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Another train derails near Kanpur: 62 injured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 60 passengers were injured in Wednesday’s Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailment accident near Kanpur, raising serious questions on the safety of train passengers in the country. While the cause of the accident could not be ascertained, sources said railway fracture was suspected to be the possible reason for derailment of 15 coaches Ajmer-Sealdeh Express.The incident comes just a month after 150 people were killed and more than 200 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express train derailed in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh on November 20. While the investigation report of that incident is yet to come out, initial report had suggested rail fracture as possible reason for that accident too. Incidentally, both these accidents occured in the early hours of morning.Wednesday’s mishap took place when the train was crossing a bridge overhead a dry canal in the area and reportedly two coaches of the train also fell in the canal. Some railway officials, who did not wish to be named, said it was almost miraculous that there were no casualties. They added that had the train been running on a high speed, the impact of the accident would have been much more. “The train had just pulled out of a railway station and its speed was rather slow. The train was travelling at a speed of 108km per hour,” an official said.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced a thorough investigation into the accident and Commissioner Railway Safety of Northern Circle was put in charge of the inquiry. Sources in Railways said a possible fracture in the track appeared to be the prima facie cause of the mishap. Maintenance issues coupled with drop in temperature cause fracture in rails. A senior railway official, however, said that weather and fog had no role to play in Tuesday’s accident.There has been an increase in incidents of derailments this year. According to railways data, there have been 67 derailment cases this year since April while it was 52 in the corresponding period last year. Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed however, said that the total number of accident cases has come down in comparison to previous years though the railways’ plan of action is to achieve zero accident target. The total number of accidents was 137 three years back which has come down to 87 this year, Jamshed said. Prabhu announced ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 for seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for people with minor injuries. 62 people suffered injuries and 11 of them had grievous injuries, a railway official said.

NGO launches exhaustive RTI portal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the state continues to drag its feet on offering a website dedicated to the Right to Information Act, 2005, an NGO has come out with an exhaustive RTI portal. While an official state government RTI portal has been in the pipeline for the past four years, the last update from the government was that it would be launched after the monsoon session.The website developed by the NGO promises to provide exhaustive information pertaining to the filing of RTI applications, RTI rules of various states, orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts, among other related details. The website seeks to provide regular RTI applicants with answers to any queries they may have, as well as initiate a first-time applicant to ways in which an RTI application can be filed.Called mahitiadhikarmanch.ngo – named after the NGO which derives its name in Marathi from the RTI Act, the portal has rules of different states in their respective state languages. The RTI Act itself is available in 10 languages including Marathi,besides English and Hindi, on the website.“A lot of organizations do work on RTI. However, there is no single website that gives the information on all the details about the RTI. On our website, we have put up the RTI Act and even the rules in all languages. There is a link to all information commissions and all organizations that work towards the RTI Act. There are important SC and HC judgments related to RTI Act, motivational songs and talks by various people. Information will also be provided of various workshops on RTI that people can look forward to attend. We are trying to make the website as live as we can make it,” said Bhaskar Prabhu, of Mahiti Adhikar Manch, that has come out with the website.The website will be followed by a RTI vehicle that will educated people on the Act moving from place to place. “In future we will also put up details of all the Acts that relate to or compliment the RTI Act like the Indian Evidence Act, Records Maintenance Act, Services Act and all other Act that co-relate with the RTI,” said Prabhu.

Mumbai Airport to be closed from 12 pm-5 pm for runway maintenance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The airline operations at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai will be closed for five hours on Sunday as the airport authorities are carrying runway maintenance work.The Mumbai Airport will be closed for five hours between 12 pm and 5 pm. Both the runways in Mumbai will be shut down for maintenance work during the said period of five hours on every Monday and Thursday for about a month, from October 31 until November 28. This means passengers would have to face inconvenience for a total of nine days.The airport authorities have informed all airlines and even pilots about this maintenance work and scheduled closure. All flights heading towards Mumbai have been cancelled due to prevention runway surface work.More than 200 flights are likely to be cancelled on each day, amounting to 2,100 cancellations in all. Meanwhile, all passengers have been advised to call the airlines and check their flight departure schedule before they head to the airport.

