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Jharkhand coal mine mishap: Five more bodies recovered, death toll climbs to 16

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the recovery of five more bodies on Saturday, the death toll climbed to 16 in the coal mine collapse at Lalmatia open cast coal mine of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), the worst such disaster in over a decade.R R Mishra, officiating CMD of ECL, a Coal India subsidiary told PTI, “We have recovered five more bodies today. We are carrying on the rescue operation in a systematic manner so that the situation does not aggravate as the debris is too much and it should not fall.”Danger zones have been declared around the place of incidents to restrict the entry of people there. Moreover, the district commissioner has also stationed police and CISF officials to restrict entry of people in the danger zone, Mishra said.”We have also called experts from outside to help us in the rescue operation. We have fully ensured that the rescue operations are done with proper safety measures. We have also come up with Standard Operating Procedures which would help us in proper operations so that there is no loss to lives,” Mishra added.Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDIL), the consultancy arm of Coal India Ltd, has deployed magneto meters along with imaging system for locating magnetic and conductive material up to a depth of 80 meters, the statement said.Mishra said the incident occurred at around 7.30 PM on Thursday when excavators were working there following which rescue operations was launched immediately.Senior officials of Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) have arrived at the site and launched an inquiry.13 excavators and dump trucks which were swamped under the debris have been recovered.

BSNL launches unlimited local and STD calls at Rs 144

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cashing in on the rollout by several telecom operators offering unlimited free call facility, Government run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd on Saturday joined the bandwagon with launch of a new Rs 144 plan for its customers offering similar features.The plan, which is valid for six months, would offer unlimited local and STD calls to any network for a period of one month and it would come with 300MB data, BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Srivastava told reporters.After handing over two new packs to customers, Srivastava said with the new pack, calls are absolutely free and would be available for both pre-paid and post-paid customers. The telecom service provider was also taking up several initiatives including launch of 4,400 WiFi hotspots across the country.”We have 4,400 WIFI hotspots launched country wide. I think in Mahabalipuram near Chennai has a similar WiFi hotspots. Our immediate strategy is to expand this. In next one year, we will be having around 40,000 WiFi Hotspots across the country,” he said.Besides the company had also obtained 2500 Mhz from Government of India for launching service in rural areas, he said, adding BSNL would unveil classic LTE (Long Term Evolution) spectrum in phased manner.

Jharkhand mine collapse: Death toll rises to 13, as rescue operations continue

Godda (Jharkhand): The death toll climbed to 13 in the coal mine collapse at Lalmatia open cast coal mine of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), with the recovery of two more bodies on Saturday.

RR Mishra, officiating CMD of ECL, a Coal India subsidiary told PTI, “We have recovered two more bodies. We are carrying on the rescue operation in a systematic manner so that the situation does not aggravate as the debris is too much and it should not fall.”

Thirteen bodies have been recovered from the collapsed mine in Jharkhand. AFPThirteen bodies have been recovered from the collapsed mine in Jharkhand. AFP

Thirteen bodies have been recovered from the collapsed mine in Jharkhand. AFP

Danger zones have been declared around the place of incidents to restrict the entry of people there. Moreover, the district commissioner has also stationed police and CISF officials to restrict entry of people in the danger zone, Mishra said. “We have also called experts from outside to help us in the rescue operation. We have fully ensured that the rescue operations are done with proper safety measures. We have also come up with standard operating procedures which would help us in proper operations so that there is no loss to lives.”

Heavy machinery was deployed as rescuers, including those from the NDRF, toiled through the day extricating bodies and looking for survivors. Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDIL), the consultancy arm of Coal India Ltd, has deployed magneto meters along with imaging system for locating magnetic and conductive material up to a depth of 80 metres, the statement said.

Mishra said the incident occurred at around 7.30 pm on Thursday, when excavators were working there following which rescue operations was launched immediately. Senior officials of Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) have arrived at the site and launched an inquiry.

Thirteen excavators and dump trucks which were swamped under the debris have been recovered. The All India Trade Union Congress has condemned Ministry of Power and Coal India for ignoring mine safety norms in open cast mine of ECL in Godda district.

This is the first big open coal mine disaster due to utter negligence of safety norms, it said. The mining was being operated by a contractor to whom Coal India had outsourced mining operations of the area, the union added. AITUC has demanded thorough inquiry and adequate compensation to the families of killed workers and observance of proper safety norms.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 19:00 IST

Jharkhand mine collapse: Death toll rises to 13 in Lalmatia coal mine mishap

Ranchi: The number of dead in Thursday’s Jharkhand coal mine cave-in has reached thirteen with the recovery of two more bodies on Saturday, police said.

People gather near the coal mine in Godda, Jharkhand, where several workers are trapped, after it collapsed on Thursday evening. PTI

“Two more bodies have been recovered on Saturday. The rescue operation is going on. There are chances of some more people still trapped in the debris,” said a police spokesperson to IANS. The tragedy occurred at the Rajmahal Opencast Project of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) around 7.30 p.m. on Thursday.

The relatives of those killed took the visiting ECL officials hostage on Saturday morning at the accident site. Police, however, managed to rescue them after three hours. Rescue operations were being carried out by the National Disaster Response Force with assistance from the ECL, Bharat Cooking Coal Limited (BCCL), the state government and experts.

In a statement, the Coal Ministry said that senior officials from the Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) were at the site and have started an enquiry into the incident. The Coal Ministry has termed the incident “unprecedented”.

An area of 300 metres length by 110 metres width solid floor of the overburden dump area slid down by about 35 metres involving around 9.5 million cubic metres of earth material.

“This could be due to failure of the bench edge along the hidden fault line/slip,” it said.

Besides the probe by the Director General of Mines Safety, a “high-level committee of experts” was constituted by Coal India Limited (CIL) to investigate the causes of the accident.

The Raghubar Das government has also announced a compensation of Rs two lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 25,000 for the injured.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 14:29 IST

11 miners dead in Lalmatia colliery mishap in Jharkhand, rescue operations to resume Sat morning

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ten miners were killed and an unspecified number feared trapped when a massive mound of earth came crashing down on them at Lalmatia open cast coal mine of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) Thursday night, the worst such disaster in over a decade.Heavy machinery was deployed as rescuers, including those from the NDRF, toiled through the day extricating bodies and looking for survivors. “Unfortunately the casualties have increased from seven in the morning to 10,” the coal ministry said in a statement.”Rescue teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL)/Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL), state government and experts have been continuously carrying out rescue work at the accident site of ECL’s Rajmahal Open Cast Expansion Project in district Godda, Jharkhand,” the statement said.Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDIL, the consultancy arm of Coal India Ltd., has deployed magneto meters along with imaging system for locating magnetic and conductive material up to a depth of 80 meters, the statement said.R R Mishra, officiating CMD of ECL, a Coal India subsidiary, said that the incident occurred at around 7:30 pm last night when excavators were working there following which rescue operations was launched immediately.Senior officials of Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) have arrived at the site and launched an inquiry.All 10 excavators and dump trucks which were swamped under the debris have been recovered. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and other leaders have expressed grief over the loss of lives.”Saddened by the loss of lives at a mine in Jharkhand. My prayers are with those trapped inside. Spoke to CM Raghubar Das on the situation,” Modi said on twitter.Das said an assistance of Rs two lakh will be given to the families of the miners who died in the accident, while ECL also announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs five lakh each to these families, in addition to the amount to be paid under the Workmen’s Compensation Act.14 miners were killed at Central Saunda coal mine in Ramgarh district of Jharkhand in August 2005. The country’s worst mining disaster had occurred at Chasnala in Dhanbad district in the then Bihar state in 1975 in which 375 lives were lost.

2017 to see number of key appointments in MEA, Foreign Secy Jaishankar likely to get extension

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The new year will see a number of key appointments in the foreign ministry amid a strong buzz that Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar may get an extension before the end of his term next month.Vikas Swarup, Additional Secretary and Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry, is also on his way to Canada as High Commissioner and is only waiting for his official agreement to come from Ottawa which is likely by mid of next month. The post is lying vacant after Vishnu Prakash retired in October. Swarup is expected to be replaced by Gopal Baglay, currently looking after (Pakistan-Iran-Afghanistan) in the ministry. Baglay has earlier also had a stint in the XP division of the MEA as Director from 2008 to 2010.Speculation is also rife that Jaishankar will get an extension before his two-year term ends on 28 of next month.It also remains to be seen what will be the tenure of his extension.If Jaishankar, a 1977-IFS batch officer, gets an extension for more than a year, by then many senior diplomats including India’s ambassador to Italy Anil Wadhwa (1979-batch) and Secretary (West) Sujata Mehta (1980-batch) will retire.India’s ambassador to China, Vijay Gokhale, seen as one of the main contenders to replace Jaishankar, is retiring in the end of January 2019. If Jaishankar gets a two-year term, it will be unprecedented as no one has got an extension after the fixed tenure of two years. However, Jaishankar’s possible two-year term will leave Gokhale with couple of days. In first half of 2017, ambassadorial positions will also open up in several key countries including Germany and Nepal, official sources said.

New NSG draft bill may ease India’s entry into elite group

Washington: A draft proposal for accepting new members into the Nuclear Suppliers Group paves the way for India’s entry but leaves Pakistan out, says a US-based arms control organisation.

The Arms Control Association (ACA), Washington, also warns that relaxing membership rules will undermine non-proliferation.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Last week, the US media reported that Rafael Mariano Grossi, a former chairman of the NSG, had prepared a two-page document, explaining how a non-NPT state, like India and Pakistan, could join the group. Grossi was acting on behalf of the current chairman, Song Young-wan of South Korea, and his document enjoys a semi-official status, Dawn reported.

To prevent India from blocking Pakistan from joining the NPT, Grossi’s draft note proposes that “one non-NPT member state should reach an understanding not to block consensus on membership for another non-NPT member state”.

But ACA’s Executive Director Daryl Kimball warns that “Pakistan still has grounds to object to the formula outlined by Grossi”.

He explains that the document will require Pakistan to meet the same criteria for membership as India “but, to engage in civil nuclear trade with NSG states, it would have to win a separate NSG exemption from the full-scope safeguards requirement”.

India is seeking membership of the NSG on the strength of the fact that it is already doing business with NSG members.

The 48-nation NSG is a nuclear technology control organisation formed in 1975 in response to India’s first nuclear weapons test, which used plutonium produced with nuclear technology from Canada and the US. The NSG seeks to prevent similar future misuses.

Current NSG membership rules require a state to sign the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) before joining this exclusive club. India remains one of only three countries, with Israel and Pakistan, never to have signed the NPT.

Earlier this year, India formally applied for membership and was followed by Pakistan. The US, and a host of other powerful western nations, back India’s application, but China and half a dozen other nations are blocking India’s membership, which requires a consensus of all members.

India hoped to join the group during NSG’s last plenary session, held in Seoul in June this year, but the meeting ended without taking any decision on New Delhi’s application.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 19:08 IST

Tamannaah Bhatia praised for standing up to ‘sexist’ filmmaker Suraj

Social media users praise actress Tamannaah Bhatia for standing up to a filmmaker’s ‘sexist’ comments.

Madhya Pradesh: ‘Salad’ likely to be on platter for prisoners in jails

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Madhya Pradesh government is mulling to offer ‘salad’ along with the daily meal served to inmates across all prisons in the state, an official said.”Providing ‘salads’ along with the meals is one of the measures being mooted by the Jail Department in its effort to make the food in state’s prisons more nutritious,” Sanjay Choudhary, Director General (Jail) said.The issue was discussed at a meeting in Bhopal on Friday convened to review the functioning of jails in state.It was chaired by Minister for Jail Kusum Mehdele and attended by Jail department’s senior officials along with the superintendents of 39 district and 11 Central jails.After the Bhopal’s Central prison jail break by eight operatives of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in October this year, Jail department had banned outside food items, mostly brought by the family members of the inmates in all jails of the state.”The meeting was informed that essential items like tooth-paste and brush would also be provided in the jails. However, there would be total ban on bidis and cigarettes,” a Public Relations department officer said. It was also decided that additional barracks would be constructed in those jails that are housing more inmates than their capacities.”Outer walls of the jails would also be constructed. The minister assured that the issues raised by the jail superintendents would also be soon sorted out,” he added.

Dhulagarh riot: Pressure mounts on Bengal govt as Governor summons DGP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A week after clashes erupted in Howrah district’s Dhulagarh, the Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi summoned Bengal Director General of Police (DGP), Surajit Kar Purkayastha on Thursday. This comes a day after BJP Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly led a delegation and met the victims of Dhulagarh incident.On the same day, the Bengal government removed the district Superintendent of Police, Sabyasachi Raman Mishra and posted him as SRP Sealdah, a post considered less significant. The Deputy Commissioner of Howrah Police Commissionerate (Traffic), Sumit Kumar was posted as the new Superintendent of Police, Howrah (rural) district.Meanwhile, a team comprising central leaders of the BJP are all set to visit Dhulagarh next week.On December 13, clashes between two communities erupted following the Milad-ul-Nabi celebrations in Dhulagarh. Locals in the village alleged that ‘unprovoked’ clashes erupted after an infuriated mob in a procession of Milad-ul-Nabi celebrations started charging bombs at the houses. However, members in the procession allege that they were prevented from taking out the procession, following which violent clashes broke out.Local residents claim that they had to flee with their children and elderly as soon as the mob hurled country-made bombs at their houses. Later, the mob allegedly looted the houses and fled with the money and jewellery, later, setting it on fire.“Nothing is left. We are looted of all our belongings. They ransacked and vandalised our houses and eventually set them on fire. We could not save a single penny from our houses, only managed to save our children and ran for life,” said a local, Lakshmi Mallya.

