The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday morning arrested a manager of the Kotak Mahindra Bank for his alleged links with hawala trader Parasmal Lodha and Delhi-based lawyer Rohit Tandon.
Sources in the ED said that Ashish Kumar, the manager at the Kasturba Gandhi Marg branch of the bank, was arrested for allegedly converting over Rs 25 crore in demonetised notes linked to industrialist J. Sekhar Reddy and lawyer Rohit Tandon.
On 23 December, the income tax department had carried out raids at the branch.
Ashish, a resident of Haryana, would be produced in a Delhi court on Wednesday afternoon.
Lodha, a leading businessman with interests in real estate and mining, was intercepted at the Mumbai airport while he was trying to flee to Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the bank said in a statement that it has already suspended the services of the employee and that it proactively informed the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) about the suspicious transactions.
“The Bank on its own, on observing the nature of transactions in these accounts, proactively filed a report with FIU for further investigations well in time. On subsequent investigation by the Income Tax authorities, the Bank, as per their instructions, has deposited the entire amount that was credited with these accounts with the Income Tax department,” the bank said in a statement.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>INLD leader Ajay Chautala, who is serving a 10-year jail term in a teachers’ recruitment scam case, was today allowed by the Delhi High Court to attend the marriage function of his son and MP Dushyant Chautala.The leader, who was on parole since November 28 and was restrained from moving out of the national capital, has sought modification of the order, saying he be allowed to attend his son’s ‘roka’ ceremony at Sirsa in Haryana on December 25. The application came up for hearing before Justice Vipin Sanghi who allowed the leader’s plea to attend two ceremonies to be held at different locations in Sirsa and Gurgaon.Advocate Amit Sahni, appearing for the convict, said the ‘ring’ ceremony was scheduled on January 3 next year and sought permission to the petitioner to leave the territory of Delhi to “enable him to attend and perform the customs on both the dates”.Allowing the plea, the court asked the leader to surrender before the jail authorities on January 5 next year, the date already fixed. On November 28, the court had granted a month’s parole to Ajay for maintaining “social ties” but restrained him from taking part in political activities. The court had restricted Ajay’s movement while directing him not to leave Delhi without permission from the authorities concerned.The Supreme Court on August 3 last year had dismissed the appeals of Ajay and his father O P Chautala challenging the high court’s verdict upholding their conviction and sentence of 10 years awarded by a trial court in the junior basic trained (JBT) teachers recruitment scam case.The high court had on March 5, 2015, upheld the 10-year jail term awarded to Chautalas and three others, saying, “The overwhelming evidence showed the shocking and spine-chilling state of affairs in the country.”The father-son duo and 53 others, including two IAS officers, were among 55 persons convicted on January 16, 2013 by the trial court for illegally recruiting 3,206 JBT teachers in Haryana in 2000.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 21-year-woman was allegedly drugged and raped by two men in southwest Delhi’s Dwarka, following which the accused were arrested, police said.The accused have been identified Sunil (26) and Himmat(22), DCP(Southwest) Surender Kumar said.The woman claimed that she was brought forcefully from Gurgaon to a flat in southwest Delhi on Wednesday night where the accused drugged raped her, they said.The flat is rented by Nitin, Sunil’s driver. Nitin was out of town when Himmat and Sunil allegedly took the girl there.The incident came to light while the girl was trying to escape from the flat and fell from the window into the shaft and sustained severe injuries. While trying to prevent her from escaping, Himmat also fell from the window, police said, adding Sunil had gone out when this happened.Hearing the duo’s cries, the neighbours made a PCR call alleging that some thieves were hiding in the shaft.The girl sustained severe back injuries and was taken to DDU Hospital from where she was referred to Safdarjung Hospital where her condition is stated to be stable, they said.After gaining consciousness, she told police that the duo raped her after she lost consciousness upon being drugged.The accused were arrested after the woman’s medical examination was conducted, police said.On the other hand, the accused claimed she came with them willingly and that they didn’t kidnap her. They said Sunil had gone out to get some food while Himmat and the girl were drinking in the flat.They claimed that Sunil and the woman were standing near the window when they lost balance and fell, they said.Himmat hails from Mahendragarh in Haryana and had come to Delhi around 15-20 days back to work with Sunil, whose cars were earlier plying for Uber, a police official said.
The President on Monday appointed Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar as the 44th Chief Justice of India from 4 January, 2017.
Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on 6 December recommended to the government that Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar be appointed his successor when he demits office on 3 January, said informed sources.
Justice Khehar happens to the senior-most judge after the CJI and should succeed to the post on the principle of seniority. As Chief Justice, he will have a tenure of over seven months as he would be retiring on 28 August, 2017.
High profile cases
File image of Justice Khehar Twitter/ @airnewsalerts
Justice Khehar also presided over the five judges’ constitution bench that had quashed the then Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa’s decision to pre-pone the assembly session from January 2016 to December as it directed restoration of ousted Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s government. But subsequent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh took a different course.
He was also a part of the bench which sent Sahara chief Subrata Roy to jail while hearing the matter relating to the refund of money invested by people in his two companies.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, Khehar was instrumental as he presided over the constitution bench that junked the National Judicial Appointment Commission as unconstitutional holding that it intruded upon the independence of judiciary.
The government had sought to replace the existing collegiums system for the appointment of judges to higher judiciary by the NJAC mechanism through the enactment of Constitution’s 99th amendment that had put in place NJAC and the NJAC Act, 2014.
Justice Khehar also appeared as counsel for M Krishnaswamy, an MP from the Arani constituency in Tamil Nadu, in defence of Justice V Ramaswami constituted to investigate the grounds on which the removal of Justice V. Ramaswami was sought. He was also a member of the Judges Inquiry Committee for investigating the grounds for removal of PD Dinakaran when Dinakran was the Karnataka High Court Chief Justice.
Having done LLB and LLM from Punjab University, Chandigarh, Justice Khehar was awarded Gold Medal for securing first position in the university in LL.M examination.
Before being elevated as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh on February 8, 1999, Justice Khehgar had practised before it as well as the Himachal Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court. He was twice appointed as the acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court from August 2, 2008, and again from 17 November, 2009.
He was elevated as Chief Justice of Uttrakhand High Court on 29 November, 2009. Later he was transferred as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.
Justice Khehar was elevated as judge of the Supreme Court on 13 September, 2011.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in ‘Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav’ at Banaras Hindu University here and address the students on December 22, Union minister Mahesh Sharma said on Saturday.Sharma was in the city to inaugurate the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav being organised by the Union Ministry of Culture.On this occasion, a government website of the Ministry of Culture www.rsmbhu2016.in was launched by the Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture.Padma Vibhushan Girija Devi, BHU Vice Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi, Union Secretary (Culture) N K Sinha along with other officials and faculty members and students of the varsity were present at the function.The Union Minister congratulated the university for the successful organisation of the gala event. He said that such kind of festivities help in promoting and preserving the rich cultural heritage of our country.Folk art of different states added glitter to the cultural festival, which included folk songs, folk dance, Malkhambh , martial art, Bin jogi of Haryana, Kachchi ghodi of Rajasthan among others.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Haryana government on Friday said it had handed over the matter pertaining to reallotment of a plot to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) in Panchkula in 2005 to the CBI for probe. “This case (AJL) has been given to CBI for probe a few days back and soon the CBI will start investigation,” Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar told reporters here.Notably, Haryana State Vigilance Bureau had registered a case of cheating and corruption against former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and four HUDA officials for allegedly realloting a plot to AJL in 2005.The case under various IPC sections, including criminal breach of trust by a public servant, cheating, criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against Hooda, the then Haryana Urban Development Authority chairman, a post held by him ex-officio as the CM, and four of its top officials then, on May 5 this year. The plot had been initially allotted to AJL, the owner of National Herald newspaper, in 1982.After the expiry of the lease period in 1996, the then Haryana Vikas Party goverment led by Bansi Lal resumed its possession. It was reallotted to AJL after the Congress leader came to power in 2005. The vigilance bureau had alleged that the act by the then HUDA chairman and the officials had caused a huge financial loss to the public sector undertaking as the plot should have been sold through open auction instead of being allotted again to AJL. Hooda had then alleged it was political vendetta.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Moga, Punjab: Battling anti-incumbency, the ruling Shiromoni Akali Dal (SAD) government led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal showcased its power, by kick-starting election campaign from Killi Chillan village in Moga district on Thursday. With hundreds of saffron flags fluttering with slogans like ‘Pani Bachao, Punjab Bachao’ , it became clear that the SAD will seek votes on the emotive issue of water sharing, much to the embarrassment of the ally the BJP, which is ruling the neighbouring state of Haryana.“Punjab di khushali paani te nirphar ae (Development of the state is dependent on water). We will not let river water of Punjab to be used by any other state,” said Badal, emphasising that by giving the ownership rights of the land acquired for the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal to its original owners after its de-notification, the government has put the contentious issue to rest. Badal who also celebrated his 90th birthday on Thursday, said the large gathering at the rally symbolised the significance of the issue for people of the state. “Punjab has no spare water to share with anyone,” he asserted from the stage, flanked by his party MLAs and MPs. Terming Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as anti-poor, the CM said that he was cautioning people that if voted to power both these parties would discontinue the several pro-people schemes and subsidies being currently given to people. “I request you to save Punjab,” he said.Hundreds of school buses had ferried villagers from far-flung districts to attend the rally. “Our Sarpanch brought us to the rally,” said one of the residents of Ludhiana, who had come to attend the rally. When asked what the rally was about, he said, “It was about saving Punjab waters.” Addressing the rally, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal lambasted the AAP, referring to them as ‘topiwallahs’ and Congress for allegedly defaming Punjab youth as drug addicts. “Our youth do not get jobs when they go to different states, because Gandhi family had run a propaganda stating 70 per cent youth are drug addicts,” he said, raising the slogan, ‘Congress tey Topiwale bhajao, Punjab bachao’.He challenged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to showcase his accomplishments in Delhi before eyeing Punjab. “We will build 5 lakh houses for poor and 1,000 colleges in the state. Also, 1.50 lakh more jobs would be created more than 12,000 villages of the state would get solar lights, sewerage and clean water supply facilities at a cost of more than Rs30,000 crore,” he said.
Mumbai city will see two of its important landmarks being renamed in the near future. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, commonly known as CST, which is one of Mumbai’s busiest railway stations, and the Mumbai international airport, known as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport will be renamed.
The names of the railway station and the airport won’t be drastically different. The word ‘Maharaj’, which means king in Marathi will be added after Shivaji. Mumbai’s international airport will now be called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport and CST will be renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminal.
Before 1995, the airport was called Sahar International Airport and the railway station was called Victoria Terminus. They were renamed after the BJP-Shiv Sena came to power in 1995.
The demand for renaming of places across India gathered steam after the BJP-led NDA swept to power in 2014. In April 2016, the Haryana government under ML Khattar renamed Gurgaon to Gurugram in honour of Guru Dronacharya, The Hindureported.
In October 2014, the NDA government cleared the way for renaming 12 cities in Karnataka. As a result, Bangalore became Bengaluru, Mangalore became Mangaluru and Mysore became Mysuru, in line with their Kannada pronunciation.
According to a report in DNA, the RSS has also demanded that Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, Telangana‘s Hyderabad and Mahrashtra’s Aurangabad be renamed Karnavati, Bhagyanagar and Sambhaji Nagar respectively.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a chargesheet against Former Chief Judicial Magistrate of Gurgaon, Ravneet Garg, and his parents for the murder of his wife Geetanjali Garg, then 27 years old, three years after her bullet-ridden body was discovered in a Police Lines park.By the time Ravneet was arrested in September this year, he had become a Senior Division Civil Judge in Haryana’s Kaithal region.According to the agency, Ravneet, his father KK Garg and mother Rachna were charge-sheeted under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 304B (dowry death) and 498A (cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 30 of the Arms Act, 1959.The sensational case came to light when Geetanjali’s body was found on July 17, 2013, along with a service revolver registered under her husband’s name. On the day of the incident, Geetanjali had left home around 3 pm. Her body was found in the bushes near a playground within a few hours.The case in this regard was registered at the Civil Lines police station on July 20, 2013. The CBI took over the case after a series of controversial statements by the Haryana police, which had initially dubbed the incident as a suicide.Senior Haryana police officers were forced to change their statements repeatedly after investigators kept recovering bullets every few days from the park where the body was found.FACT FILEThe case attracted attention when the Haryana police, during the first few days of the investigation, dubbed it a suicide. Two days after the incident, however, Geetanjali’s family accused Ravneet of murder, following which a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up and a case was registered on July 20, 2013. The Haryana police had declared that Geetanjali was shot twice, a statement contrary to the post-mortem report, which established that the 27-year-old had three bullet injuries – one on her stomach, another on the chin with the bullet piercing through her head and the third one on her neck.Police then claimed that they recovered, on two occasions, the casings of the third and even a fourth bullet. Finally, CBI took over the case on August 7, 2013. Ravneet was arrested for the suspected murder in September, 2016.
Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Tuesday recommended to the government that Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar be appointed his successor when he demits office on 3 January, said informed sources.
Justice Khehar happens to the senior-most judge after the CJI and should succeed to the post on the principle of seniority. As Chief Justice, he will have a tenure of over seven months as he would be retiring on 28 August, 2017.
Supreme Court of India. Reuters
Considered to be a strong judge, Justice Khehar presided over the constitution bench that junked the National Judicial Appointment Commission as unconstitutional holding that it intruded upon the independence of judiciary.
The government had sought to replace the existing collegiums system for the appointment of judges to higher judiciary by the NJAC mechanism through the enactment of Constitution’s 99th amendment that had put in place NJAC and the NJAC Act, 2014.
Justice Khehar also presided over the five judges’ constitution bench that had quashed the then Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa’s decision to prepone the assembly session from January 2016 to December as it directed restoration of ousted Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s government.
But subsequent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh took a different course.
Having done LL.B and LL.M from Punjab University, Chandigarh, Justice Khehar was awarded Gold Medal for securing first position in the university in LL.M examination.
Before being elevated as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh on February 8, 1999, Justice Khehgar had practised before it as well as the Himachal Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court. He was twiuce appointed as the acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court from 2 August, 2008, and again from 17 November, 2009.
He was elevated as Chief Justice of Uttrakhand High Court on 29 November, 2009. Later he was transferred as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.