Mumbai Monorail to seek new contracts for operation and maintenance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Early next year the contract between Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Scomi Engineering will cease to Operate and Maintain Mumbai Monorail. The Monorail which connects east Mumbai to the south will rope in a private player for its operation and maintenance. The officials are working towards floating a bid sometime later next month or during early November so that a private transport company can operate and maintain the system for next three years.”Scomi Engineering’s contract terminates on January 31, but they have agreed to handle the operation and maintenance even in February 2017. This is because the commissioning of the second phase of the project is likely to happen sometime in February,” said a source.Once the second phase of just over 10-km between Wadala Depot and Jacob Circle (Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk) is opened for public, Scomi Engineering will exit from their role. This is when a new contract will be processed.Presently, Scomi Engineering is being paid Rs 3,131 for each trip that is operated. This price includes maintenance of fleet of monorail in Mumbai. “Actually, the cost is not just for 10 monorail trains in India, but it is for a total of operating and maintaining 15 trains. Balance five are yet to arrive in Mumbai. Moreover, this price was agreed upon for the entire route of Chembur-Wadala Depot-Jacob Circle (19.17-km), but what has happened is they are getting paid full amount for operating half the project,” shared a source. Despite being paid more, the trains are riddled with series of technical problems.A senior MMRDA official shared that though Scomi Engineering is keen to continue the contract for another three years, they expect to be paid double the amount. “The rough calculation comes to around Rs 6,500 to Rs7,000 per trip, as per initial discussions with Scomi Engineering,” said the senior official. The reserve price of Operation and Maintenance, for the upcoming contract, has not been shared by MMRDA with dna, however, it is likely to be more than Rs3,131 per trip, which is the cost at present.

Leakage of toxic fumes kills 2 on board Vikramaditya

Two civilian workers died and two naval sailors are getting treated after gas leak on board Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikramaditya, India’s latest Russian-made aircraft carrier, at Karwar on Friday evening.”An incident of gas leakage on board INS Vikramaditya took place about 5pm on Friday, whilst the ship was undergoing maintenance repairs at Karwar. Maintenance work was being undertaken in the sewage treatment plant compartment,” said a naval officer.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Due to inhalation of toxic fumes, four persons – two naval sailors and two civilian workers – were evacuated to Naval Hospital at Karwar.The two deceased are Rakesh Kumar and Mohandas Kolambkar.”The next of kin of the deceased have been informed. The condition of the other two personnel is stable,” informed a naval spokesperson.The Navy has ordered an inquiry into the incident. INS Vikramaditya is India’s largest naval ship and equipped with a variety of integral weapons and sensors and it was undergoing maintenance repair since June 1.This is the third incident pertaining to the Navy to happen this year, the previous two being fire on soon-to-be decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat in March, which resulted in the death of a chief engineer mechanic and the injury of three others.Prior to it, in April, a sailor lost his leg while two others were injured in an oxygen cylinder explosion on board INS Nireekshak. The ship was on its way to Mumbai from Visakhapatnam.

India has to increase family planning budget, says study

India needs to significantly increase its budget for the family planning sector if it doesn’t want to miss the goal it pledged it will reach at FP2020, the global partnership for protection of reproductive rights of women and girls, suggests a new study.The study by the Population Foundation of India (PFI), a think tank on population and development issues, shows that if India wants to meet its FP2020 pledge of covering 48 million new users by that year, it would need to spend about Rs 15,800 crore, if not more, during 2013-2020.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Any delay in doing so, or any gap that may result because of paucity of resources would cost the country dear in terms of high maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and poor child health resulting from poorly spaced pregnancies. In line with a rights-based perspective and an empowerment approach, women need to be able to have the right to determine the number of children they wish to have.
ALSO READ Why family planning is intrinsic for sustainable developmentThe states that need a greater focus and commitment are the 8 Empowered Action Group states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal as well as Assam and Himachal Pradesh.The research noted that family planning, which is almost fully funded by the central government, has received very little attention from it as compared to other health programmes.Family Welfare, which includes the budget for family planning constituted only 4% of the 2014-15 Health and Family Welfare budget. The family planning components in this budget include central procurement of contraceptives, the funding of social marketing projects, national level IEC and promotional activities and premium for Family Planning Insurance (for compensation against contraceptive failures). These constituted approximately 25% of the total Family Welfare budget of the central government in 2014-15.The share for family planning within the larger Family Welfare budget has been further reduced to around 10-15% with subsequent reductions in contraceptive procurement and social marketing. Other major items in the Family Welfare budget, which constitutes the rest of its 75% share, include, “Infrastructure Maintenance” and funding Family Welfare institutions, such as the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare and the Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh.Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director, PFI said, “The study on the resource requirements for India to meet its FP2020 commitments indicates that it would need to spend at least Rs 15,800 crores by 2020 to achieve this goal as well as those of the SDGs. The need of the hour is to work closely with the private sector and civil society to make this promise a reality.”