Electric bulbs glow after 70 years in cold desert

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It took more than 70 years for the people in the upper reaches of Kargil to see an electric bulb glowing.Thanks to solar energy, Stakchey brok and Fooker Bodh Kharbu villages situated at the altitude of 14000 feet, have been electrified for the first time since Independence.Since the villages are located at a higher altitude, the authorities had not laid electric cables and poles in these remote areas. This resulted in the people living in abject darkness and using traditional and hazardous means of lighting.Come 2016, the Kargil Renewable Energy Development Agency (KREDA) has installed 12 grids using state-of-the-art DC Nano Grid solar technology to electrify the two villages. Three grids with 250W, 100W, and 70W capacity have been installed in Stakchey brok. Nine grids — three each with 70W capacity, one grid with 250W and five grids of 100W capacity — have been installed in Fookar Bodh Kharboo .”It is for the first time that the villagers are seeing an electricity bulb glowing in their homes. We had given them a home lighting system (solar lantern) in 2010, but its life was only for five years. Now we have used Nano Grid technology to electrify the villages”, Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan, Project Director, Kargil Renewable Energy Development Agency (KREDA), told DNA.Located 80 kilometres away from the town of Kargil, and situated at an altitude of 14000 feet, the two villages house 38 families comprising 150 souls. Most of the villagers eke out their living by rearing cattle. Some of the villages migrate to the plains during winters to graze their cattle.”What we have done is that we have connected three to four houses with one grid. We have given 7-10 LED lights to each family. Every room of the family will now have an LED bulb. The technology is such that the grid is capable of handling the load. Plus the kids of these villagers will now be able to study at home”, said Kacho.After achieving this incredible feat, the Jammu and Kashmir government has set another goal of setting up a 100 KW solar power project to electrify the bigger village on the higher altitudes.”Under this project we will be installing a 100 KW plant to tap the solar power which could cater to a large population in the area”, said Kacho.

IIT-Kharagpur Director gheraoed by students over 20% hostel fee hike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The IIT Kharagpur director, registrar and other officials of the institute were gheraoed overnight in their offices by a group of research scholars protesting against 20 per cent hike in hostel fee.The decision to hike the fee was taken recently and will be effective from January next year. The protests, which began yesterday, ended this morning after a meeting between the students and management in which an assurance was given that their demands will be looked into. Shouting slogans against the IIT management, a group of about 300-400 PhD students gathered at the administrative building yesterday and didn’t let Director Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Registrar Pradip Pyne, Dean of students and a number of other senior officials leave their office the whole night till their demands were met.”So far we were paying around Rs 29,000 but now we will have to shell out about Rs 38,000 per semester as charges related to hostel,” said one of the protesters. “They have been increasing rates regularly but this time the hike was very steep,” she added. Another student claimed that IIT Kharagpur’s rates are the highest among all the IITs despite the town being a cheaper place to live in.”I get Rs 25,000 monthly stipend and have a family to run. How will I manage my expenses?,” he asked.Defending the move, registrar Pyne said, “The IIT has around 11,500 students enrolled in various courses out of which about 2,500 are research scholars. Only 300 of those scholars were protesting. We have assured them that we will address their concerns.” “In the meantime, we have asked them to deposit the money and if there is any change later on, it will be adjusted against the next semester,” he said.The hike in the hostel rates are applicable to all the students but there were hardly any protest by undergraduate or post-graduate student, he claimed.”Most of our research scholars do not come from an IIT background. Protests like this is not a part of our ethos. We are always open to discussions with students,” another institute official said.In April this year, a large number of students at IIT Kharagpur had stated a peaceful protest against the HRD Ministry’s decision to hike fees.

Three BTech Students from IIT-Kanpur become first to finish course in just 3 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three Btech students from IIT Kanpur have made the institute proud by completing their course in just three and a half years than its stipulated period of four years, reports TOI. They finished the entire course in just seven semesters than eight. Two students from BTech+MTech Dual degree course also finished their course in nine semesters out of ten. The students completed the course in less than its duration of five years. But these students will get their degree only during the convocation ceremony which takes place next year.The students were praised during a meeting of the IIT-Kanpur senate which was chaired by the Director Prof Indranil Manna. The senate was also overjoyed to know that 100 students scored 10 on 10 in Semester Performance Index (SPI score).

Madhya Pradesh: Rs 1 crore deposited in labourer’s a/c; bank says it’s ‘mistake’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A whopping Rs 1,00,10,000 (one crore ten thousand) were deposited in a dormant account of a labourer at Khidiya branch of Bank of India in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh after demonetization. Bank officials said it was a “clerical mistake”.Asaram Vishwakarma, the labourer, learnt about the fortune sitting in his account with the Bank of India branch when he received an Income Tax notice dated November 30, seeking explanation.Vishwakarma at first did not understand the notice as it was in English. A school teacher translated it for him.The notice, signed by Ashok Kumar Mangnani, Assistant Director of Income Tax, Bhopal, reads, “IT department is in possession of information that you have entered into financial transactions of Rs 1,00,10,000 between November 9, 2016 and November 17 without quoting your Permanent Account Number (PAN).”However, BOI branch manager Vinod Jalodia today said, “Vishwakarma had deposited Rs 10,000, but by mistake a clerk made a wrong entry of Rs 1,00,10,000 in his account.”He deposited 20 notes of Rs 500 denomination but by mistake the entry showed that he deposited 20,000 currency notes of Rs 500,” the manager said.”We have informed the IT officials about the error after Vishwakarma came to us,” he added.IT officials could not be contacted for more information.Sources said the IT office in Bhopal has issued notices to around 1,000 account-holders in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh seeking explanation about suspicious transactions in their accounts post demonetization.

Karunanidhi hospitalised: DMK President stable after undergoing tracheostomy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> DMK President M Karunanidhi underwent tracheostomy at a private hospital in Chennai to optimise breathing and his condition was stable. The 92-year-old leader, who was readmitted to Kauvery Hospital here late last night with breathing difficulties due to throat and lung infection, has undergone tracheostomy to optimise breathing, Dr S Aravindan, Executive Director, Kauvery Hospital, said in a statement.”Karunanidhi is stable,” he said, adding that the former chief minister is being treated with antibiotics and being monitored by a team of doctors.Meanwhile, senior DMK leaders kept thronging the hospital to enquire about the health of the party supremo. Karunanidhi’s readmission to the hospital comes about a week after he was discharged from there on December 7, following week-long treatment for drug-induced allergy. On October 25, DMK had announced that Karunanidhi was suffering from allergy “caused by a medicine he has been using” and advised rest by doctors. The leader, who has of late not been seen regularly in public, has confined himself to his home, although he has been issuing statements and reacting on key matters such as demonetization . He had also skipped campaigning during the by-election to three state Assembly seats last month. Ruling AIADMK won all three constituencies.

ISI’s new chief has an agenda: scuttle India-Afghanistan ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a dramatic reshuffle, Pakistan has replaced the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar with Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar.The implications of the new appointment remain to be seen, but one can get a glimpse of Mukhtar’s strategy and his views on the relationship between India and Afghanistan and the troubled neighbourhood, in general, from his thesis ‘Afghanistan — Alternative futures and their implications’, written at the US Army War College.In his thesis, he speaks of taking ‘aggressive measures’ to undermine India and prevent Afghanistan from becoming its proxy, and allowing the US to employ diplomatic measures between India and Pakistan to ease tensions, especially on Kashmir.Intelligence sources here say that his role in the ISI had been drafted as early as in September by the then army chief General Raheel Sharif for his expertise in counter-terrorism and also for the role he played in Karachi, where he succeeded in manoeuvring the Mohajer political outfit Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).A fierce critic of the Pakistan army so far, the MQM was controlled from London by its exiled leader Altaf Hussain. During his former stint at the ISI and as then head of the Karachi Corps, Lt Gen Mukhtar is believed to have led secret missions against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).In his thesis, he speaks of taking ‘aggressive measures’ to undermine India and prevent Afghanistan from becoming its proxy, and allowing the US to employ diplomatic measures between India and Pakistan to ease tensions, especially on Kashmir.In sync with the trajectory upheld by the Pakistan military on handling the conflict-ridden Afghanistan, Mukhtar, in the thesis for his Masters in Strategic Studies, envisages the accommodation of the ‘moderate Taliban’ in the governance of the country.Mukhtar, who was elevated from his position as a corps commander in Karachi, had earlier served as the DG of the ISI’s counter-terrorism wing. His strategic mindset vis-a-vis Pakistan’s foreign policy on Afghanistan is reflected in his analyses on the future of the neighbouring country.Analysing Afghanistan’s transition when the US started withdrawing coalition forces in 2011, Mukhtar said that Pakistan needed to prevent the opening of another hostile front, should Afghanistan emerge as a proxy for India, and, to this effect, it “will closely follow India’s efforts to influence Afghanistan and may take aggressive measures to undermine India’s efforts in this regard.”India has huge stakes in the development of Afghanistan and has made major strides in the reconstruction of public infrastructure in the war-ravaged country through visible symbols like the new parliament building, Salma friendship dam, Afghan National Agriculture Science & Technology University, Kandahar, and many other projects in the health, power and education sectors.Its close alliance with Afghanistan in the civil-military sphere has made India a target of Taliban. Pakistan, too, views India as working against its interest in Afghanistan. Mukhtar presents four plausible future scenarios for Afghanistan, all of which include a positive outcome: accommodation of moderate Taliban factions as part of the governance structure.”Although India’s uncompromising anti-Taliban position has recently softened, India could still move to be a major destabilising force if it perceives that a return of a radicalised Taliban government is likely,” he writes.While acknowledging the indisputable power and role of the US in bringing long-term stability in Afghanistan, along with regional stakeholders, Mukhtar emphasises: “The US must employ major diplomatic measures to ease regional tensions, especially between India and Pakistan, with a focus on Kashmir.”

Assam: Rs1.55 crore in new currency notes seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Assam police on Monday raided a local businessman’s house here and seized about Rs 1.55 crore in new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 currency notes.Additional Director General of Police (CID) Anil Kumar Jha told PTI that a CID team acting on a tip-off seized the money from the house of Hardie Singh Bedi, who owns a hotel and bar and runs shop rental business in the city.He said during the operation at the house in Beltola area of the city, the police seized Rs 1,54,81,000 crore cash in new currency notes that were unveiled after demonetisation. “Out of the total amount, Rs 1,54,06,000 was in Rs 2,000 notes, while the remaining Rs 75,000 was in new Rs 500 notes,” Jha said.The police have handed over the case to income tax department and its deputy commissioner P Borah is carrying out further investigation, the senior police official added.

VVIP Chopper scam: Ratan Tata must be interrogated, says Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday wrote to the Acting Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into the role of former defence secretary Vijay Singh and Tata Sons interim chairman Ratan Tata in the Agusta Westland chopper scam.Swamy said that he has urged the CBI acting Director to look into the matter of how Ratan Tata appointed Vijay Singh to the board of Tata Trusts, which in itself is illegal.”Ratan Tata went and deposed in Italy in the trial in the Agusta scam, so that itself makes it necessary to interrogate Mr Tata, because how is he involved? If he can obey a summons from Italy, he can obey one from India also,” Swamy said.
ALSO READ Tata Sons Director Vijay Singh ‘involved’ in AgustaWestaland scam: Cyrus MistryFurther stating that all allegations made by sacked Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry so far have been proven true, the senior BJP leader added, “For instance the Air Asia scandal has been proved by records and Delhi High Court has taken notice of it. So, here also it is necessary for the CBI to summon both Vijay Singh who was defence Secretary and also Ratan Tata and interrogate them.”Accusing Ratan Tata of conspiring with Singh, Swamy states in his letter that the ex-defence secretary had engaged in corrupt practices in the Agusta Westland scam, which the CBI is currently probing.
ALSO READ After visit to Italy, CBI now probing money trail of 50 million euro in AgustaWestland scam”Ratan Tata thereafter rewarded Vijay Singh with a directorship in Tata Sons by the dubious route of being a nominee in the Tata Trusts which in itself are illegal since the Tata Trusts are Trusts for philanthropy and owned by the public and not by the Tatas,” the letter said.Asserting that a complaint has been filed in this regard with Securities and Exchange Bank of India (SEBI), Swamy added that such Trusts cannot engage in commercial business even if under the name of Tata and Sons Ltd.