Justice Khehar was elevated as judge of the Supreme Court on 13 September, 2011.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shriomani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance government in Punjab has locked horns with the extremist Sikh elements on the issue of permitting the Sikh religious congregation, Sarbat Khalsa, on eve of assembly elections. With no word from the administration, the organisers have postponed the event to December 18. The government believes that the congregation, like last year, will be used to whip up passions against the Badal government.It is third time that the event has been postponed since the initial date of November 10, with the Punjab government making all attempts to ensure that the event is not held at all. The radical Sikhs were not allowed to put up tents at the venue and police continue to remain deployed. A petition filed by the organisers against the administration’s orders is pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the next hearing is scheduled for December 6.The event has also caught the Opposition Congress on the horns of a dilemma. Though from behind the scenes, its leaders are supporting the organisers of Sarbat Khalsa, but the party also wants to distance itself publicly for fear of losing Hindu voters in the coming polls.“We had filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the next hearing is on December 6. Since we are yet to get permission, we are likely to postpone the event to December 18,” said Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (Amritsar), while talking to DNA. The organisers have accused Punjab government for trying to scuttle the voice of Sikhs by denying permission to hold the event.Asserting that it was a fundamental right and that government cannot stop the gathering, Mann said, “The government cannot take away our fundamental right to hold a gathering. It is an eternal right and we will hold the congregation, irrespective of the upcoming elections.”The Sarbat Khalsa is organised by radical Sikhs to discuss political, social and religious issues of extreme importance to the Sikh community. Last year, the congregation had witnessed massive participation from Sikhs and had appointed Jagtar Singh Hawara, the jailed assassin of Beant Singh, as the Jathedar. It also passed 13 resolutions challenging the authority of SGPC and revoked Panth Rattan honours given to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. As Punjab elections are two months away, the ruling party is wary of the seething resentment growing among radical Sikhs.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reacting to the charges put forward by amicus curiae Anupam Gupta before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday, Additional Advocate General Pawan Girdhar has said there is no direction to prosecute any journalist with regard to the Murthal gang-rape case.Gupta appealed that the Delhi-based journalist, who filed a report on alleged cases of gang-rape in Murthal, Haryana, during the Jat agitation earlier this year should be prosecuted for producing false and fabricated evidence of the alleged victim.”There is no direction to prosecute any journalist. There is no variation at all and we have submitted all the details before the court as and when required,” he said.”Definitely we are going to file a response to clear any kind of variation that which has been pointed out by learned amicus curiae before the honourable court. We will file a response to clarify the same,” he added.At least 30 people were killed and over 320 injured in the nine-day long Jat agitation for reservation in February this year. There were reports that women had been dragged out to the fields and raped during the violence that ensued.The Haryana Government had initially denied the reports of rape, but admitted in April that there could be a possibility of the same.The SIT report earlier said that no victim of the alleged mass gang-rape or molestation had come forward to lodge a complaint.The High Court, taking suo motu notice of reports in the media about the gang-rapes, had asked the Haryana government and police to submit a status report and appointed lawyer Anupam Gupta as amicus curiae.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three persons, including assistant jail superintendent, were arrested by Punjab police in connection with Nabha jailbreak. Assistant jail superintendent Bhim Singh, head warden Jagmeet Singh and a sweet shop owner Tejinder Sharma have been arrested on the charges of abetment and criminal conspiracy in the Nabha jailbreak case, police said.Bhim had allegedly met the accused a day before their daring escape and his mobile phone was used for plotting the escape of prisoners, they claimed. Police had booked 29 people, including nine jail officials, under relevant sections of IPC in connection with the jailbreak case, officials said.Meanwhile, police said it has obtained the custody of Palwinder Singh Pinda from Uttar Pradesh Police on transit remand. He will be produced in Nabha court on Wednesday. Harminder Singh Mintoo along with Kashmir Singh, two terrorists, and gangsters – Amandeep Dhothian, Vicky Gounder, Gurpreet Sekhon and Neeta Deol – were freed by a group of armed men, believed to be 10-12 in number, who stormed the high security jail at Nabha in Patiala district on Sunday.
ALSO READ Punjab jailbreak: Mastermind Parminder sent to 14-day judicial custodyMeanwhile, Haryana DGP KP Singh visited villages in Kaithal on Tuesday from where escapees of Nabha jailbreak were suspected to have passed through. He also sought information regarding the cops deputed on the day of the incident. Singh also passed directions to get the footage of CCTVs installed on the roads. DGP also visited Solumajra and Faral village in Kaithal from where the vehicles, that were suspected to have been used in the crime, were found abandoned, an official release said.He claimed that no escapee of Nabha jailbreak was hiding in Haryana.
The best-hated and the most feared animal in all India, whose only crime — not against the laws of nature, but against the laws of man — was that he had shed human blood, with no object of terrorising man, but only in order that he might live…
– Jim Corbett
While there is a reason for wildlife lovers in the national capital to celebrate as the forest department has confirmed the presence of a leopard around Yamuna Biodiversity Park, there is something one should really worry about. The news confirming the leopard’s presence in the capital contradicts the headlines that appeared two days later on 25 November.
A leopard was beaten to death and that too brutally, by the residents of Mandawar village in Gurugram’s Sohna area. The forest department officers who were present on the spot, say, the villagers didn’t allow them to do their job. They took the task on themselves attacking the leopard with stones, sticks, spades and what not. I mean, really!
There is no denying the fact that it attacked eight people in the village, but how does it justify what the villagers did to the leopard? The leopard probably panicked after seeing the crowd and must have reacted; not to harm anyone, but to save herself. Shouldn’t the forest department have tried harder to tranquilise it, especially when they claim to be present on the spot and were fully equipped with tranquiliser, nets and cage?
Forest officials prepare a pyre for a dead male leopard killed by tea plantation workers in Assam in 2014. Reuters
Isn’t it too early to celebrate the presence of another leopard around the National Capital Region? Are we, the humans, ready for the co-existence?
And, this is neither the first time when a leopard has come out of his habitat nor is it the first that a leopard has been beaten to death by a mob. It is the failure of a system that’s unable to control the situation when such circumstance arises, which eventually leads to loss of lives both the species, whether it’s human or the animal.
On 20 February 2015, news of a leopard death was reported in Usmanpur, the north-east area of Delhi. This was fourth such death in a row and ninth reported in between June 2014 and February 2015.
They say, “A leopard cannot change his spots.” So, is it we humans who need to change? But if people and large carnivores like leopards share a landscape, can coexistence between the two foster?
The crumbling of forests and wildlife habitat close to the cities is apparently becoming a grave reason behind the extermination of the wildlife. Although by and large, the local leopard population tries to steer clear of humans, at times, conflict becomes inevitable either because people simply see a leopard and create a havoc, or, because a leopard starts visiting human settlements in search of goats, cattle and even dogs since its prey is dwindling due to human encroachment.
The human-leopard conflict isn’t anything new to us but we generally turn a blind eye to its repercussions. The repercussions do involve us, but it largely affects the leopards. Humans still have a shelter but the leopards, unfortunately, are fast losing it. Besides, we still take pride in mob lynching and poisoning of this otherwise harmless creature.
While Delhi has the Asola Bhati Wildlife Sanctuary in the Aravali hills and Rajasthan has the Sariska Tiger Reserve, the intervening Aravali areas in Haryana have no sanctuary or national park. The Aravali hills adjoining Delhi especially along the Gurugram-Faridabad highway connects Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary with the rest of the patchy jungle belt of Haryana and Rajasthan. It can serve as an important wildlife corridor if conserved. In my opinion, the Aravalis have been the leopards’ traditional habitat. There is enough wild prey in the scrub forest. There are ravines too, which make it a perfect area for the leopards to live stealthily.
In November 2014, a fully grown leopard was attempting to pass through the Delhi-Jaipur highway, having very little idea of what was going to transpire. The next few minutes brought with it the most terrible sight when an unidentified speeding vehicle ran over the animal making it lifeless. The tragic fate of leopards had probably just started to unfold.
A month later, an adult male leopard began paying surprise visits to the villagers of Abupur in Ghaziabad district. He was seen wandering around the sugarcane fields keeping terrified villagers at bay. After a few days of sightings, the leopard’s dead body was discovered in a sugarcane field near the railway track.
Just a day before that incident another leopard’s carcase was found near Pachehra village in Loni, Ghaziabad.
Although any foul play was ruled out by the forest department, the animal had reportedly died because of coming in contact with high-voltage wires laid by someone.
Is it the leopard, which seems to have forgotten its territory and dares to venture in the urban settlements, or, is it the authorities who are unable to put a halt on the rising number of leopard deaths? There isn’t a definite answer for the same, but ensuring a safe and rich prey base in leopard corridors is a need of the hour. The fragmented corridors need to be linked so that a larger habitat is available for the leopards giving them fewer chances of straying away from their habitats and ending up being prey to urbanisation.
A leopard probably enters a village in the search of food, especially the stray dogs, which are easy prey for them.
There is a need to educate people especially, the villagers living on the fringes of our Jungles… a leopard only needs a way to go back from where it has come… and being humans, this is a part of our duty. It’s high time we realised their importance in the ecosystem.
It’s a universal truth that if humans destroy wildlife and its habitat, the leopards will get even closer and that too without any prior notice. We must preserve the leopards by preserving some wilderness around us.
(The author is ex-member of Project Tiger steering committee)
Sun, 27 Nov 2016-11:27pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>High alert has been sounded in Northern states after a top Khalistani terrorist along with five others escaped from a Punjab jail, arousing suspicion that the militant might have pre-decided his hideouts. Central security agencies have told the governments of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi Police to remain on high alert as chief of Khalistan Liberation Front Harminder Mintoo could be hiding in their territory to escape from Punjab Police dragnet.Sources said Mintoo is unlikely to escape to Pakistan as there has been heightened security along the border in the last few months due to tension between India and Pakistan and continuing cross-border firing along International Border and Line of Control.Suspicion has arisen that the Khalistani terrorist might have been hiding in pre-decided locations as per the conspiracy hatched to free him from the high-security Nabha prison. In a sensational jailbreak, Mintoo along with five other prisoners escaped on Sunday after armed men in police uniform stormed the high-security Nabha prison in Punjab.
Shamli: UP Police claimed to have arrested one of the armed men involved in the sensational jailbreak in Patiala in which a Khalistani militant outfit chief and five other prisoners escaped this morning.
Parminder alias Penda was travelling in an SUV when his vehicle was intercepted by police at a check post in Kairana in Shamli district in western Uttar Pradesh, police said. He tried to flee but was apprehended. Police said it has recovered an SLR and three other rifles from his possession.
Police officials investigate after six inmates of Nabha Jail including dreaded Khalistan ultra and Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief Harminder Mintoo escaped near Patiala on Sunday. PTI
ADG (law and order) Daljeet Choudhury said that police had heightened security as it had apprehensions that the accused in the jailbreak may try to flee to Nepal.
The ADG said that Parminder had “confessed” to his involvement during questioning. He was also allegedly wanted in connection with the murder of a policeman.
Khalistan Liberation Front militant outfit Harminder Mintoo escaped along with five other prisoners after armed men in police uniform stormed the high-security Nabha prison in Patiala in Punjab, which is about 175 km from Kairana.
The others who fled were gangster Vicky Gaundar, Amandeep Dhotian, Gurpreet Sekhon, Nita Deol and Kashmira Singh, who is also a terrorist.
A senior official of Punjab Police, requesting anonymity, said, the prisoners along with armed men have entered towards Haryana’s Kaithal area from Samana in Punjab.
“Our teams are on the job to nab them,” he said.
Giving details about the jailbreak, the official said five men, of whom three were in police uniform, had entered the jail premises in a car under the garb of dropping a prisoner.
Responding to a question on death of a woman after being hit by a bullet in police firing about 20 km away from the prison, DGP Arora said the police opened fire at a checkpost after her four-wheeler did not stop even after being asked to do so which led to her death.
The woman, who belonged to an orchestra group was inside the vehicle which had jumped a barrier at a ‘naka’ on Patiala-Gulha Cheeka road.
Meanwhile, CCTV footage near the Nabha jail showed a few vehicles, including MUVs, moving at a fast pace. The footage showed that the rear door of one of the vehicles was opened. A car was later found lying in an abandoned state in a village in Haryana’s Kaithal district, some 70-80 kms from Nabha, after which forensic teams were summoned while a police team from Punjab was reaching the spot to inspect the vehicle, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kaithal, Tarun Kumar said.
“A car was lying in an abandoned state in Solumajra in Kaithal (Patiala’s adjoining district falling in Haryana). It was lying in a locked state. A bomb disposal squad and forensic team has reached the spot to inspect the vehicle. It is a matter of investigation whether the vehicle was used in connection with the (jailbreak) incident. The investigations are underway in this regard,” the DSP said.
“The car bore a Punjab registration number. Another number was also pasted under the number plate,” he said, adding that efforts were on to trace the owner of the vehicle.
Some villagers had noticed the car lying in an abandoned state after which the police was informed. Another official of the Kaithal police said Punjab police officials can confirm whether the car was used in any manner in connection with the Nabha jailbreak incident.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi knows when and where to raise an issue. The prime minister who was in Bhatinda to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony of a new Aiims hospital made maximum use of the opportunity to do some pre-poll promotion for the Bhartiya Janata Party, highlighting his party’s stand on some burning topics like the Indus Water Treaty and how the government has given a befitting reply to Pakistan after the Uri attack in September.
While stressing on the need for farmers to get an adequate supply of water, Modi said that India has the right to use the water flowing to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty, “The water is India’s right which flows into Pakistan. (After) flowing through Pakistan, the water goes into the sea. That water belongs to the Indian farmers. We will do whatever we can to give enough water to our farmers,” Modi said, IANS reported on Friday.
File image of Narendra Modi. PTI
Punjab has been facing water scarcity for some years now with a depleting ground water level, and an ongoing tussle with the state of Haryana on sharing water from river Sutlej as part fo the Sutlej Yamnua Link canal, which Punjab has been resisting to build. So far parties like Shiromani Akali Dal, Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party have clearly stated their stand that they are against the construction of the canal link, whereas BJP has mainly remained silent.
With Punjab being one of the states going for state Assembly election in early 2017, water has emerged as a hot topic of debate, once again, right before the election.
Now, the prime minster’s statement that India won’t allow water that belongs to it to flow into Pakistan, is likely to tip the balance in BJP’s favour. And this is exactly what Modi did on Friday. “We formed a task force on Indus water treaty to ensure farmers of Punjab and other states get each drop of water due to them,” said the prime minister.
Modi was speaking after laying the foundation of a new Aiims centre in Bhatinda. The 750-bedded Aiims will be set up with an outlay of Rs 925 crore and it would be spread over 177 acres of land on the Bathinda-Dabwali road. The land has been given by the state government, and is expected to be completed by June 2020.