Karnataka: Police association leader arrested for planning protests

Bengaluru: Authorities on Thursday arrested Karnataka state police association leader V. Shashidhar for planning to spearhead a strike on 4 June, protesting exploitation, low pay and poor working conditions.

Representational Image. ReutersRepresentational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

“A case has been registered at Yelahanka New Town police station and Karnataka police association president Shahidhar has been arrested and presented before local court which remanded him to judicial custody till 16 June,” said Bengaluru Police Commissioner N.S. Megharikh.

Earlier on Tuesday, Karnataka government stringently warned against the planned agitation and invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) for maintaining public order and safety across the state.

Despite the warning, the Karnataka state police association which includes a 60,000 constabulary force has decided to push forward with their en masse leave on Saturday.

Shashisdhar alleged that constables are being forced to work for irregular and long hours, without proper leave mechanism and harassment by senior officers.

Army tribunal rules triple talaq ‘unconstitutional’

In an order which could well serve as a precedent for dealing with triple talaq cases in the armed forces, the Lucknow bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has ruled that declaration of oral triple talaq is unconstitutional. However, some legal experts opine otherwise saying personal law is not open to judicial review.”Women of every religion are protected by the Constitution of India and no person has the right to go against the constitutional spirit in the shadow of personal law,” the AFT order said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But, senior lawyer and UP’s additional advocate general Zafaryab Jilani is livid. “This order has no legal standing and will be struck off by the appellate court. Muslim Personal Law is derived from the Holy Quran and courts cannot sit in judgment over its edicts.”The order can be challenged only in the Supreme Court now. Interestingly, the apex court is already dealing with a much-publicised case over the vexatious issue.With this ruling, the AFT has declined to grant any relief to the applicant (an army man), rejecting his original application against payment of maintenance to his wife allegedly divorced under the Muslim Personal Law. The AFT said his wife was entitled to payment of maintenance as per the order passed by the Army along with arrears of maintenance. The tribunal directed the Army authorities to enforce the order.A Lance Naik / tailor in the Army Mohammad Faroor alias Farooq Khan of Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh had filed the application in 2012 as he was aggrieved with the order for payment of maintenance to his wife, divorced under Muslim Personal Law.

Malegaon blasts: NIA will get its clean chit when it finds out who’s guilty

There are many ways to look at the clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and four others. They have been in detention since 2009 on grounds that their detention was required for investigating the blast in Malegaon which killed, maimed, and hurt people. That the blast took place in the town which has largely a Muslim population had meant that Hindus may have been behind it.

Those had been put behind bars have every reason now to ask the State for restitution. This compensation would be for being put in jail for no reason, or for the mere ineptitude of the investigation agencies, starting from the local police, the Anti-Terrorism Squad, and later, the National Investigation Agency. Their case can become an example for other citizens who suffer in jail because the investigation processes are slow or misdirected.

Before going further, it has to be realised that in this particular instance of admission that people were wrongfully held, political actors would go on a spree on Twitter and face the television cameras, and make it a political issue. Digvijay Singh of the Congress was the first to go on TV saying that it was all politics. More will flow as the day ends. Probably overflow to other arenas.

The other serious issues would then be pushed to the side. Let us look at them.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh. File photo. IBNLiveSadhvi Pragya Singh. File photo. IBNLive

Sadhvi Pragya Singh. File photo. IBNLive

One, the clean chit raises uncomfortable questions for the criminal jurisprudence system. Stricter laws that India has had, starting from the Maintenance of Internal Security (MISA), came on the statute on the pretext that they help secure the country’s interests. That some leeway not allowed under the CrPC—in terms of the time allowed to file a chargesheet and evidence gathering—were provided. The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime (MCOCA) was one such law, and another one was the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) law.

Two, if the ‘main accused’, that is the Sadhvi and others, are now left out of the chargesheet, then who carried out the blasts in Malegaon? If the real culprits are not in the net, where are they and what are they up to? And more importantly, have they been involved in other terror activities? India has had enough of them to have been serious about such serious cases. And what credibility would any major probe and trial have?

