impacts of liquor ban in the state since April by way of hike in consumption of milk, sweets, garments and furniture among others.The chief minister said to check illegal transportation of alcohol from far-off Haryana and neighbouring states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Nepal, police should prepare a dossier of those engaged in liquor trade before prohibition. “Garland persons who have shifted to other profession from liquor trade and catch those still involved in the business surreptitiously,” he said.Kumar, accompanied by ministerial colleagues Bijendra Prasad Yadav and Chandresekhar, exhorted women to keep a tab on those who still manage to buy liquor illegally and inform concerned officials for action.He also asked them to be vigilant to see that habitual drinkers have not shifted to equally harmful dry intoxicants like opium.Kumar mentioned beneficial programmes under the “Seven Resolves” adopted as “sushasan” (good governance) which included beneficiary schemes for youths, providing electricity connection, sewage, drinking water and toilet to every household in the state.

Bihar to host 5 lakh Sikhs for 350th Prakashotsava in January

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 350th Prakash Parv of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru, is less than a month away and preparations are in full swing at his birthplace Patna Saheb, to ring in the grand celebrations from January 3 to 5, 2017.Expected to host over 5 lakh Sikh pilgrims from across the globe, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has described it as a matter of pride for the state to be part of such a grand occasion.To keep up with the CM’s promise, the Patna district administration in association with the Takhat Sri Harmandir Ji Patna Saheb Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee is working round the clock to make all arrangements. All preparations are being monitored at the Chief Secretary level and former bureaucrat G S Kang has also been roped in.Patna district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, who is continuously monitoring the work, told DNA that all arrangements will be final by December 25. “Our preparations are in an advanced stage. The guests are expected from December 31. But, we will be ready to welcome them a week in advance,” he said.The renovation and beautification of the gurudwara, built at Guru Gobind Singh’s birth place commenced as early as in 2014. All houses and shops on the roads leading to the gurudwara, have been asked to get a fresh coat of white paint on the exterior and the administration will reimburse the cost if the house owners wish to claim it.Another major by the administration is the construction of three tent cities — at Gandhi Maidan, Kangan ghat and bypass area, which will provide free accommodation to over 50,000 people. Besides lodging arrangements, 24×7 ‘langar’, medical lounges, ATMs, etc. will also be provided. A makeshift gurudwara is also coming up at Gandhi Maidan.While PM Modi has agreed to participate in the event, some of his cabinet colleagues are also expected at the occasion. The government has also shared a list of hotels/guest houses with their contact on its website for the benefit of outstation devotees. The Bihar government has already declared a three-day public holiday starting from January 3.

Two dead in Uttar Pradesh, as cold wave sweeps across north India

New Delhi: Cold wave conditions continued in parts of north India, with two lives lost in Uttar Pradesh, although the capital Delhi experienced pleasant weather.

Cold wave persisted throughout the country. AP file imageCold wave persisted throughout the country. AP file image

Cold wave persisted throughout the country. AP file image

The national capital witnessed a pleasant day, with a minimum of 10.4 degrees and maximum of 24.3 degrees Celsius, a notch above the season’s average. However, shallow foggy conditions in the morning led to cancellation of 13 trains. Flight operations remained normal at the Indira Gandhi International airport.

Two persons died, allegedly due to cold in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district while shallow to moderate fog continued at a few places in the state. According to the met department, night temperatures fell in Agra and was appreciably below normal in Lucknow and Gorakhpur, and remained normal in remaining divisions of Uttar Pradesh.

Fog also played spoilsport in parts of Punjab and Haryana, disrupting normal life, even as minimum temperatures hovered above normal levels in the region.

Amritsar was the coldest place in the two states registering 6.8 degrees Celsius; Chandigarh settled at 9.9 degrees, three above normal; the minimum temperature at Karnal was 10 degrees.

Rail, road and air traffic were affected due to poor visibility in the states, officials said. The northern state of Rajasthan also reeled under cold wave conditions, with the minimum temperature dipping to 6.9 degrees Celsius. The capital city of Jaipur recorded a minimum of 11.2 degrees Celsius, a fall by 3.5 degrees from the previous day. The met said a further dip in temperature is predicted in the state in next 24 hours.

Bihar, meanwhile, experienced a warm day with the sun shining bright as both maximum and minimum temperatures increased.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said global warming was responsible for milder winter in the northern parts this season. “With temperatures being recorded above normal levels in several parts of north India, global warming is one of the major reasons for a milder winter this season,” it said.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 20:28 IST

SC to hear plea seeking Shahabuddin’s transfer to Tihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Thursday will hear the plea filed by Asha Ranjan, the wife of slain journalist Rajdeo Ranjan, seeking shifting of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin from the Siwan jail in Bihar to Tihar Central Jail in New Delhi for a free and fair trial in the case relating to her husband’s murder.The apex court had deferred the hearing to December 15 during the hearing last week.Asha Ranjan’s plea stated that free and fair trial against Shahabuddin was not possible if he remain lodged in the Bihar jail as witnesses would not be able to depose against him with his goons threatening them.Shahabuddin is facing trial in 45 criminal cases.Meanwhile a separate petition is filed by Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons had been murdered at the behest of the RJD leader.Forty-two-year-old Ranjan, the bureau chief of The Hindustan, was shot dead in July this year at Phal Mandi near the Siwan railway station, barely half-a-kilometre from the police station.The Bihar Government had recommended the Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) to probe the case.The case came into limelight again after a photograph appeared in the media showing murder suspects Mohammad Kaif and Mohammad Javed with gangster-politician Mohammed Shahabuddin after his release from jail.Kaif, however, later rubbished all accusations against him and said he has no involvement in Rajdeo’s murder case.

Nitish Kumar to address joint rally with Hardik in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patidar reservation aandolan leader Hardik Patel plans to join hands with the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. On Tuesday, he invited the Bihar Chief Minister to address a joint farmers’ rally in Gujarat in January, when his banishment from his home state, as ordered by the high court, will end.Nitish, also the Janta Dal (United) JD(U) president, has accepted his invite and the duo will address a Kisan sammelan in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state on January 28.The visiting Akhil Bharatiya Patel Navnirman Sena (ABPNS) members had a luncheon meet with Nitish and Hardik, who landed in the state capital in the afternoon, was accorded a VIP treatment with a red beacon fitted ambassador dropping him at the Chief Minister’s house. JD (U) national secretary general KC Tyagi also accompanied him.“We are thankful of Nitish ji for supporting our movement and called upon him to express our gratitude,” Akhilesh Katiyar, a member of the visiting group, told the DNA. He also lauded Nitish’s ‘development with justice’ agenda and said ‘the Bihar model should be emulated at the national level.’It may be recalled that Hardik had supported Nitish ahead of the Bihar assembly polls last year when the Bihar CM has sympathised with their cause demanding reservation in the state government jobs and admission in educational institutions.Sources said that leaders from other backward communities may also be invited to the January 28 rally. JD (U) functionaries said the Bihar CM has also been invited to some other states where the economically backward class (EBC) communities are demanding reservation.

Hyderabad twin blasts: NIA court convicts Yasin Bhatkal, four Indian Mujahideen members

Hyderabad: In the first ever conviction of banned Indian Mujahideen cadres in a terror case, a special NIA court here convicted Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal and four others for being involved in 2013 twin blasts at Dilsukhnagar which had claimed 18 lives.

The NIA special court convicted Bhatkal and others under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Besides Bhatkal, the others convicted were Asadullah Akthar of Uttar Pradesh, Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas of Pakistan, Tahseen Akhthar of Bihar and Aizaz Shaik of Maharashtra. All of them are in judicial custody.

File image of Hyderabad police. APFile image of Hyderabad police. AP

File image of Hyderabad police. AP

The alleged key conspirator Riyaz Bhatkal, believed to be operating from Karachi, is still at large.

The court will announce the sentences for all the accused on 19 December.

The final arguments in the case concerning the attack, carried out on 21 February, 2013 in which 18 people were killed and 131 injured others, concluded last month during which 157 witnesses were examined. Trial in the case had begun on August 24 last year.

An elated Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar said “it was a wonderful investigation carried out by the team in which every evidence was examined minutely. This is the first ever conviction of Indian Mujahideen cadres.”

“We will be appealing for maximum punishment for the culprits,” Kumar said.

In its charge sheet, the NIA had claimed that Indian Mujahideen had hatched a conspiracy to wage a war against India and decided to carry out bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the minds of people and further the activities of the outfit.

The main operative of the module, Riyaz Bhatkal, who is named as the first accused in the case, had allegedly directed his associates Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas to find a place in Mangalore to be used as a hide-out for explosive materials sent by him, it had alleged.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 15:33 IST

PORN-hibition in the times of free WiFi: Bihar govt to ban ‘undesirable sites’ in colleges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bihar government will block pornography and other “undesirable sites” while providing free WiFi in colleges and universities to ensure that the facility is used purely for educational purposes. Restrictions would be put on data usage on the premises of educational institutions. Providing free WiFi in colleges and universities forms part of the ‘Seven Resolves’ which the Nitish Kumar government has adopted as a policy of good governance.Chief Minister Kumar, while addressing a meeting in Purnea on Friday last during his ‘Nischay Yatra’, said free WiFi facility in all colleges and universities would be in place by February next.”We have decided to block all pornography and other undesirable sites to enable the service for educational purpose only on the campuses of educational institutions,” Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (Beltron), Patna Managing Director Rahul Singh told PTI today.Beltron, which is an executive wing of the state IT department, has been entrusted with the job of providing WiFi system in the educational institutions.Beltron officials said free WiFi service would be provided in over 300 colleges and nine universities of Bihar. Besides, the Information Technology department has decided to put restrictions on data usage in all institutions which would be provided free WiFi service. “We will put a data-limit for usage, which will depend on usage. The quantum of data-limit is being worked out,” Singh said. While colleges would be provided with Internet speed of 10 MBPS, universities and other bigger institutions like IIT would be provided with the speed of 20 MBPS, Singh said. In a ‘Chetna Sabha’ at Purnea on Friday last, the CM had asked youths to use the facility for downloading books and knowledge materials and not for watching films. Citing a case of of how free WiFi was being misused, he had said, “It came to our knowledge that one gentleman has downloaded 300 movies on the 22 km area of main city street where the facility is available.” “Downloading one-two movies is OK, but the free WiFi facility in colleges and universities is conceived to help students download books and knowledge material,” Kumar had said.

Use free WiFi to download books, not movies: Nitish Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Friday his government has decided to provide free WiFi facility in all colleges and universities by February and asked youths to use the facility for downloading books and knowledge materials and not for watching films. Free WiFi is part of programmes under “seven resolves” which the state’s Grand Alliance government has adopted to promote good governance, Kumar said while addressing a meeting here.Kumar said the facility has been conceived as it was realised that for doing good in life, youths should be “digitally” smart.However, it seemed that the facility was used more for downloading films than for literary works in Patna and officials in the secretariat were also not lagging behind. Giving an example of how free WiFi was being misused, he said, “It came to our knowledge that one gentleman has downloaded 300 movies in the 22 km of main city street where the facility is available.” “Downloading 1-2 movies is OK but the free WiFi facility in colleges and universities is conceived to help students download books and knowledge materials,” he said in the meeting, a part of his ‘Nishchay Yatra’.The Bihar CM is criss-crossing the state as part of ‘Nishchay yatra’ in a phased manner to take feedback on prohibition and preparations for implementation of ‘seven resolves’. Purnea stop is part of third phase of the yatra that began from Araria on Wednesday. Kumar said implementing total prohibition in the state since April this year has ushered in a “social revolution” particularly in rural areas. He also talked of the human chain that would be formed across the state on January 21 and sought more people’s participation in it.

Universities, protests and dissent: The importance of ‘quiet’ politics must also be considered

Student-led agitations grew by over 148 percent in the five-year period between 2009 and 2014, an analysis from the Ministry of Home Affairs data on police organisations shows. In general, the country witnessed a 55 percent rise in protests in the same period, amounting to an average of 200 protests each day.  The analysis posits a correlation between literacy rates and incidence of protests, with Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra accounting for more than half of the protests. The ‘underdeveloped’ states such as UP and Bihar, on the other hand, account for less than one percent of the protests in the five-year period.