The Indus Waters Treaty gives Pakistan exclusive rights to use waters from three western rivers of the Indus river system — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum — whereas India gets exclusive rights to use waters from the three eastern rivers — the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi.
Ever since the Uri attack took place in September earlier this year, voices threatening to break the Indus Water Treaty have become louder, and has emerged as a new strategy for India to push Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism in India.
The PM also highlighted how India has given a befitting reply to Pakistan since the attack in Uri camp: “We made them realise the strength of our armed forces,” the prime minister said referring to the “surgical strike” that was carried out by the India following Uri.
Tue, 22 Nov 2016-06:33pm , Dimapur , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Bihar-based businessman, travelling alone in a chartered jet, was apprehended on Tuesday at the airport in Dimapur for allegedly carrying Rs 3.5 crore in demonetised currency. Officials said sleuths of central security agencies and CISF questioned the man, identified as A Singh from Bihar’s Munger district, soon after his jet landed here.The case was later handed over to local Income Tax authorities. They said the man had come in here on a jet that had taken off from Sirsa in Haryana early on Tuesday. “CISF sleuths acted on some prior inputs and intercepted the passenger as soon as he landed here. Initially, the amount detected was said to be Rs 5.5 crore but later I-T authorities reported the final amount with him to be Rs 3.5 crore. The taxman is investigating the source of the currency,” they said.A special vigil has been deployed by security agencies and the airport guarding Central Industrial Security Force in the wake of the demonetization of the two large currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 by the government.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two terrorists have been gunned down by the Indian army in Bandipora on Tuesday during a combing operation in the area.The Army and the police in a joint operation had cordoned off the area to smoke out the two terrorists who were holed up and had opened fire, thus engaging in a heavy gunbattle early in the morning. A combing operation is underway to ensure no untoward According to the Financial Express, the armed forces had received a tip-off about the presence of militants in the Hanjan area. The combing operation is still underway.Regions nearing the border in the state continue to remain tense. A civilian was injured on Monday as Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire twice in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir, while a BSF head constable injured in Sunday’s cross-border firing succumbed to injuries. The civilian identified as Abdul Aziz, 50, a resident of Basoni village in Mendhar Tehsil of Poonch, was injured when a mortar shell landed near his house, a police officer said.Meanwhile, head constable of BSF Rai Singh (40), who was injured along with three other BSF jawans in last night’s shelling from the Pakistani side along the line of control, succumbed to his injuries on Monday morning in Rajouri sector. Singh, a resident of Jhajjar district of Haryana, is survived by wife, three sons and mother, he said. Since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in PoK on September 29, there have been a staggering 286 incidents of firing and shelling along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops, which have resulted in the death of 26 people, including 14 security personnel. With inputs from agencies.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A civilian was injured on Monday as Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire twice in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir, while a BSF head constable injured in Sunday’s cross-border firing succumbed to injuries. The civilian identified as Abdul Aziz, 50, a resident of Basoni village in Mendhar Tehsil of Poonch, was injured when a mortar shell landed near his house, a police officer said.Meanwhile, head constable of BSF Rai Singh (40), who was injured along with three other BSF jawans in last night’s shelling from the Pakistani side along the line of control, succumbed to his injuries this morning in Rajouri sector. “Last night in heavy shelling from Pakistan side along the LoC in Rajouri area, four BSF Personnel sustained splinter injuries.Head Constable Rai Singh, who was seriously injured, succumbed to his injuries, while the condition of another personnel was serious,” a BSF officer said.Singh, a resident of Jhajjar district of Haryana, is survived by wife, three sons and mother, he said. The army and the BSF retaliated to the Pakistani ceasefire violations and the exchange of fire was going on till last reports came in.
Extending a huge relief to the cash-strapped rural India, the government has, on Monday, allowed farmers to buy seeds with old currency notes from any state or central government outlets and agri universities ahead of the Rabi harvesting season.
Farmers can purchase seeds from the centres, units or outlets belonging to the central or state governments, public sector undertakings, national or state seeds corporations, central or state agricultural universities and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), on production of proof of identity, the finance ministry said in a statement. The government is committed to ensure that farmers are suitably facilitated during the Rabi season, it said.
Representational image. AFP
The Modi government’s current bid to demonetise higher denomination notes to crackdown on black money has severely hit the rural economy. With many villagers yet to be connected to the formal banking system, and the trouble being faced in the last mile, delivery of new currency notes has left rural India scrambling for cash. A large number of agrarians who do have accounts, bank with the local co-operative and Gramin banks, which in compliance with RBI guidelines were not authorised to exchange or deposit the defunct notes.
Add to this the fact that almost all transactions in rural India are cash based and only a fraction of Indians use “plastic money” for day to day paltry payments. The move hit daily-waged farm labourers even more, as cash-starved farmers are unable to pay wages on time in the right currency.
Moreover, with the seeding season for Rabi crop at its peak, the farmers had been in a fix as they didn’t have the new currency notes to purchase fertilisers and new seeds, according to The Hindu.
Another report in The Financial Express quotes agriculture ministry’s stats to conclude that the government’s demonetisation move has indeed throttled sowing of Rabi crop as compared to the same time last year.
“Uttar Pradesh has covered 1.5 million hectares so far while the biggest wheat producing state has set a target of 9.9 million hectares. Till now, wheat has been sown in Punjab in 2.4 million hectares while the target for the season is 3.5 million hectares. In Haryana, the grain has been sown in only 8,50,000 hectares so far while the target for 2016-17 session is to cover 2.5 million hectares,” the report states.
Meanwhile, with their hardships in mind, the government has issued a slew of measures to ease the burden on the cash strapped economy. Apart from announcing the relaxation in buying seeds, the government had on Thursday increased the withdrawal limit for farmers to 25,000 apart from allowing them a 15 day grace to pay their crop insurance premiums.
Apart from this, banking coordinators and rural branches of post offices were given greater authority to dispense cash to the people.
The state governments had also pitched in on war footing, trying to ease the pressure on the agro economy, ahead of the sowing season. While the Uttar Pradesh government, has asked the district magistrates to ensure cash availability in their respective regions, Punjab government decided to provide fertilisers and other farm inputs in kind to farmers for sowing of the Rabi crops. The Himachal Pradesh government meanwhile roped in choppers for rushing Rs 2,000, Rs 100, Rs 50 and other small denomination notes to far-flung, remote and tribal areas of the state to ensure adequate supply of valid currency.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear on November 21 the plea of Haryana alleging that Punjab was violating its earlier interim order that the status quo on land meant for Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal be maintained.”Let it be listed for hearing on Monday,” a bench of Justices A R Dave and A M Khanwilkar said when the counsel for Haryana mentioned its fresh plea and sought urgent hearing saying that the efforts have been made to breach the earlier order asking Punjab to maintain status quo on the land meant for the canal project. Recently, the Punjab government decided to denotify the land acquired for SYL canal project with immediate effect and return it to its owners free of charge.The state government’s decision assumed significance as a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Dave had recently held as “unconstitutional” the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004 which “unilaterally” terminated the 1981 water-sharing pact with Haryana. The apex court has held that Punjab cannot “unilaterally” terminate the agreement or legislate to “nullify” the verdict of the highest court.Haryana today rushed to the court alleging that Punjab was not honouring the November 10 verdict and the March 17 interim order by which it was directed to maintain status quo on land meant for SYL canal.The apex court in its interim order had also appointed Union Home Secretary and Punjab’s Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) as the ‘joint receiver’ of land and other property meant for SYL canal.The order was passed when the Haryana government had said that Punjab Assembly had on March 14 passed a bill against construction of SYL canal providing for transfer of proprietary rights back to the land owners free of cost.Besides the Haryana government, lawyer Satbir Hooda, a resident of Rohtak in Haryana who runs an NGO, has also filed a criminal contempt plea against Prakash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal, Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab respectively, alleging that they have made statements that the apex court verdict in the case will not be allowed to be implemented. The controversial 1981 water-sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Haryana Government on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking a status quo in the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, even as the court had on Tuesday said it would hear the matter in due course of time.The apex court is now likely to hear the matter on Monday.Hearing a petition filed by a lawyer on behalf of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) for criminal contempt of court against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur decided to take up the SYL matter in due course of time. However, the court has not fixed a date for the hearing as of now.According to the petitioner, both father and son are saying on record that they will not follow the apex court order on the SYL canal issue.The apex court had on Thursday termed the law passed by Punjab in 2004 to terminate the SYL canal water sharing agreement with neighbouring states ‘unconstitutional’.Holding that the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, was not in conformity with the provisions of the constitution, the court answered in the negative all the four questions referred to it in a presidential reference.A constitution bench of the court ruled that Punjab could not have taken a “unilateral” decision to terminate the agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh to share of the Ravi-Beas river waters.Responding to the apex court’s order, Sukhbir had said that Punjab would not share water with any other state.”A decision taken at an emergency meeting of the Punjab cabinet said that Punjab Government would not allow the SYL to be built at any cost nor a single brick would be allowed to be laid for its construction by any agency,” said Sukhbir.Badal said, “As far as legal steps are concerned, advocate will advise us on what can be legally done. Our main aim is to not let the water go, and we will do anything for that. We want to assure people of Punjab that only we can do this, and resignation in Congress is just a drama.”
Chandigarh: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will visit the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables (CEV) in Karnal district on Friday to get an overview of Indo-Israeli agricultural projects in Haryana.
Representational image. PTI
India and Israel signed agreements for agriculture partnership in 2006 under which Israel has been sharing its best practices and knowledge through professional training programmes.
Rivlin would visit the nursery in the high-tech green house located at the Centre at Gharaunda. Besides, he would also get an overview of Indo-Israeli projects in India and six Indo-Israeli projects in Haryana, an official spokesman said in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Ambassador of Israel in India Daniel Carmon, Agriculture Counsellor Dan Alluf and senior officials of Haryana Government would also be present on this occasion.
Agricultural Centres of Excellence’ (CoE) were established in various Indian states to achieve the goals under the Indo-Israeli agreements.
The CoE in Karnal is the most fully developed and operational Centre, an Israeli Embassy spokesman said.
President Rivlin is on a state visit to India on the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee.
The visit, first by an Israeli President in nearly 20 years, symbolizes the growing partnership between India and Israel.
President Rivlin is accompanied by heads of business and academic delegation including 15 heads of Israeli universities.
Rivlin would be received by Haryana Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar.
The Israeli President arrived on 14 November on an eight-day visit to India.
Rivlin had wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 November. President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday hosted a banquet for the Israeli President, who also visited the Taj Mahal.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Write-off: Will SBI’s play on words help recover loans?At a recent internal meeting of the SBI, it was decided to drop the term “write-off” and instead use the phrase Advance Under Collection Account (AUCA) for all toxic loans pending with industrial houses. But the question here is whether the mere changing of the term will amount to the recovery of the hefty outstanding loans owed to the bank. Read more4.4 magnitude earthquake hits Delhi, Haryana; no loss of life, property reportedA medium intensity earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale shook the national capital and neighbouring Haryana in the wee hours of Thursday. According to the National Center for Seismology, a unit of Ministry of Earth Sciences, the mild tremor hit Delhi at around 4.30 am and was epicentred near Delhi-Haryana border. Read details DNA Exclusive: CBI probes Mauritius co’s MCX exitThe Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has initiated a probe into Multi Commodity Exchange’s IPO held in 2012 that provided an exit to one of the foreign investors — Alexandra Mauritius Ltd — without the requisite approval by Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Read full storyWill TCS move to oust Cyrus Mistry from its board today?As the Tata-Mistry battle rages on, two key board meetings will be held on Thursday, including one to seek removal of the ousted group chairman from the board of crown-jewel Tata Consultancy Services. Read more Indian Army rejects Pakistan claim of killing 11 Indian soldiers at LoCIndian Army on Thursday rejected Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif’s claim of killing at least 11 Indian soldiers at Line of Control (LoC). On Wednesday, Sharif had claimed that his troops killed at least 11 Indian jawans the day seven Pakistani soldiers were killed in firing by Indian troops across the Line of Control (LoC). Read more
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Haryana on the Satluj-Yamuna Link issue, the ruling SAD is exploring options to bring a Bill for scraping all water sharing pacts during the special session of Punjab Assembly convened on November 16 to discuss SYL issue.Besides, taking the fight over the river water issue to Parliament, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to bring an adjournment motion in the coming session, seeking debate on whether the judiciary was bigger than the Constitution or vice versa.”We are exploring options to bring a Bill in the special session of the state Assembly on November 16 to scrap all unconstitutional decisions on inter-state water sharing pacts,” SAD spokesman Prem Singh Chandumajra said today.SAD is examining the option through the Bill to stop the current flow of water to Haryana and Rajasthan, he said.Asserting that SAD was getting ready for a “do-or-die battle,” the spokesman said the special session called on November 16 would decide “future of Punjab”. Chandumajra, who is a Lok Sabha MP, said the decisions taken with regard to the water sharing pacts pertaining to Punjab were either “politically motivated” or taken “under pressure”. We are saying that states are the real owners of their waters as per riparian law, he said. Chandumarja further said that SAD would also raise the river water issue in Parliament. “We will bring an adjournment motion in the Parliament and seek debate on whether the Constitution is above judiciary or judiciary is above Constitution,” he said adding the party wanted to settle this matter “once and for all”.The SAD leader further sought to know whether the judiciary could invalidate a law enacted by the State Assembly on a subject under its preview.The Lok Sabha MP also accused the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of imposing water sharing agreement on Punjab with neighbouring state. A three-member legal team is critically examining the ruling of apex court in order to advice the Punjab government.Political temperatures have risen in Punjab after Supreme Court held as “unconstitutional” the 2004 law passed by Punjab to terminate the SYL canal water sharing agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh has tendered resignation along with 42 Congress MLAs on Friday after the Supreme Court’s ruling on Punjab’s water-sharing agreement with other states. Amarinder Singh told the media that hopefully they would come up with the two-thirds majority and use the constitutional powers to nullify this decision of the Supreme Court. “Once our resignation is given the matter is over. And now, it is up to the Speaker, whether he will accept it tomorrow or day after. We have no connection with Vidhan Sabha anymore,” Singh said.”We are not in the house now. We are going to people of Punjab now. Tomorrow, in every constituency of Punjab, we will burn the effigies In all the 117 constituencies. We will start wide-agitation from Abohar on November 13. Sunil Jakhar will take take out mass protests, where everyone of us will participate,” he added.In a blow to Punjab, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Punjab was bound to share the Ravi-Beas waters with Haryana and other states and comply with its two judgments for completion of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.The case involves sharing of Ravi-Beas river waters largely between Punjab and Haryana, besides Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh.