Three, it does not matter if the NIA made out a case in court for a clean chit, or whether the ATS has made a mistake. But the culpability of the state in keeping people in the slammer, under indefinite detention, and describing them as ‘accused’ should mean someone should pay a price. If the NIA made an honest confession, it also incriminated the State by implication at various levels

Four, even if one goes by special public prosecutor, RohiniSalian’s claim that NIA had been asking her to go soft on them, it was a self-goal by the State. A cynical view can be that with her withdrawal from the case, the NIA, at the behest of the political bosses, held back the punches, doing a hatchet job. The ATS was working on the case during a Congress-NCP regime. Going soft implies winking at facts

Five, as detailed by The Indian Express this morning, and going by what happened in the courtroom on Friday, the charges against them were dropped for the following reason: the investigation by the ATS headed by Hemant Karkare was way off the mark, and that evidence had been fudged. That is a serious matter because the initial probe by the ATS was by a much-celebrated officer who unfortunately was killed in the 26/11 attack on Mumbai.

Six, Salian could now stand up in a public square and assert that she had been vindicated. That she had believed that the evidence was strong, and therefore did not find it appropriate to go soft. Her accusation was not only denied but rubbished by the NIA. The agency’s stand in the court on Friday does not square with this claim. ‘Not enough evidence’ after nearly seven years of investigation raises serious doubts about the professionalism of the investigators.

Seven, when dealing with a serious blast case, the ATS could not have been so lax as to not have recorded the ‘confessions’ before a magistrate. It implies that the ATS had believed it could have had its way in the court, as if it was dealing with a pickpocket, where a magistrate after a cursory hearing, hands out a punishment. Witnesses being forced to manufacture evidence reflects utter lack of professionalism and probity.

If the NIA’s admission about the agency which probed the case earlier were to be accepted, it underscores the lack of the forensic ability of the investigation agencies. It appears that even in serious cases involving national security, the probe agencies believe in the danda method, which normally is the third degree. In other cases, we can assume that innocents may be punished, and the criminals let go.

Eight, it is also possible that the NIA ended up investigating the ATS, and the investigation of the blast still remains to be done. If the NIA is correct, it will have to find those who carried out the blasts, and prove its case in a much more professional manner than normally is the case. Its real credibility is on the line now. That’s when it would get its clean chit, of being a professional body. It has to better than the Maharashtra ATS.

VVIP chopper scam: Who is ‘DG Acq’ in Agusta broker’s note?

Agusta deal middleman Christian Michel’s handnotes, that are part of the 225-page Milan Court of Appeals order over corruption in the Rs3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, lists out the beneficiaries of bribe in India.Michel’s note mentions the beneficiaries with the initials of their names and includes ‘DG Acq’ purportedly for DG Acquisition in the ministry of defence (MoD) along with others like ‘Dch’ that is being read as Deputy Chief, “DG Maintt”, arguably understood as DG Maintenance, ‘Bur’ for bureaucrats, ‘Pol’ for politicians, ‘AP’ which has been interpreted as Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Sonia Gandhi.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At the time of inking of the Agusta deal in January 2010, the post of Director General (DG), Acquisition in the ministry was held by the current Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) SK Sharma. Even as he stayed on the position from April 2007 to September 2010, and later became defence secretary, in May 2013, when he was appointed CAG, questions were raised by then AAP member and senior supreme court lawyer Prashant Bhushan on his neutrality as an auditor since he had himself cleared defence projects as DG.DG, acquisition handles technical and compliance requirements of tender. During his term as DG acquisition, besides Agusta, $1.1 bn dollar deal for six C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft and a $2.2 billion dollar deal for eight P8i aircraft for the Navy were also signed. Michel’s note alleges that the 30 million euros, which formed the part of the kickback money, were divided between political leaders who were paid 15-16 million euros, air force officials, who got six million euros and the bureaucrats in the defence ministry who were given 8.4 million euros.Sharma had a close to 10 year stint in MoD in varying capacities starting from joint secretary Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW) in December 2003.Interestingly, three months after Sharma took over as the head of the auditing body, a CAG report tabled in Parliament in August, 2013 said that the MoD bent rules for the purchase of VVIP helicopters from the Italian firm.It also questioned the air headquarters for failing to prepare a proper estimates of the requirement. Pointing to procedural lapses, CAG questioned why the MoD deviated from the Defence Procurement Procedure and from the provisions of the deal tender issued in September 2006. It also pointed that it found no justification for increase in the original requirement of helicopters from 8 to 12.The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are probing the case in India in which former air force chief SP Tyagi and his relatives along with four other European nationals and firms have been booked for taking kickbacks worth Rs423 crore to award the deal.