What stands out from these numbers is the rise in student-led protests. The data seems to have captured the rumblings of a phenomenon that exploded post the 2014 general elections, especially with Narendra Modi government’s interventions in the arena of higher education. It is only over the last two years that we have come to realise the full force of this movement, from Hokkolorob protests at Jadavpur University, Occupy UGC movement to the protests in wake of Rohith Vemula’s suicide, and subsequently, the response to the crackdown on JNU students. However, the surge in the number of student-led agitations in the preceding years points to much deeper socio-economic causes, to which adequate attention has not been paid. The unfolding of student politics in India in recent times, especially now in the much more dramatic context of global politics, warrants careful analysis.

In April 2015, when a fledgling student group at IIT-Madras issued a pamphlet announcing a lecture to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, little did they know that it will attract national limelight (the institute student body recently banned the distribution of pamphlets in the campus ostensibly due to environmental reasons). Quoting from Annihilation of Caste, it said, “Ambedkar proposed to annihilate caste by destroying Hinduism. He says, ‘You must destroy the Religion of the Shrutis and the Smritis. Nothing else will avail’. ‘Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors and it must die for caste to vanish’”. Consequently, an anonymously written letter undersigned by ‘Students, IIT Madras’ reached Smriti Irani-led MHRD. The letter accused the concerned student group Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) of “creating hatred among student in the name of caste and trying to polarise the ST, SC students (sic)” and “trying to create hatred against the Honourable Prime Minister and Hindus”. The ministry swung into action and sought comments from the institute in an official letter, which included handwritten notes, as reported by The Telegraph: “Unfortunate. IITs were never used for such purposes. Pl get comments”.

File image of Kanhaiya Kumar. PTI

File image of Kanhaiya Kumar. PTI

Ideologically on the same page as the ruling dispensation, the Dean of Students acted to “de-recognise” the student group. In the days that followed, the IIT-M campus resembled a fortress with protests by students inside as well as different ideological groups outside. The de-recognition of APSC led to the group being catapulted to the centre of a sharply polarised national discourse. Similar groups sprang up at other universities overnight, in solidarity, and much of this battle was waged on social media. It is important to note that this happened at an institution which takes pride in its “apolitical” credentials. Politics of any sort indeed triggers deep anxiety among the IITs which have constantly sought to distance themselves from the political spaces that exist in institutions such as JNU, with the underlying assumption that they somehow exist outside politics.

And yet, it ought to be recognised that one would be hard-pressed to find one singular imagination of student protests or student movements. Even in institutional spaces that are deemed explicitly political and within movements deemed explicitly progressive, new arrangements, alliances, and tensions have taken shape. For instance, the Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) at JNU was born out of the failure of organisations such as SFI and AISA to take up issues around caste. However, even amidst the fragmented landscape of social movements, student groups have found common ground to express their political creativity and unsettle totalising narratives.

What the APSC case does is that it provides an instance of the polarising context that set in leading up to the 2014 general elections and thereafter, and against which we could read the data on student protests. Interestingly, the 2014 Lok Sabha elections witnessed increased voting by young people. The turnout among the ‘first-time voters’ (18-22) and ‘other young voters’ (23-25) was 68 percent, 1.4 percent above the national voter turnout, a Centre for the Study of the Developing Societies (CSDS) analysis shows. The number is significant as the turnout among young voters remained below the national average in the past. It would, however, be naïve to treat the polarised context in itself as a possible cause. The history of social movements in India that drew heavily on student politics — ranging from the anti-Hindi struggle to the anti-Emergency movement — point to the layered socio-economic circumstances that resist easy reductions. It is then pertinent to look at some of the characterisations of student politics in the country in recent times.

An important strand of argument looks at student politics primarily in response to the “neoliberal” reconfiguration of our universities and the economy at large. It is a structural feature of the Indian economy that sectors that contribute the most to productivity in terms of GDP do not provide the proportionate number of jobs. Unemployment, and youth unemployment in particular, has been a persistent feature of the economy with successive governments failing to address the issue. This is in addition to cuts in public sector jobs. There could be as many as 10000 applications for a single government job, as Craig Jeffrey reports, as part of his research, published in The Guardian. With the continued prioritisation of capital intensive industries accompanied by the agrarian crisis, the problem is unlikely to go away, says Delhi based researcher, Thomas Crowley in Jacobin Magazine. Economic instability, the arguments goes, does not only have a bearing on youth aspirations, unemployment and access to education, but it also compels the state to engage in repressive measures to create distractions. These measures include the kind of crackdown on student leaders like Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid. Student politics in this sense comes to be defined as a response to a repressive state.

Additionally, the changed composition of universities following the implementation of affirmative action policies is treated as an opportunity, even though they remain inherently exclusionary as argued by Satish Deshpande and Mary E John in The Hindu. Furthermore, the “neoliberal university” becomes “less a space for critical engagement, debate and inquiry, and more a skills factory for the technocratic workplaces owned by transnational capital.” The administrators act in nexus with state-capital to discipline different forms of activism. The reconfiguration of spaces of learning then generates disillusionment, and such spaces are to be rescued through student activism. As an example, the Occupy UGC movement sought to protest the discontinuance of fellowships for MPhil/PhD — among the reasons for the move are budgetary cuts for higher education and the likely opening up of education to international trade, as pointed out by Ayesha Kidwai.

I would argue that looking at student politics solely in terms of a “neoliberal” development is an easy critique, one that we must stretch. This has implications for how we look at student protests in contested times. First, taking the incidence of protests as the sole indicator of political dynamism risks reducing the nature of our political engagements to some predetermined schema. It also implies that we contest correlations such as that between ‘underdevelopment’ and protests, and go beyond them. Bihar and UP may account for only one percent of the registered protests between 2009-2014, but ethnographic literature has mapped the complex linkages between larger macroeconomic shifts, gendered youth cultures, and students’ political engagement — sometimes good, sometimes bad. The lack of protests doesn’t take away from the political richness of the dynamics in the region which could be as potent as any protests.

Second, while overt crackdown on dissent is a feature of the current political regime, we should also remember that a lot of our institutional spaces are interstitial in nature. It means that spaces for negotiation and engagement do exist albeit in the interstices of power and surveillance. We should, therefore, also consider the importance of ‘quiet’ politics in addition to protests and demonstrations.

Finally, as a conceptual alternative, the notion of ‘precarity’ offers a useful way of looking at student politics, and here I draw on Wanda Vrasti’s essay, Struggling with Precarity: From More and Better Jobs to Less and Lesser Work, The Disorder of Things.  Precarity usually refers to a sense of uncertainty mixed with anxiety. It is usually used to denote some sense of betrayal, either by the state or the society. However, as different scholars have argued, precarity is a consistent feature of life under capitalism. This is a problem as well as an opportunity. In terms of the latter, it is imperative that we re-appropriate ‘precarity’. We then look at precarity not just in terms of loss and betrayal but as a series of contingencies that offer opportunities to build solidarities and seek common ground, however shifty it may be.

The author is a fellow at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), Bengaluru. 

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 13:19 IST

After supporting demonetization, Nitish says cashless economy won’t work in India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After unequivocally supporting the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs1,000 notes, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said a cashless economy was not possible across the country and reiterated that it was the right moment to hit on “Benami” properties as “demonetization alone will not help in curbing black money menace in India.””The world is slowly moving towards cashless economy, but it is not possible completely in India. Our social environment and behavioural patterns is such that cash transactions will always be a part of day to day trade. I don’t think it will be possible to fully implement it,” Nitish said, while addressing media persons post the launch of his “Lok Samvad” programme in Patna.The statement comes in the backdrop of the NDA-led Union government encouraging people to move towards digital payments and has even formed a Centre’s committee of CMs to form a roadmap for implementing the digital payments system in India. Nitish, however, is not a part of it, as had been expected earlier.Nitish said that if PM Narendra Modi is serious about wiping out corruption and wants results, he needs to target “Benami” properties and enforce prohibition across India as a lot of fraudulent practices are adopted by liquor bootleggers. If he does that, people like me will rise above party and support him.Nitish also questioned the saffron party’s silence over BJP’s land deals in Bihar ahead of demonetization and said his government will act on the matter if it comes before it.The Bihar CM said the poor man is not complaining while facing problems in the cash queue because he feels the corrupt have been taken to task. “The common man is happy that money earned using unfair means holds no value now. Lekin agar corrupt ka paisa nahi dooba, to PM ko jawab dena hoga…” he said. Sources said he may be referring to the recent Income Tax Amendment bill which seeks to provide a window to black money hoarders by paying a levy of about 50% on the undisclosed income.About 35 people directly interacted with Nitish in the Lok Samvad programme on Monday. He also cleared the air about the new initiative being similar to his popular Janata Darbars, which were started when he assumed office in 2006 and discontinued in May this year with the enforcement of Bihar Public Grievance Redressal Act. “While Janata Darbars were grievance redressal forum, Lok Samvad invites ideas from people for better governance,” he said adding it till be held on the first three Mondays of every month, just like the Janata Darbars.

Jayalalithaa is dead: Political leaders condole Amma’s death

From the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers of the states, several political leaders of the country condoled the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who died on Monday night.

File photo of Jayalalithaa. PTIFile photo of Jayalalithaa. PTI

File photo of Jayalalithaa. PTI

“One of India’s most charismatic and popular leaders, Ms Jayalalithaa was a visionary and able administrator. Her life was dedicated to the socio-economic transformation of Tamil Nadu and its people. Her contribution to the progress and development of Tamil Nadu will be long remembered,” President Pranab Mukherjee tweeted on Tuesday night offering his condolences.

“Popular, strong, bold, efficient, people- friendly, charismatic leader, Amma. Always at the heart of people. Big loss. I am shocked, saddened,” tweeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“I humbly urge the people of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK to face this big loss with courage and greatness. May she Rest in Peace,” she added.

Prime Minister Narendra said that he will always cherished his meetings with the late Tamil Nadu leader. “Jayalalithaa ji’s connect with citizens, concern for welfare of the poor, the women and marginalised will always be a source of inspiration,” the Prime Minister tweeted on Tuesday night.

Offering his condolences to her followers, Modi tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Tamil Nadu in this hour of grief. May the Almighty grant them the strength to bear this irreparable loss with courage and fortitude. Her demise has left a huge void in Indian politics.” Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also condoled her death.

“Death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister very saddening. May she rest in peace. One day state mourning in Bihar.” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also took to Twitter to condole the death of the AIADMK leader.

“Very sad to hear the demise of Amma. A very very popular leader. Aam Aadmi’s leader. May her soul rest in peace,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader tweeted.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the Tamil Nadu chief minister’s work for the people has been inspiring to him. “Saddened to know about the demise of one of the greatest women leaders… May Her soul rest in peace. My deepest condolences to the people of Tamil Nadu,” he tweeted on Tuesday night.”

He also said that very few people get the kind of love, affection and support Jayalalithaa got from the people. “She’s one of those few and it is very rare,” he added.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also offered his condolences to her followers on Twitter: “Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s passing away is a great loss to the state and it’s people, we stand by them in this hour of grief.”

“We lost a great leader today. Women, farmers, fishermen and the marginalised dreamt through her eyes. We will miss Jayalalithaa ji, Amma to millions,” tweeted Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi. Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje called her a leader of the masses, adding, “I join the Nation in mourning the loss of an icon — a leader of the masses. My heartfelt condolences and thoughts are with bereaved family and followers. She shall be eternally cherished for her service to the people.”

Jayalalithaa died at Apollo hospital on Monday night, a day after she suffered a cardiac arrest. She was 68. She was admitted in hospital since 22 September.