Following the Supreme Court’s verdict on Thursday of the Punjab government’s 2004 law as unconstitutional to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water-sharing agreement with its neighbouring states, MP Amarinder Singh along with 42 Congress MLAs submitted their resignation in protest.
The 43 MLAs are expected to personally handover their resignations on Friday to Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, said a report in The Indian Express.
“Haryana will never get the water,” Amarinder Singh told News18, and also blamed Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for entering into the water-sharing agreement.
Reacting to the verdict, Badal assured the people of Punjab that only the SAD can make sure that Punjab “will not let the water go” and that the resignation by the Congress party members was just drama, reported ANI. Badal also said, “Punjab ka paani kahin nahi jaayga, nahin jayga aur nahin jaayga (Punjab’s water will not go anywhere).” Badal then stressed that SYL canal dispute was not political but “a livelihood and economic issue”.
The Aam Aadmi Party has announced an indefinite morcha at Kapoori village from Friday to protest against the SC verdict — Kapoori village, located in Patiala, is where Indira Gandhi had performed the stone-laying ceremony of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal in 1982, reports The Indian Express. The report also mentioned that AAP would not allow the implementation of the verdict if it came to power in Punjab. BJP MLA Vijay Sampla called Amarinder Singh’s resignation “another excuse to stay away” from Parliament as he was “anyway never seen” there, ANI reported.
Meanwhile, Haryana minister called the verdict a “ray of hope” and advised Punjab CM Badal to accept the decision to give water to Haryana.
The Bains brothers (Balwinder and Simarjeet Singh Bains), who floated Lok Insaaf party ahead of the Punjab elections, have asked Badal to convene an emergency session of the Assembly, adding that they will wait for two or three days for the session, else they will submit their resignations as well, according to The Indian Express.
The Supreme Court on Thursday responded in “negative” to all the four questions referred to it by then President APJ Abdul Kalam on the constitutional validity of the law passed by then Punjab government-led by Captain Amrinder Singh to nullify the court verdicts and unilaterally terminating the almost three-decade old SYL water sharing agreement.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice AR Dave said in its advisory verdict, “Once a conclusion is arrived at to the effect that one state, which is a party to the litigation or an agreement, cannot unilaterally terminate the agreement or nullify the decree of the highest court of the country, the state of Punjab cannot discharge itself from its obligation which arises from the judgment and decree dated 15, January, 2002, and the judgment and order dated 4 January, 2004 of the apex court.”
The controversial 1981 water sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. The Indus Waters Treaty, 1960 which was executed between India and Pakistan, later led to inter-state division of water share among states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.
Punjab, which was entitled to 7.20 million acre feet (including 1.30 MAF for Pepsu) out of 15.85 MAF of surplus water from Bhakra-Nangal project, was required to give 3.5 MAF water to Haryana from its own share.
For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal was conceptualised and both the states were required to construct its portions in their territory.
Haryana constructed the portion of SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab after initial work, stopped the work leading to a spate of litigations. In 2004, the Congress government of the state came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with an intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing of waters of rivers Ravi and Beas.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With elections round the corner in Punjab, the Supreme Court (SC) verdict on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal water-sharing agreement sparked a political blame game in the state, as well as a piquant situation for national parties like the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).Immediately after the verdict, which quashed the 2004 Punjab Act passed during the Congress government terminating all water agreements with the neighbouring states, Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh resigned from his Lok Sabha seat while his party MLAs resigned en masse from the State Assembly.But Chief Spokesman of his Party, Randeep Singh Surjiwala, hailed the verdict, showing the divide between the Congress leaders in Haryana and Punjab. The BJP is also in no less a precarious position, as it heads the government in Haryana and is in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab, where an emergency cabinet meeting said it would not allow SYL to be built at any cost.The state goes to polls next year and the ruling BJP-Akali Dal combine is trying to thwart tough competition from a resurgent Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party. In Chandigarh, the Punjab Council of Ministers declared that not a single drop of water from Punjab rivers would be allowed to go out of state.The Constitution Bench, headed by Justice Anil R Dave, held the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, on a Presidential reference the same year as unconstitutional and asked the Punjab Government to construct the remaining part of SYL Canal as per the 2003 judgment of the Apex Court to supply Haryana its share of water.The Bench that comprised Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose, Shiva Kirti Singh, Adarsh Kumar Goel and Amitava Roy had reserved the verdict on May 12 after the Centre took the neutral stand that the states concerned should settle their dispute themselves. It held that Punjab cannot unilaterally wriggle out of an agreement involving other states.The Sutlej Yamuna Canal was conceived for sharing Ravi and Beas river waters after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. However, Punjab has been regularly opposing it, saying its agriculture will suffer. Even before the verdict was delivered, the Akali Dal declared to oppose it if it goes against Punjab’s interest. Chief minister Prakash Singh Badal’s declaration that Punjab would demand royalty from the riparian states for using its river waters the same way states claim royalty from mineral resources.The Indus Water Treaty signed by India and Pakistan in 1960 entitled it to unrestricted use of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej waters till they enter Pakistan. Since Sutlej waters were utilised for the Bhakra Nangal Project, the surplus flow from Ravi and Beas was allocated through an agreement under which Punjab got 7.20 MAF (Million Acre Feet), Rajasthan 8 MAF and J&K 0.65 MAF.However, the reorganisation of Punjab in 1966, to carve out Haryana, led to a notification 10 years later to build the SYL Canal to let Haryana get 3.5 MAF. Both Punjab and Haryana started construction of the Canal in their territories in the eighties when a new agreement was drawn up in December 1981 that gave the highest 8.60 MAF share to Rajasthan, followed by Punjab (4.22 MAF), Haryana (3.50), J&K (0.65 MAF) and Delhi (0.20 MAF for drinking water). The agreement envisaged completion of the canal within two years. The timeline was later extended to August 15, 1986, but the work stopped due to the Sikh insurgency in Punjab and killing of two top engineers of the project.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court’s ruling favouring Haryana on the contentious SYL canal issue has set political temperature soaring in Punjab, with the state Congress chief Amarinder Singh quitting as MP and all MLAs following suit, as Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal asserted “not a drop of water” will be allowed to be taken out of the state.A major confrontation between the Supreme Court and Punjab government also appeared a distinct possibility with the state’s SAD-BJP government asserting it would appeal to the President not to accept the advice of the apex court.Addressing a press conference after a hurriedly called meeting of the state’s council of ministers, Badal, with son and deputy CM Sukhbir by his side, declared “not a single drop of water will be allowed to be taken out of the state…water comes first for us.”Sukhbir said a special session of the state assembly has been called on November 16 where the government will adopt a resolution appealing to the President not to accept the advice of the Supreme Court, which had ruled a state which is a party to an agreement cannot unilaterally terminate it or nullify the decree of the highest court in the country.The Supreme Court on Thursday, while disposing of the Presidential reference said, “All the questions have been answered in the negative”.The reference had been made by the then President A P J Abdul Kalam on the constitutional validity of the law passed by then Punjab government-led by Captain Amrinder Singh to nullify the court verdict and unilaterally terminating the almost three-dacade old SYL water sharing agreement.Amarinder, Lok Sabha MP from Amritsar, also demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state and suggested holding the assembly elections in December, voicing apprehension that a “mischievous” Badal government may try to “foment trouble” following the court order.In its judgement, a five-judge bench headed by Justice A R Dave made it clear that the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 was “unconstitutional” and that Punjab could not have taken a “unilateral” decision to terminate the water sharing agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh.The apex court ruling saw the festering dispute over water sharing between Punjab, which will go to polls early next year, and Haryana, immediately catapulted to political centrestage with Amarinder upping the ante and announcing his decision to resign as MP and announcing that the MLAs have also tendered their resignation “in protest against the injustice meted out to the state”. He said the MLAs will meet the assembly speaker tomorrow to formally put in their papers.Amarinder, under whom the controversial law had been enacted to abrogate the agreement, said he had sent his resignation to the Lok Sabha Speaker and sought an appointment with her next week. For the resignation of an MP or MLA to be accepted, they have to submit their letters to the Speaker personally.Blaming the Akalis squarely for bringing the people of Punjab to “this pitiable situation”, where they face “imminent devastation” due to acute water scarcity, Amarinder said Badal and his team had failed to defend Punjab s stand in the court, leading to such “disastrous consequences” for the state. The Congress leader accused the Akalis of being instrumental in acquiring the land for the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal, ignoring the interest of Punjab.Amarinder said, “Badal issued the notification for land acquisition for the SYL on February 20, 1978 vide notification nos: 113/5/SYL and 121/5/SYL under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act. With this, the process of land acquisition started. Badal wrote to Haryana overnment letters demanding payment of Rs 3 crore more as he had already taken Rs 2 crore for the purpose. This was in follow up to an agreement between him and Devi Lal, the then Chief Minister of Haryana that Haryana will pay Rs 5 crores to Punjab (for SYL).” Sukhbir Badal hit back, saying the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had forced Congress Chief Minister Darbara Singh to sign the agreement.”It is a well known fact that PPCC President Capt Amarinder Singh welcomed the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982 to lay the foundation of SYL canal at Kapoori. It was Akali Dal government which stopped it and did not allow water to be taken out of the state.”Come what may, we will not allow even a single drop of precious river water of Punjab to go outside the state,” he said.Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, whose state hopes to gain from the SC ruling, meanwhile, urged the political parties to respect the apex court’s ruling and not politicise it.With his party BJP’s ally Shiromani Akali Dal strongly opposing the SC ruling, Khattar said,”Punjab government is not bigger than the Supreme Court, which has given its advice. Now the President will decide on it. I hope that the decision is amicably implemented immediately.”On the assertion by the Badals that not a single drop of water will be allowed to be taken outside the state, Khattar said, “It is a multi-state agreement. Ours is a federal democracy and it should be respected.”Meanwhile, Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, which has decided to plunge into the Punjab elections in a big way, accused both the ruling SAD and opposition Congress of failing to protect the state’s interest and announced an indefinite dharna at Kapoori, where the foundation stone for the SYL canal was laid, from tomorrow.”The SAD and Congress have failed to protect the interest of Punjab on river water issue,” AAP leader and lawyer H S Phoolka said.”The Badal government could have forced the Centre to withdraw the notification issued by the then Central government in 1976 which stated that SYL be constructed to give water to Haryana,” Phoolka said. He also described Amarinder Singh’s resignation from Lok Sabha as “mere drama”. Apart from Amarinder, Congress has two other Lok Sabha MPs from Punjab.”There is no meaning of resignation by Amarinder as it was the Congress-led government at the Centre which had decided to get the SYL canal constructed. If Amarinder is really serious about state’s interest he should resign from the Congress,” he said.Congress, which is trying to stage a comeback to power in Punjab after nearly a decade, however, appeared divided on the issue of SC verdict.While on one hand Amarinder made a strident pitch against SC order, Congress’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala, a Haryanavi, said,” Justice has won in the Supreme Court. The two and a half crore people of Haryana should now have closure.””This is the litmus test of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to do justice and honour his constitutional responsibility. Ball lies in the court of PM Modi. All the three governments — Central Government, Punjab Government and Haryana Government, belong to BJP. Onus is on Modi ji to fulfil the solemn responsibility to the Constitution, implement the law and enforce the orders of the Supreme Court,” Surjewala said.Another Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said the party would come out with an apropriate reaction soon after details of the verdict are available.”We are dealing with two states, in which the BJP plays a prominent role. We would expect the Prime Minister to have an interface with both sides and find solutions. So the ball is in the court of the Prime Minister. The challenge is before the Prime Minister. Solutions need to be found and this can only be processed through dialogue and not monologue from both sides,” he said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab suffered a serious setback on Thursday as the Supreme Court held as unconstitutional the 2004 law passed by it to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement with neighbouring states.The judgement makes it clear that the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 is “unconstitutional” and Punjab could not have taken a “unilateral” decision to terminate the water sharing agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh.1955: Agreement signed by Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, RajasthanAs per the agreement of 1955, signed between the states of Punjab, Pepsu, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan, Punjab (including Pepsu) was allocated 7.20 Million Acre Feet (MAF) surplus waters of the Ravi and Beas estimated at 15.85 MAF, based on flow series of 1921-45, excluding pro-partition use, Rajasthan was allocated 8.0 MAF and Jammu and Kashmir 0.65 MAF.Haryana was carved out on the reorganization of erstwhile state of Punjab on November 1, 1966, and as per Section 78 of the Reorganization Act of 1966, the right to receive and to utilize the waters available for distribution, as a result of the Bhakra Nangal Project and BEAS Project, became the right of the successor states in such proportion as may be made by an agreement entered into by the said states after consultation with the central government.This Section also provided that if no such agreement was entered into within two years of the appointed day, the Centre may by orders determine the shares of the States having regard to the purpose of the projects.1976: Punjab filed a suit in SC challenging the validity of the Section 78 of the Reorganization ActAs per SC’s 1976 notification, Haryana was allocated 3.5 MAF, Punjab 3.5 MAF and Delhi 0.2 MAF out of the total water of 7.2 MAF to be allocated amongst the three from the total available 15.2 MAF water of the Satluj, Ravi and Beas. The remaining water was to go to other states, including Jammu and Kashmir.The first litigation in the water sharing dispute came in 1976 when Punjab was dissatisfied and filed a suit in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the Section 78 of the Reorganization Act. Haryana also filed a suit for implementing the Centre’s notification of April 24, 1976.The portion of the canal in Haryana was started during October 1976 and was completed in June 1980 at an expenditure of Rs 56 Crore. As Haryana could not utilize its share without a carrier channel in the Punjab territory, Haryana took up the matter with Punjab in the year 1976 to construct the SYL Canal and deposited Rs 1.0 Crore in November 1976 and another Rs 1 Crore in March, 1979.Haryana filed a suit against Punjab for failure to take up construction of SYL Canal in their territory. Punjab also filed a suit in the apex court on July 11, 1979 challenging the orders of Centre of March, 1976.1981: Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan signed an agreement to share the waters of rivers Ravi, Beas and SatlujDuring pendency of the suit, however, an agreement was entered into Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan on December 31, 1981, under which 17.17 MAF surplus Ravi Beas waters, assessed on revised flow series of 1921-60, were agreed to be allocated to Punjab 4.22 MAF, Haryana 3.50 MAF, Rajasthan 8.60 MAF, J-K 