Brass pinnacle at Taj crashes, ASI in the dock

A seven-feet high brass pinnacle mounted on top of one of the four minarets at the main Taj Mahal building came tumbling down on Tuesday morning. Though no one was injured, the mishap has set alarm bells ringing for the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and has sparked off all-round concern regarding the upkeep and conservation of the world famous monument.However, the ASI tried to cover up the incident saying the brass ‘kalash’ had actually been brought down by labourers as part of repairs going on in the Taj Mahal premises. “We had the pinnacle taken down as the iron rods inside have rusted,” said ASI official Ram Ratan supervising the repair works. He said the lime mortar at the top of the minaret was getting frail and needed to be repaired.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A tourist department official here confirmed the incident. He said a four-feet piece of the seven-feet high pinnacle had indeed fallen off but nobody got hurt as the tumbling piece of brass got caught in the mesh of ropes and bamboo poles erected for the labourers carrying out repairs.The incident has once again brought into sharp focus the perfunctory manner in which the ASI has been handling the maintenance of the mausoleum, which is one of the wonders of the world and attracts over 20 lakh foreign tourists every year.The Supreme Court and a parliamentary committee which studied the state of the Taj Mahal last year have voiced serious concerns over the maintenance of the monument. Earlier, a decorative lamp known as the Curzon Lamp had come crashing down. Last year, stone pieces had fallen from the Royal Gate during the rains.

New Arunachal Pradesh CM Kalikho Pul takes charge, spells out priorities

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul convened an emergency meeting with top bureaucrats at his office, minutes after being sworn in as the eighth chief minister of the state late on Friday.Putting forward his priorities and vision before Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi, Principal Secretary (Home) Dharmendra Sharma, Principal Secretary (Finance) Satya Gopal Sinha, DGP S Nithiyanandam, Commissioner to CM Hage Kojeen, Secretary personnel, DC and SP Capital, the Chief Minister issued strict directives to ensure that there was no breach of law and order in the state, particularly in capital area.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He made it amply clear that lawlessness in the state would not be tolerated, an official communique said here on Saturday. “Maintenance of law and order, curbing corruption, effective fiscal management and concrete development in all fronts by ensuring transparency and accountability will be my government s top agenda,” he asserted.He further called for a strong work force and collective effort to take the state to newer heights.Seeking their cooperation in uprooting the evil menace of corruption, Pul said that effective and efficient financial management with utmost priority towards transparency and accountability, judicious utilization of development fund would be his ultimate and prime agenda so that the fruits of development are equitably distributed to every citizen of the state.He also emphasized on paying due attention towards health and education and said that these prime social sectors need to be thoroughly overhauled to secure the society and the future of the state.The discussion also touched various other sectors too, the communique informed.Pul would hold another meeting with all the commissioners and secretaries including DGP tomorrow, the communique added.

Delhi sanitation workers agree to call off strike in High Court

New Delhi: The sanitation workers of the three municipal corporations on Monday agreed before the Delhi High Court to call off their strike and resume work immediately after MCDs said they have released their wages which would be received by all within two days.

The workers claimed that majority of them have not received salaries for January 2016 though the corporations say that wages were released on 5 February.

The municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs) told a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath that the funds were released on 5 February, but as some zonal offices were closed, everyone may not have received the wages and those who have not got their salary will get it in a couple of days.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The bench, thereafter, took on record statements made by both sides and listed the matter on 10 February when it will also hear arguments on issues of payment of other arrears as well as unification of the corporations, which were raised on Monday by unions representing the workers.

The court also took on record the corporations’ statement that there would be no impediment in release of wages to the workers for the month of January.

During the brief hearing, the unions contended that salaries were not received by all as claimed by the MCDs.

They also said that trifurcation of the corporations had resulted in increase in expenditure by three times and sought unification of the three MCDs.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Birender Sangwan who has sought lifting of garbage littered on streets due to the safai karamchaaris strike and that the stir be called off as it was causing hardship to the general public.

The submissions on behalf of the workers came pursuant to the court’s notice to their respective unions on 5 February seeking their response to the PIL and the claim of the MCDs that salaries upto January 2016 have been released.

The court on that date had also remarked that sanitation workers cannot “hold the city to ransom” by going on strike if they have been paid their salary.

It had also asked the Delhi government whether it intended to enforce the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).

To this, senior standing counsel for the Delhi government, Rahul Mehra, on Monday told the court that ESMA had been revoked by the city administration in 2015.

However, the petitioner submitted that ESMA of Haryana has been extended to Delhi.