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 02:11 IST

After demonetization, Union Minister Giriraj backs sterilisation, faces criticism from opposition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Minister Giriraj Singh has advocated ‘nasbandi’ (sterilisation) after demonetization for population control to spur development, but the idea was today trashed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who said the country has seen the effect of such a move in the past.The Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) had come up with the idea yesterday and said that after “notebandi” (demonetization), there is an urgent need to make laws for “nasbandi” (sterilisation) in the country. “India has 17 per cent of the world population which adds population equal to Australia every year. The country only has 2.5 per cent of land mass of the globe with only 4.2 per cent of water resources. In this scenario, the population explosion in the country is proving to be a big roadblock for development. We need a population control act to tide over the problem,” Singh had said.He had also reportedly talked about sterilisation to control the population growth at a function in his Nawada parliamentary constituency earlier.Chief Minister Nitish Kumar trashed the idea as “bakwaas” (nonsense).”The country has seen effect of nasbandi earlier,” he said, referring to the mandatory sterilisation drive during the Emergency period.Singh’s party BJP, however, chose to remain cautious over his remark. The party sought to distance itself from the word ‘nasbandi’, but asserted the need for birth control for nation’s development.”There may be some differences while choosing words to communicate one’s message. What Giriraj Singh meant to say is to have birth control measures in order to check population explosion. This is the government’s policy to go for birth control. Even some social organisations work in the field… I am not saying anything on nasbandi,” Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai told PTI.Leaders from other parties slammed Singh for the remark, saying he is merely trying to create a sensation by making such statements. Bihar Congress president and minister Ashok Choudhary said, “People like Giriraj Singh, who belong to an ideology, are trying to create a sensation in the society by making such statements. If they are really concerned about the nation’s development, they should correct it through policy measures…He is trying to sow division in the society.” Stating that both the Central and state governments have already taken a lot of effective steps to check population, Choudhary said, “It has been found that wherever female literacy level is high, fertility rate is low and vice-versa. We are trying to create that kind of system and hence, the state government has decided to open 10+2 school in every panchayat.” RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwari said Singh was known for his controversial statements.”No one takes note of his statements. He must respect the dignity of the post of minister,” he said.

Demonetization: Nitish Kumar changes stance, questions BJP silence on land purchase

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday questioned BJP’s silence on the issue of “large-scale purchase of land” in the state ahead of demonetization and said if the matter comes before his government it will act on it. “The JD(U) has raised the question of large-scale purchase of land by BJP in Bihar ahead of demonetization for opening offices… BJP should answer from where they got this much of money for the purpose,” he told reporters after his newly- launched programme ‘Lok Samvad’.Kumar’s party JD(U) has questioned BJP’s land purchase and has even demanded a CBI probe into it. Asked if the state government would act on a complaint of land purchase, he said, “The issue is raised by party and has not come to my level. But, if something comes, the registration department will certainly look into it.” On a question of reports of large flow of money in Jan Dhan accounts, particularly in Naxal-affected areas of Bihar, he said the matter concerns the central government and added, if any assistance was sought from the state it would provide it.In reply to an another question on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stress to convert the country into a cash-less economy, Kumar said “It can be an idea, but use of cash is part of people’s habit and total cashless is not possible.” He trashed as “bakwas” (baseless talk) of Union Minister of State Giriraj Singh advocating “nasbandi” (sterilisation) along with demonetization, for better result.
ALSO READ Demonetization: In Patna, Mamata calls Nitish Kumar a traitor; says country in a state of ‘super emergency’Kumar reiterated that he supported demonetization as a measure against black money, but emphasised “desired results will come only when it is coupled with a hit on benami properties including real estate, gold, diamond and prohibition”. He refused to comment on TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s oblique remark of “gaddar” (traitor) for his support to demonetization.Kumar also congratulated Modi for winning the TIME magazine’s Person of the Year via online reader’s polls. He expressed sadness over the health condition of Tamil Nadu counterpart Jayalalithaa and prayed for her early recovery.

Toll collection resumes, traffic situation under control

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As toll booths resumed operations from 12 am on Friday, the traffic situation remained relatively smooth around toll booths across the country.On November 9, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, toll collection on national highways was suspended.Ministry of Road Transport and Highways sources said that deploying more staff across toll booths and keeping sufficient cash of lower denominations made collection smoother. Speaking to DNA, PC Grover, Director of National Highways Builders Federation, said that installation of Point Of Sales (POS) machines in almost 90 per cent of the booths made toll collection faster.”Not everyone was paying Rs 2,000 and seeking change. The toll booths had a bigger manpower and change was readily available. But, yes, we got the feedback that more cash is required,” he said.Reports from Bihar showed that the situation remained smooth on Saturday, with officials making advance preparations to tackle the cash crunch. “There was a slight panic among people but no untoward incident was reported from anywhere,” said Prabhat Ranjan Pandey, in-charge of multiple toll plazas in Bihar, including those in Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur and Begusarai districts.According to MK Pandey, manager of multiple toll plazas on NH 57, at least 8-10 POS machines have been installed at every toll plaza. “We are accepting Rs 2,000 notes, but returning the due change is a bit problematic,” said Pandey.However, the situation in Maharashtra was different. Long queues were seen on all toll plazas, including the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the old highway between the two cities and the Vashi toll booth on the Sion-Panvel highway.Although the booth operators claimed that adequate arrangements had been made, paucity of change and weekend rush led to long vehicular queues. Traffic police were deployed to clear the roads.Amin Sheikh, on a day-long trip out of the city, said: “The main concern is that Rs 2,000 note is not being accepted by anyone, including toll collectors. They insisted on Rs 100 note, when I gave a Rs 2,000 note. As I did not have Rs 100 note, I finally offered him a Rs 500 note.”A spokesperson of IRB Infrastructure, which collects tolls from 60 points across the country, said: “We have facilitated credit card and debit card payments at different points and lanes access the county. POS, Paytm and MobiKwik facilities were also arranged.”He said that they would soon install Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), a computerised system integrated with electronic equipment at toll plazas. “It reads radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on the vehicle’s windscreens and opens the barrier when a vehicle approaches the plaza by deducting certain amount,” said the spokesperson.Naveen Kumar Gupta, general secretary of All India Transport Congress, said that the traffic was smooth in most places but the actual situation could only be judged on Monday as many private cars were off roads on Saturday.”Many truckers also did not leave their destinations. We have suggested to the government that instead of collecting tolls through booths, an additional cess an annual permit for vehicles should be put in place,” he said.

Bihar’s univ recommend cancellation of degree of former AAP Minister Jitendra Tomar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University (TMBU) Syndicate, the top decision making body of the university, on Saturday recommended cancellation of law degree of former Delhi minister Jitendra Singh Tomar.”The University Syndicate accepted decision of the Examination Board and recommended cancellation of law degree of Aam Aadmi Party MLA and former Delhi minister Jitendra Singh Tomar,” Pro-Vice Chancellor of TMBU A K Rai told PTI. The Syndicate recommendations would go to Chancellor of the Universities, who is the Governor of Bihar. The Syndicate also recommended action against 14 employees of the University, seven of whom have retired and one died, in connection with acquisition of fake law degree by Tomar, Rai said.Among those whose name has been recommended for action includes lecturer Janardan Yadav and head clerk of Examination department Krishnanad Singh of Biswanath Law College at Munger where the former Delhi minister was falsely registered as a student. Tomar, who was Law minister in the Arvind Kejriwal government was earlier arrested last year on the charge that degree was fake. He was forced to resign as a minister after the issue hogged national headlines in 2015. Tomar is currently out on bail.In the probe it was found that the migration certificate of the former Delhi Law Minister was fake. The controversy relates to the acquisition of Law degree by Tomar on the basis of a doubtful enrolment at Biswanath Law College in the academic session 1994-95. He had claimed to have passed the law examination in 1998-99.

There should be no interference in functioning of Nalanda University: Nitish Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday asked the Centre to “not tamper” with the idea and autonomy of Nalanda University, days after its chancellor George Yeo quit his post alleging the varsity’s autonomy was being affected as he was not kept in the loop about leadership change at the institution.Speaking at Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, Kumar also stated that he will write a letter to the Centre on the issue. “Nalanda University is not like some other Central university. It has had its own history. We wanted to revive that history. So please, there should be no interference (in its functioning). The idea of re-establishing Nalanda University…please don’t tamper with it,” he said.Noting that ex-Foreign Minister of Singapore Yeo, “was not an Indian”, Kumar said the former had “no political leanings” to have not been taken into confidence before the Centre moved to form the varsity’s governing body as per a 2010 Central act.”He was actively involved in the idea of Nalanda University right from the beginning. Hence, he should have been taken into confidence (before forming the varsity’s governing body). I feel sad about it. Now, I will send formal letter on my behalf,” he added.The Chief Minister also insisted on the need for the External Affairs Ministry “to understand the core sentiment (behind setting up the university)” of re-establishing a world renowned varsity before proceeding ahead in that direction.”Once a wrong impression is created among countries across the world about the varsity, no matter how much effort you make those won’t help you regain the historic standards of the erstwhile Nalanda University,” he added. Yeo, the second Chancellor of Nalanda University after Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, had last month resigned from the post saying the varsity’s autonomy was being affected as he was “not even given notice” of the leadership change at the institution. Kumar also lauded Sen for making a “lot of effort” towards building the institution before he was replaced by Yeo and sought to underscore that it was due to Bihar government’s initiative that the ancient university was revived.

Make in Odisha receives Rs 2 lakh crore investment intent

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government today said it has received investment intent of Rs 2,03,270 crore in ten diversified sectors during ‘Make in Odisha Conclave’, which has the potential to generate more than 1.38 lakh additional jobs in the state.

File photo of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. PTIFile photo of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. PTI

File photo of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. PTI

“We are delighted with the response for this first ever conclave that we have organised. I hope to have continued support of industry for the overall socio-economic development of our citizens and position Odisha as the manufacturing hub of the East.

“The state government has decided to organise this conclave biannually as a stepping stone towards realising our Vision 2025 for the industrial development of the state,” Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said.

The state has received investment intent worth Rs 2,03,270 crore in sectors including fertiliser, petro chemicals, food processing, health, infrastructure, IT and ESDM,, metal and minerals, manufacturing, textiles and tourism, during the event that concluded today.

The major investors in the state are NTPC, MCL, SAIL, Tata Steel, Adani, JSPL, PPL and IOCL.

“Odisha should look to becoming a manufacturing hub by producing value added products instead of supplying raw materials and it (will) generate employment,” Union Minister of state for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal said.

“When I took over as a minister, one of the first instructions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to look east. The focus of development has to be on eastern states
including Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, North East and Bihar.

“It is the considered view of the government that unless the eastern part of the country progress we cannot visualise a better India. It is very important that eastern states take rapid steps to make up for lost space in development,” Goyal added.

He further said that by 2018, every village in Odisha will have electricity.

“By May 2018, every village in Odisha will be connected with electricity. I am happy to say that things are in progress,” the minister said, adding that state will use coal cess to expand renewable energy.

“We will help Odisha to come in the map of major states to have renewable energy,” Goyal said.

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said Eastern India, including Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal will be connected with natural gas pipeline.

The Centre is also planning an investment of Rs 13,000 crore in Odisha, he added.

Meanwhile, Odisha is expecting an overall investment of over Rs 30,000 crore in the urban development sector in next 5-7 years.

The state is planning to develop 86 projects, with a total investment of Rs 77,108 crore, over the next five years under the national smart city challenge for Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, G Mathi Vathanan, Commissioner-cum-Secretary said.