0.65 MAF and Delhi 0.20 MAF. It was further stipulated in the Agreement, known as the Indira Gandhi Award of 1981 that Punjab would complete the SYL Canal within a period of 2 years, i.e. up to December 31,1983. Haryana and Punjab withdrew their pending suits from SC. Former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh got this agreement and all other subsequent agreements annulled “to protect the interests of the border state” even though this agreement was signed with Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister. Earlier in 1960 the Indus Waters Treaty was signed between India and Pakistan under which water of the Ravi, Beas and Satluj were reserved for exclusive use by India after transition period.Six years later in 1966 when Punjab was reorganized, the Section 78 of the Reorganization Act provided for the apportioning of rights and liabilities of the existing state of Punjab among the successor states (Haryana and Himachal Pradesh) in relation to the Bhakhra-Nangal project and the Beas project, by agreement entered into by the states after consultation with the Centre.But since the 1981 Indira Gandhi award failed to see the light of the day and she was assassinated in 1984, her son and successor Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi initiated steps to resolve the inter-state issues and on July 24, 1985 the ‘The Punjab Settlement’ popularly known as the ‘Rajiv Longowal Accord’ was signed at Delhi with a new deadline, August 15, 1986, being set for the completion of the SYL canal to carry Haryana’s share of Ravi Beas water.Paragraph 9 of this accord, bearing the question of sharing of river waters provided that the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan will continue to get waters not less than what they were using from the Ravi Beas system as on July 1, 1985. Water used for consumptive purposes will remain unaffected.The claim of Punjab and Haryana regarding the shares in their remaining water was to be referred for adjudication to a Tribunal to be presided over by a Supreme Court Judge. The decision of this tribunal was to be rendered within six months and was to be binding on both parties. All legal and constitutional steps in this respect were to be taken expeditiously.The construction of the SYL Canal was to continue and the canal was to be completed by August 15, 1986. In pursuance of the Rajiv Longowal Accord the Centre- constituted a Tribunal namely Ravi Beas Waters Tribunal (Eradi Tribunal) on April 2, 1986. The tribunal gave its report on January 30, 1987 and the quantum of water used by the farmers and other consumptive users of the three party states as on 1st July 1985, was estimated for Punjab at 3.106 MAF.The Punjab share was inclusive of 0.352 MAF of permissive use allowed by Rajasthan under clause (ii) of the 1981 agreement and subject thereto but was exclusive of the pre-partition use of 1.98 MAF as well as 0.32 MAF in Shah Nehar Canal areas. The share of Haryana was 1.620 MAF and Rajasthan 4.985 MAF (This figure is exclusive of the pre-partition use of 1.11 MAF).The Eradi Tribunal on adjudication of the claims of Punjab and Haryana regarding the shares in their remaining waters, the tribunal decided to allocate surplus Ravi Beas waters to Punjab 5.00 MAF and Haryana 3.83 MAF. The Tribunal stressed the need for the completion of the SYL canal “at an early date since this canal is lifeline for the farmers of Haryana.”The Eradi Tribunal in its report increased the surplus Ravi Beas waters by another 1.11 MAF available downstream of run stations, fixed the total availability at 18.28 MAF. It provided Punjab 5.00 MAF, Haryana 3.83 MAF, Rajasthan 8.60 MAF, J-K 0.65 MAF and Delhi 0.20 MAF. But both Punjab and Haryana Governments filed the applications under Section 5(3) of the Interstate Water Disputes Act, 1956 for some clarifications/guidance on the report of the Tribunal.Haryana prayed to clarify and confirm that the usages of the three states, to allocate the remaining 4.831 MAF of un-allocated Ravi Beas waters below the run stations to the state of Haryana, while Punjab sought modification of Tribunal’s findings regarding verification of waters used by the various states because it is contrary to the provisions of the “Punjab Settlement”.Punjab also challenged the decision of Tribunal that Haryana and Rajasthan are Indus Basin States being erroneous and also the Decision of the tribunal rejecting the contention of Punjab having sole proprietary/Ownership rights of Ravi-Beas rivers being against the legal provisions. Punjab had then itself challenged the finding of the Tribunal regarding holding valid the two agreements of 1955 and 1981 and the order of 1976 being erroneous.But due to disturbed conditions in Punjab, the tribunal could not assemble for conclusive hearing on these applications. The Tribunal was then adjourned sine die in April, 1989.Realizing that the progress of construction of SYL Canal in Punjab portion was not going up to the targeted schedule, Haryana took up the matter with Prime Minister and at a meeting on December 16, 1986, it was decided that entire cost of SYL Canal will be borne by the Centre.The work was resumed and progress continued till July 23, 1990 when work came to a halt due to gunning down of two senior engineers and some others of Punjab including the Chief Engineer and the Superintending Engineer engaged on the work.Haryana on November 23, 1990 wrote to Prime Minister to entrust the balance work to some Central Agency like National Hydel Power Corporation, Border Roads Organization (BRO) or any other suitable agency. As a result, the construction of the canal was decided to be handed over to BRO by Government of India on February 20, 1991 but there could not be any progress.Thereafter the issue was highlighted by Haryana at various levels and fora but the construction activities could not be resumed even though 95 per cent of the work in Punjab portion stood completed up to June, 1990.Not only that there is uncertainty but a substantial amount of money spent has not been put to any use. The project cost which is being funded by the Centre since December 16, 1986 has escalated from Rs 176 Crore in 1983 to an estimated cost of Rs 601 Crore (11/94 price index level). The cost is likely to escalate further as an amount of Rs 679.90 Crore has been spent in Punjab portion up to September 2001.Due to continuous delay in the completion of the canal, Haryana is unable to fully utilize about 3 lakh hectares of irrigation potential already created in the state and is losing incremental agricultural production of over 8 lakh tones per annum amounting to several Crore of rupees besides having drinking water scarcity in several parts of the State. SYL Canal is being misused by Punjab for passing their flood waters to Haryana territories, adding miseries to the farmers of Haryana, state irrigation department officials say.After all the efforts of Haryana to persuade Punjab directly and through the Union Government to get the SYL Canal completed did not materialize, Haryana approached the Apex Court through suit No-1 of 1995 filed in November 95. The suit was refilled as suit No-6 of 1996 after issuance of notices under section 80 C P C. The hearings of this case were held in the Apex Court during the year 1996 to 2001.2002: SC directs Punjab to complete construction of SYL canal within a yearThe Supreme Court passed an order on January 15, 2002 and directed Punjab government that SYL Canal should be completed within a period of one year. In case state of Punjab fails to accomplish the task within the stipulated period, then the Union Government should get the work done through its own agencies as expeditiously as possible.2004: Punjab enacts the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004Punjab enacted the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 just two days before the July 15,2004 deadline when the Centre was to take over physical possession of the Canal from Punjab Irrigation Department and hand over the construction to the CPWD for completion of the disputed Canal.Punjab had all along maintained that “justice” should be done as per the recognized international riparian laws. The state had taken the stand that endeavour should be to determine the share of Punjab rivers on acknowledged principles of distribution and allocation between the “riparian” states, namely, on the basis of the equitable share of each state.Interestingly, none of the states that have been a party to the unsolved issue is a riparian state, except Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. The other non-riparian states are Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government inaction and stubble burning in Punjab are the real culprits in robbing 20 million Delhiites of three years of their life expectancy, which amounts to “genocide” and “murder”, Delhi High Court said on Thursday. “It is killing us,” a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar said, adding that the grave situation was leading to the “decimation” of more than 60 million life years or one million deaths.It also asked whether votes were more important than the lives of those who vote. The bench made the serious observation while referring to a recent environment study published in a weekly.”As per the report, air pollution in a city like Delhi deducts three years from your life expectancy. Delhi has a population of over 20 million. So 60 million life years are being decimated and killed. It is akin to one million deaths. If this is not murder, what is? This is genocide. Government inaction is the culprit for shortening of life. Look at the enormity of the matter. Something drastic needs to be done. Is vote bank more important or the man or woman behind the vote,” it said, adding “Punjab (stubble burning) is killing us”.The court said as per various reports, Delhi has been termed as the worst city in India in terms of air quality. Bad air quality not only kills people, but also leads to respiratory ailments, the court said and added that these led to reduction in working population and loss of productivity.”In pure economic terms, look at the cost-benefit you would have if this issue of air pollution is addressed,” the bench said while hearing a PIL initiated by the court on the issue of air pollution in the city. Last month, while hearing the air pollution matter, the high court had asked the states of UP, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana to prevent stubble burning for which the national capital every year grappled with the menace of haze even after orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to stop the practice of burning of crop and agriculture.Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), meanwhile, showed the court satellite images from NASA showing the extent of biomass or crop burning in northern India. Referring to the images, the bench and amicus curiae Kailash Vasdev said the main culprit was Punjab where majority of fires were happening. Vasdev said that while Haryana and Rajasthan have taken steps like training farmers, employing new tools for cutting crops, recycling the biomass and using it for power generation, Punjab was only asking for money. He also said that as per Punjab’s affidavit, it was bringing in political issues and angles as well as citing economic constraints in preventing biomass burning.Agreeing with the amicus, the bench also said the state appeared to be “in denial” even though the extent of biomass burning was “much, much more” there than in other states, with resultant smoke reaching as far as Madhya Pradesh. The bench then asked the counsel for Punjab how it would apologise to the people who have died and those who continue to suffer respiratory diseases due to air pollution caused by biomass burning.The court also asked how the state would make good the huge national economic loss that would have been caused due to closure of schools in Delhi and people falling sick and not being able to work. “You have failed as a state,” the bench remarked while referring to Punjab waiving off agricultural loans of over Rs 80000 crore, but being unable to arrange Rs 9900 crore for procuring “rota and re-seeding machines” to reduce biomass generated after harvesting.The counsel for Punjab, while defending the state, said the government may have been slow to start but it has taken steps like setting up biomass power plants. He said the state required around Rs 9900 crore for the machines and has written to the Centre.Rejecting the contentions, the bench said it had warned all the states well in advance on these issues. “But you (Punjab) did nothing. There is dereliction of duty. Does your Chief Secretary intend to continue in that position? We are contemplating issuing contempt notice to him. You can reply to that,” the court said and added “put a stop to it immediately”.It also said that despite the advance warning, “damage has been done” and the actions of Punjab was akin to “capital punishment” for the people of Delhi. “Literally capital punishment as the capital is punished and that too for no offence. People are being killed in the capital,” the bench said.
New Delhi: Government inaction and stubble burning in Punjab are the real culprits in robbing 20 million Delhi’ites of three years of their life expectancy, which amounts to “genocide” and “murder”, Delhi High Court said on Thursday.
“It is killing us,” a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar said, adding that the grave situation was leading to the “decimation” of more than 60 million life years or one million deaths.
It also asked whether votes were more important than the lives of those who vote.
The bench made the serious observation while referring to a recent environment study published in a weekly.
“As per the report, air pollution in a city like Delhi deducts three years from your life expectancy. Delhi has a population of over 20 million. So 60 million life years are being decimated and killed. It is akin to one million deaths. If this is not murder, what is? This is genocide.
“Government inaction is the culprit for shortening of life. Look at the enormity of the matter. Something drastic needs to be done. Is vote bank more important or the man or woman behind the vote,” it said, adding “Punjab (stubble burning) is killing us”.
The court said as per various reports, Delhi has been termed as the worst city in India in terms of air quality.
Bad air quality not only kills people, but also leads to respiratory ailments, the court said and added that these led to reduction in working population and loss of productivity.
“In pure economic terms, look at the cost-benefit you would have if this issue of air pollution is addressed,” the bench said while hearing a PIL initiated by the court on the issue of air pollution in the city.
Last month, while hearing the air pollution matter, the high court had asked the states of UP, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana to prevent stubble burning for which the national capital every year grappled with the menace of haze even after orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to stop the practice of burning of crop and agriculture residue.
Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), meanwhile, showed the court satellite images from NASA showing the extent of biomass or crop burning in northern India.
Referring to the images, the bench and amicus curiae Kailash Vasdev said the main culprit was Punjab where majority of fires were happening.
Representational image. PTI
Vasdev said that while Haryana and Rajasthan have taken steps like training farmers, employing new tools for cutting crops, recycling the biomass and using it for power generation, Punjab was only asking for money.
He also said that as per Punjab’s affidavit, it was bringing in political issues and angles as well as citing economic constraints in preventing biomass burning.
Agreeing with the amicus, the bench also said the state appeared to be “in denial” even though the extent of biomass burning was “much, much more” there than in other states, with resultant smoke reaching as far as Madhya Pradesh.
The bench then asked the counsel for Punjab how it would apologise to the people who have died and those who continue to suffer respiratory diseases due to air pollution caused by biomass burning.
The court also asked how the state would make good the huge national economic loss that would have been caused due to closure of schools in Delhi and people falling sick and not being able to work.
“You have failed as a state,” the bench remarked while referring to Punjab waiving off agricultural loans of over Rs 80000 crore, but being unable to arrange Rs 9900 crore for procuring “rota and re-seeding machines” to reduce biomass generated after harvesting.
The counsel for Punjab, while defending the state, said the government may have been slow to start but it has taken steps like setting up biomass power plants.
He said the state required around Rs 9900 crore for the machines and has written to the Centre.
Rejecting the contentions, the bench said it had warned all the states well in advance on these issues.
“But you (Punjab) did nothing. There is dereliction of duty. Does your Chief Secretary intend to continue in that position? We are contemplating issuing contempt notice to him. You can reply to that,” the court said and added “put a stop to it immediately”.
It also said that despite the advance warning, “damage has been done” and the actions of Punjab was akin to “capital punishment” for the people of Delhi.
“Literally capital punishment as the capital is punished and that too for no offence. People are being killed in the capital,” the bench said.
Earlier, the high court had noted that stubble burning, which is not permissible under the law, was going on despite the orders of NGT and HC. “This practice has gone unabated year after year and Delhi has been engulfed in haze, constituents of which are aerosols from stubble burning and dust”.
It had said that effects of pollution were felt by every citizen, particularly the elderly and children who experienced difficulty in breathing, and it manifested itself in long term effect like “reduction in longevity”.
Expressing hope that the law and court orders would be followed in letter and spirit, the bench had directed the four states to file status reports regarding action taken by them to ensure stubble burning practice is eliminated.
The court was hearing a PIL initiated by it on the issue of air pollution in the national capital and had asked the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab about their action plan to stop the practice of stubble burning, undertaken by farmers to clear the fields before sowing the next crop after Diwali.