Hunt begins in campuses for India participation in Hult Prize 2017 award

It is time for Hult Prize 2017 and the hunt is on for the most innovative ‘change the world’ concept. The Hult Prize Foundation is a start-up accelerator for budding young social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities. Named as one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine, the annual competition for the Hult Prize aims to create and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people. Winners receive US $1 million in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community.

The Hult Prize came to India in 2016 as a National Program with over 50 campuses initiating the Hult Prize as an on campus event. The Hult Prize foundation partnered with Aravindam Foundation in India to create Hult Prize India dedicated to enhance participation from India and help generate more winners.

Courtesy: HultprizeCourtesy: Hultprize

Courtesy: Hultprize

The Hult Prize 2017 is about creating scalable and sustainable startup enterprises to reawaken the potential of displaced people (refugees). This year has also been a water shed year for Indian campus participation. The Aravindam Foundation in India partnered with the Hult Prize foundation and rapidly built upon existing resources to take participation to over 50 campuses. Abhimanyu Abrol (IIT KGP), Ewelina Janus (Poland, Founder Director, Aravindam) and Dr.Lokesh Abrol (Doctor, Social Entrepreneur) together spearheaded the Hult Prize India with support from a nationwide team of volunteers.

The Hult prize
Founded in 2009 by Ahmad Ashkar and sponsored by Bertil Hult, Swedish entrepreneur and Education First founder, Hult Prize is the social game changer. Today, it has a massive over 650 universities representing more than 150 countries and spends over 2 million man-hours on solving the world’s most gripping issues. In the current year itself eight of the ‘Forbes Top 30, Under 30, Entrepreneurs Changing the World’ were individuals who, founded their companies as part of the Hult Prize annual accelerator.

Teams from India have been participating in the Hult Prize since 2011 as standalone applicants. In 2014, campus-level events were held in four campuses in India. In 2015, it grew to 11 campuses, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi, IIT BHU, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta, IIM Indore, ISB Hyderabad, IMT Ghaziabad,Jadavpur University, BITS Pilani and Sri Ram College of Commerce.

Hult Prize is about social enterprise ideas and startups in a university environment. With 761 universities, a vibrant educational environment and a vast population below poverty line, India is a natural laboratory and fertile ground for Social enterprise, says Lokesh Abrol, Director, Hult Prize India. “The scale, the opportunity and the talent pool available are simply immense. We will not be surprised if Hult Prize in India becomes larger than the global parent in coming years,” he said.

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The Hult Prize is present in over 650 universities in 130 countries in the world and is growing by the year. It is rapidly becoming a community of motivated, inspired and passionate students around the world, united by a common idea of doing good in a sustainable and profitable way.

The prize is open to students from every campus in all countries of the world. The launch of a National Chapter depends upon the readiness of the ecosystem in the form of extent and quality of participation and availability of local sponsors and high calibre teams.

Process, selection
Action starts with recruitment of campus directors who are university students who apply online in June/July. Selections are done by telephonic or Skype interviews of shortlisted candidates. Those with demonstrable organisational skills are preferred.

Last year, the challenge was related to crowded urban places and how one can better connect people to goods and services, says Abrol. The objective was to double the income of one million people by 2020. Magic Bus from Earlham college, USA won it.

The Magic Bus founders – Iman Cooper, Sonia Kabra, Wyclife Omondi, and Leslie Ossete are from– USA, India, Nairobi, and Kenya. Not many people from poor communities had smartphones, so the team came up with the idea of an offline service that would use Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) gateway and SMS service to help people book their seats on in-city buses, know the time of arrival of the buses, fares, etc. They reduced the time spent in waiting for buses in Kenya, from several hours every week to minutes and enhanced productivity.

The prize money is US$ one million, which incidentally is the biggest ever prize money for any student award. One of the highlights of the Foundation is that former US President Bill Clinton is the Hult Prize Partner. He announces the challenge of the competition each year and hosts the Hult Prize Global Finals.

India focus
This year has seen a 400 percent increase in participation with over 50 top campuses taking part. After selection of campus directors, they are supported with planning, information, webinars, competition modules and mentoring. The Campus Directors spread the word, gather teams, organise seminars and discussions on the problem statement, lead fund raising, reach out to prospective judges of exceptional calibre and hold the campus event for teams that register on the Hult Prize India website.

Each campus needs to have at least ten competing teams with each team having 3 to 5 members. One team from each eligible campus advances to the National event. There is an additional avenue of application for teams that do not have a campus event or want to give it a second chance. the campus Directors can also use this avenue after their campus event has been completed. Online applications are scrutinised by a central panel of judges for shortlisting.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 13:35 IST

Eight Tamil Nadu fishermen injured in attack by Sri Lankan navy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight Tamil Nadu fishermen were injured when they were allegedly attacked by the Sri Lankan Navy for fishing in their territorial waters.”Eight fishermen from Pudukottai district were fishing off Neduntheevu on Saturday evening when the Lankan naval personnel attacked them using iron rods and wires before chasing them away,” Fisheries department Joint Director Sekar said.The injured fishermen are being treated at the government hospital at Manalmelkudi in that district.In another incident, more than 2500 fishermen from this island town were forced to return without their catch after they were allegedly chased away by the Lankan Navy for fishing off Katchatheevu, yesterday.”The naval personnel allegedly pelted stones and snapped the nets of nearly 30 boats forcing the fishermen to flee and return to the shore this morning,” Rameswaram Fishermen’s Association President P Sesuraja said.”The fishermen had ventured into the sea in more than 600 boats last evening and were fishing off Katchatheevu when they were attacked,” he added.

Rajinikanth visits ailing DMK chief Karunanidhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Actor Rajinikanth on Saturday called on DMK chief Karunanidhi who was recently hospitalised for a week for nutritional and hydration support and enquired about the 93-year-old leader’s health.Clad in a white kurta, Rajinikanth arrived at the Gopalapuram residence of Karunanidhi and spent sometime with the leader and enquired about his health, DMK sources said.Noted Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu too visited Karunanidhi and enquired about his health at the same time.The former Tamil Nadu chief minister was admitted to the Kauvery Hospital here on December 1 after being treated at home for a drug-induced allergy. “After medical treatment, he has improved substantially and was discharged from the hospital,” Kauvery Hospital Executive Director Dr S Aravindan had said on December 7.On December 8, the party had asked its workers and well- wishers to avoid visiting the leader as he had been advised rest and warned against contracting any infection.

Sushma Swaraj undergoes kidney transplant at AIIMS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday underwent a kidney transplant at AIIMS, with the organ being harvested from a living unrelated donor.According to sources at AIIMS, the nearly five-hour-long surgery was conducted at the cardio-thoracic centre by a team of doctors including AIIMS Director MC Mishra, surgeons VK Bansal, V Seenu and nephrologist Sandeep Mahajan. “The surgery started at 9.00 am and ended at 2.30 pm following which the minister has been shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the same building,” the sources said. “Living, unrelated donor could be anyone who is emotionally attached to the recipient, such as friend, a relative, a neighbour or an in-law. As no suitable donor was available in the immediate family, the transplant was done with the kidney from a living unrelated donor. “The clearance from the authorisation committee was obtained prior to the procedure,” the sources at AIIMS said, adding.According to doctors, 64-year-old Swaraj has been suffering from diabetes for quite a long time. After the kidney failure diagnosis, she was put on maintenance dialysis. “She was undergoing dialysis thrice a week,” a senior doctor said.On November 16, Swaraj had tweeted that she was in AIIMS because of kidney failure. “I am in AIIMS because of kidney failure. Presently, I am on dialysis. I am undergoing tests for a kidney transplant. Lord Krishna will bless,” Swaraj had tweeted. Swaraj, who has been in and out of the hospital for last few months, was admitted to AIIMS on November 7.After Swaraj made public her health condition on social media, support had poured in for her with several people offering their kidneys for transplant. Earlier she was admitted to AIIMS in April for treatment of pneumonia and other health issues.

Why was senior-most officer RK Dutta shifted out of CBI: SC asks Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre’s response on a plea challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the interim director of CBI after allegedly shifting out a senior officer who was supervising high profile cases of 2G spectrum and coal scams, by curtailing his tenure.”Why was senior-most officer R K Dutta, supervising high profile 2G and coal scam cases, shifted out of agency without the nod of this court,” a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman said while issuing notice to the government. “You have to reply on two questions, as to why Dutta was shifted out of CBI by curtailing his tenure and how the CBI’s interim director was appointed,” the bench said.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said a meeting of the selection committee to appoint CBI director will be convened soon and letters have been issued to Chief Justice of India and leader of largest opposition party in Parliament. The three-member selection committee to appoint CBI director comprises the Prime Minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the Chief Justice of India.Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause, claimed that Dutta was shifted out of CBI by curtailing his tenure to ensure that Asthana, a senior Gujarat cadre offier, was made the interim chief of the probe agency. “They are trying to destroy CBI,” Bhushan alleged after Mehta sought some time to file the reply, and urged the court not to give so much time to the government.Mehta argued that Asthana has been serving the agency for long and also handled several high profile cases.The court, however, asked Mehta to file reply to the petition within a week and posted the matter for hearing on December 16. The petition, filed by the NGO, alleged that the Centre took a series of steps in a “completely mala fide, arbitrary and illegal manner to ensure that Asthana was given the charge of CBI director”. Asthana, an IPS officer of 1984-batch, was elevated as CBI’s Additional Director on December 2 when its Special Director R K Dutta, who was reportedly among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Ministry of Home Affairs as a Special Secretary.The plea has claimed that the government did not convene a meeting of the selection committee, even though it was fully aware that Anil Sinha was going to demit the office of CBI director on December 2.It alleged that the government had “prematurely curtailed” Dutta’s tenure and transferred him to MHA on November 30 just two days before Sinha was slated to demit office.

IMC-UN join hands to empower women

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To set up a platform for women to develop their skills and empower them, the Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) and UN Women joined hands on Tuesday. The partnership aims to link women’s economic empowerment to ending violence against women.The partnership was unveiled at a conference called ‘WeUNite’, which explored skill development and women entrepreneurship, and was attended by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at Colaba on Tuesday.Speaking about the partnership, Radhika Nath, President of Ladies’ Wing IMC, said, “The role of the partnership is to make social change in empowering women and to develop their skills and make a social platform available for women in the rural as well as urban areas.”The conference was part of a campaign, ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender based Violence’ which is observed from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to December 10, Human Rights Day, across the world. The campaign aims at raising awareness about all forms of violence against women, promoting human rights and communicating the issue through various mediums.“Violence against women is a violation of women’s rights and a setback for the society. There is also a direct link between violence against women and their ability to participate effectively in the economy, including lost workdays, lower income, increased public expenditure and lost opportunities for education, employment and political participation. To prevent and end violence against women, it will require all major institutions in the society to work together, to provide services to victims and survivors of violence” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the event.“The ‘WeUNite’ partnership addresses gender equality and violence against women. This is a broad partnership with UN Women which focuses on social entrepreneurship and skill building, and we look forward to working together with UN Women,” said Deepak Premnarayen, President IMC.

PIL against government’s decision to appoint Gujarat cadre IPS as interim chief of CBI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Public-Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking quashing of government’s decision of appointing Rakesh Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer, as the interim director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. The PIL also seeks appointment of a Court-selected person as the interim Director of CBI as well as a meeting of the selection committee, which consists of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the largest Opposition party and the Chief Justice of India, to appoint a regular director of the probe agency. The PIL states that the government took a series of steps in a “completely mala fide,arbitrary and illegal manner to ensure that Rakesh Asthana was given the charge of CBI Director and “prematurely curtailed the tenure of and transferred Mr. R K Dutta,Special Director, CBI, to the Ministry of Home Affairs”.The PIL has been filed by Kamal Kant Jaswal, the president of Delhi based Common Cause through his counsel Prashant Bhushan. The PIL cited landmark judgment in Vineet Narain case in which the court had directed that there should be a selection committee to identify a panel of names for the appointment of Director CBI, and thereafter the final selection to be made by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).The PIL also cited that the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, , which governs the CBI, was amended in 2003 vide the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act, 2003 to state that the Director CBI shall be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendations of the Central Vigilance Commissioner, the Vigilance Commissioners and two Secretaries to the Government of India.”As the above mechanism was not found sufficient to insulate the CBI Director, Section 4A of the DSPE Act, 1946 was further amended vide the Lokpal andLokayuktas Act, 2013 (the Lokpal Act) to provide that the CBI Director shall be appointed by the Central Government on there commendations of the selection committee,” the PIL read.Th petitioner has claimed that the Central Government did not convene a meeting of the selection committee ” even though it was fully aware that Mr. Anil Sinha was going to demit the office of CBI Director on 02.12.2016″. The central government had last week made Asthana, a Gujarat cadre 1984 batch IPS officer, the interim director as the current chief probe agency Anil Sinha relinquished his charge. The decision came two days after CBI Special Director R K Dutta, who was among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Home Ministry as a Special Secretary leaving the agency without a director for the first time in 10 years. Asthana,who was serving as the additional director of the probe agency had previously headed the state SIT that probed burning of Sabarmati Express train at Godhra in February 2002. The SIT had then found that the burning of a coach of Sabarmati Express, which claimed lives of 59 people, was a “carefully planned and meticulously executed criminal conspiracy”. The 1984 batch officer has also supervised the fodder scam probe allegedly involving then chief minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav.