The Bhubaneswar Plan has 50 projects worth Rs 4,537 crore, of which Rs 2,725 crore are likely to be invested through PPP mode, while Rourkela Plan has 30 projects worth Rs 2,571 crore of which Rs 334 crore is expected to be invested through the PPP mode.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 20:24 IST

Mamata flight hovers in sky, TMC claims conspiracy to kill Bengal CM for protesting against demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A private airline plane carrying West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hovered for over half an hour in the Kolkata sky before landing at the NSCBI Airport here on Wednesday night, prompting Trinamool Congress to allege that it was a conspiracy to eliminate the party supremo.”The flight took off from Patna at 7.35 PM, an hour behind schedule, and landed here at shortly before 9 PM, after hovering over 30 minutes in the sky due to technical reasons,” airport officials said, adding that such incident was nothing new in any airport. Senior Trinamool Congress leader and state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, who was accompanying Banerjee in the flight, however, took strong exception to “delayed permission from the ATC” for the flight to land and alleged that it was a conspiracy to eliminate the CM.Hakim claimed that even as the pilot announced 180 km away from Kolkata that the plane would land within five minutes, it ultimately touched down after over half an hour, “seriously inconveniencing the chief minister and other passengers”. “The pilot sought permission for landing from the ATC as the plane was flying short on fuel but the ATC kept the flight on hold,” he alleged. “This is nothing but a conspiracy to kill our chief minister as she has raised voice against demonetization and is touring the country to organise a mass movement against the anti-people decision,” Hakim said.When contacted, a senior ATC official said he was not aware of such incident. Mamata terms demonetization decision as ‘super Emergency’Stepping up her attack on the Centre over demonetization, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today dubbed the drive as “super Emergency” and vowed to agitate against it till a rollback of the decision.”The government has taken away the freedom from the people that they have been enjoying for the past 69 years. The government has snatched ‘Roti, Kapda aur Makan’ from the people… A people’s movement was started during the Emergency days… Today, the situation is even worse than Emergency, it can be termed as super Emergency,” the Trinamool Congress supremo said.”People are facing difficulties and inconveniences.They (NDA Government) have sold the country. It is the duty of political parties to raise their voice for the people and we will continue with our agitation till the government takes a decision to roll back the demonetization move,” she said. Mamata was addressing a gathering here in the course of her party’s nationwide campaign against demonetization. Raising the the issue of funding of PM Modi’s public meetings in foreign countries, she asked “From where do they get money to hold such mega public meetings in foreign countries like the US?”.She also raised issue of registration of land by BJP in Bihar for opening offices in districts and displaying deed numbers of land purchased by the BJP, questioned the PM’s intentions as to how could BJP buy huge chunks of land in the month of September, a few weeks before the announcement of demonetization on November 8. Without naming anyone, Banerjee said, “If someone comes with us, then it is good. But, it certainly pains us if someone is not with us in the struggle for common people. This is people’s cause. People will not forgive ‘gaddars’ (betrayers).”Mamata, who arrived in the state capital yesterday, also met RJD chief Lalu Prasad at the latter’s residence. The ruling JD(U) has already made it clear that it would not be present at Banerjee’s agitation programme in the light of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s support to demonetization. Questioning Modi’s poll promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh to every individual’s bank account from money stashed away illegally, Banerjee said, “What happened to the promise? Not a single paise came to anyone’s account nor any single paise was brought from the Swiss bank.” Lalu Prasad and his RJD have also been from time and again questioning the fate of this promise.”Entire industry sector and economy are witnessing a slowdown due to demonetization as a result of which people, mostly from Bihar who have migrated everywhere in search of jobs, are not getting their payments, especially in the jute industry and tea gardens in Bengal,” Banerjee said. Displaying two new notes of Rs 500 denomination having some dissimilar features, she alleged it smacked of a “big scam”.”The prime minister painted everyone as having black money, even those who file IT returns and pay taxes,” she said adding “The PM also disrespected the ‘stree shakti’ (women power) and ‘stree-dhan’ (women wealth).” In order to buttress her point that majority of people still rely on cash transactions in the absence of banking facilities, the TMC chief gave figures of availability of bank branches saying, of the 8,400 gram panchayats in Bihar, 5,000 panchayats do not have branches of any bank.After the programme was over and Mamata left the venue, senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told reporters, “Nitish Kumar should not have supported the Centre’s decision of demonetization. It creates doubt among the people whether everything was fine in the grand secular alliance.” “There is no unanimity in the JD(U) itself on demonetization as Sharad Yadav, former JD(U) president, is saying something different while Nitish is supporting demonetization,” he said.Singh and party state unit chief Ramchandra Purbe, a few leaders of the Bihar unit of Samajwadi Party and Jan Adikar Party of Pappu Yadav along with TMC’s senior leader Mukul Roy were present on the dais.

Demonetization: Sharad Yadav, Arun Jaitley exchange barbs in Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav on Thursday exchanged sharp barbs in the Rajya Sabha over the demonetization issue.The exchange happened when members of the Congress, TMC, BSP and SP were creating a ruckus over their demand that the House mourn the killing of 25 armymen since surgical strikes and deaths of 82 persons in post-demonetization hardships. Yadav said it was unprecedented that there was no obituary reference for the seven army personnel including two senior officers killed in terrorist attack at Nagrota armybase near Jammu yesterday.As he also raised death of “nearly 90 persons” in post-demonetization hardships, Jaitley retorted that he should first discuss demonetization within his party and find “if it is agreeable” with the ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes or not.His remark was apparent reference to JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supporting demonetization. “We are not against demonetization. We are against the restrictions that have been placed (on withdrawals from own accounts),” Yadav shot back.The JD(U) leader then went on to ask if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was with him or not. “Is your Prime Minister with you? Is he listening to you,” he asked.

Nitish should rethink alliance with RJD and Congress: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s claims that attempts were being made to “politically assassinate” him by spreading “rumours” of his increasing proximity with BJP has raked up a political war of words in the state, where the winter session of the legislature is currently underway. The Opposition BJP hit back at Nitish saying he never had to mention “political murder” during his 17 years association with the saffron party. “When Nitish was with us, his political career didn’t end. In fact, his stature grew. He was most comfortable with the BJP either as the Union Railways Minister or as the Bihar CM. But, ever since he is with Lalu Prasad, Nitish’s stature has gone down. If he continues to work with them for some more time, his political career will surely end,” said former deputy CM and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday. The Bihar unit of the saffron party, however, seemed to be warming up to Nitish with his former deputy Modi as well as BJP spokesperson Vinod Narayan Jha advising Nitish to “rethink” about his alliance with the RJD and Congress. The statement comes in the backdrop of BJP president Amit Shah and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan praising Nitish for his pro-demonetization stand.“Nitish Kumar talks of action against corruption and black money. But, no Chief Minister can tackle corruption while being in alliance with RJD and Congress. He should rethink about it,” Modi said, terming the seven years of NDA rule in Bihar under Nitish Kumar as the state’s “golden era”. Reacting to queries of “Modi inviting Nitish back to the NDA”, former chief minister and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s better half Rabri Devi kicked off another controversy when she said “Nitish Kumar ko utha ke le jaye Modi ji… le jaye behen se apni shaadi kara lein (Modi can take Nitish Kumar and get him married to his sister).” Rabri later clarified to media persons that she had made the statement in a lighter vein. “Media wale bole Sushil Kumar Modi kahe hain Nitish Kumar RJD chhor BJP aajaye, hum bole Modi ji Nitish ko utha lejaaye. Par isme kya aapatti ki baat hai? Thoda hassi mazzak karliya to kya? Sabhi karte hain na?” she told reporters. RJD MLA Bhai Virendra told reporters the elder partner in the Mahagathbandhan had given Nitish “a new life” by handing him the reins of the state.Meanwhile, Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Choudhary reacted to BJP’s allegation that Nitish’s political murder will be due to his alliance with the RJD and Congress, and said, “Sau chuhe khakar, BJP chali haj ko”. It may be mentioned that Nitish, after addressing JD (U)’s legislature party meeting late on Monday evening, had said, he supported demonetization but that did not mean that he was re-uniting with the BJP and that some people were plotting for his political murder by spreading such lies.

Amit Shah and Mamata Banerjee spar over demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP and its rivals traded barbs over demonetization with party chief Amit Shah claiming only opposition leaders whose “looted” money had turned into rubbish were opposing the action and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee likening the Prime Minister to “Hitler” who violated the rights of people.Lead opposition Congress also took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his directive to BJP MPs and MLAs to submit their bank account statements for period between November 8, the day he announced demonetization of high-value currency notes, and December 31 to Shah.Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal demanded that Modi provide details of bank transactions of BJP MPs and MLAs also for period preceding the announcement of demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency bills.Buoyed by BJP’s win in the recent civic elections in Maharashtra and Gujarat and some Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls, Shah said it showed people’s support for Modi’s demonetization move and claimed some opposition leaders were upset as their money “looted” in scams had turned into trash.”SP, BSP, Congress, Mamata (Banerjee), (Arvind) Kejriwal are all angry with Narendra Modi today. Do you know why this is so…what was amassed through loot has been turned into ‘raddi’ (trash) by Modiji on November 8,” he told a party rally in UP’s Maharajganj.”While opposition is organising Bharat bandh and Akrosh Divas,… everywhere BJP posted unprecedented victory. People are with the government’s decision on demonetization.”Poor do not have black money…Rahul baba, Akhilesh babu, behen Mayawati…it is the one that was lying with you all that has been lost…what will happen now…those who are caught with black money will lose 50 per cent and this money will be put in the treasury of the country,” Shah said.Mamata Banerjee, who took her battle against demonetization to poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, hit back, equating Modi with German dictator Adolf Hitler and Delhi’s autocrat ruler Muhamman bin Tuglaq.”Modiji has surpassed (Muhammad bin) Tuglaq and Hitler…he has flouted the constitutional rights of common people,” the Trinamool Congress chief said at a rally against demonetization organised jointly with the ruling Samajwadi Party here.Vowing to fight till demonetization is rolled back, Banerjee said, “The fight against note ban will continue till this decision is revoked as note culling has shut shops, markets and agricultural operations.”She dared the Prime Minister to first declare his own and Shah’s bank account details.”Just before demonetization, a large number of properties have been bought in the name of BJP and its president,” she alleged referring to media reports claiming that BJP bought several pieces of land, worth crores of rupees, in Bihar weeks ahead of the demonetization declaration on November 8.She termed demonetization a “big scam” and “black emergency”.Referring to Modi’s directive to BJP MPs and MLAs tosubmit details of their bank transactions to Shah, Sibal said in Delhi, “I was impressed with the Prime Minister for his move because he knows if he asks for the financial details of the period before November 8, it will be a problem. That is the reason he has asked for the financial details after November 8.”First tell us, payments to Shakhas (RSS units) made through which cheques? Tell us how much money was deposited by MPs and the party before November 8? Tell us what happened in West Bengal and Bihar? If he tell us these, then I would feel that the Prime Minister is really serious on the issue,” Sibal said.The Aam Aadmi Party termed as “farce” Modi’s direction, saying the disclosures should be made public and transactions six months prior to announcement of demonetization need to be examined.”He (Modi) is a very good event manager. It is a farce.What authority does Amit Shah hold? IT department should be given the details. The disclosures should be made public,” senior AAP leader Ashutosh told reporters in Delhi.He said the Prime Minister’s direction to BJP MPs and MLAs was “another drama” meant to “hoodwink” people, who are in “distress” due to demonetization.Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said since people were with Modi on demonetization, the protests called by the opposition yesterday “failed”.”Those whose black money was turned into trash are left with no option but to talk about bandhs. They should realise no bandhs against the move (demonetization) can succeed.Nothing can come to a close in the country now, except black money. The country stands with the Prime Minister in this battle. So, the bandh failed,” Rijiju told reporters in Mussoorie.Another Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy attacked opposition parties on demonetization issue, saying they were “in a state of shock”.”The opposition parties, which used to think that common people are with them are in a state of shock and cannot recover from it,” he told reporters in Lucknow while terming as “historic” the decision of demonetization.

Bihar’s Mahagathbandhan will not last long; Nitish welscome to join NDA: Ram Vilas Paswan

New Delhi: Claiming that all was not well between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his ally Lalu Prasad, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tueaday said the coalition government in Bihar will not run for long.

Paswan, who thanked Kumar for welcoming the Centre’s demonetisation, said that the government in Bihar was “under pressure”.

File image of Ram Vilas Paswan. PTIFile image of Ram Vilas Paswan. PTI

File image of Ram Vilas Paswan. PTI

“Any party, be it NDA or UPA, if someone joins, it strengthens the party. Whatever Nitish Kumar wants, it is his prerogative. To take him or not, it is up to the BJP.