Punjab government, represented by advocate Naginder Benipal, had said immediate action was required by Haryana as it was much closer to Delhi. Haryana government had said it has already started taking action in compliance with the orders of NGT.
Rajasthan government said its Chief Secretary has held meetings on how to deal with the issue and said the pollution control board of the state should also be made a party.
DPCC, represented by advocate Sanjeev Ralli, had said that directions were given by NGT to these states last year itself to stop stubble burning, so let them also show what they have done so far.
The bench, thereafter, had said that any action taken by the states can be seen from the air quality data collected by the 20 monitoring stations in Delhi run by DPCC, Central Pollution Control Board and Ministry of Earth Sciences.
It had directed all the three agencies “to ensure that data is recorded for entire month of October and November 2016 and a comparative chart be placed before us comparing current year data with previous year and also comparing with August and September months of 2016”.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant order to crack down on air pollution in case of an ’emergency’ like situation, the National Green Tribunal’s chairperson bench has issued specific actions that Delhi and neighbouring states should follow. This is the first time that the NGT or any court issued directions for emergency situations. The directions will be applicable to Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It has also passed a series of other directions to tackle air pollution.According to the NGT order, whenever pollution of PM10 and PM2.5 (particles smaller than 10 micrometers and 2.5 micrometers diameter) reaches a severe level of 431 and 251 respectively, the following measures should be taken. 1. Helicopters should sprinkle water in the Delhi-NCR region, especially in those areas where pollution levels are in excess of prescribed standard limits.2. States shall immediately provide happy seeders or other such machines in agriculture fields for removal of agriculture residue and incentives should be provided to farmers to sell their paddy straw to biomass plants, industries and board making unit.3. State governments shall issue orders to all companies, plants and public undertakings to discharge CSR responsibilities and collect agriculture residue from farm fields by providing farmers with monetary support and financial incentives.4. In emergency situations, stone crushers should be directed to shut down.5. If thermal power plants, hot mix plants and brick kilns are found to be emitting pollution more than prescribed standards during an emergency situation they should be shut down temporarily till they reduce level of emissions.6. In emergency situations, all construction and demolition activities and transportation of construction material should be halted temporarily.7. Government schools and municipal schools should be provided air purifiers.8. NGT has ordered constitution of an interstate Central committee and also state committees to enforce their orders on vehicular pollution, dust pollution, solid waste burning and paddy straw burning. The Central committee has to prepare an action plan for environmental emergency as well as prevention and control of pollution.9. Each state committee in their first meeting has to notify one district where land use of agriculture is high and make it a model district for implementing orders to stop crop burning.10. All the five state governments have to begin vacuum cleaning of roads to prevent dust pollution and mixing of dust and vehicular pollution. Gradually, states should completely move towards mechanical cleaning of roads.11. NGT also ordered that Delhi should strictly enforce their existing order on deregistering diesel vehicles older than ten years and petrol vehicles older than 15 years. Other states have also been ordered to consider ban on old diesel and petrol vehicles.
The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce the verdict on the contentious Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal dispute, where north Indian states, including Punjab and Haryana, have contested the sharing of water.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice AR Dave, who is leaving office on 18 November, reserved the verdict on 12 May after the Centre maintained its earlier stand of 2004, that the states concerned should settle their disputes on the matter by themselves.
The Centre had said it was not taking sides and was maintaining a neutral stand in the matter in which the court has recorded the stand of other states — Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.
A file photo of the Yamuna. AFP
During the hearing of the case, while Punjab Assembly passed a law to return the land acquired on its side for the construction of SYL canal, the Haryana government approached the apex court which directed to maintain the status quo. The court has also appointed the Union Home Secretary and Punjab’s Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) as the ‘joint receiver’ of land and other property meant for SYL canal.
Isolated by other stakeholders over the dispute, Punjab has earlier said the SC was not bound to answer the presidential reference made at the instance of the Centre which had no power to resolve the dispute. Article 143 of the Constitution of India gives the President the power to the refer to the Supreme Court, a question of law or fact which pertains to the public.
The Parkash Singh Badal-led Punjab government has submitted that a fresh tribunal be set up to resolve all disputes with other states, including Haryana, on all aspects, which will also cover the riparian rights and the dwindling flow of water.
It had said a fresh tribunal was sought in 2003, about 18 months before the 2004 law, to review the 1981 Rajiv-Longowal Accord on river water-sharing in view of depleting flow and other changed circumstances.
A history of the SYL dispute
The water-sharing agreement is among Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the Wire, the history of this dispute goes back to Partition — after India and Pakistan were formed, they signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960, settling for the unrestricted use of three rivers — (the disputed rivers in question of undivided Punjab were Beas, Chenab, Indus, Jhelum, Ravi, and Sutlej), Beas, Ravi and Sutlej. Once signed, water from the three rivers was shared between Punjab, Delhi, and Jammu and Kashmir.
After Haryana’s succession from Punjab in 1966, it became eligible for riparian rights, stressing that it cannot lose them because of redrawing of state borders, especially for political purposes, reports Praveen Swami for Frontline. Yamuna, the Wire adds, which once flowed through unidivided Punjab now charted a course only in Haryana and wasn’t included in this arrangement. This became the bone of contention between the two states.
In 2004, the state passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements legislation, which meant it went back on its word to share water with Haryana through the SYL Canal, according to an editorial in The Hindu. The issue has been dragging on in the SC since March this year, where a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ordered status quo on the land marked for the construction of the SYL Canal.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal pulled up Delhi-NCR states, Punjab and Rajasthan and questioned how they have implemented their orders on vehicular pollution, waste burning, crop burning and dust pollution. The Tribunal was hearing a clutch of matters on air pollution. “How many of you have read our orders fully and then implemented them?” NGT chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar asked counsels and top officials of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, who were all present.All of them replied in negative. The bench then asked them to read all the judgements, analyse them and say what steps they will take to implement them. Coming down heavily on all states for the severe air quality in Delhi, justice Kumar said, “When all this mess was going on, when PM 2.5 pollution went up above 1000, what steps did you take except doing meetings? Why could you not deploy helicopters to sprinkle water? It is shocking that you did not do anything for the first five days.”Proceeding to question Punjab and Haryana for burning paddy straw, the bench said, “Tell us one instance where you put out farm fires or provided machines for managing crop stubble.”Last December, NGT had passed orders against agricultural fires. It had asked states to help marginal farmers with managing paddy straw and fine farmers for lighting field fires on the basis of land holdings. The NGT is going to continue the hearing in a while.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) Chairperson on Monday took strong exception to the inaction of the Delhi, Punjab and Haryana governments in taking preventive measures to control the Capital’s poor air quality. The NGT’s observations came even as air quality and visibility improved owing to a wind speed of 15 kmph. From an early morning peak of 1,600 micograms/metre cube (ug/m3), PM10 pollution more than halved at 500ug/m3 in Anand Vihar, Delhi’s most polluted spot. For the first time after the onset of smog, visibility crossed 1,000m at Palam and 1,800m at Safdarjung.NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar came down hard on the Delhi government. “What preventive steps did you take on air pollution in the Capital? Why didn’t your authorities sprinkle water on roads earlier? Why can’t you use helicopters to create artificial rain to control the dust pollution? Are they only meant to carry your officials?” Justice Kumar asked.The Bench also said that despite an “emergency” and continuous smog, Delhi government and authorities concerned from the neighbouring states were putting blame on each, instead of bothering about pollution’s impact on citizens.After slamming the Delhi government, the bench questioned the Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan governments for not clamping down on the burning of paddy straw, which has exacerbated the Capital’s pollution crisis. “What are you doing to control crop burning in your states? In Punjab, 70% of agricultural lands are burning. Don’t you owe some responsibility? You people don’t worry about people’s health. Children are not able to go out due to the smog. See, what have you done to Delhi,” the Bench said.Every year, after harvesting the Kharif crops, farmers across Punjab and Haryana set paddy straw on fire to clear agricultural fields for sowing of Rabi cropsThe tribunal also referred to the satellite images of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to point out that the straw burning was one of the major factors contributing to smog. Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and UP are to submit status reports on straw burning before NGT on Tuesday.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Government has declared New Delhi to be in an ‘emergency situation,’ thanks to the consistently high levels of smog enveloping the capital. Despite the grim news however, it can hardly be expected for a metropolitan city to completely shut down, so city dwellers have embraced the pall as a part and parcel of Delhi life.Delhiites are now kicking off a trend of ‘smog selfies,’ posting photos of themselves amidst the thick smoke cover, complete with masks and a ‘never say die’ attitude. Despite the government having cancelled schools for three days, closing a nearby thermal power plant for over a week and halting construction projects, the haze continues to remain. Tourists have photographed themselves at visitor hotspots like India Gate, barely visible in the smog, while locals capture scenes from around their favourite haunts.New Delhi saw levels of PM 2.5 (pollutant microparticles) stand at over 900 micrograms per cubic metre on Saturday, close to 15 times higher than the World Health Organisation’s safe level in India. Bad air quality can lead to a number of medical conditions including asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease.While New Delhi’s already rampant pollution problem was initially suspected to have been exacerbated by the bursting of Diwali crackers, NASA satellite images last week instead showed the bigger problem was crop burning in neighbourhood states Punjab and Haryana. Fields are burnt to clear them of the rice harvest and ready the soil for the sowing of wheat. While Delhi politicians and health experts advise people to stay indoors until the pollution levels drop, there’s no way selfie addicts are passing up the chance to grab a smokin’ selfie themselves.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi’s air quality improved marginally on Monday as wind speed picked up dispersing the pollutants and the thick cover of hazardous haze that shrouded the city for nearly a week.However, monitoring agency SAFAR had 24-hour-average (rolling) level of respirable pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the ‘severe’ category at 622 and 808 micrograms per cubic metre respectively at 5 PM. The alarming levels of pollution failed to dissuade Chhat revellers though from bursting firecrackers early in the morning. The 24-hour-average Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was 423 as against yesterday’s 497 which was the season’s worst.The visibility also improved as the city witnessed sunshine after several days. “The air quality has improved due to a little increase in wind speed, although the wind direction continues to be north-northwest. By Wednesday wind speed is likely to increase more and wind direction will also be easterly which is likely to further improve the air quality and turn it very poor from severe,” Project Director of SAFAR Gufran Beig told PTI.The wind direction is important from the point of view of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana which falls in the northest region. Wind blowing from that direction brings pollutant-laden smoke to Delhi. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s (DPCC) real-time readings displayed a downward trend cutting across its monitoring stations. The city’s pollution hotspot Anand Vihar had a PM 10 reading of 1640 micrograms per cubic metre at 4 AM. It came down to 580 by 5 PM while PM 2.5 was at 145 micrograms per cubic metre.At Punjabi Bagh, PM 10 came down to 214 micrograms per cubic metre at 5 PM from a high of 1270 recorded at 10 AM. Other stations like Mandir Marg and RK Puram displayed similar trends. PM 2.5 and PM 10 are ultrafine particulates, the dominant pollutants in Delhi, which has recently been described as a “gas chamber” by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.The 24-hour prescribed standards of PM 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 respectively and prolonged exposure to anything beyond that harms the respiratory system and may cause cardiac complications.
New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a plea on the alarming state of air pollution in Delhi as it was told that it had, in the past, issued several directions but their effective implementation and enforcement was lacking.
Vehicles ply on smog covered street in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI
A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L Nageswara Rao agreed to hear the matter on Tuesday after Sunita Narayan of Centre for Science and Environment told the court that there was no effective implementation of the directions issued by the apex court last year.
She told the court that as of now the direction issued in the past were sufficient but if the need arose they would urge the court to issue further directions.
She sought from the court monitoring of the implementation of its directions.
The apex court was also given the report by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for NCR on the state of air pollution in the national capital territory.