DNA Evening Must Reads: Apollo refutes Jayalalithaa’s death rumours, service sector takes hit post demonetization, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apollo refutes Jayalalithaa’s death rumours, AIADMK hoists flagTamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa remains in a “grave situation” despite the best efforts of doctors, Apollo Hospitals said on Monday. “Despite our best efforts, our beloved CM remains in a grave situation,” Apollo Hospital’s Joint Managing Director Sangita Reddy said in a Twitter post. Follow live updates on her health here.Demonetization effect: Service sector takes hit, PMI slumps to 3 year low in NovHit hard by demonetization, the services sector slipped into contraction in November — worst slump in nearly three years — as new orders dried up and customers cut spending due to cash shortages, putting pressure on RBI to keep rates low, a monthly survey showed on Monday. Read more here.INS Betwa slips while undocking at Naval Dockyard, 2 sailors missingINS Betwa, which is undergoing a refit at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, slipped on the dock blocks while undocking on Monday afternoon leading to damage to the naval warship. 14 personnel suffered minor injuries & 2 sailors are missing. Read more here.All payments over Rs 5,000 to be done electronically: FinMin tells departmentsThe Finance Ministry said on Monday that any payments by government departments to suppliers, contractors, grantees and loanees will now have to be made by electronically, in yet another push towards cashless transactions in the country. Read more here.You won’t believe how much Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan charged to host Star Screen Awards 2016!In the middle of all the exhilarating banter that the two of them exchanged on stage, one question kept ringing in the minds of the fans and that was, how much did SRK and Salman charge to host the segment? Click here to know more.

Demonetisation: Two bank managers arrested for laundering money in first incident of fraud

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate has arrested two Axis Bank managers in New Delhi and seized 3 kg gold bars in connection with its money laundering probe in a racket of illegally converting old notes in connivance with banking authorities.

The agency’s probe till now, after it registered a criminal complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on 30 November, found that huge monies were transferred through RTGS transfers to some shell companies including a case where the Director of such a firm was a “petty labourer.”

“It was also found that directors of other shell companies were also persons of no means,” the ED said in a statement.

The agency identified the two managers as Shobit Sinha and Vineet Gupta, working at Axis bank’s Kashmere Gate branch in New Delhi, and said they were arrested on Sunday under the provisions of PMLA. This is the first time such high ranking bank officials have been arrested for alleged fraud transactions post the currency scrap.

They will be produced in a court on Monday for further custody, they added.

Axis Bank said it has suspended the officials concerned.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“The bank is committed to following the highest standards of corporate governance and has zero tolerance towards any deviation on the part of any of its employees from the set model code of conduct. In this particular case, the bank has suspended the erring employee and is cooperating with the investigating agencies,” it said in a statement.

A gold bar, part of alleged kickbacks payment given to the bankers, has been seized by the agency from Sinha’s location in Lucknow, ED said, adding another 2 kg of gold bars have also been seized from one of the jewelers involved in the racket.

The case was first detected by the Delhi Police after it intercepted three people with cash of about Rs 3.7 crore in old notes, in front of the said Axis Bank branch last month, and the ED took cognisance of the police FIR to slap money laundering charges against the accused.

The Income Tax department too had carried out its action in this case and had surveyed the bank branch and later searched the residential premises of the duo.

ED has notified the bank to “stop operations” in 11 accounts even as it has zeroed on a number of jewelers, entry operators and others in this case.

“After demonetisation of high denomination notes certain persons having old currencies were looking for converting those notes into gold even at inflated rates. Such persons were contacted by the jewelers who collected such cash from these parties as advances against gold to be sold at high prices ranging from Rs 45000-50000 per 10 gm,” the agency said.

“The cash so collected was laundered through banking channels with the help of launderers who are professionally qualified CAs and managing several dummy/shell companies and finally payments from such companies were made through RTGS to bullion dealers and the physical gold so purchased at market rate of Rs 31000-32000/ 10 gm was handed over to the persons from whom advances were received,” the agency said.

ED claimed its probe found that some shell firms, which have their bank accounts in the said bank branch, were “used to deposit cash to the tune of Rs 39 crore between 10-22 November in close connivance” with the said bank managers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced demonetisation of the Rs 500/1000 notes on the night of 8 November.

“These cash deposits were in the installments of Rs 90 to 99 lakh so as to avoid detection/reporting to government agencies (like FIU and I-T department). In several instances more than one such cash deposit in a day was made in these accounts,” the agency said.

It added it has identified firms like Ms Beagle Marketing Private Limited, Sunrise Trading company, Himalaya International and RD Traders among others are part of the alleged shell companies racket being used to launder funds and convert black money into white.

“During interrogation of the middlemen it was revealed that the bank officials agreed to the modus operandi for getting commission/bribe at 2 percent of the amount deposited in cash in these accounts. This gratification was given to the bank mangers — Gupta and Sinha — in the form of gold bars (at the rate of 1 percent each),” the agency said.

It added that during interrogation of the bank managers it was “revealed that at their instance huge amount of cash was also exchanged in the initial three days (post 8 November) without following the due procedure prescribed by RBI.

“For this bulk change forms and unverified identity documents were received from certain customers along with old currency notes which were exchanged by giving them new currency notes in bulk amounting to several lakhs. The Directorate (ED) has arrested both bank managers for their connivance and further investigations are under progress,” the ED statement added.

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 15:08 IST

LIVE: Jayalalithaa suffers cardiac arrest; next few hours ‘very critical’, say doctors

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Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa was on Monday said to be critical after she suffered a cardiac arrest in the hospital where she was admitted over two months ago.

Apollo Hospitals, in a tweet late on Sunday night, said doctors were closely monitoring Jayalalithaa’s condition and trying their “very best”.

Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, Sangita Reddy tweeted:

68-year-old Jayalalithaa is “critical”, she said in an earlier tweet, adding that the AIADMK chief was on extracorporeal membrane heart assist device and being treated by a team of expert doctors and critical care specialists.

Security has been beefed up across the state with the Tamil Nadu DGP ordering all police officers and personnel to report for duty by 7 am for deployment.

Jayalalithaa, who has been undergoing treatment at the hospital since 22 September, suffered a cardiac arrest late on Sunday evening.

File image of J Jayalalithaa. PTI

File image of J Jayalalithaa. PTI

“She is being treated and monitored by a team of experts, including cardiologists, pulmonologist and critical care specialists,” chief operating officer and head of transformation of Apollo Hospital Dr Subbaiah Viswanathan said in the statement yesterday.

Dr Richard Beale from London has also been consulted and concurred with line of treatment by our cardiologists and pulmonologists, the hospital said.

Soon after the Apollo Hospitals statement came, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Tamil Nadu governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and enquired about Jayalalithaa’s health.

Rao, who is also Governor of Maharashtra, rushed to Chennai from Mumbai and went to the hospital.

Ministers and top police officials also rushed to the hospital and held informal consultations on the situation. Heavy deployment of police was made at the hospital on Greams Road where thousands of supporters of ‘Amma‘ (mother), as she is fondly called by her supporters, and AIADMK cadre had gathered on hearing the news.

In a communication to ADGPs of Enforcement, CB-CID, Economic Offences Wing and Crime wings, the Director General of Police’s office asked them to “mobilise all the officers in the rank of SPs and police personnel of other ranks of Enforcement, CBCID, EOW and Crime completely and they should report” to SPs and Commissioners of Police at 7 am.

“They should report in full uniform with their vehicles for law and order bandobust duty until further orders,” it said.

Jayalalithaa was hospitalised on 22 September after she complained of fever and dehydration. The hospital, which had been issuing bulletins on her health status, had later said she was being treated for infection with respiratory support, among others.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 07:55 IST

We have summoned Mahesh Shah to re-appear before us today: I-T dept

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahmedabad: Mahesh Shah, a property dealer from the city, was allowed to go home on Sunday morning after he was questioned for six hours overnight by Income Tax personnel. However, the I-T department has summoned Shah to appear before the concerned officer again on Monday morning.Pramod Chandra Modi, the Director General (Investigations) in I-T department, on Sunday said, “As per Shah’s request, the process of recording his statement temporarily concluded on Sunday morning and we have summoned him to appear before us on at 11.30am on Monday. If he does not show up, we know how to ensure he does so.”Shah shot into limelight after he declared Rs 13,860 crore under the Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS), which closed on September 30. He was picked up from the office of a regional channel for questioning on Saturday.During his interview to the news channel, Shah refused to reveal name of persons who allegedly used him as a front to declare the whopping amount, saying that he would do that only in front of I-T officials.Meanwhile, apprehending possible threat to his life, city police deployed two guards outside his residence in Satellite area.Sources said though Shah claims he is not financially sound and the I-T returns of the last few years shows his annual income to be only Rs3 lakh, documents recovered from his residence by the I-T department prove otherwise. While a page shows an entry by Shah of gifting a property worth lakhs to his son, another indicates he gifted a property to his wife too.When the I-T officers asked him about these entries and asked for details of the two transactions, sources said Shah was unable to give any satisfactory answers. Shah claimed he had bought the properties from his savings, but when asked to describe his savings per year, he was unable to do so. He was also not able to answer questions related to his other investments and fixed deposits.He also failed to answer questions about the interest rates he had earned from savings, and if he had paid tax on the interest earned.Sunday dramaThe I-T department allowed Mahesh Shah to go home at 10am
He first went to his daughter’s house in Prahladnagar.
He was later escorted to his residence at Jodhpur Square under police security. Monitesh Mahesh Shah speaksThe I-T department had called me on Saturday evening to provide my father’s medicines, and so I went there.
My father is innocent and Income Tax department should not grill him much.
But, I-T department should question those whose names my father will reveal.
My father has not shared any information with me about his disclosure and at whose behest he did the same. Rajkot connection to Shah?Rajkot -IT team has carried out searches at two offices – a goldsmith’s and a travel agency’s – in the last 24 hours.
Sources said their offices were probably searched as they were good friends of Shah.

IDS: Under scanner Mahesh Shah taken back home in police uniform

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>City police were on Sunday caught up in a controversy after they gave the property dealer Mahesh Shah, who declared undisclosed income of Rs 13,860 crore, a police uniform to wear when taking him back to his house.Inspector M U Mashi of Satellite area police station said Shah was dressed in police uniform so as to conceal his identity for security reasons. The explanation came after photographs of Shah in khaki uniform circulated on social media. Shah, questioned over his startling claim of undisclosed wealth, was allowed to go home by Income Tax Department officials this morning.”It is our duty to provide protection. We just wanted to conceal his identity. Such steps are necessary to protect him in view of threat to his security,” said inspector Mashi, when asked by the media about the pictures. He also said that police personnel had been deployed outside Shah’s residence for security. On Saturday, Shah made a sensational claim at a TV studio that he was used as a ‘front’ to declare Rs 13,860 crore under IDS.
ALSO READ Police let go Mahesh Shah after questioning over Rs 13,860 crore of undisclosed incomeHe was taken away for questioning from the studio last evening and interrogated through the night at the Income Tax office in Ahmedabad. P C Mody, Director of Investigations, Income Tax, said Shah had been asked to remain present again at the office at 11.30 am on Monday. “But it is up to him what time he eventually appears,” said Mody. Shah came under the scanner after he failed to pay Rs 1,560 crore, 25 per cent of the total 45 per cent tax on the disclosed amount, as the first instalment by November 30.

Charge sheet filed in minor girl rape case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Buldhana Police on Saturday filed a charge sheet in one of the two alleged rape cases of two minor girls and another charge sheet in the case of molestation of a minor girl studying in a private boarding school in Hivarkheda area of the district. DNA was the first to highlight these cases of gender violence on tribals.“Charge sheets have been filed in one of the two rape cases and the molestation case,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Rupali Darekar. After the incident had come to light, the Director General of Police (DGP), Maharashtra, Satish Mathur, had announced setting up of a Special Investigative Team, headed by a senior IPS officer.

Shun stones, focus on careers… counsels police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Police have embarked on an arduous journey to counsel stone throwers in a bid to wean them away from the path of violence in the valley.Thousands were arrested while more than 90 people have been killed and over 13,000 injured in the unrest since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani’s killing on july 8. More than 1,100 people, mostly teenagers, have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellets to quell the violent mobs.Come December, the police are adopting a humane approach to help the youth shun violence and concentrate on career building. To start with, police on Friday organised a counselling session for the youth of Baramulla town and adjoining areas who were involved in violent activities for the past few months.“The session was aimed at creating an understanding so that ways and means are found to prevent recurrence of such violent incidents in future. Many parents and respectable citizens of the town also joined,” said a police spokesman.Senior Superintendent of Police Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain impressed upon the youth to concentrate on career building and work hard to make up the loss they have suffered in the past few months.“These youth should not to fall prey to the propaganda and, instead, should channelise their energy in constructive and positive pursuits,” he said.“Peace is must for developmental activities and law enforcing agencies have a major role to lead the State towards tranquility and prosperity,” said K Rajendra Kumar, Director General of Police.