“We are allies. I had said Nitish Kumar has welcomed the revolutionary step and I had thanked him. I had also said that he (Kumar) is under pressure in Bihar. And whoever, Lalu Yadav has gone with, has not been spared. That is why, this government (Bihar) will not run for long,” Paswan said.

Paswan had on Monday said he will welcome Kumar into the NDA and claimed that the JD(U) chief was apprehensive that his ally Lalu Prasad of the RJD would weaken his party.

The Union minister had also lauded Kumar for his support to the Centre’s demonetisation step, saying he had taken a “bold decision”.

Paswan’s Lok Jantantrik Party is part of the ruling NDA coalition at the Centre. Paswan had claimed that Kumar, whose party JD(U) was a former BJP ally and now a bitter rival, was working “under the pressure of Prasad” who had a “history of weakening his allies”.

Earlier, BJP chief Amit Shah had also praised Kumar, setting tongues wagging in the political circles.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 18:23 IST

Nitish Kumar slams ‘baseless political analysis’ on demonetization support

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday lamented that “baseless political analysis” was being done for his “principled stand” on an issue, as he was backing the Centre’s demonetization while his alliance partners RJD and Congress were not.”Nowadays, baseless analysis is being done for placing a view on a political issue,” he said in an apparent dig at certain media reports suggesting that he was getting closer to the BJP by supporting the demonetization.”Efforts are on for a long time to end my political career through a sustained attack,” Kumar said at a meeting of the JD(U) state Parliamentary party here. Kumar, who is also the JD(U) national president, said that he had been taking “principled stands” on issues concerning the nation from time to time.”During the UPA rule, when the BJP-ruled states were opposing GST, I being in the NDA had supported it in the interest of Bihar and the country,” he said. The meeting was held at the residence of senior JD(U) leader and Deputy Leader of state Assembly Shyam Rajak and it was attended by party legislators of the Assembly and Council. Seeking to clear the air, Kumar, who had led his party to sever ties with the BJP in mid-2013, said, “JD(U) will continue to struggle against the BJP-led Central government’s divisive approach and attack on the federal structure (of the country) as well as intolerance.”A section of the media had reported that the Bihar chief minister’s meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah at a farmhouse was a “prelude” to his support to demonetization. Some reports had also suggested that he had a talk with Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday over demonetization. Kumar, however, had rubbished these reports.The JD(U) stayed away from today’s nationwide strike against demonetization, called by the opposition parties, which its alliance partners RJD and Congress supported by taking to the streets. In his address to the JD(U) legislators, Kumar once again stressed that the demonetization step should be coupled with an attack on ‘benami’ properties and prohibition for better results in the fight against black money.

Demonetisation day 20: Jan Akrosh Divas, or the ‘Bharat Bandh’ that wasn’t?

The panning out of the Jan Akrosh Divas, a ‘nationwide bandh’ against the demonetisation by the Narendra Modi government, announced by the Opposition, took place on Monday.

Both the Congress and the TMC had quelled rumours about a bandh on Saturday itself, clarifying that parties have only planned protests, and JD(U) in Bihar was consistent with its earlier stance of supporting the demonetisation of higher denomination notes.

According to an article by Akshaya Mishra of Firstpost, not too much should be read into the joint action of the Opposition parties, as it is neither reflective of any index of opposition unity, nor of a building political formulation against Narendra Modi and the news updates of day 20 go to show how the protest gradually became the bandh that wasn’t.

Left Front no show in Bengal

The state-wide 12-hour strike called by the Left parties to protest demonetisation failed to evoke much response in Bengal. Government and private buses, trams and other private vehicles were seen plying on the road while most of the shops and markets were open. Train services of Eastern Railway in Sealdah and Howrah sections, besides Metro Rail services were also normal, Railway sources said, in a PTI report.

The strike called by the Left Front has been opposed by the ruling TMC in Bengal and the state government has ordered all its employees to attend offices on Monday and Tuesday. Exceptions would be made only in case of bereavement, maternity leave, hospitalisation and other ‘genuine reasons’, a circular issued by the state finance department said. Transport Minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader Suvendu Adhikari said his department is plying 3,000 more buses to maintain normalcy.

Andhra Pradesh, Telangana give mixed response

The bandh evoked a partial response in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in some areas while there was not much impact elsewhere.

Activists of Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), Congress and YSR Congress Party staged sit-in at RTC (Road Transport Corporation) depots. However, the employees union stayed away from the shutdown, and the bus services by and large remained unaffected. Main opposition YSR Congress and Congress clarified that they have not called for ‘Bharat Bandh’ but were only participating in protests against the people’s sufferings due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Bihar’s partial response

Workers of RJD, Congress and Left parties disrupted train services at many places, but offices and schools registered normal attendance. Road traffic was as usual as well.

The protest had its echo in both Houses of the Bihar legislature where legislators of Congress, RJD and CPI-ML raised slogans. BJP legislators countered them by raising slogans against them. JD(U), a member of the ruling alliance, kept away from the stir in view of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s consistent support to demonetisation of high value notes to fight black money in the economy.

Kerala paralysed

The shutdown called by Kerala’s ruling LDF on Monday appeared to be total as only private vehicles plied, offices registered minimal attendances, and normal life was crippled. However, even though it was a state-wide shutdown, the organisers have left tourism activities and also the banking establishments out of the ambit of the call. They have also sought the pilgrims to the famed Sabarimala temple to be left unaffected by the shutdown.

The Congress-led opposition, however, expressed strong reservations over the shutdown. Following the demonetisation move, normal life has already turned upside down in the past 20 days and to further strain it would not be an answer to the woes, Congress was quoted as saying.

Life as usual in Karnataka

The ruling Congress party in Karnataka held protests and rallies throughout the state. The protest affected the functioning of both the Houses of Karnataka Legislature as they did not sit today in line with the decision taken by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC). However, life in Bengaluru and elsewhere remained normal with commercial establishments, educational institutions, banks and private offices working as usual and public transport and Metro maintaining their regular services.

Official reports said barring protests by Congress, the situation in the entire state, including the districts of Mysuru, Gadag, Haveri, Belagavi, Kalaburgi, Chamrajanagar, Dharwad, Uttara Kannada and Kolar, was normal. ‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’ did not strike chord as expected as the state has seen five days of bandhs, protests and strikes in the last four months, including one on Cauvery water issue with Tamil Nadu which was marked by large-scale violence.

With inputs form PTI

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 17:44 IST

Bandh against demonetization evokes mixed reaction in Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>the nationwide strike call against demonetization evoked mixed reaction in Bihar where workers of RJD, Congress and Left parties disrupted train services at many places but offices and schools registered normal attendance.The protest had its echo in both Houses of the Bihar legislature where legislators of Congress, RJD and CPI-ML raised slogans against scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. BJP legislators countered them by raising slogans against them and in favour of demonetization. JD(U), a member of the ruling alliance, kept away from the stir in view of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s consistent support to demonetization of high value notes to fight black money in the economy. Congress, RJD and CPI-ML took out a protest march on the streets of Patna and stalled traffic movement at some places.Road traffic was, however, normal and attendance in offices, banks and schools and colleges remained by and large unaffected.Train services were hit at Darbangha, Madhubani, Masauri in rural Patna, Ara, Jehanabad and other places. Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of East Central Railway Arvind Kumar Rajak said running of more than a dozen trains was disrupted in different parts of Bihar due to the stir. In Darbhanga, Ara, Masaurhi and Madhubani, CPI workers squatted on railway tracks.Outside Bihar Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, bandh supporters from RJD, Congress and CPI-ML, holding placards in their hands, shouted slogans at the entrance gate. BJP MLAs led by leader of opposition Prem Kumar countered them by raising slogans in favour of demonetization.

Demonetisation: Trains halted, roads blocked in Bihar as Jan Aakrosh Diwas begins

Patna: Several trains were halted in Bihar as the Left parties and others on Monday began a nationwide shutdown to protest demonetisation, police said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The supporters and workers of the Left parties including the CPI, CPI-M, CPI(ML) and other parties stopped over a dozen long route trains at Patna, Gaya, Jehanabad, Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur railway stations.

“Several trains were halted to enforce shutdown,” a police officer said. Roads were also blocked at various places across the state.

However, ruling parties of the grand alliance in Bihar — the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress — have decided not to join the shutdown, but to stage protest march against demonetisation.

While another ruling party Janata Dal-United of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has decided to keep away from both the shutdown and protest against domenetisation.

Infact, Nitish Kumar has repeatedly publicly supported demonetisation that prompted BJP President Amit Shah on Sunday and Lok Janshakti Party chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to thank him.

“The state administration has made elaborate security arrangements in view of the shutdown,” said a senior government official.

The Left parties enjoy a strong support base in over a dozen districts in Bihar.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 10:04 IST

Nitish supports demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as allies Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress gear up for November 28 demonstrations against big note ban, Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) President Nitish Kumar remains vocal in his support for demonetization terming PM Narendra Modi’s ‘courageous’ move ‘in the interest of the nation’.Nitish has backed demonetization at various private and public events and on Saturday, the Bihar CM said his stand on the issue is a principled one. “I believe note ban has stopped several fraudulent practices. It is my personal view and I support any action against black money or corruption. This is also the opportune time for hitting at ‘benami properties’ to check black money and I request the PM to take quick action in the matter,” Nitish said.His statements, however, left his party colleagues in Delhi red faced, especially after former JD (U) president Sharad Yadav was seen rubbing shoulders with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee in the Parliament last week to oppose note ban decision.In Bihar too, Nitish’s party, which has distanced itself November 28 demonstrations against demonetization, stands divided from alliance partners RJD and Congress, both of which have scheduled large scale protests across the state on Monday. RJD president Lalu Prasad had termed the move “farjical strike” (fake strike) after it was being called a surgical strike on black money. Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) president Ashok Choudhary too has said his party was ready to withdraw from the coalition on the note ban issue if the high command ordered so.The Bihar CM is also unlikely to participate in Mamata’s November 30 demonstration in Patna though RJD supremo Lalu Prasad may share the dais.Political commentators feel Nitish’s pro-demonetization stand and “inclination” towards the BJP may be due to several reasons – “his difficult equations with majority partner RJD in Bihar, Mamata trying to project a pan-India leader image after her thumping return in West Bengal and Nitish’s unsuccessful efforts in forging any major anti-BJP front in Uttar Pradesh.”While Nitish’s recent support for PM Modi was being seen in the backdrop of reports of him meeting BJP president Amit Shah, the Bihar CM rubbished it as a figment of media’s imagination saying he has not met Shah as has been reported by a section of the media. Incidentally, Shah on Sunday welcomed Nitish’s support for demonetization and thanked him for standing by PM Modi in his fight against black money.”I always do what I feel is correct but people try to infer political meaning in it,” Nitish said. Replying to Mamata’s allegations that Nitish may be supporting demonetization under some “political compulsion”, he said, “What compulsions will I have? I had even supported Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for President when I was an NDA constituent.”

Demonetization has given Rahul, Mamata sleepless nights: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP President Amit Shah on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization move has given opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee “sleepless nights”.”Friends, people who are hurt are those whose black money has gone for a toss. The demonetization move has given sleepless nights to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Mamata, Arvind Kejriwal, and also they have lost shine on their faces,” he said at the BJP’s ‘Other Backward Classes’ rally here. “..Till November 7, opposition parties BSP, SP and Congress, and also leaders like Mamata, Arvind Kejriwal, were questioning Modiji’s steps to bring back black money, but after November eight midnight, they changed their tone and started to ask why did he do this (demonetization),” he said.Slamming the opposition for joining hands to oppose demonetization, he said: “There is a flood-like situation where you find one tree in the middle, on which a rat, cat, mongoose and snake have climbed to save themselves from the raging water, flowing below,” he said. “Interestingly, the mongoose and the cat are not eating the snake and the rat – they all have joined hands against Modi’s fight against black money and corruption,” he said.Shah, however, expressed his gratitude towards Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for supporting Modi’s efforts to fight corruption and black money.”I want to express my gratitude towards Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for supporting Modiji’s fight against black money and corruption,” he said. Referring to the Congress government in Karnataka, Shah alleged that the Siddaramaiah government was the “most corrupt” in the country and urged the people of the state to root out the present one to elect BJP under the chief ministership of BS Yeddyurappa, which would make the state one of the top states in its five-year rule.