Narayan also told the court that Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were diverting the heavy vehicles and other traffic so that they don’t pass through the national capital but because of shortage of manpower the diversion of traffic was not upto the desired levels.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following the severe crisis in the national capital with has left residents gasping, the Supreme Court on Tuesday will her a plea on the alarming pollution levels in Delhi, which the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has termed as worst in 17 years. Amicus Curial Aparajita Singh and EPCA’s Sunita Narain in the case sought an early hearing of the matter stating that Delhi is facing an emergency situation. The Amicus states that the apex courts extensive orders to control pollution has not been implemented in letter and spirit by governments of Delhi, Haryana and UP. “It is a public health emergency, we hope that Supreme Court will advise the Government to take some strict measures to clean the air of Delhi,” Environmental activist and EPCA member Sunita Narain said. Further the court was told that the pollution in Delhi was caused by the high number of vehicles, unchecked construction, dust on the roads and burning of garbage. This has been compounded by burning of paddy residue by the farmers in Punjab and Haryana the EPCA told the court. “Please treat this petition as a public health emergency and hear it at the earliest”, the EPCA also told the Supreme Court.Meanwhile, asserting that the alarming air pollution has become an epidemic in Delhi, Indian Medical Association (IMA) president KK Aggarwal called on Delhiites to stay indoors while adding that the particulate matter 10 (pm) and 2.5 has crossed 600 which is hazardous for the people. “We are now calling this as a pollution epidemic. Our advisory to people is to stay at home, if possible work from home and avoid stepping outside the house,” he said.The Delhi Government has announced several emergency measures to tackle the unprecedented level of pollution plaguing Delhi and the NCR. Water sprinkling on roads will begin tomorrow and vacuum cleaning measures to deal with dust pollution will start next week. Badarpur thermal power plant will be closed for ten days from Monday. Landfill sites fire will be extinguished and transportation of fly ash will be stopped for 10 days. City government is also planning to bring back Odd Even scheme soon and preparations are already on.The MeT department has forecast little improvement in the current weather condition for the next three days. Cases of respiratory problems have risen in the city with people rushing to medical stored to buy air masks.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi is witnessing an “emergency situation” due to alarming pollution level, said the Centre and called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to curb stubble burning by farmers which has made Delhi a ‘gas chamber’.As a blanket of haze continued to cover the city with pollution level remaining very high and breaching the safe limit by over 17 times at several places, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Environment Minister Anil Dave and sought Centre’s urgent intervention to deal with the challenge.Kejriwal likened the city to a “gas chamber” with main reason being smoke from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana and appealed to people to minimise use of vehicles.After the meeting, Dave said he has called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday and will request them to curb stubble burning in their states as it increases level of smog in Delhi.”There is an emergency situation in Delhi. The situation is bad, particularly for children, patients, women and elderly. We need to take immediate steps to deal with the situation,” Dave told reporters, adding he was also exploring the possbility to call a meeting of chief ministers of all neighbouring states on the issue.On his part, Kejriwal appealed to people to restrict use of private vehicles and use public transport.Earlier, addressing a press conference, Kejriwal said vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.”Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity,” he said.Dave said the situation has been “very alarming” and that there was a need to take short-term measures to deal with the situation immediately, adding he discussed with Kejriwal “emergency measures” including ways to contain dust pollution and crop burning.”There are five reasons triggering air pollution that include use of firewood, coal, diesel, petrol and burning of agricultural waste. We have to find solution to address the problem”We should imbibe self discipline in our routine life style. If I don’t minimize use of my four cars and expect other people to use cycles, that should not be happen. We should collectively come under self regulation,” he said.Both Dave and Kejriwal were in agreement that shutting down schools was not the solution when asked about the decision of the civic bodies to keep schools run by it closed for a day in view of pollution.Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional practise of burning farm stubbles.Air Quality Index (AQI) of all the eight monitoring stations of Centre’s SAFAR blinked red, indicating severe levels of pollution. CPCB stations had severe AQI as well.The Delhi High Court had last year observed that living in Delhi was akin to living in a “gas chamber” as it directed the Centre and the city government to present comprehensive action plans to combat it.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Police’s Crime Branch questioned three persons in connection with the suicide of an ex-serviceman, allegedly over One Rank One Pension issue. The 70-year-old ex-serviceman, Ram Kishan Grewal, had consumed poison in the lawns behind Jawahar Bhavan, which houses the Ministry of External Affairs, on November 1. He was rushed to RML Hospital where he died during treatment.Grewal, along with three of his companions, had come to the city apparently to submit a memorandum to the Defence Ministry over the issue of OROP. “One of the persons accompanying him, Rajkumar is a social activist. Prithvi and Jagdish are ex-servicemen. They were called for questioning at Crime Branch office,” said a senior crime branch officer.We have questioned them to ascertain the exact sequence of events, added the officer.All of them were let go after questioning. They all hail from a village in Haryana’s Bhiwani district and were in regular touch with Grewal for the past several months, police said. Meanwhile, teams are verifying the authenticity of the suicide note left by Grewal and are examining the toxicology report. The Crime Branch team led by DCP(Crime) Bhisham Singh is conducting inquest proceedings in the matter.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi is witnessing an “emergency situation” due to alarming pollution level, the Centre said on Saturday and called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to curb stubble burning by farmers which has made Delhi a “gas chamber”.As a blanket of haze continued to cover the city with pollution level remaining very high and breaching the safe limit by over 17 times at several places, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Environment Minister Anil Dave and sought Centre’s urgent intervention to deal with the challenge.Kejriwal likened the city to a “gas chamber” with main reason being smoke from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana and appealed to people to minimise use of vehicles.After the meeting, Dave said he has called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday and will request them to curb stubble burning in their states as it increases level of smog in Delhi.”There is an emergency situation in Delhi. The situation is bad, particularly for children, patients, women and elderly. We need to take immediate steps to deal with the situation,” Dave told reporters, adding he was also exploring the possbility to call a meeting of chief ministers of all neighbouring states on the issue. On his part, Kejriwal appealed to people to restrict use of private vehicles and use public transport.Earlier, addressing a press conference, Kejriwal said vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.”Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity,” he said.Dave said the situation has been “very alarming” and that there was a need to take short-term measures to deal with the situation immediately, adding he discussed with Kejriwal “emergency measures” including ways to contain dust pollution and crop burning.”There are five reasons triggering air pollution that include use of firewood, coal, diesel, petrol and burning of agricultural waste. We have to find solution to address the problem We should imbibe self discipline in our routine life style. If I don’t minimize use of my four cars and expect other people to use cycles, that should not be happen. We should collectively come under self-regulation,” he said.Both Dave and Kejriwal were in agreement that shutting down schools was not the solution when asked about the decision of the civic bodies to keep schools run by it closed for a day in view of pollution.Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional practise of burning farm stubbles. Air Quality Index (AQI) of all the eight monitoring stations of Centre’s SAFAR blinked red, indicating severe levels of pollution. CPCB stations had severe AQI as well. The Delhi High Court had last year observed that living in Delhi was akin to living in a “gas chamber” as it directed the Centre and the city government to present comprehensive action plans to combat it.Meanwhile, Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional practice.”The Centre can sit with the Chief Minister of these states and chalk out a solution. Few reports have put the volume of stubble being burned at around 16-20 million tonnes. Fireworks during Diwali marginally added to the pollution. But other things inside Delhi did not drastically change. So the smog is mainly due to smoke from farm fires,” he observed.Kejriwal identified the main sources of pollution inside Delhi as vehicles, dust and waste burning, which he said could not be responsible for the pall of smog across the city.”I saw smoke across Punjab, Haryana during my visits. We need Centre’s help. We are hiring an agency in a week or two to study the sources of pollution in Delhi afresh,” he said.
New Delhi: Residents continued to complain of respiratory problems and burning eyes as entire Delhi and NCR area remained covered in a shroud of smog the entire Saturday, while experts ruled out any respite with the situation expected to continue for a couple of days.
The air quality continued to remain alarming in Delhi-NCR because of calm winds.
The average level of particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) was above 400 micrograms per cubic metre or the “severe” category at all the pollution measuring centres including at Anand Vihar in east Delhi, Punjabi Bagh and Dwarka in the west, RK Puram in the south, Mandir Marg in central Delhia.
The maximum level — 500 microgrammes per cubic metre — was at Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Mandir Marg and R.K. Puram whereas it was marginally lower at 493 in Dwarka.
Representational image. Reuters
Private weather forecaster, Skymet Director, Mahesh Palawat said that entire Delhi-NCR was engulfed in a thick layer of smog due to calm winds which stopped the pollutants for dispersing.
He said that the passing of ‘Western Disturbances’ over Himalayas made the conditions worst in north India including Delhi.
“Whenever western disturbance passes over Himalayas, it increases the level of humidity which enhances the capacity of air to bear the pollutants for a long time. This results in thick layer of smog over the cities,” Palawat told IANS.
“The situation is expected to remain same tomorrow (Sunday) and the day after. The smog will start dispersing after 7 November (Monday) as dry north-westerly winds with speed 10-15 km/hr are expected to sweep through the region,” he said.
Palawat also held the burning of paddy stubble in Punjab and Haryana responsible for sad state of affair in Delhi.
People living in Delhi-NCR complained about respiratory problems and itching in the eyes due to smog all over the region.
“It was difficult for me to breath properly and my eyes were itching because of high level of air pollution today (Saturday). I did not go for morning walk due to smog. Due to smog the gaze was also turning hazy,” Devi Das, a resident of R.K. Puram area, told IANS.
Similarly Kartik Kumar, who works with a marketing firm, said that his eyes were itching and were turning watery because of high level of air pollution.
“This is the worst level of pollution I have ever seen in Delhi. Entire city is engulfed in smog. The authorities have to take some very serious steps to deal with the situation,” he said.
Vivek Chatopadhyay, a senior researcher with NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said that burning of crop residue in Punjab and Haryana was not the only source of the smog in Delhi but pollutants emitted from diesel cars and truck were also major contributors.
“Such situation is usually witnessed a day after Diwali but now this is happening on a normal day. This indicates that the condition has become very very serious. Now the air quality in Delhi is constantly under highest alarming level,” Chatopadhyay told IANS.
He said that the present level of smog has proved that the current system of air pollution is a complete failure.
“There is a need to curtail down the pollutants and the government will have to take some very serious measures to deal with the crisis,” he added.
New Delhi: The Centre needs to intervene to mitigate the alarming levels of smog, which have virtually turned Delhi into a “gas chamber”, mainly due to farm fires in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday.
He said vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.
“Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity,” Kejriwal told a press conference.
Representational image. PTI
Shutting down of schools for a long time was not a feasible solution, he said, when asked about the decision of the civic bodies to keep schools run by it closed for a day in view of pollution.
Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional practise.
He said the Delhi government has very few methods at its disposal and the Centre needs to intervene.
“The Centre can sit with the Chief Minister of these states and chalk out a solution. Few reports have put the volume of stubble being burned at around 16-20 million tonnes.
“Fireworks during Diwali marginally added to the pollution. But other things inside Delhi did not drastically change. So the smog is mainly due to smoke from farm fires,” he observed.
Kejriwal identified the main sources of pollution inside Delhi as vehicles, dust and waste burning, which he said could not be responsible for the pall of smog across the city.
“I saw smoke across Punjab, Haryana during my visits. We need Centre’s help. We are hiring an agency in a week or two to study the sources of pollution in Delhi afresh. The Centre needs to intervene,” he said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Jain on Friday said the rise in pollution in the city was because of the crops being burnt in neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh. “Crop burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh is the biggest contributor in the rise of pollution levels. We have requested the government of these states several time not to burn crops,” Jain told ANI.On Thursday, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has pressed alarm buttons to highlight one of the worst cases of smog in the national capital.CSE experts said that as per the India Meteorological Department, the smog on November 2, 2016 was the worst in 17 years. Analysing the available data, the CSE reports states that the post-Diwali peak of pollution is higher than the Diwali peak, as the levels of PM2.5 have increased by 62.7% on November 2 as compared to that on Diwali. On November 2, the levels were 9.4 times the standard.The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi recorded the worst levels of smog in 17 years on November 2, with visibility as low as 300-400 metres. The period between 11AM and 2:30 PM was the worst in the day with respect to airport visibility. Calling for an advisory to be issued with alacrity, the CSE report states that the health advisory needs to inform people to keep children and those suffering from heart and respiratory ailments and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) indoors and avoid outdoor exercises.Schools should be shut if necessary as children are more vulnerable. Joint studies of Central Pollution Control Board and the Chittaranjan National Cancer Research Institute from Kolkata have shown that every third child in Delhi has impaired lungs.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi put girls at the centre stage at Haryana’s Golden Jubilee functions, pledging to save the girl child, comes a report revealing that India has lost 2.55 crore girls in the last two decades to female foeticide.In other words, between 1991 and 2011, the country has been losing an average of over 13 lakh girls every year to infanticide owing to sex-determination tests. In comparison, the conviction rate in the cases of sex selection filed under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, was 1 in 1,23,755. These are some of the findings of a report on the Act to be released Thursday (today) by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR).The study, ‘The State of the PC&PNDT Act: India’s losing battle against female foeticide’, further reveals that between 1994 and 2014, only 2,266 cases of infanticide under Sections 315 and 316 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and 2,021 cases under the PCPNDT Act were filed. Between 1994 and 2014, only one in 12,614 cases were filed under the PCPNDT Act. Of these, there were convictions in only 206 cases, implying that the conviction rate was one in 1,23,755 cases. In 17 states and six Union Territories, not a single case was registered under the PCPNDT Act.Of the 1,663 cases of foeticide registered between 2000 and 2015, as per NCRB data, Madhya Pradesh topped with 360 cases, followed by Rajasthan (255), Punjab (239), Maharashtra (155), Chhattisgarh (135) and Haryana (131).The PCNPDT Act is one of the key Acts the Centre has promoted since it came to power. Yet, in a review meeting held a year after the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme was launched, 42 of the worst districts saw a decline in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR) . Of these, Dibang Valley (Arunachal Pradesh), Lakshadweep and Yanam (Puducherry), saw a steep decline in CSR of more than 200 points.The report also says that the government under-reports the number of missing girls. It cites a report, ‘Children in India 2012 — A Statistical Appraisal’, to quote that increasingly declining sex ratio “led to the missing of nearly 3 million girl children compared to 2 million missing boy children in 2011, compared to 2001.””This is wrong on two counts. First, it does not take into account that the decadal growth of population – from 1.028 billion in 2001 to 1.21 billion in 2011 – which would have resulted in the birth of more girls between 2001 and 2011 in actual terms. Second, the Census is conducted every 10 years and the CSR covering 0-6 years of age excludes those in the 7-10 years of age group and indeed does not reflect the actual number of missing girls during the decade,” says the report.The failure to implement the PCPNDT Act, the report states, is due to various factors. They include under-utilisation of funds, non-renewal of registration, non-maintenance of patient details, absence of regular inspection, lack of mapping and tracking of equipment. The report states that, as per the CAG report on the Act, under-utilisation of funds led to the allocation of only Rs 7.09 crore (35%) under the projected requirement of Rs 20.26 crore during 2010-14.The CAG report also revealed that in Uttar Pradesh, the inspection of 100 ultrasound clinics revealed that 1,326 cases (68%) did not have registered medical practitioners, while the details of the procedure were not mentioned in 1,110 cases (57%).