Rakesh Asthana to be interim chief of CBI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central government on Friday appointed Rakesh Asthana, a 1984 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, as the interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after the current chief, Anil Sinha, relinquished office on completion of his two-year tenure.The decision comes two days after CBI Special Director R K Dutta, who was among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Home Ministry as a Special Secretary, a post created for the first time in the ministry. It is the first time in the last 10 years that no new permanent CBI chief has been named to succeed an incumbent.The CBI chief is selected through a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition or the largest Opposition party in Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India. The collegium has not been able to meet prompting the Centre to give Asthana the additional charge of director of the agency.Asthana, who was serving as the Additional Director in CBI, is believed to be close to both PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. Asthana had previously headed the state SIT that probed the burning of Sabarmati Express train at Godhra in February 2002.The SIT had then found that the burning of a coach of Sabarmati Express, which claimed lives of 59 people, was a “carefully planned and meticulously executed criminal conspiracy”.The 1984 batch officer has also supervised the fodder scam probe allegedly involving the then Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav.Meanwhile, 60-year-old Sinha, during his last interaction as the agency director said that he is leaving the CBI with hopes that the agency will be the “best in the world”. Sinha had taken charge amidst allegations that the probe agency was susceptible to political pressure.

CBI chief Anil Sinha retires but govt doesn’t name new head: Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana to take over

New Delhi: CBI director Anil Sinha on Friday retired from the post handing over the baton to his second-in-command, Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, as the government did not name any full-time chief.

Asthana, a Gujarat-cadre officer of 1984-batch, got elevated as the second-in-command in CBI two days ago when Special Director R K Dutta, who was among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Home Ministry as a Special Secretary. The post of second special secretary was created for the first time in the ministry.

It is the first time in last 10 years, that no new CBI chief has been named to succeed an incumbent. Sinha completed his two-year tenure on Friday.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“The competent authority has approved assignment of additional charge of the post of Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to Rakesh Asthana, IPS (GJ: 1984), Additional Director, CBI with effect from the date of relinquishment of charge by Anil Kumar Sinha, IPS (BH:1979) on completion of his tenure with immediate effect and until further orders,” an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training said.

The CBI chief is selected through a collegium comprising the prime minister, the Leader of Opposition or largest party in Opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India. The collegium has not been able to meet. 60-year-old Sinha took charge of the agency when it was earning sobriquet of “caged parrot” and “closure bureau of investigation” and he managed to steady the ship by keeping away from media and ensuring a low profile with limited social circle.

Sinha proved to be a soft-spoken yet assertive leader for the agency who guided investigation in a number of important cases like the Sheena Bora murder case and Vijay Mallya loan default case. In Mallya’s case, Sinha ensured that a case is registered against the flamboyant liquor baron for his alleged default of loans extended to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines even though banks did not approach CBI with a complaint.

He directed his teams to explore role of media baron Peter Mukerjea in the Sheena Bora murder case after the agency was handed over the investigation.

Sinha ensured that CBI rigorously follows cases of piling of Non-performing Assets in public sector banks even though banks were reluctant to initiate a probe in these cases fearing loss of possible middle path which can be arrived at through discussions with defaulters.

Sinha, an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University where he studied during the first decade of its inception, follows his interests in psychology and economics and loves to spend a quiet time with his family.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 17:55 IST

Heavy rains in TN and Puducherry for 2 days, Nada to cross on Dec 2

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A depression over Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and cross the north Tamil Nadu coast early on December 2, bringing heavy rainfall in its wake, the weather office said on Wednesday. The cyclonic storm has been named ‘Nada’, S Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, told reporters in Chennai.The weather office said the depression over southeast Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards and intensified into a deep depression and lay centred about 830 km of southeast Chennai, 780 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 490 km east-southeast of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka.”The system is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards and intensify further into a cyclonic storm (Nada) during next 12 hours. It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranyam and Chennai close to Cuddalore by early hours of December 2,” it said.In its warning, the weather office forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on December 1 and 2. “Squally winds would commence to prevail along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from December 1 morning,” it said and asked fishermen not to venture into the sea.Those out in the sea were advised to return immediately. In the next 24 hours in Tamil Nadu beginning 0830 hrs on Wednesday, rains will commence along coastal parts and gradually move to inner districts, Balachandran said. In Chennai, rains are expected to start early Thursday morning and intensify gradually, he said, adding, spells of heavy to very heavy rain are likely in the city.

Punjab jailbreak: Special Investigation Team formed by the police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accepting that the Nabha Central Jail incident was result of a conspiracy as well as security lapses, Director General of Punjab Police Suresh Arora on Sunday said five criminals came in a car and told santari (guardsman) that they want to handover a prisoner. “Following which the santari (guardsman) opened the gate and the criminals, who were carrying small arms, overpowered the santaris and as a result six prisoners, four known criminals and two terrorists, were able to escape,” said the DGP, divulging details of the jailbreak.”Their names are Harvinder Mintoo and Kashmir Singh (both terrorists), and gangsters Gurpreet Sekhon, Vicky Gonder, Amandeep Dhotia and Neeta Deol,” he said.Asked why did the santari open the gate so quickly, the DGP said, “There are two aspects of it: one, they escaped, and the second, what were the lapses and who are responsible for those lapses; is there any connivance, we will clear these things soon.”
ALSO READ Punjab jailbreak: Rajnath Singh seeks report from Punjab govt, ready to provide assistanceWhen asked when the criminals fired 100 rounds, why did not security guards respond, he said, “Not 100 rounds; we have found around 30-35 rounds. Though the security guards responded to the firing, it was ineffective, which will be probed into.”Answering a question that if police suspect a conspiracy, the DGP said, “If you say that it’s not a part of conspiracy, then it will be wrong. There is a conspiracy, which we have to unearth. In such a cases, there are also roles of insiders.”
ALSO READ Centre seeks report from Punjab govt on jailbreakHe said Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who visited the Nabha jail to take on the spot stock of the jailbreak, told them to arrest the escapees and fix responsibility of the incident. “Being a Home Minister his directions are very clear arrest the escapees, fix responsibility of the incident, and to prevent such incidents from reoccurrence by enhancing jails’ security.”When asked could Pakistan be behind the incident, he said, “As a police officer I will not comment on this. It is too early for me.”Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal held a high-level meeting of the civil and police administration, including intelligence officials, in the morning to review the situation. The state government has announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh to any person providing information leading to the arrest of these six escaped under trial prisoners.A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed by the Punjab Police to investigate the escape of six under-trials. Additional Director General of Police, Internal Vigilance Cell, Prabodh Kumar would head the SIT comprising IGP, Patiala Zone, Paramraj Singh; IGP Ishwar Singh; IGP, Counter Intelligence, Nilabh Kishore; DIG, Patiala Range, Amar Singh Chahal; and Patiala SSP Gurmeet Chouhan.At the same time, a massive manhunt has been launched to nab the escaped prisoners, and all districts have been alerted to lay nakas (barricades) and conduct mobile patrolling to nab the escapees. Meanwhile, the statement said, the state government took a series of administrative steps and a red alert has been sounded throughout the state, besides, tightening security apparatus at all jails.Both the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of the Nabha jail have been dismissed with immediate effect, following the incident. The state government has also ordered the constitution of an inquiry committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Jagpal Singh Sandhu to look into the security lapses that led to the jailbreak. ADGP (Railways) Rohit Chaudhary has been posted as new ADGP (Jails) in place of MK Tiwari, who has been placed under suspension, and S Bhupati as the Superintendent of Nabha High Security Jail.

Centre seeks report from Punjab govt on jailbreak

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Concerned over the jailbreak in Punjab, the Centre on Sunday sought a report from the state government asking it provide details of the incident. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi also spoke to the Punjab DGP and asked him to ensure adequate security in all jails in the state.Armed men in police uniform stormed the high-security Nabha Jail in Patiala district on Sunday, opening indiscriminate fire and fleeing with five prisoners including Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Mintoo.The Home Ministry asked the Punjab government to send the report about the jailbreak as early as possible and the steps taken to ensure security in the jails.The incident came two days after Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked security forces to guard against attempts to disturb peace through “vicious” political campaign or by external extremist forces during the election process in Punjab and four other states. “We have to keep strict vigil against external extremist elements who may try to create disturbance in Punjab. There have been increased activities of Sikh terrorists in recent months. Similarly in Manipur, we have to ensure peace keeping in mind the ethnic divide. In Uttar Pradesh too, there may be attempts to disturb law and order through vicious political campaigning. We have to keep strict vigil and take proper steps to ensure peace during election,” the Home Minister said at the conference of Director Generals of Police (DGPs) in Hyderabad on Friday.

India: 6% girls experience harassment before age 10, 41% before age 19

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than four in every 10 women in India experience harassment or violence before they attain the age of 19, a survey has found. The survey conducted by NGO ActionAid in four countries showed that 41% of Indian women experienced harassment before they attained the age of 19.6% of them experienced harassment before the age of 10 years in India, followed by Brazil (16%), the UK (12%) and Thailand (8%). “41% of women in India have experienced some form of violence or harassment in the past month. The figure is even higher in other countries as 67% of women polled in Thailand and 87% in Brazil having been subjected to harassment or violence in the past month. In UK, 57% women experienced the same. “More than one in four (26%) women in India said they have been groped in the past month, while 20% women in Brazil, 26% in Thailand and 16% in the UK were groped,” according to the survey report released on Friday.The survey was commissioned to mark International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. The survey found that 82% of women in India said they have taken step to protect themselves against harassment. This figure rises to 91% for women between 25 and 34 years old. Steps range from avoiding parks and poorly lit areas (35%) and changing a travel route (36%) to using an everyday object like keys as a weapon (23%) or carrying a protective device such as a rape alarm or pepper spray (18%).”Cross country findings suggest immediate actions are needed on part of societies and governments to curb harassment and violence against women. While awareness on rights of women, women’s abilities and potential has seen incremental advances over the last decades, we are still a long way off to realize a promise of a just and equal world.”Threats to safety of women is directly related to the patriarchal mindsets that manifests itself in streets, workplace and at homes. On International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, ActionAid India urges all nations to take effective steps to challenge these patriarchal mindsets and sexist attitudes which are the root causes of this culture of harassment and violence against women,” said Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director at ActionAid India.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Indo-Pak DGMOs speak to each other, demonetization row & more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Counter-offensive: Pakistan blinks, DGMOs speak to each otherAmidst tensions along the LoC, the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan, in an unscheduled hotline interaction, spoke to each other on Wednesday. Read moreUproar over demonetization: After Lok Sabha, PM Modi to be in Rajya Sabha?After Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended Lok Sabha, amidst an Opposition-Government standoff on demonetization, there is anticipation that on Thursday he could be present in Rajya Sabha during question hour. Read moreDNA Exclusive: India sceptical about Pak intel alert on ‘Hindu terror attack’Amid rising tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB), the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has informed the Delhi Police and other Central intelligence agencies that “Hindu radicals” could attack the Delhi-Lahore bus service, the Samjhauta rail service that operates between India and Pakistan, and the luxury bus service from Delhi to Nepal. Read in detailNikki Haley accepts new UN assignment, Trump calls her a ‘proven dealmaker’Indian-American Nikki Haley on Wednesday said that she would be happy to represent America at the UN, describing it as “an important calling to heed” when the President believes “you have a major contribution” to make to the welfare of the nation. Read detailsTatas bring satraps to counter Cyrus Mistry’s claimsThe latest episode in the Mistry-Tata spat has brought into focus the group’s past attitude towards Tata Consultancy Services, considered to be the crown jewel that continues to sustain and feed the conglomerate. Read more