Demonetization: JD(U) diverges from mahagathbandhan, won’t be part of Opposition’s Akrosh Diwas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s party JD(U) has decided to not be a part of ‘Akrosh Diwas’, to be observed on Monday, in a meeting held by senior leaders on Saturday. “JD(U) had made it clear that it is supportive of demonetization move; so it won’t be part of the ‘bandh’,” Pawan Varma, JD(U) General Secretary, told ANI.The JD(U) has informed its allies Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD and Congress about its decision. Varma added, “Mr Nitish Kumar had made it clear that the Opposition has the right to pursue their own political agenda. He has spoken to Lalu Prasad ji and Congress about this. It won’t affect the grand alliance.”Kumar has been vocal about his support to PM Narendra Modi’s demonetization drive. “I support demonetization as I’m convinced that it will help in the fight against black money,” Kumar said addressing a function to mark Prohibition Day in Patna. He had also called the decision to demonetize higher currency notes a ‘bold move’.While RJD has categorically stated its opposition to the move stating Kumar’s support does not reflect the sentiments of the grand-alliance ruling in Bihar.The opposition parties will launch a country-wide protest ‘Akrosh Diwas’ on November 28 over the BJP-led NDA regime’s demonetization move. This come as the deadlock continues in Parliament with the government refusing to agree to a discussion in the Lok Sabha that ends in a vote.The ruling dispensation has rejected the opposition’s demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi speak in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling party is in a minority.

After calling demonetisation drive courageous, Nitish Kumar for action against benami property, liquor ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what may come as a relief for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government facing the opposition wrath post the demonetization drive, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday backed the move and urged the ruling dispensation at the Centre to hit benami property and impose a ban on liquor.”After demonetization, the government should also hit benami property and ban liquor because they are the prime sources of black money. If the business of liquor ban has stopped then find out what are they doing who were indulging in this business. If they are doing something alternative then its good,” he said.Nitish, however, said that the government should have made more preparations prior to announcing this move as the nation is facing difficulties due to demonetization. “I would urge the Prime Minister to impose a ban on liquor ban in the entire nation. The nation will be free from corruption if you hit benami property and liquor business,” he added. Nitish yesterday described the move as a ‘courageous step’ even as he admitted that ‘poor arrangements’ in its implementation were causing hardship to the common man. He also dismissed reports of ‘confusion or fissures’ in the grand alliance in Bihar over the demonetization issue.The Bihar Chief Minister described the Centre’s demonetization decision as ‘sahsik’ (courageous), which, he said, would help in the fight against black money.

Congress accuses PM Modi of ‘selective leakage’, says partymen brought property from black money

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mounting a fresh attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress on Friday said leakage of demonetization decision had helped BJP leaders buy property by converting their black money through various means a few months before it was announced. Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge accused the Prime Minister of “selective leakage” of demonetization move to his own partymen, who converted their black money through property and other avenues.”This shows who are the real supporters of black money,” he told reporters outside Parliament House. Kharge said democracy functions through discussion and asked the Prime Minister to participate in the debate in Parliament on the issue if he believed in democratic values. “If the Prime Minister believes in democracy, he should come to Parliament and participate in the debate and answer the concerns raised by the opposition on the demonetization issue.”You think you are a ‘samrat’ (king) and the country runs on the diktat of the ‘samrat’. Instead of speaking outside, you should come to Parliament and speak,” he said. On the Prime Minister not speaking inside Parliament, he said, “If he speaks like this, he knows he could face privilege and contempt.”
ALSO READ Demonetization: Rahul Gandhi eager to see PM Modi’s ‘new emotion’ in ParliamentTerming demonetization as the “biggest scam”, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also accused Modi of leaking the demonetization move to top BJP leaders, alleging they bought land using their black money. The party released a list of some BJP leaders who allegedly bought 8 land parcels worth Rs 3.41 crore in Bihar in the run up to the November 8 demonetization move.Surjewala, flanked by Congress spokespersons Rajiv Gowda and Sushmita Dev, alleged that post expose of deposit of money in bank accounts of BJP leaders just before the demonetization, “documents now prove” that BJP leaders bought the land. “Modiji’s mask of fighting black money is off. Stop mocking the people of India and Parliament and look in the mirror. Make all BJP accounts public and tell the details of all property purchased by BJP leaders over the last one year and the truth of demonetization scam will be out,” he said.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Dissolve Parliament and hold fresh elections, Mayawati dares PM Modi”Layers of demonetization scam are getting unearthed by the day as a series of BJP transactions get exposed. Demonetization is emerging as the biggest scam that needs to be probed through JPC and responsibility fixed,” Surjewala said. Kharge said his party was ready to offer any kind of help to curb black money in the country, but objected to the Prime Minister dubbing its leaders as ones standing in support of the menace for raising issues concerning public harassment. “Whatever help you need from us, we will provide for eradicating black money. But, you are playing politics under its garb and are protecting your people. You have given an opportunity to your own people to convert their black money into white through selective leakage. “We will carry on our tirade against it and that is why we want a discussion in Parliament on this. If we want a discussion on black money, you are dubbing us as those in support of black money,” he said.
ALSO READ PM will intervene as & when required: Naidu on demonetization debate in ParliamentKharge also said that people are dying for their own money and this is the situation “we want to discuss in the House with the Prime Minister”. “We requested the Speaker that the Prime Minister must raise the issues he is talking about outside, in the House,” he said.Earlier, hitting out at those accusing the government of not being prepared for demonetization, Modi said they are actually pained that they themselves did not get time to make any preparation. Rajiv Gowda later said Modi had on Friday morning made a mocking attack on the opposition, saying if they had 72 hours, they would have made arrangements. “If anyone had that information and planned to convert black money, it is the BJP,” he said.Sushmita Dev said, “We hope that the Prime Minister will give explanation in Parliament about these land deals. These land deals, not just in Bihar, but all over India, shows that BJP is the corrupt party, which deals in black money.” She said this was done to park BJP’s black money in real estate. “These land deals, all of which took place shortly before November 8 decision flies in the face of Modiji’s statement of wanting to fight black money,” she said.”Modi ji is aware black money is not stashed away in the cupboards of the common man. Today, the revelation made by a BJP member of the Bihar Assembly has proved that in the 6% black money, BJP has a share,” Dev said.

Demonetization: Nitish Kumar calls it ‘courageous step’, dismisses fissures in coalition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reiterating his support to the Centre’s demonetization decision, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday described the move as a “courageous step” even as he admitted that “poor arrangements” in its implementation were causing hardship to the common man.He also dismissed reports of “confusion or fissures” in the grand alliance in Bihar over the demonetization issue. Kumar described the Centre’s demonetization decision as “sahsik” (courageous), which, he said, would help in the fight against black money. However, the attack on black money would yield better results only when scrapping of notes is coupled with attack on benami properties and prohibition, the chief minister said. “While supporting demonetization in principle, I, with equal strength, criticise the poor arrangements for its implementation due to which common man is facing hardship,” Kumar, who is also the JD(U) National President, said.”I am seeing a minus with plus whereas many others are seeing only minuses,” he said. “See the speech of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament yesterday. Nowhere did he denounce the spirit of demonetization but highlighted monumental mismanagement in carrying it out,” he said. “This is the view of almost every party, even those opposed to it, and everybody is referring to improper arrangements to carry out demonetization,” he said and sought to know “how is my stand different from others on the issue?”Rubbishing reports of “confusion or fissures” in the grand alliance due to the divergent views of alliance partners Congress and RJD on the issue, Kumar said, “The grand alliance is only in Bihar and on issues concerning Bihar. On issues outside the state every party is privy to its own viewpoint…there is no confusion or fissures in coalition”. The Bihar Chief Minister had first favoured the Centre’s demonetization decision while addressing a ‘Chetna sabha’ at the start of his second leg of ‘Nishchay yatra’ in Madhubani on November 16.

Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo quits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo resigned on Friday, protesting changes made in university management without taking him into confidence.Yeo submitted his resignation letter to the Visitor, President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, reported The Hindu. “I was neither involved in the preparation nor consulted beforehand. With deep sadness, I have submitted my letter of resignation to the Visitor,” Yeo wrote.Yeo also said that when he took over from Professor Amartya Sen last year, he was repeatedly assured that the University would have autonomy. “This appears not to be the case now.,” he added.“The circumstances under which the leadership change in Nalanda University has been suddenly and summarily effected is disturbing and harmful to the University’s development,” Yeo said.Former Foreign Minister of Singapore George Yeo was appointed Chancellor in July 2016, over two months after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen withdrew his candidature to the post for a second term.60-year-old Yeo, who was conferred Padma Bhushan in 2012, was serving as a member of the governing board of the prestigious university at Rajgir area of Bihar.In February, Sen withdrew his candidature as Chancellor for a second term saying that the Narendra Modi government did not want him to continue, a contention which was rejected by the government.Sen, who has long been a critic of Modi, had blamed the absence of government’s approval for his re-nomination for the delay in the nod from President Pranab Mukherjee for his name.

Nalanda’s governing body rejiged, Amartya Sen’s association ends

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nobel-Laureate economist Amartya Sen’s nearly a decade-long association with Nalanda University has come to an end with the government reconstituting the governing body of the prestigious institute.Sen, a critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was chancellor of the university and his term had come to an end in July last year but he had continued his association as a member of its Governing Board. Sources said President Pranab Mukherjee, in his capacity as the Visitor of the university, approved the reconstitution of the Governing Board in accordance with provision of the Nalanda University Act, 2010. The President also approved giving temporary charge of Vice Chancellor to senior-most Dean of the University as the current VC Gopa Sabharwal’s one year extension expires tomorrow. It will be a stop-gap measure until the new Vice Chancellor is appointed.Niti Ayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya, President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations Lokesh Chandra, and Professor Arvind Sharma, Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University in Canada have been appointed as members of the GB under the category of renowned academicians. In February last year, Sen, in a letter to the Governing Board had said he will not seek a second term as Chancellor as the BJP government did not want him to continue.Trinamool Congress MP Sugata Bose and UK-based columnist Lord Meghnad Desai, who were also member of the GB, were not included in the newly-constituted board. The new governing board will be a 14-member body which will be chaired by the chancellor. It will also comprise vice-chancellor, along with five members nominated by India, China, Australia, Laos PDR and Thailand. Economist and former revenue secretary N K Singh, who was also member of the Nalanda Mentors Group, will represent India.The other members of the board will be Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, an Additional Secretary rank official of Ministry of HRD and two members representing the Bihar state government.While Sen could not be contacted for reaction, Bose, a former Harvard professor, said it was government’s prerogative to reconstitute the board. But at the same time he said, “There was a need to ponder whether this is the way we maintain national prestige.”Reacting to government’s decision, Singh said this is for the first time the governing board has been reconstituted in accordance with provision of the Nalanda University Act, 2010, adding it should have been done much earlier. The idea to revive Nalanda University was first mooted in 2005 by the then President APJ Abdul Kalam. The university is being built near the ruins of the historic academic place by the same name in Bihar and Sen was involved with the project since 2007. A number of countries are involved in the project.Indian government had enacted the Nalanda University Act, 2010 to implement the decisions arrived at the Second East Asia Summit held in January, 2007 in the Philippines and subsequently at the Fourth East Asia Summit in Thailand for establishment of the Nalanda University. In 2007, the Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG) was formed to implement the project. The NMG was discharging the functions of the Governing Board.

Indore-Patna Express tragedy: Woman arrested for pretending to be sister of victim

Kanpur: A 45-year-old woman was arrested for masquerading as the sister of a man killed in Indore-Patna derailment incident and trying to claim compensation, police said on Wednesday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

DSP Pavitra Mohan Tripathi said a woman claiming to be Preeti, a resident of Patna, on Tuesday approached the authorities at Mati postmortem house and identified a body as that of her brother Rahul.