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Army personnel Ram Kishan Grewal on Wednesday allegedly committed suicide at Jantar Mantar over One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue.In his suicide note, Grewal said that he is taking such extreme step for the soldiers. Grewal was a resident of Bumla village in Bhiwani, Haryana.”He called us and informed he is committing suicide as the government has failed to fulfil their demands related to OROP,” said Son of Garehwal.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will visit the family of the ex-seviceman.”It means that the PM was lying about the OROP being implemented. If it infact, was, then why would Ram Kishan have to commit suicide?, Kejriwal asked.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday lauded the steps taken by Haryana towards improving the adverse sex ratio and called upon the people of the state to take a pledge in its golden jubilee year to protect the girl child.Speaking at an official function to celebrate the golden jubilee of the state’s formation here, he said Haryana has taken fast strides in development and its people have made a mark in all spheres of life, and thus the state has the potential to steer the country forward and act as its growth engine. “Haryana has the potential to steer the country forward as it is in such a position where it can provide this strength. If we move by bringing a change from the village and from each one’s land, it will have an effect across the country.”If we move forward keeping public interest and participation in mind, then we can achieve something. I am confident that Haryana has much strength to take the country forward and can act as its growth engine,” he told a big gathering at the Tau Devi Lal stadium here. He also commended Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for some of the districts been declared open defecation free. “We should make entire Haryana open defecation free during this golden jubilee year and I have full hope that the state can do it,” he said. Modi asked if every Haryanvi takes one step forward this golden jubilee and the state takes 2.5 crore steps forward, can any state go ahead of Haryana.Haryana, which was carved out of the then joint Punjab on November 1, 1966, turned 50 today. “Should we not make Haryana number one? There are many strengths which we are yet to recognise. Haryana that surrounds Delhi can steer the national capital forward,” he said. On protecting the girl child, he said, “This golden jubilee year, every Haryanvi should take a pledge to save the girl child and there should be no let up in this regard and the girl child will not be allowed to be killed in the mother’s womb. There cannot be a bigger occasion for golden jubilee than this.”He also thanked the elders and mothers of Haryana who took upon themselves to protect the girl child and helped in improving the sex ratio. Modi said he has also pondered why in a state with such values, which is always ready to accept new things and has been ahead in many areas, unborn girls are killed in mother’s womb. He said in such a distinguished state, female foeticide cannot exist and noted that Haryana has undertaken an effort to ensure it does not happen.”I want to commend people of Haryana that they respected the sentiment when I had begged for saving lives of girls when I launched Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao campaign (from Panipat in January 2015). “Today, I can say with satisfaction, that people of Haryana respected this sentiment. Gender ratio has improved in the country and if any state is making fast improvement in this, it is Haryana,” he said, noting that the daughters of Haryana, who have not just just Haryana proud with their feats, but the entire country. On the menace of open defecation, Modi said, “Imagine that 15 years have passed in the 21st century’s and still our mothers and sisters have to go to defecate in the open. There can be nothing more shameful than this”, and called for stepping up efforts in this regard. Acknowledging the contribution of Haryana in various fields, he said despite being a comparatively small state, people of Haryana have excelled in all aspects of life.”It is believed that Haryana has only farmers but see the exemplary success of businessmen from Haryana. “Today every 10th soldier in army is from Haryana and not only this, people from the state have excelled in business in various states and across the globe,” he said. “Daughters of Haryana have made India very proud on multiple occasions.”Modi said today is a day to look back at the time when Haryana was formed and its aim. “May the process of transformation begin in our villages and when this happens, the development of Haryana will receive an impetus.” He also lauded the steps taken by the state government in making Haryana kerosene free and said eight districts have already become free and the state has pledged to make the entire state kerosene free by March next year that will help eliminate pilferage by middlemen and brokers and conserve environment and foreign exchange.Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, Chief Minister Khattar, several Union ministers, ministers of the Khattar cabinet, several MLAs from the state, besides others were also present on the occasion. Modi also launched three schemes ‘Deen Dayal Jan Awas Yojana’, Automation of Fair Price Shops and Kerosene Free Haryana.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mortal remains of soldier Mandeep Singh, who lost his life in the encounter near LoC, were brought to his hometown in Kurukshetra, Haryana on Sunday.27-year-old Sepoy Mandeep Singh of the 17th Sikh Regiment was killed on Friday and his body was mutilated by terrorists in an attack near the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. The army had said “the incident will be responded to appropriately”, adding the attackers had fled into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir “under the cover of heavy firing by Pakistan army”. One terrorist was killed in the strike.A pall of gloom descended on the native village of the army jawan Mandeep as news of his death reached them on Saturday. The family members of the 30-year-old martyr were inconsolable.Several women from Aantehri village here reached the martyr’s house today and tried to console Mandeep s widow. The couple had got married two years ago, family members said. Mandeep’s widow Prerna is a Head Constable with Haryana police and posted at Shahbad Markanda here.The martyr’s neighbours described him as a “go getter” who always had a smile on his face. Subhash Chandra, Sarpanch of Antahedi village, told ANI on Saturday, ” No one will celebrate Diwali this year, our entire village mourns the death of Mandeep Singh. Only one candle will be lit in every house for the peace of the soul of our martyrs, we are really proud of them.”Mandeep’s sacrifice came within a week after Sushil Kumar (47), a BSF constable was martyred in Jammu district. He also hailed from Kurukshetra district and belonged to Pehowa town here. Kumar was killed as Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire, resorting to heavy shelling and firing from automatic weapons in several sectors along the International Border in Jammu district on October 24. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar described the killing of Mandeep, as a “cowardly act” by terrorists. In a condolence message to members of the bereaved family, the Chief Minister said such nefarious designs of evil forces would not succeed. “The martyrdom of Mandeep Singh will inspire many others to protect our motherland,” he said. Khattar said a financial assistance of Rs 50 lakh would be given to the next of kin of the martyr.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant verdict, the Supreme Court has held that the principal of ‘equal pay for equal work’ has to be made applicable to those engaged as daily wagers, casual and contractual employees who perform the same duties as the regulars.Terming the denial of equal pay for equal work as “exploitative enslavement”, “oppressive, suppressive” and “coercive”, the apex court said that in a welfare state, the principle has to be extended to temporary employees as well. “In our considered view, it is fallacious to determine artificial parameters to deny fruits of labour. An employee engaged for the same work, cannot be paid less than another, who performs the same duties and responsibilities. Certainly not, in a welfare state. Such an action besides being demeaning, strikes at the very foundation of human dignity,” a bench of Justice J S Khehar and S A Bobde said.The bench said “anyone, who is compelled to work at a lesser wage, does not do so voluntarily. He does so to provide food and shelter to his family, at the cost of his self respect and dignity, at the cost of his self worth and at the cost of his integrity”. “For he knows, that his dependents would suffer immensely, if he does not accept the lesser wage. Any act of paying less wages, as compared to others similarly situated, constitutes an act of exploitative enslavement, emerging out of a domineering position. Undoubtedly, the action is oppressive, suppressive and coercive, as it compels involuntary subjugation,” it said. Citing Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, of which India is a signatory and has ratified it on April 10, 1979, the apex court said “there is no escape from the above obligation”.It said in view of different constitutional provisions and the law declared by the Court under Article 141 of the Constitution, the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ constitutes “a clear and unambiguous right and is vested in every employee, whether engaged on regular or temporary basis”. The verdict came as some temporary employees of Punjab government approached the apex court after Punjab and Haryana High Court held that temporary employees were not entitled to the minimum of the regular pay-scale, merely for the reason that activities carried on by them and the regular employees were similar.The apex court directed the Punjab government to pay the petitioners the minimum of the pay-scale (at the lowest grade, in the regular pay-scale), extended to the regular employees holding the same post.The petitioners were daily wagers working as Pump Operators, Fitters, Helpers, Drivers, Plumbers, Chowkidars. The court said there is no room for any doubt that the duties and responsibilities discharged by the temporary employees in the present set of appeals were the same as those being discharged by regular employees.
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.
There has been some worrying news on the side of the economy which has remained confined to the business newspapers. It concerns India’s large information technology and software industry and companies like Infosys, TCS and Wipro. These firms, which were expanding quickly for the last two decades, have all slowed down.
They are now growing at single digits annually and even that is a struggle. This has caused speculation that the industry is in a death spiral in India. One reason for this slowing down is that automation is replacing human capital. This affects the services being offered by these companies and their hundreds of thousands of employees.
Representational image. Reuters
The former Infosys leader TV Mohandas Pai wrote a fine explanation of the issue and put it in perspective. He says that though there is a change in the offing, it is still three to five years away and that India’s IT companies are in a good position to address it. He says:
Let us take stock of the situation today. The Indian software export industry is about $110 billion. It employs around 4.25 million people. It has a 60 percent market share of global outsourcing and is globally dominant. Of the 10 top software service companies globally ranked by market cap, five are Indian. Of the top five, three are Indian. All of them have a massive presence in India. Of the total number of employees, amounting to nearly 2 million, in these top 10 companies, about 70 percent are based in India or travel out of India. The Indian offshore software industry dominates the software services world and has no parallel.
The big Indian companies have experience of being global leaders and also have exceptionally talented management so we should all expect that they will counter the change in the best way they can. However, it is also the case that many think that the change is structural and disruptive.
I was speaking at a seminar in Hyderabad a few weeks ago. The man who was in charge of the IBM artificial intelligence program Watson, Manoj Saxena, also spoke at the event and what he said was quite alarming. Saxena explained the changes in technology coming in the next decade. He thought our IT companies were not geared to transformation of the sort that was required while continuing to focus on their multi-billion dollar existing businesses. It was like changing the tyres on a car moving at a hundred miles an hour, he said.
Automation is coming upon us more rapidly that most of us imagine. In an interview to the PTI in July, Mohandas Pai said: “There are today lots of people (middle-level managers) earning between Rs 30 lakh and Rs 70 lakh per year. Half of them will lose their jobs in the next ten years.”
According to him, middle-level managers account for 10 percent — or 4,50,000 people — of IT industry in India. And of these, 2,25,000 would lose jobs over the next one decade as their work would get automated. This is grim news for many reasons. First, this means that even if India’s IT companies are able to retain their market share of software work, it is going to be automated, meaning requiring less employees.
Second, manufacturing jobs are already in decline world over because of automation and in fact robotics technology has made it possible for some manufacturing jobs to return to the west. Third, the IT sector’s transformation comes at a time when India has been struggling to create jobs. All the numbers on job creation are alarming.
Fourth, there is already unrest in large sections of the population on the issue of jobs. The dominant communities in three of our most industrialised states, Gujarat, Haryana and Maharashtra, are agitating on this issue already. Patidars, Jats and Marathas feel they need state assistance for employment. They are not urban communities to any large extent. The IT industry, which is based in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Gurgaon, employs the urban upper castes.
This class has been anti-reservation because access to English education and service sector jobs has been easy for it. The rapid changes coming to the world through technology mean that this may no longer be the case. This is not an issue for the government in my opinion, but it is necessary that Indians be aware of these fundamental changes that are on their way and how they will affect our lives.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what is unquestionably the biggest seizure after the enforcement of total prohibition of liquor in Bihar, the state Excise department sleuths confiscated 1,100 cartons containing 10,500 litres of liquor during a raid near Fatuha in Patna district on Saturday.Acting on a tip off received by assistant excise commissioner (Patna) Krishna Kumar, the excise cops raided a godown in Fatuha Industrial Area where the smuggled Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) was being unloaded from a container truck. The truck as well as the liquor is from Haryana, according to the officials.The MRP of the contraband, containing popular brands of IMFL, is Rs two crore. However, it may be mentioned that in dry Bihar, the value of one bottle of alcohol increases several times if a smuggler illegally manages to provide it to a customer, sources said, adding, “This huge amount of liquor may have been smuggled keeping the Diwali festival in mind.” Bihar enforced total prohibition on April 5, but a harsher liquor law came into effect on October 2.”An FIR has been registered in this matter. Six people, including the kingpin and godown owner Anil Kumar Gupta, have been arrested and investigations are underway,” officials said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) scheme which encourages all MPs to identify and develop at least one village in their constituency; Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra, on Sunday, adopted five villages and six panchayats in the Sirsa district of Haryana.Speaking at a rally, in the town of Agroha in Hisar district, on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Agrasen, Chandra said. “To ensure the fulfilment of our PM’s dream, I have decided to adopt five villages and six panchayats from Hisar and the Mandi Adampur area. I will not only develop these villages but also transform them into model villages within the next two years.”The rally had been organised by members of the Vaishya community from Hisar and Chandra spoke passionately about how Vaishyas had much to be proud of. “From 11 political parties Vaishyas today have 29 MPs and 111 MLAs from 14 states. Vaishyas are very much involved in the political process and today, after seeing all of you at this rally, one can safely say that Vaishyas have once again made their presence felt,” Chandra said.He added, “We have initiated a new beginning and we want to ask people to start using Vaishya as a status and work towards the benefit of the under-privileged.”Despite all the good work the community had done, Chandra reminded the crowd that much still remained to be done. He said that there were as many as 360 sub castes in the ‘Vaishya’ (trader) community, of which more than 300 fell under the category of the backward classes.”This is a situation that requires immediate attention. We request all people to come together and work for the betterment of our community,” he said. Chandra also urged the crowd to remember the principles of Maharaja Agrasen.Speaking at the rally, BJP national president Amit Shah echoed Chandra’s sentiments about Maharaja Agrasen. Shah said that Agrasen was the first person to give social security to all the residents of his empire through the one-brick one-rupee initiative. He added that the Modi government also believed in the same principles.”I salute Maharaja Agrasen for his ideologies and the work he did for the people. His principles of welfare through business, welfare of the people and ensuring patriotism towards the kingdom are the same with which the BJP abides by,” Shah said.Coming to the present, Shah added that through various measures like Start Up India and Make in India, the Central government has ensured that today’s youth were no longer job seekers but job providers.He added that thanks to such initiatives, international companies had set up their manufacturing units here, thus increasing the number of jobs in the country,”The BJP government believes that in order to be developed, we need to overcome many hurdles. Over the years, various governments gave the call for bringing in GST; however the BJP government made this a reality. This will increase business opportunities, especially when GST comes into effect from April 1, 2017,” Shah said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Unique Identification Authority of India will start a special drive from Saturday to enroll the leftover population for Aadhaar in 22 States and Union Territories.The states include Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Island, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. The drive will ensure that nobody is left without an Aadhaar in these States.As part of this drive, the residents of these States who have not yet enrolled for Aadhaar are being asked to register themselves at ww.wenrol.uidai.gov.in.The scheme will be only for adult population and it will continue till 15th of next month.On completing the simple registration formality, such people would be enrolled for the Aadhaar number on a priority basis. Communications and Information Technology Ministry has said, over 106 crore Aadhaar numbers have been issued so far.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly 40 people have come under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) scanner for their suspected role in the violence that rocked Haryana in February this year – otherwise known as the Jat agitation.The 40 people have been booked for conspiring to target Haryana’s Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu at his residence. The probe agency took over the case from the police on the direction of the state government.On Thursday, the agency spokesperson said three cases have been registered in connection with the stir that was led by the Jat community to demand their inclusion in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category. Officials told DNA that of the three FIRs, two pertain to the arson and rioting that took place at Abhimanyu’s house. The third relates to allegations of looting of weapons from a company of Border Security Force (BSF) and Haryana police at Delhi bypass in Rohtak.”Allegations include attacking, looting of weapons from the police guard, attempting to murder the family members of the Finance Minister in the government of Haryana and burning down his house. The CBI took over the investigation on the request of the Haryana government and further orders from the government of India,” CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh said.According to the Haryana police, most of the accused are absconding. A team of CBI sleuths has been camping in Haryana since last Friday. They have also recreated the scene of crime with the help of forensic experts. Sources said a number of witnesses have come forward to aid the probe into the massive agitation, which resulted in the death of 30 people and financial losses worth hundreds of crores.While, for now, the agency is focusing on three cases only, it is possible that the sleuths will probe incidents of violence that took place across Haryana, due to the possibility of common people being involved in the violence.The accused have been booked under sections 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), 395 (punishment for dacoity), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs50), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house), and 452 (house-trespass) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).The second FIR includes the same charges with an addition of sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and section 120 B (punishment of criminal conspiracy).The third FIR, related to the looting of weapons from a BSF company, also has sections 283 (danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), and 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) of the IPC and section 8B of the National Highways Act, 1956 (punishment for mischief by injury to national highway).