Indo-Pak DGMOs speak after Army retribution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst tensions along the LoC, the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan, in an unscheduled hotline interaction, spoke to each other on Wednesday.This conversation between Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and Major General Sahar Shamshad Mirza took place even as reports on Wednesday stated that the Indian Army had launched a massive retribution offensive to avenge the killing of three soldiers in the Machhal sector of Kupwara.Two BSF jawans were injured in cross-border action on Wednesday. Since September 29, when India launched “surgical strikes” inside Pakistani-controlled territory, the country has lost 18 jawans, 13 from the Army and five from the BSF, with many others injured.Sources said that Pakistan had asked for the DGMO talks, which came close after the Pakistan Foreign Office confirmed that Sartaj Aziz, who functions as Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, will attend a regional conference in Amritsar early next month. This ignites the hope of easing of tensions.Pakistan DGMO who called his Indian counterpart on Wednesday morning informed him about the civilian casualities. He said a minibus was hit with small and big arms in the town of Lawat in Neelam Valley, killing nine passengers and injuring 11 others. The minibus was on its way to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).Lt Gen. Singh expressed grief at the civilian casualties, but emphatically stated that the retaliatory firing by Indian troops was carried out targeting locations from where Pakistan has initiated ceasefire violations on Indian posts. He also raised the issue of civilians and soldiers being killed on the Indian side, due to unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops.Earlier in the day, from Poonch to Rajouri and from Machil to Keran, the Indian Army has gone on an all-out offensive to target Pakistani posts on the other side of Line of Control across Jammu and Kashmir.”We are carrying out the fire assaults,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman, in Srinagar.Army sources said that massive damage was inflicted on Pakistani posts after the Indian fire assault. They added that the Army used light artillery to target Pakistani posts, decimating several of them on the LoC.On the other side, Pakistani media reports quoting Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) admitted that three Pakistani soldiers—Captain Taimoor Ali Khan, Havaldar Mushtaq Hussain and Lance Naik Ghulam Hussain—were killed.In retaliatory fire, two BSF soldiers were injured when Pakistani shells landed near their post on the LoC in the Keran sector of Kupwara district. Indian Army launched the fire assaults soon after it vowed to avenge the killing of three soldiers saying “retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act.”It was reported that the Border Action Team (BAT) of Pakistan had badly mutilated the body of one soldier and killed two others when they ambushed a counter infiltration patrol on the Line of Control (LoC) at the Machhal sector of Kupwara district on Tuesday. BAT is a mix of Pakistani Special Forces, which are used as the force multiplier by Pakistan army on the LoC.During the telephone conversation, the Indian DGMO also raised the issue of infiltration attempts by terrorists. He described the mutilation of the body one Indian soldier as “unethical”. Pakistan, however, rejected as “false and baseless” the reports regarding the alleged mutilation of the solider.”These reports are a fabrication and a blatant attempt to malign Pakistan,” said Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakariya.General Singh also asked his Pakistani counterpart to exercise strict control on his troops and to refrain from any nefarious activities. “This will lead to the return of normalcy along the LoC,” he said. He also stated that any case of ceasefire violations or infiltration attempts from Pakistan on Indian territory, would receive an appropriate response from the Indian Army.On the diplomatic front, Pakistan’s Director General (SAARC) Dr. Mohammad Faisal, summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh, on Wednesday morning, to protest against the firing.Later in the evening, India also summoned Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah, on Wednesday, to issue a demarche.

Control your troops, refrain from ‘nefarious activities’: Indian DGMO to Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the aftermath of Indian army’s “punitive fire assaults”, DGMOs of India and Pakistan spoke at the latter’s request for an “unscheduled hotline interaction” during which the “unethical” act of mutilation of bodies of Indian soldiers by “terrorists” was raised. “He (Pakistani Director General of Military Operations) was categorically informed that if any ceasefire violations were initiated by Pak troops or any infiltration attempt was made by terrorists from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or territory under its control, it would invite an appropriate response by Indian army,” a statement issued by the Indian DGMO’s office said.Indian DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh raised the issue of infiltration attempts by terrorists from Pakistan into Jammu and Kashmir and “unethical act of mutilation of the body of Indian soldiers close to the Line of Control by terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan”. Pakistan’s DGMO was exhorted to exercise strict control on their troops to refrain from any “nefarious activities”, it said.”This would lead to return of normalcy along the Line of Control,” the statement headlined “Aftermath of Indian Army’s punitive fire assault: Pak DGMO requests for unscheduled talks on hotline”, added.Pakistan’s DGMO informed about civilian casualties on his side caused by Indian firing at the Line of Control.Lt Gen Singh expressed grief at civilian casualties but “emphatically stated that retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out targeting locations from where Pakistan has initiated ceasefire violations on Indian Posts”.Lt Gen Singh expressed his concern to Pakistani DGMO about casualties caused to Indian civilians and soldiers due to “unprovoked” Pakistani firing.Pakistan Army had earlier in the day said seven persons, including three of its soldiers, were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian troops at the LoC, taking the death toll in such incidents on their side to 14 since last week.Those killed were identified as Captain Taimoor Ali Khan, Havaldar Mushtaq Hussain and Lance Naik Ghulam Hussain. The development came a day after three Indian soldiers were killed, with body of one of them being mutilated in a cross-LoC attack. Today’s offensive by the Indian army came hours after the it vowed “heavy retribution” to the killing of its soldiers.

Show not your skin, Delhi police advise students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Don’t post sexually provocative poses and don’t show too much skin.” No, this was not an angry parent berating her child but the Delhi police. In a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation given to 90 schools, addressing an estimated 5,300 children, the police apparently decided that it wasn’t just enough to enforce the law they needed to play the ‘moral police’ as well.The presentation, which has been accessed by DNA, will be made available to a further 876 schools across the capital soon.The presentations, which started from November 2 and are ongoing, came about after a directive by Delhi police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma. Under this directive, the Delhi police started a programme entitled “Protect Children On The Net” where officials are meant to educate students about existing cyber laws of the country and the dangers of sexual predators online.”Online predators do not fit any one mould or stereotype. They come from all walks of life—seemingly upstanding citizens have been caught enticing children for sexual acts,” stated the presentation.Police officials have also told students — in the presentation— that predators on social networking sites and chat rooms may try to gain their trust by making promises, sending cool gifts or offering them affection and attention. “They may also talk about inappropriate things, send you sexually explicit images, ask for your personal information, or ask you to do things that make you feel uncomfortable.””Posting information like your name, your school, or your address could put you in a dangerous position and at the risk of victimisation. Someone looking to harm you could easily follow you and know what time of the day you will be at each location,” Delhi police officers told students.So far, so good. But post this information came the moral policing. Cops pointed out that students needed to behave in a “decent” manner online. “Sexually provocative photos and videos not only convey the wrong image, but may also catch the eye of a predator,” said Delhi police advised students.The cops also went on to say that by showing “too much skin” students were actually “enticing someone unknown on the internet who may later try to persuade to do inappropriate things.” And after this moral tirade, came a threat. Students were given examples of fellow students who had been suspended from school and lost career and educational opportunities, due to inappropriate information being posted on their profiles and blogs.The police also gave an example of a student whose social networking password was leaked and thereafter a “morphed nude photograph of hers were sent to everyone on her address book.”The police’s insensitivity in dealing with students has left some activists incensed. Bharti Ali, Founder and Director of HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, a Delhi-based NGO, working towards securing child rights, told DNA.”It is scary that the police are intruding into the private space of children. If they are educating children, they need to be more sensitive. There is no issue in educating kids but intruding into their personal space and directing them what to do and what not to do is, frankly, frightening.”Countering Ali’s claims, senior cops claim the slides should not be seen in isolation as the presentation addresses the larger problem of young minds falling prey to online predators.

Indore-Patna Express derailment: 12-member GRP team formed for investigation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railways formed a 12-member team of GRP personnel on Tuesday to investigate the Indore-Patna Express derailment which has left 148 passengers dead and over 100 injured. DSP GRP Jhansi will head the team, Director General Railways Gopal Gupta said in Kanpur on Tuesday.An FIR has already been registered against unidentified railway employees under section 304A (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 of IPC at the GRP police station at Bhimsen railway station.When asked about a broken track led to the derailment, Gupta said no evidence in this regard has been found. Maintaining that no evidence has been found so far about involvement of any terror outfit or explosion in the case, the DG said any conclusion can be reached only after the probe completes.
ALSO READ Indore-Patna Express tragedy: Toll mounts to 146, probe into derailment beginsThe train’s passengers are being questioned in connection with the probe but as the incident occurred around 3 AM most of them were asleep and are not in the state to provide details, he said. Seven bodies have not been identified so far, Gupta said.When asked about some reports that a fish plate was found uprooted at the accident spot, the officer said he has no information about it. 148 people have died after the Indore-Patna Express derailed here in Kanpur rural area just a little after 0300 hours on November 20.

Pakistan claims to shoot down Indian drone near LoC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Pakistan military on Saturday claimed to shoot down an Indian drone in the Aagahi Post in Rakhchakari Sector. Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt-General Asim Bajwa tweeted that the quadcopter had intruded 60 metres inside Pakistani territory:There have been a whopping 286 incidents of firing and shelling along the LoC and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops that have resulted in the death of 26 people, including 14 security personnel, since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in PoK on September 29 after the Uri terror attack.More details awaited.

Following Delhi’s pollution disaster, Maharashtra adopts policy to curb transport of fly ash

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi’s air pollution disaster a fortnight ago seems to have alerted the Maharashtra government into taking preventive measures at the earliest. On Tuesday, the state cabinet approved the State Thermal Power Plant Ash Utilisation Policy which seeks to curb transport of fly ash produced in the coal-based thermal plants and stipulates measures to utilise all coal waste at source.The government has announced cluster development of ash-based industries, such as cement, in the vicinity of all thermal power plants. The industries, in joint venture with the government, will be given land, ash and tax incentives.Maharashtra produces nearly 18 million tonnes of fly ash annually. While one-third of it remains unutilised, the rest is provided to cement companies for free. The ash transportation cost, a Rs 2,000 crore burden on the state exchequer annually, is also borne by power stations.The policy has been announced after the Centre’s directive in this regard, issued early this year. Maharashtra is the first in the country to formulate such a policy. It seeks 100% compliance by the end of 2017.Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said, “We have already received some proposals from cement companies which are willing to purchase the coal waste.” About a third of raw material used in cement is fly ash.Fly ash can be used for making cement, pre-fabricated building material, bricks, laying roads, housing and industrial buildings, dams, flyovers, reclaiming low-lying areas, wasteland development, stowing of mines and all other construction works. The government has directed departments like Rural Development, Public Works Development, Urban development, Tribal, Social Justice and premier schemes such as Housing for All, Pradhan Mantri and Mukhya Mantri Sadak Yojna to use at least 15% ash component in their works. The coal ash can be used in the agricultural land to increase its productivity and hence agriculture department has also been roped in to promote the fly ash among farmers. With the move, the government also hopes to bring down the cost of power generation and promises to pass it on to consumers.The government has also decided to export fly ash after treating it with cenospheres, which is expected to generate revenue of Rs 1,500 crore. “There is a great demand of fly ash generated from power plants abroad,” said Bawankule. The government has decided to set-up a company — Maha Gen Management Services (MahaGeMS) — to manage the ash generated at all government-run and private thermal plants in the state. Shyam Wardhane, the director of Mining in Maharashtra, has been given additional charge of the Managing Director of the under-construction company. The company will form joint ventures with private cement companies. The contribution of Mahagenco, the state-owned power generation company, will be its land and fly ash. Other investment will be done by the private partner.If the venture is successful, it will reduce air pollution in the areas around power plants. Presently, fly ash is transported in trucks to cement plants. Many times the transporters do not pour adequate water on the fly ash and it spreads around during transportation.“The cluster of industries can be set-up within 300-kilometer radius of the thermal plant. While those setting foot within 100-kilometer radius will have to collect ash on own expenses, for those established between 100- and 300-kilometer thermal plants will share 50% of the transport burden,” said Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule.Ash content of Indian coal is approximately 30-45% while imported coals have 10-15%. A large quantity of ash is thus being generated at coal/lignite-based thermal power stations in the country, which not only requires large areas of precious land for its disposal near power plants but is also one of the sources of pollution of both air and water.

India’s carbon emissions increased by over 5 % in 2015: study

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels increased by 5.2% while China’s decreased by 0.7 % in 2015, according to new research which found that global CO2 emissions remained nearly flat for three years in a row.India contributed 6.3 % of all global CO2 emissions, with emissions increasing 5.2 %, in 2015 continuing a period of strong growth, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK and the Global Carbon Project.Global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels did not grow in 2015 and are projected to rise only slightly in 2016, marking three years of almost no growth, they said.The projected rise of only 0.2 % for 2016 marks a clear break from the rapid emissions growth of 2.3 % per year in the decade to 2013, with just 0.7 % growth seen in 2014.The data shows emissions growth remained below one % despite GDP growth exceeding 3 %. Decreased use of coal in China is the main reason behind the 3-year slowdown.”This third year of almost no growth in emissions is unprecedented at a time of strong economic growth,” Professor Corinne Le Quere, Director of the Tyndall Centre at UEA who led the data analysis, said.”This is a great help for tackling climate change but it is not enough. Global emissions now need to decrease rapidly, not just stop growing,” Le Quere said.China – the biggest emitter of CO2 at 29 % – saw emissions decrease by 0.7 % in 2015, compared to growth of more than 5 % per year the previous decade.A further reduction of 0.5 % is projected for 2016, though with large uncertainties, researchers said.The US, the second biggest emitter of CO2 at 15 %, also reduced its coal use while increasing its oil and gas consumption and saw emissions decrease 2.6 % last year.US emissions are projected to decrease by 1.7 % in 2016.The EU’s 28 member states are the third largest emitter causing 10 % of emissions. The EU’s CO2 emissions went up 1.4 % in 2015, in contrast with longer term decreases.Although the break in emissions rise ties in with the pledges by countries to decrease emissions until 2030, it falls short of the reductions needed to limit climate change well below 2 degrees Celsius, researchers said.”If climate negotiators in Marrakesh can build momentum for further cuts in emissions, we could be making a serious start to addressing climate change,” said Le Quere.The Global Carbon Budget analysis also shows that, in spite of a lack of growth in emissions, the growth in atmospheric CO2 concentration was a record-high in 2015, and could be a record again in 2016 due to weak carbon sinks.”Part of the CO2 emissions are absorbed by the ocean and by trees. With temperatures soaring in 2015 and 2016, less CO2 was absorbed by trees because of the hot and dry conditions related to the El Nino event,” Le Quere said.The study was published in the journal Earth System Science Data.