The postmortem of the body was carried out and preparations were being made to hand it over when some doctors
became suspicious as she kept asking when she would be recieving the compensation, he said.

The medical staff informed the police who questioned the woman. She kept on giving different addresses to them and was also not able to provide her identity card.

Meanwhile, one Dina Vishwakarma from Chandauli district reached the postmortem house and identified the body as that of his son Rishu (30), he added.

The deceased used to work as a cleaner on contract in trains and was onboard the ill-fated Indore-Patna Express on Sunday. Dina, who reached the hospital after receiving news about the accident, identified Rishu’s body and also showed the police his ID card, the police official said.

The woman then identified herself as Aaliya Parveen (45), a resident of Varanasi’s Godowlia. She told the police that she hatched this plan after coming to know that the kin of the deceased were being given large compensation.

Police suspect the involvement of some more people as Aaliya had shown authorities fake identity papers of the deceased.

An FIR has been registered against her at Akbarpur Police Station and she is being questioned. Her call records are also being probed, the DSP said.

DNA samples of the deceased, Aaliya and Dina have been taken and Rishu’s body has been handed to his father, Tripathi said.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 17:50 IST

PM Modi’s note ban, Nitish Kumar’s liquor ban hit Bihar’s Beguserai district

In the age of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s bullet train, Bihar’s Beguserai district’s fascination with ‘Ranthi express’ was quite instructive, if not outright amusing. But what was Ranthi Express?

Ranthi Express was a brand of country liquor, brewed locally by liquor barons with huge political connections. The brew was so strong that one would metaphorically ‘drop dead’ after consuming just one pouch of the liquor. The consumer would be as good or worst as a corpse for a few hours after. And herein lies the reason from where this brew derived its brand – ranthi, in local parlance, refers to a stretcher used for carrying corpses.

Until Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dealt a deathly blow to Ranthi Express, by imposing a liquor ban in the state, it was a craze among the delinquent and unemployed youth. Thousands were hooked on to the promise that one pouch of this liquor would transport its consumers to a blissful netherworld, beyond pain and anxiety.

Bihar's Beguserai district's fascination with 'Ranthi express' was seen as quite instructive, if not outright amusing. Agencies.Bihar's Beguserai district's fascination with 'Ranthi express' was seen as quite instructive, if not outright amusing. Agencies.

Beguserai’s fascination with ‘Ranthi express’ was seen as quite instructive, if not outright amusing. Reuters

Though bliss and netherworld may appear to be oxymoronic, Beguserai is a land of umpteen such paradoxes. This immensely fertile Gangetic plain of Bihar is now highly industrialised. It was called the Leningrad of Marxists till it fell to the saffron wave in the recent past. The rich and the poor co-exist amicably, as they have realised over the years that power does indeed flow through the barrel of the gun.

But the people of this land have now been hit by two bans: On the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes and on liquor. The denizens of the netherworld found both the bans to be quite devastating. Liquor barons have shut their shops and breweries have been locked. The roadside vends have turned into tea shops. People are not seen roaming on the streets in an inebriated state anymore, a sight which was common in the district till the ban on liquor was enforced.

“Accidents have drastically reduced and street brawls are less in number,” said Dr Hemant, who owns the Life line hospital in Barauni. The positive impact of the liquor ban is quite palpable in the district.

But what about the currency ban? Raj Kumar Singh, who runs the KDM Hotel and an agency for the Enfield motorcycle (commonly known as bullet) points out that life was initially hit but is now returning to normalcy. “Bihar is a low economy state where an informal economy does not allow the life to be disrupted substantially,” he said. In hotels, the business is picking up pace after an initial decline. But buyers for bullet motorcycles have increased two-fold. The reason for that is not far to seek.

In fact, those found in possession of excess cash rushed to the banks and deposited their money in substantial numbers in order to facilitate the purchase of the motorcycle. “They are coming with drafts and cheques to buy bullets (a motorcycle that symbolises masculinity in the region). “We expect to sell nearly 200 motorcycles this month, nearly double the sales of the previous month,” Singh added.

Similarly, in the low-economy rural areas of Beguserai, life has not come to a halt. People have found innovative jugaads (simple work-arounds) to run their economy. For instance, a large section of grocers and street vendors are still accepting the banned currency notes as most of them are confident that they would get the cash deposited in their accounts and get the money back when the situation normalises.

The biggest worry in the region, however, comes from the farmers’ inability to purchase fertiliser and seeds for the Rabi crop. But in Ramdiri village, barely ten kilometers from the district headquarter, villagers do not seem unduly alarmed over being cashless in their routine life. “In rural society, inter-dependence is so strong that we get support,” they point out. “Even micro-ATMs are functioning in the region,” they claimed, giving an air of self-assurance that didn’t appear to be contrived.

Yet some are worried about the agriculture. “If a situation of cash-crunch persists, it would hit the hard wheat sowing,” a farmer said. Do they foresee a disaster following the demonetisation? “Not at all, what we see in media is not reflected on the ground,” they point out.

However, a communist leader in the midst of the crowd rejected this optimism and pointed out that the move was ill-conceived and had caused misery for the poor.

In this cacophony of a debate, local BJP MP Bhola Singh took the discourse to another level. While speaking with Firstpost, Singh, known for his loquaciousness, closed his eyes and compared the present ordeal with a mythological parable.

“You see Kunti sought a blessing from Lord Krishna to give her perpetual sorrow in order to remember God,” he said. On being asked if Modi was Lord Krishna in his reference, he said, “No he is not, but this pain is for the good of people.” Singh is a known party-hopper who began his career as a communist and ended up in the BJP.

Close to Ramdiri village lies Simaria, the birthplace of Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, the famous bard who valiantly fought against the emergency and coined the phrase, “singhasan khali karo ki janata aati hai (vacate the throne, lest the people will come)”. In this erstwhile bastion of communists, the bans on currency notes and liquor are hardly frowned upon. In Bhola Singh’s hyperbole it is seen as a blessing in a curse.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 14:33 IST

SC reserves order in plea challenging bail to rape accused RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the plea of the Bihar Government challenging the bail granted to rape accused RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav by the Bihar High Court.A bench of the Apex Court headed by Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and also comprising Justice Abhay M Sapre reserved its order on the issue. Earlier, following the Supreme Court’s orders, Raj Ballabh, who is accused of raping a minor, surrendered on Wednesday before the Bihar Sharif court. In April, Yadav was named as one of the main accused in a charge-sheet filed by Nalanda Police, after he allegedly raped a minor girl at his residence on February 6th, following which he was immediately suspended by the party. After absconding for almost one month, Yadav had surrendered in March before a chief magistrate’s court in Bihar Sharif in Nalanda and was sent to jail.However, he was granted bail by the Patna High Court on September 30, which the opposition used to criticize the state government for not placing facts against the RJD MLA before the Patna High Court. Yadav, an MLA from Nawada assembly constituency, was suspended by the RJD after he was booked in the rape case on February 6.

Fodder scam: SC pulls up ex-Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra for delaying CBI’s plea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra for allegedly dragging and delaying the appeal filed by CBI challenging the quashing of four pending fodder scam cases against him.A bench headed by Justice J S Khehar deprecated the delaying tactics adopted by Mishra, saying that it is very unfortunate and amounts to cheating the court. “We deprecate such behaviour. You are intentionally delaying the proceedings. It is very unfortunate. It amounts to cheating the court,” the bench also comprising Justices A K Misra and A M Khanwilkar said, when his counsel sought adjournment in the matter.The CBI has challenged the 2014 order of the Jharkhand High Court quashing four pending fodder scam cases against him on the ground that a person convicted in one case could not be tried in similar cases based on same witnesses and evidences.Mishra, a former Congress leader, now with the JD(U), was convicted by a trial court in 2013 one of the five fodder cases lodged against him. However, the CBI has contended that though the cases have arisen from fodder scam, they are different in nature as different amounts were involved from different treasuries.While posting the matter after four weeks, the bench said it is a “serious matter” and it was not happy with the manner in which the case has been adjourned on five occasions. “We are very unhappy. You blame the Supreme Court for not deciding a case. This is not the first time when you are seeking adjournment. You have already taken adjournments on five occasions,” the bench said.The bench further said, “It’s a serious offence. You are taking time. Why should we grant you more time? You are avoiding this court. We are entrusting you anymore.” The apex court adjourned the hearing after giving last opportunity to Mishra to file his response to the notice already issued two years ago.

Demonetization: Chartered jet flier from Bihar held in Nagaland with Rs 3.5 cr in old notes

Tue, 22 Nov 2016-06:33pm , Dimapur , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Bihar-based businessman, travelling alone in a chartered jet, was apprehended on Tuesday at the airport in Dimapur for allegedly carrying Rs 3.5 crore in demonetised currency. Officials said sleuths of central security agencies and CISF questioned the man, identified as A Singh from Bihar’s Munger district, soon after his jet landed here.The case was later handed over to local Income Tax authorities. They said the man had come in here on a jet that had taken off from Sirsa in Haryana early on Tuesday. “CISF sleuths acted on some prior inputs and intercepted the passenger as soon as he landed here. Initially, the amount detected was said to be Rs 5.5 crore but later I-T authorities reported the final amount with him to be Rs 3.5 crore. The taxman is investigating the source of the currency,” they said.A special vigil has been deployed by security agencies and the airport guarding Central Industrial Security Force in the wake of the demonetization of the two large currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 by the government.

68 supporters of ISIS arrested in India: Government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NIA and state security agencies have so far arrested 68 supporters of dreaded terror outfit ISIS in various parts of the country, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.”The National Investigation Agency and state security agencies have so far arrested 68 ISIS supporters/sympathisers,” Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said replying to a written question.The Minister said a total of 50 people have been arrested by security agencies during current year of whom 11 belonged to Maharashtra, 11 belonged to Telangana, 7 belonged to Karnataka, 4 from Uttarakhand, 6 from Kerala, 1 from Delhi, 2 from West Bengal, 1 from Rajasthan, 2 from Uttar Pradesh, 1 from Madhya Pradesh, 1 from Jammu and Kashmir, 1 from Bihar and 2 from Tamil Nadu.Ahir said ISIS is using various platforms to propagate its ideology and to attract recruits from across the world.”The intelligence and security agencies maintain a close watch to identify those engaged in such anti-national activities and persons or preachers misguiding the youth and action is initiated against such persons under the relevant laws,” he said.

Nagaland: Man flies Rs 3.5 cr in old notes in chopper from Haryana; nabbed in Dimapur

Dimapur :: A Bihar-based businessman, travelling alone in a chartered jet, was apprehended today at the airport here for allegedly carrying Rs 3.5 crore in demonetised currency.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Officials said sleuths of central security agencies and CISF questioned the man, identified as A Singh from Bihar’s Munger district, soon after his jet landed in Dimapur.

The case was later handed over to local Income Tax authorities. They said the man had come in Dimapur on a jet that had taken off from Sirsa in Haryana early on Tuesday.

“CISF sleuths acted on some prior inputs and intercepted the passenger as soon as he landed in Dimapur. Initially, the amount detected was said to be Rs 5.5 crore but later I-T authorities reported the final amount with him to be Rs 3.5 crore. The taxman is investigating the source of the currency,” they said.

A special vigil has been deployed by security agencies and the airport guarding Central Industrial Security Force in the wake of the demonetisation of the two large currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 by the government.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 14:37 IST

JD(U), RLD, BS-4 to ally in Uttar Pradesh polls after Mulayam scraps coalition offer

Lucknow: Rashtriya Lok Dal, Janata Dal(U) and a local outfit BS-4 on Monday announced their alliance for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, a move which comes after SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav ruled out entering into any alliance.

File photo of Sharad Yadav. PTI

File photo of Sharad Yadav. PTI

RLD chief Ajit Singh, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and BS-4 leader Bachan Singh Yadav held a joint press conference in Lucknow to announce their alliance which will contest on all the 403 Assembly seats.