PTI

Sanitation workers cannot hold the city to ransom, says Delhi HC

New Delhi: Sanitation workers cannot “hold the city to ransom” by going on strike if they have been paid their salaries, Delhi High Court said on Friday after the municipal corporations claimed that the wages have been paid.

“If salaries have been paid, they cannot hold the city to ransom,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said and sought responses from the corporations and the unions of the sanitation workers on a PIL seeking calling off of the strike.

The bench also asked, “how do we know salaries have been paid,” and directed the corporations to respond with regard to the strikes called by teachers, doctors and nurses under their control and listed the matter for hearing on 8 February.

MCD strike. PTIMCD strike. PTI

MCD strike. PTI

“We are right now concerned about the third dimension, of hardship caused to citizens,” it said and asked whether Delhi government intended to enforce the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).

Senior standing counsel for Delhi government, Rahul Mehra, told the court that enforcement of ESMA had not been considered till now and thus, he would need to take instructions on the matter.

The bench, however, refused to pass any interim order declaring the strike as illegal, as was sought orally by the counsel for the corporations, saying that without hearing the workers’ union, “how can we declare strike as illegal”.

The three corporations claimed they had received funds from Delhi government on Thursday and had immediately paid wages to the workers up to January.

However, the workers have now raised new demands like arrears of dearness allowance and other such perquisites, they said.

They also said that while the workers were on strike, garbage collection had been outsourced to private companies, but cleaning of streets was not being carried out.

They said they have issued notices to their workers and also appealed to them to return to work, but there has been no response from them.

PTI

6-year-old’s death in Delhi: Probe into case influenced by school management, says AAP

AAP MLA Devendra Sehrawat on Thursday wrote to Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung alleging that the probe into the death of a six-year-old student at Ryan International School is being “influenced” by the management.The media and parents of the child are also “feeling the pressure”, Sehrawat, legislator of the Vijwasan constituency, said in the letter. He had earlier sought the cancellation of the school’s license.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the letter, that was apparently written before the arrest of the Principal of the school, Sehrawat stressed that the cases, including the one involving the death of a child in an SDMC school, will have to be taken out of the local police stations to ensure “fair probe”.”Divyansh’s death has happened in suspicious circumstances. His father wants the case to be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). I request you to agree to the demand in public interest. Ryan School is a big organisation and its influence is pretty apparent in the investigation. Media and the parents of the child are also feeling the pressure,” the letter said.The principal and four other staff of the school, located in south Delhi, were arrested on Thursday, five days after the class one student was found dead in a water tank on the campus, triggering outrage.Besides principal Sandhya Sabu (50), those arrested include class teacher Minakshi Kapoor (38) and drinking water system operator Yogesh Kholiya (23). Maintenance in-charge of the tank Puran Singh Bisht (65) and gardener Ram Narayan (44) were also arrested.

South Kashmir township on warpath over memorial for militants

Imagine a memorial for the slain militants in Kashmir!South Kashmir Township of Pulwama is up in arms against the authorities for rejecting their demand of constructing a memorial for the slain militants in the `martyrs’ graveyard of the main market.For the last 12 days the township has been observing a shutdown prompting the authorities to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ensure the essential services and supplies to the people in the district.The demand for memorial was spurred by the death of a local militant of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Omais Ahmad Sheikh, in Bandipora district last month. Soon after he was buried, the youth started raising slogans and demanded the memorial be built. The youth wanted the names and pictures of the people slain in encounters and other incidents to be superimposed on the memorial.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Some 400 to 800 youths wanted to erect a sign board. We as elders suggested to them that they should not write anything except Mazar-e-Shohuda (martyrs’ graveyard). They wanted to display the pictures of the people buried in the graveyard. Then we arrived at a consensus that we should put up a simple sign board with Mazar-e-Shohuda written on it,” said Bashir Azam, head of the local Auquaf in Pulwama.Local Auquaf members and traders held several rounds of meeting with the district administration to evolve a consensus. “There has been no progress, however. We want only the sign board to be put up outside the graveyard.No photographs and nothing else. The administration should accept this demand. People are facing a lot of difficulty and traders have suffered losses worth crores of rupees,” said Azam.What, however, added a new dimension to whole saga was the support extended by separatists for the martyrs’ memorial. “Youth who are making sacrifices are our heroes and worth to be respected. Installing martyrs’ memorial board on the entrance of the Shaheed Park is a good move which should be followed by other districts as well. It is beyond our understanding why the police are creating hurdles,” said Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani.District development commissioner Niraj Kumar said talks are on but there has been no breakthrough. “We are holding talks but so far nothing has come out,” he said.

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