War on Black Money: Rajnath, Jaitely take stock of situation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took stock of the prevailing situation in the countryon Sunday in the wake of demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes. In an hour-long meeting, the two Ministers were briefed about the situation in different states where heavy rush were witnessed in banks and ATMs to change old notes and withdraw cash.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and other top officials of the Ministries of Home and Finance attended the meeting, official sources said. The Centre has already asked all states to ensure proper security in all banks, ATMs and vehicles transporting cash in the wake of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. The Home Ministry has deputed three too officials to be in touch with state governments to ensure security of banks, ATMs and cash transporting vehicles.The three officials are taking regular feedbacks from the Director Generals of Police and the situation in respective states, official sources said. However, so far no report of any major violence or untoward incident has come from anywhere in the country. “We have conveyed to the states that if they require any assistance, we will provide immediately,” an official said.The Central government is expecting the financial situation to be normal in next few days.Two separate advisories were sent to all states in this regard, the official said. The Reserve Bank of India had yesterday said that currency printing presses are running at “full capacity” to sustain demand for new notes.Adequate stock of all currency notes has been kept ready at more than 4,000 locations across the country, and bank branches are linked to them for sourcing their requirements, RBI said. Long queues were witnessed at bank branches across the country to withdraw money and also to exchange the demonetised Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes.

Allow high denomination currency for wedding expense: UP CM Akhilesh Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav asked the Centre on Tuesday to allow high denomination currency for expenditure in upcoming marriage season, even as state police has been asked to keep vigil near banks to maintain law and order after the decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.The chief minister also urged the Centre to ensure that the decision did not have any adverse impact on the poor, farmers and villagers. Akhilesh, who is heading the Samajwadi Party government in the poll-bound state, said the Centre should arrange special camps in villages for exchanging existing currency notes saying banks were not easily accessible in the rural areas. The opposition has termed the Centre’s step as hasty and ill-timed coming in the season of harvest and marriages. Uttar Pradesh police were alerted to maintain strict vigil near banks and other places to maintain law and order “Director General of Police Javeed Ahmad has issued directives to all district police chiefs stating that there may be serious law and order issues after the announcement. “Patrolling and visibility (of force) should be there at market areas, near banks, post offices,” Additional Superintendent of Police in DGP office Rahul Srivastava said.He said police officers have been directed to talk to traders bodies and petrol pumps and keep an eye on situation in rural areas.The situation became difficult for commuters this morning with many petrol pumps closing down claiming that they were out of stock, while in shops, customers were turned away by traders, who were not ready to accept notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations. Police has been deployed at petrol pumps to control the crowd.After the announcement caught people by surprise, long queues were seen at ATMs and petrol pumps last night.

Pak summons India’s Deputy HC over ‘ceasefire violations’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the fifth time in just over two weeks, Pakistan summoned on Tuesday the Indian Deputy High Commissioner and lodged a strong protest over alleged “unprovoked” firing by Indian forces along the LoC.”Director General (South Asia & SAARC) Dr Mohammad Faisal, summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner, Mr JP Singh, today and strongly condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations” by the Indian Forces yesterday on the LoC in Nikial and Jandrot sectors, Pakistan Foreign Office said. “The firing resulted in the death of 3 civilians, including a woman and injuries to four others, including a 5-year-old boy, the Foreign Office said in a statement. “The Director General urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding; investigate the continued incidents of ceasefire violations; instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit, stop targeting the villages and civilians and maintain peace on the LoC,” the statement said. Deputy High Commissioner Singh has also been summoned to the Foreign Office over ceasefire violations on October 25, 26, 28 and November 1.On October 27, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to the foreign ministry and conveyed the decision of the Government of Pakistan to declare an Indian High Commission official “persona non-grata”.

Lucknow: Judge asks medical college to pay Rs 25 lakh each to 150 students for wrong admissions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday ordered the management of Dr MC Saxena Medical College in the city to pay Rs 25 lakh damage per student for “wrongly admitting” 150 of them in the MBBS 2015-16 course.It directed the management of the college to deposit the entire amount in respect of all the 150 students with the Director General of Medical Education, Uttar Pradesh within two months.The Director General, Medical Education, in turn, shall distribute the money among the students after due verification.The court though refused to grant relief as sought by the petitioner students and dismissed all the writ petitions filed by them in the matter.The petitioners had sought a direction to allow them to appear in the first year MBBS examination for 2015-16.The judgment was delivered by Justice Devendra Kumar Arora on six writ petitions moved by some students.State counsel Sanjay Bhasin said the college had no affiliation or recognition of Medical Council of India (MCI) and 150 students were wrongly admitted without proper counselling, in a process which was “neither transparent nor fair”.”This court is constrained to observe that there has been a wilful disobedience by the respondent medical college of the orders passed by the apex court, which is nothing but an interference with the administration of justice. Disobedience of an order of a court, which is wilful, shakes the very foundation of the judicial system and can erode the faith and confidence reposed by the people in the judiciary, and undermines the rule of law,” the court said.It further observed that the medical college had shown “scant respect” to the order passed by the highest court of the country and proceeded, under haste, to impart medical education to the petitioners in the first year MBBS course, possibly to make an “unlawful gain, adopting unhealthy practices”.

How much lead have you inhaled from your wall paint?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC), in its recent notification, has prohibited manufacture, trade, import as well as export of household and decorative paints containing lead or lead compounds in excess of 90 parts per million (ppm).Activists, who have been highlighting the dangers of lead in paints used in households, have welcomed the new mandatory ‘Regulation of Lead Contents in Household and Decorative Paints Rules, 2016’ that was notified by the MOEFCC on November 1.They also claimed that lead paints were a significant cause of lead exposure especially in children, and the new regulation will help in safeguarding the health of vulnerable children and mothers.Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Toxics Link, which had identified lead in paints as a very critical issue of toxicity in 2006, and published research papers, shared that this was an extremely progressive standard, enabling manufacturers to make the shift from lead to no-lead paint possible.”While our campaign resulted in larger paint companies removing lead from paints by 2014, a study conducted by Toxics Link in 2015 indicated that even today, paints manufactured by small and medium-sized enterprises had high lead levels, way above the prescribed limit of 90 ppm by the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS),” said Sinha.According to World Health Organisation (WHO), lead exposure is estimated to account for 6,74,000 deaths per year, with the highest burden in low and middle-income countries, and globally, lead in paint has been disallowed in Europe and the US for several decades, while it is still used in many developing countries.Scientific evidences have also established that children and pregnant women are most vulnerable as low levels of lead in the bloodstream can also be harmful. Lead exposure has significant effects on the nervous system, the potential to cause brain damage and even death.”For decades the paint industry has been ignoring the irreversible impacts of lead on the health of children. Finally, India joins the world in making it mandatory for paint companies, and products which use them, to comply with global practices of lead-free paints,” said Ravi Agarwal, Director, Toxics Link.Now, decorative and household paints manufacturers have to label their paints, stating that the lead contents do not exceed 90 ppm, and the label should contain the name and address of the manufacturer or importer and date of import.Meanwhile, every manufacturer or importer shall subject its product for testing of lead content every year before selling its product in the market

J&K situation extremely fragile; around 300 militants still active: DGP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as “extremely fragile”, state DGP K Rajendra has said around 300 militants are active in the state and that continuing infiltration along the Line of Control (LoC) is a cause of worry.. “The continuing infiltration along the border is a cause of worry which can change the whole game,” the Director General of Police (DGP) told a meeting of top civil and police officials of the state, chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, here yesterday.Referring to the situation in Kashmir where the unrest triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July completed four months, Rajendra said even though the intensity and spread of the situation has come down, it continued to be “extremely fragile”. “While the intensity and spread of situation has come down, the situation is extremely fragile. At present, 250-300 militants are active. Given the present situation, we need to have a road map for next two-three months,” he said.The DGP said at least 70 buildings have been set ablaze by miscreants during the ongoing unrest in the Valley. “53 of these 70 buildings have been damaged totally,” the police chief said. He said the restoration of normalcy will remain the top priority for the forces in coming days. “While a semblance of normalcy has been restored, there is no scope for complacency. Police will continue its drive against miscreants,” he said.At the meeting, Deputy Commissioners and SSPs of Kashmir division made detailed presentations on the ongoing development works, some of which have been affected due to the situation. They also provided figures on the number of cases filed over the last four months and the arrests made in those cases.

250-300 militants active in J&K, says state police chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s official—there are 250 to 300 militants active in the terror-plagued Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Koondaveeti Rajendra Kumar said the continuing infiltration along the border is a cause of worry which can “change the whole game”.“While the intensity (of protests and street violence) has come down, the situation is extremely fragile. At present, 250-300 militants are active. Given the present situation, we need to have a road map for next two to three months,” he said while addressing the meeting of top civil and police officials chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.Rajendra said at least 70 buildings were set ablaze by miscreants during the ongoing situation with 53 of them damaged completely. “The restoration of normalcy will remain the top priority for the forces in the coming days.While a semblance of normalcy has been restored, there is no scope for complacency. Police will continue its drive against miscreants,” he said.On this occasion, Mehbooba announced that her government would review cases against those youths who have been participating in street protests in the last four months.“We will review those cases where students and first-timers are found to be involved. We will talk to their parents and get their assurances that their wards will not participate in protests in future. We can’t go on arresting people. There should be a different and empathetic plan of action to contain the situation,” Mehbooba said.

J&K Police crack school burning cases; 10 arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Police achieved a first major breakthrough when they arrested 10 people allegedly involved in the torching of two schools in the Kulgam district of south Kashmir.Superintendent of Police, Kulgam, Shridhar Patil told DNA they have arrested 10 people for torching Government High School Mirhama and Jawahar Navodhaya Vidyalaya in the district.“During investigations it has been revealed that the school burning incidents was a mischief by miscreants. The arrested people are also involved in the stone pelting incidents during the unrest,” he said. Police have also zeroed in on some more people involved in the torching of other schools in south Kashmir. However, the accused have escaped outside the Kashmir valley. “Many of them have fled outside the valley. I do not have the exact figures. But we do not know where they have gone. What we know is that they are not at their homes,” said Patil.Sources said police is investigating the links of the accused with the separatists in Kashmir. So far separatists have denied any role in the torching of schools and in fact cried conspiracy to defame the ongoing agitation in the valley.The arrest comes days after Jammu and Kashmir high court took a suo moto notice of the “unfortunate and horrendous episodes” and called for collective efforts to save the school buildings from ”mysterious enemies of education”.“All concerned at their respective levels and the authorities of the government in particular shall immediately take all necessary measures so as to protect these school buildings,” the court said.The court had also directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, and Director School Education Kashmir to devise modes and methods in collaboration with higher authorities and lower officials which shall be effective in protecting school institutions.More than 26 schools have been set ablaze by unknown arsonists in Kashmir since the unrest began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen poster boy Burhan Wani.

Baffled over why only Muslim prisoners escape and get killed: Samajwadi Party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Samajwadi Party on Wednesday wondered why only Muslims were involved in jail breaks and killed in encounters.Party leader Abu Azmi told ANI, “When the Congress government was in power in Maharashtra, a prisoner named Khwaja Younis was killed. Be it the Congress or the BJP, they don’t care about Muslims.”He said there were 42 CCTVs installed at the Bhopal Central Jail and, yet, prisoners were able to climb a 20 foot wall and escape.”When encountered, how come everyone was in the same place? How come they were killed in the same place? It is all concreted,” he said.He said the police officer killed was a ‘scapegoat’.”I think he was made a scapegoat, I consider him a martyr. There should be an enquiry in this.” Azmi said.Politicians are demanding a probe to verify the authenticity of the encounter in which eight prisoners from the banned SIMI organization were neutralized. The Director General of the Madhya Pradesh Police has announced the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the killings.Superintendent of Police (SP) Anurag Sharma from the CID branch, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), and four inspectors have been included in the team.The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), taking suo motu cognizance of the issue, has issued notices to the Madhya Pradesh Government, the chief secretary and the state police for submission of a detailed report within six weeks.The under trial prisoners escaped from the jail after killing a guard. They were charged under various crimes, including murder, sedition, jail break and bank robberies. Five jail officials have been suspended, including the DIG (Jail) and the jail superintendent. The Additional DG (Jail) has reportedly been transferred

‘Customer feedback platform to assess call drops soon’: Telecom minister warns operators of action

New Delhi: Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha on Tuesday warned operators of action, including penalty, for call drops, and said his ministry will soon set up a platform to enable consumers to offer direct feedback on call failures.