“There is no name of this alliance as of now but it will be an honest alliance. Though this is an alliance of three parties, talks are on with other smaller outfits,” they said.

Attacking Mulayam, Ajit Singh said during Bihar Assembly polls all ‘Lohia wadi’ and ‘Charan Singh wadi’ parties had agreed for an “alliance with SP” but then SP declined.

“Now when alliance talks were on with SP, Mulayam talked about merger,” he said, wondering, “Why does Mulayam not want any alliance against communal forces.”

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said they were trying for unity for a long time and “Mulayam was projected as a leader but it did not materialise.”

“I would have merged my party with SP on Mulayam’s call but no time is left for this,” he said.

The SP supremo had recently ruled out any alliance for the UP Assembly polls, but had said mergers with his party could be considered.

Yadav said on invitation of the SP supremo he, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Ajit Singh, JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda had attended the silver jubilee celebrations of SP here on 5 November.

“At that time, it appeared that alliance talks have started but nothing came out of it,” he said.

Appealing to the people of the state to support the new alliance, the JD-U leader said it wanted to take the politics of the state on the right track and people should “support” it.

JD(U) General Secretary KC Tyagi said at the time of grand alliance (formed during Bihar polls) leaders had accepted everything what Mulayam said but even after that he left it.

Asked about possibility of Congress joining the alliance, Ajit Singh said, “No talks have been initiated with Congress in this regard.”

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 18:06 IST

Patna-Indore Express train accident: Over 115 killed and more than 200 injured

Over 115 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured, nearly half of them grievously, in the worst train accident in recent years when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed in Kanpur rural area in the wee hours on Sunday due to suspected rail fracture.

The disaster took place just a little after 0300 hrs when the passengers were jolted out of their sleep as the Patna-bound train jumped the tracks, badly damaging four ordinary sleeper coaches in which hundreds were trapped. Of the four coaches, the S1 and S2 had telescoped into each other and most of the casualties were feared to have been in these two compartments.

S3 and S4 coaches also suffered severe damage while an AC III tier coach was also affected but casualties in it were not heavy. As railway personnel assisted by those of army, NDRF and state police carried out the search and rescue operation, the number of casualties kept on increasing by the hour.

By evening, 110 bodies were recovered and taken to Mati mortuary in Kanpur rural. The death toll is over 115, UP DGP Javeed Ahmad said. Among the dead, 43 have been identified, of which 20 are from Uttar Pradesh, 15 from Madhya Pradesh and six from Bihar and one each from Maharashtra and Gujarat. Post mortem of 27 identified bodies has been done and they were being handed over to the families. Ambulance facilities were also being provided to the families of the victims to transport the bodies, officials said.

An army man Prabhu Narayan Singh, Anil Kishore of BSF from Rohtas, Bihar, and UP police constable Lakhan Singh from Jhansi were among the dead. 76 passengers were seriously injured in the derailment, IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmad said. 150 other passengers received minor injuries in the mishap. “Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service,” he said.

Indore-Patna train derailsIndore-Patna train derails

Officials said that prima facie the cause of the accident could be due to track fracture. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters at the spot that it seems the cause of the accident is rail fracture. Member (Engineering) of the Railway Board will find out the cause of the mishap and action will be taken against those responsible, he said. With several passengers feared trapped, rescue personnel employed cold cutters to break open the compartments as gas cutters produced excessive heat and suffocation hampering their efforts.

A number of trapped passengers were rescued. Teams of army doctors, railway officials and personnel of NDRF, state PAC and other policemen were involved in carrying out rescue and relief operation. The Chief Minister instructed the DGP to personally monitor the relief operations and deploy traffic police along the route of the mishap site to ensure green corridor for ambulances to reach hospitals quickly.

More ambulances/roadways buses have been rushed to the spot for speedy relief operations, the CM said. DG Health and ADG (Law and Order) also rushed to the accident spot to monitor the relief operations. Buses were pressed into service to help passengers complete their journey, Kumar said.

North Central Railway General Manager Arun Srivastava said traffic on Kanpur-Jhansi section will be opened in 36 hours. NDRF Director General RK Pachnanda told PTI that a total of five teams of the special rescue force, comprising 45 personnel each, were pressed into action at the accident site. “The rescue teams are deploying cutters and hydraulic equipment to ensure that all the trapped passengers are evacuated safely from the rail bogies,” the DG, who reached the accident site, said. “As the victims are trapped inside the bogies, due care and diligence is being taken into consideration,” he said. NDRF responders were making all possible efforts to rescue the trapped victims with the help of multi-types of latest disaster management gadgets and tools. NDRF rescued at least 53 passengers including 16 badly trapped from the bogies. Among them were two children. Some additional teams are also put on stand by and shall be mobilised as per demand,” the force said in a statement.

President, Prime Minister express grief; announce ex-gratia

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi led the nation in condoling the train tragedy in UP’s Kanpur Dehat district in which more than 115 people were today killed and over 200 injured. “I am sad to learn about the accident in which many have lost their lives and a number of persons are injured. I am sure that the state government is providing all possible assistance to the bereaved families as well as medical aid to the injured,” Mukherjee said in a message to Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik.

The Prime Minister in a tweet said, “Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families.”

He said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is personally monitoring the situation and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured in the mishap from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. Modi observed two-minute silence to condole the loss of lives at the Rail Vikas Shivir at Surajkund on the outskirts of the national capital asking the railways to work toward achieving the zero accident target to make train journeys safe. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also expresseddeep pain over the loss of lives. He said there will be an inquiry into the incident to find out the detail cause of it.

Five NDRF teams were deployed to rescue passengers trapped in the mangled bogies of the train even as the Home Minister gave instructions to the force’s chief, R K Pachnanda. Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh for the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 for those grievously injured. Sonia Gandhi in her condolence message said, “Words can’t describe the pain and anguish of those who lost their near and dear ones and the entire country stands in solidarity to share this unbearable sorrow.” She also asked the local Congress unit to assist in the relief and rescue operations along with the authorities. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh will be paid to next of kin of the deceased.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who visited the injured in hospitals in Kanpur Urban, announced Rs 2 lakh for kin of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

“If the incident has taken place, first responsibility lies on the state government as hospitals, ambulances and the entire administration is of the state. We have fulfilled our responsibilities and our priority at present is to save maximum lives,” he said. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar cancelled a function to release a report card of his government on completion of one year in office and expressed grief over the mishap. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal expressed condolence to the bereaved families.

Helpline numbers

Railways have made available the following helpline numbers
Indore: 07411072
Ujjain: 07342560906
Ratlam: 074121072
Orai: 051621072
Jhansi: 05101072
Pokhraya: 05113270239.

Train disasters of the past two decades

20 August, 1995

In India, 305 are killed and 344 injured in a collision between two trains at Ferozabad, near Agra in the north.

20 February, 2002

In Egypt, 361 people are killed in a train fire near the town of Al Ayatt south of Cairo.

24 June, 2002

In Tanzania, 288 die in a train accident near Dodoma.

18 February, 2004

In Iran, 328 people are killed by an explosion on a train carrying sulphur, petrol and fertiliser in the northeast.

26 December, 2004

In Sri Lanka, 1,300 are killed out of 1,500 passengers on a train between Colombo and Galle. It is struck by a giant tsunami which ravaged 11 countries on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

With inputs from PTI and AFP

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 19:33 IST

Indore-Patna Express derails: Nitish condoles mishap deaths, cancels govt function

Patna: In the wake of the Uttar Pradesh train derailment tragedy on Sunday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar cancelled a function to release a report card of his government on completion of one year in office and expressed grief over the mishap that claimed 96 lives and left 226 injured.

In his condolence message, Kumar described the mishap as sad and expressed deep grief over the casaulties, praying to the almighty to provide strength to families of the bereaved to cope with the tragedy.

Kumar ordered cancellation of the state function to release the annual report card of his government marking completion of one year in office.

“CM has cancelled the function to release report card of the government today on completion of one year in office,” a statement from Information and Public Relations Department said.

Nitish Kumar. ReutersNitish Kumar. Reuters

Nitish Kumar. Reuters

All preparations had been made for the function and several officials and journalists had also arrived at the venue, but had to return the cancellation.

The mishap took place in Kanpur Dehat district in the wee hours today.

On assuming office in 2005, Kumar had started a practice of giving an account of developmental work of his government every year in the shape of an annual report card.

Sunday was the date of issuance of the first report card of grand secular alliance government comprising JD(U), RJD and Congress in Bihar headed by Kumar.

On the instructions of the CM, a three-member team of senior Bihar officials including Principal Secretary Disaster Management Pratyay Amrit, Special Secretary in Home Jitendra Kumar Gangwar and Inspector General of Police, Railway Amit Kumar rushed to the accident site in a special plane to monitor rescue work.

“We will see that victims and their kins get maximum convenience,” Pratyay Amrit told PTI before boarding the plane at Patna Airport.

The government has set up a state-level control room (no 0612-2217305/2217306) to help bereaved families and kins of the injured in the derailment.

Four coaches of the train – S1, S2, S3, S4- were badly damaged in the mishap that took place at around 3 am near
Pukhraya.

Most of the passengers were jolted out of their sleep to find themselves among mangled remains of the bogies.

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 14:00 IST

NDA issues ‘report card’ on one-year of Nitish govt, calls it ‘big failure’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The BJP-led NDA on Saturday released a ‘report card’ on the completion of one year of the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar and said the dispensation has proved to be a big “failure” on all fronts, especially so on law and order.Releasing the ‘report card’ titled ‘Ek Saal, Bura Haal’, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi launched a scathing attack on the maha-gathbandhan government saying it has been in news for “all wrong reasons” in the past one year. “The situation in Bihar has become worse in just one year… We (NDA leaders) have come out with a report card one day in advance, so that the Chief Minister can answer our questions,” Modi told reporters here.The Nitish-led government, in which Lalu Prasad’s RJD and the Congress are allies, completes a year in office tomorrow and it would also present its report card showcasing its achievements. The practice of presenting report cards every year was started by Nitish Kumar in 2006 after he became Chief Minister in November 2005. The Chief Minister should present a report card of one year and not of 11 years as BJP was also the part of the government for around seven-and-half-year when the government earned laurels globally, while now this state government has earned name for all wrong reasons in the past one year, Sushil said.Union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of State and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, Hindustani Awam Morcha(S) president and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and other senior BJP leaders including state BJP chief Mangal Pandey were also present on the occasion. Sushil Modi said had the Opposition not objected and raised the issues of bail granted to Shahabuddin, Raj Ballabh Yadav and Rocky Yadav, the state government would not have gone to the Supreme Court against them. “Why is agriculture, health, education and industries missing from the CM’s ‘Nischay’?” he asked, while seeking answers to what happened to the Rs 1.52 lakh crore ‘agriculture roadmap’, ‘Mission Manav Vikas’, ‘Mahadalit Vikas Mission’ and ‘Vision Document 2025′.Sushil also termed Kumar’s students’ credit card scheme a repackaging of the Centre’s scheme. Alleging that criminals have dominated the entire one year of the grand alliance government and the Chief Minister seemed helpless, the senior BJP leader said it was evident from the crime figures, which have “increased” after prohibition came into effect. Quoting figures from the website of the police department, he claimed the number of kidnappings for ransom has gone upto three in August this year from one in April this year. Similarly, rape incidents have increased to 103 in August 2016 from 61 in April.The number of murders have gone up to 228 in August from 192 in April, Sushil said, adding incidents of riots have increased to 1,017 in August from 809 in April. Taking potshots at the grand alliance government, Ramvilas Paswan said development has taken a back seat while cold warwas on among the allies. “The CM should issue a white paper on the numbers of Dalit and Mahadalit families and how many of them have got three decimals of land,” he said while predicting that the Nitish Kumar-government would fall in two-and-half years.Giving “negative marks” to the Nitish government, former CM Manjhi said, “The government did nothing in one year. Going by its performance, it will not even get a zero mark. It may even get negative marking.”