On the interconnection dispute between Reliance Jio and incumbent operators — where TRAI has recommended a hefty penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea — he said the ministry will “ensure” that services are provided by those who have been given licences.

“The recommendations (of TRAI) are there… in our purview, if we have given a licence to someone, they should also give service, we will ensure this…In the regulatory framework, ways are found with mutual consultation…and I feel that the path will be found,” he said after meeting with the heads of telecom operators.

On the telecom war between operators over points of interconnect, the minister said that consumers will not suffer.

“Consumers will not be effected, we will ensure it. We have advised them to get solution within the regulatory framework and they will do it,” he said.

Representational image. Image courtesy: Think stock

Representational image. Image courtesy: Think stock

Asked if he was in favour of penalty being imposed for call drops, the minister said, “Call drops should be out of the country, only then I will be satisfied…Not just penalty, if something else is required (to be done), we will do that.”

He expressed satisfaction at the progress made by companies in installing base stations for improving connectivity but said that while TRAI report indicates an improvement in the overall situation, its circle-wise criteria of measuring call drops does not cover “black spots” where call failures occur. “Till consumers say they are free of call drops, I will not accept it…Telecom Ministry is considering making a platform that will take direct feedback from people on call drops…it will be ready in the next one month and that will be the right parameter to gauge the situation,” he said.

Earlier this year, telcos had submitted a 100-day action plan on strategy to address call drops issue. They had committed to set up 60,000 base stations as part of this action plan within 100 days, and one lakh base stations over a one year period.

Sinha said the operators have installed over 61,000 base transceiver stations (BTS). This, however, does not include BTSes put up by Reliance Jio, which started commercial operations recently. The minister said that Jio has put up another 45,000 BTSes during the period.

The meeting was attended by Bharti Airtel Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal, Vodafone MD and CEO Sunil Sood, Idea Cellular MD and CEO Himanshu Kapania and Telenor CEO Sharad Mehrotra.

Earlier on Tuesday, Vittal told PTI the company had done “tremendous” work in the last 100 days on network quality and there has been significant reduction in call drops.

“We have optimised 30,000-35,000 sites. We have rolled out massive pace of sites in the last 100 days. We have also bought spectrum…We have invested in software networks and geospatial tools and technologies. We have divided the country into 1,100 clusters and we look at network quality in each clusters,” Vittal said.

As a result, call drops have come down by roughly 15-30 percent, he added.

Cellular body COAI’s Director General, Rajan Mathews who was also present at the industry’s meeting with the minister, said the operators have installed 1,20,000 base stations, nearly doubling their 100-day commitment.

“The operators have now given their individual targets for the next 90-100 days,” he said.

A COAI statement said the total BTS in the country stood at 13,45,470. In this time, operators have also spent close to Rs 85,000 crore, which is also more than the committed amount, COAI said.

The industry association has emphasised the need for government intervention in helping operators secure cell sites especially post, defence, NDMC and MCD.

“We would request government’s intervention to locate cell sites on government buildings and land, Postal Department facilities and defence properties, as access to these sites still eludes the industry…Greater sensitisation of the MCD and NDMC is still the need of the hour as MCD continues to shut down sites and NDMC is yet to release them to the industry,” COAI said, adding that of the 115 sites applied, no sites have materialised.

Maharashtra govt sets up panel on climate resilient farming

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra government has decided to set up a committee under the chairmanship of a top bureaucrat for the implementation of a Rs 4,000-crore project on climate resilient agriculture.The programme aims to reduce farmers’ dependence on unpredictable weather cycles and enhance resilience of agriculture to climate change and vulnerability through research and use of technology. The seven-member panel, headed by the Principal Secretary (Agriculture), has been set up with a target of selecting 4,000 drought-prone villages for the implementation of the project, according to a Government Resolution (GR) issued two days ago.The committee would select 3,000 villages from eight districts of Marathwada region, while the remaining 1,000 will be chosen from six districts of Vidarbha, it said. The panel has been asked to select indicators related to weather, agriculture and social status of the villages from Marathwada and Vidarbha based on which they would be ranked.”The Marathwada and Vidarbha regions have been at the receiving end of climatic variations. Erratic showers and heavy spells have damaged crops very often in the last few years,” a senior officer of Agriculture Department said. “A climate resilient cropping pattern could be useful to minimise loss of crops. Unless there is a scientific approach to climatic variations, farmers can not sustain themselves,” the officer said.The Vice-Chancellors of Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Agriculture College, Parbhani, and Akola-based Panjabrao Deshmukh Agriculture University, State Agriculture Commissioner and Director General of Groundwater Surveys will be the among members of the committee. Director of the Project on Climate Resilient Agriculture would be the Member-Secretary, while Randhir Savarkar, MLA from Akola (East) would be the only non- administration member of the panel, the GR added.

Recipient of President’s Police medals, NIA chief Sharad Kumar re-employed

Fri, 28 Oct 2016-09:47pm , New Delhi , PTI

Sharad Kumar is involved in various important cases which includes Pathankot terror case, terror strikes in Kashmir, Burdwan blast case and Samjhauta blast cases. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a rare move, the Government gave second extension of one year to senior IPS officer Sharad Kumar on Friday by re-employing him as Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) for a period of one year. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal for re-appointment of Kumar on the post of DG, NIA on “re-employment” for a period of one year beyond end of previous one year an official statement said.Kumar, an IPS officer of 1979 batch of Haryana cadre, was appointed as Chief of NIA on July 30, 2013. His continuance was approved apparently to help the agency in completing some of the important cases which includes Pathankot terror case, terror strikes in Kashmir, Burdwan blast case and Samjhauta blast cases. Having got numerous outstanding reports during service, Kumar is also a recipient of President’s Police medals for meritorious and distinguished services in the year 1996 and 2004, respectively.

ISRO’s World record bid: Plans to launch 83 satellites on single PSLV-XL rocket

Chennai: Indian space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is aiming for a world record by putting into orbit 83 satellites — two Indian and 81 foreign — on a single rocket in early 2017, a top official of Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO said.

He said the company’s order book stands at Rs 500 crore while negotiations are on for launch order for another Rs 500 crore.

“During the first quarter of 2017 we plan to launch a single rocket carrying 83 satellites. Most foreign satellites are nano satellites,” Rakesh Sasibhushan, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Antrix Corporation told IANS.

He said all the 83 satellites will be put in a single orbit and hence there will not be any switching off and on of the rocket.

The major challenge for the proposed mission is to hold the rocket in the same orbit till all the satellites are ejected. He said ISRO will use its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle XL (PSLV-XL) rocket variant for the record launch.

For ISRO, launch of multiple satellites at one go is not a new thing as it has done it several times in the past. According to Sasibhushan, the total payload/weight carried off into space by the PSLV-XL rocket will be around 1,600 kg.

Citing non-disclosure agreements, Sasibhushan declined to name the clients whose satellites ISRO will put into orbit. He said some satellites belong to clients whose satellites ISRO put into orbit in the past.

Meanwhile, ISRO is conducting high-altitude tests with its own cryogenic engine that is expected to power the heavier rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mk III (GSLV Mk III). The GSLV Mk III has a capacity to carry around four tonnes of load.

The rocket is scheduled to be flown in January 2017. The GSLV Mk III rocket is expected to save precious foreign exchange for India as it pays to launch heavier satellites through foreign space agencies.

In an interaction, ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar said the agency is looking forward to develop four-tonne communication satellites that will give the same output as a six-tonner.

Gold dazzles on Dhanteras as sales go up by 25%; demand for coins surge

Dhanteras, the auspicious day today (Friday) to buy precious metals in the form of jewellery and coins has spiked consumer interest and they have been buying jewellery and silver utensils since morning.

It is still too early to say how much the demand will increase but so far the sentiment has been good with increase in footfalls and also increase in sales.

Gold prices tumbled after a month of steady run at Rs 31,000 mark to Rs 30,020 per 10 grams in the beginning of the month and since them consumer sentiment has been buoyed up.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

Somasundaram PR, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council said that the festival has been good for the trade. “It appears that, as was widely expected, this Dhanteras has ushered in a new phase of optimism around gold, particularly after an unusually difficult first half. Consumers who have been deferring gold purchases are back and the demand for gold jewellery and branded coins seems to be much better than the previous year’s Dhanteras and Diwali festival.”

He reasons that good monsoons as experienced in all parts of the country coupled with a softening of gold prices have improved the sentiment. Somasundaran was optimistic about the upcoming wedding season which he said would be promising for the trade and consumers alike.

Retail trade is gung-ho about their prospects after seeing a rush in footfall since the morning of Dhanteras. They are expecting sales to continue through to Sunday when office-goers get their holidays for the season and step out with families to buy gold.

Vijay Jain, CEO, Orra Fine Jewellery which has 32 stores across India says that sales have seen a much better demand in the northern markets after a sluggish growth in the past four years. Gold coins have been in high demand especially 1 gm coins at Rs 3,000, 5 gm at Rs 15,000 and 10 gms at Rs 30,000. “We outsold our stock within a few hours of opening the store across the country,” said Jain.

Kishor Narne, Head of Commodities & Currencies, Motilal Oswal Commodities, said that the bullion traders were bullish on gold and are not surprised that demand has been good at the beginning of this season. Prices have been upbeat in the last 3-4 months and with a price correction in the last 15 days timed at the festive season, demand for the precious commodity has gone up.

Some stores have seen increased demand on the back of schemes and freebies that they offer customers. Ghanasingh Jewellers, which has two stores in the country – Bandra, Mumbai and Hyderabad said that they have seen a 20 percent rise in footfalls through the day so far (6 pm) compared to the previous year. What has attracted customers is the 50 percent discount on making charges and assured gift on every purchase. “We have seen a lot of demand for gold jewellery of 10 gms at a price of Rs 30,250 and also small ticket purchases of gold rings and earrings costing between Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000,” said Krishaa Ghanasingh, Director, Ghansasing Be True.

Asher O, Managing Director (India Operations) – Malabar Gold & Diamonds, said that though the demand for the precious metal was subdued till September, but after that demand has picked up during festive occasion and we are expecting many customers for Diwali. “Compared to last year’s Diwali festival, we are expecting a 20 percent to 25 percent increase in sales during the celebrations,”.

According to jewellers and MMTC-PAMP India, gold demand has picked up in the wake of good monsoon and favourable price levels. There was positive response and more footfalls. There was robust demand for gold and silver coins as also bars this time as prices are at favourable levels. People are buying for investment purpose. We expect 15-20 percent increase in sales from over the last year,” MMTC-PAMP India President (Marketing) Vipin Raina told PTI.

But more sales are expected in the later part of the day, with office-goers in big cities coming in for buying late in the evening, he added.

Gold prices are ruling at Rs 30,590 per 10 grams in the national capital, about 16.6 percent higher than Rs 26,230 on Dhanteras day in 2015. Silver traded at Rs 42,700 per kg as compared with Rs 35,410 per kg last year.

Echoing his point, Kalyan Jewellers Executive Director Ramesh Kalyanaraman said, “The advance booking for jewellery is up by 20-25 percent compared to last year. The update on sales figures will be known in the evening.”

“Prices are lower when compared to last two months. Prices are more or less stable now and also demand has revived in view of the good monsoon,” he said.

P C Jewellers MD Balram Garg said, “We are expecting 20 percent jump in volume and 30 percent in value terms as prices have gone up in the last one year.”

The country’s gold demand had fallen 30 percent to 247.4 tonnes during the first six months of 2016, from 351.5 tonnes in the year-ago period, as per WGC.

India is the world’s largest gold consumer and imports a sizeable chunk of its total annual consumption of around 900-1,000 tonnes.

All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation former chairman Manish Jain said, “There is good response in most parts of the country. About 20-25 percent increase in sales is expected at the end of the day.”

Jewelsify.com founder Hardik Kapoor said the company expects triple-digit growth rate this time compared to last Dhanteras.

There has been a drastic rise in diamond jewellery sale and customer’s preference has shifted from gold bars to diamond jewellery, he added.

Stating that there is revival of gold demand, Lucknow-based Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers Director Tanya Rastogi said, “The recent drop in gold prices has triggered sales among watchful buyers. Footfalls have been good.”

Mumbai-based Manubhai Jewellers Director Samir Sagar said, “We are excited about the festive rush and are expecting an above-average footfall at our store, with a healthy 25-30% jump in sales of gold jewellery compared to last year.”

Anmol Founder Ishu Datwani is expecting demand build-up for both gold and diamond jewellery since gold prices have gone down. “We are expecting at least 20-25 percent increase in sales this Diwali,” Datwani said.

Waman Hari Pethe Jewellers Director Aditya Pethe, said, “This is our first year on e-commerce, and we have noticed a rise in sale on our online store too during this season where light-weight jewellery like pendants, earrings and rings have been popular.”

Narne of Motilal Oswal Commodities expects a 15 to 20 percent rise in prices despite lack of global appetite. Prices would go up 15 percent to Rs 34,000 for 10 gms by next year, he said.

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