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Ex-coal secretary HC Gupta, others put on trial in coal scam case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Coal Secretary HC Gupta, facing prosecution in coal scam cases, was on Thursday put on trial by a special court along with four others including two public servants for alleged offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy in the JICPL case.Besides Gupta, Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also framed charges against senior public servants K S Kropha and K C Samria, JAS Infrastructure Capital Pvt Ltd (JICPL) and its Director Manoj Kumar Jayaswal for the alleged irregularities in the allotment of ‘Mahuagarhi Coal Block’ in Jharkhand to a private firm.After the charges were framed, the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial in the case.The court has put up the matter for further hearing on April 17, 2017.While ordering to put the accused on trial, the court had on December 7, said, “The facts of the present case prima facie show that accused H C Gupta, K S Kropha and K C Samria entered into a criminal conspiracy with company M/s JICPL and its director Manoj Kumar Jayaswal so as to procure allotment of a coal block in favour of M/s JICPL”.”The acts alleged against the accused public servants Gupta, Kropha and Samria are such that if questioned they cannot claim that they were acting in discharge of their official duties,” the court had said.In a surprising move, the former Coal Secretary had on August 16, told the court that he intended to “face trial from inside the jail” and withdraw his personal bond to secure bail due to financial issues. However, he later withdrew his plea.The court said prima facie charges for alleged offences under sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act are made out against the accused. Around eight different charge sheets have been filed against Gupta and proceedings are going on individually. The Supreme Court had recently dismissed his plea seeking joint trial in all these cases.Some of the cases in which Gupta was summoned as accused by the court include those relating to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block to accused firm Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal’s Raniganj area to Vikash Metal and Power Ltd.He is also accused in a case of alleged irregularities in the allotment of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to two companies of Jindal group and allocation of Brahmapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to accused firm Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd (PSMPL).The court had on July 31 last year issued summons to the accused after taking cognisance of CBI’s final report. The court had earlier refused to accept the probe agency’s closure report filed in the case and had directed it to further investigate the matter.It had noted that it was prima facie clear that officers of the Ministry of Coal or the screening committee had acted in a manner which was “detrimental” to public interest and they had allowed JAS Infrastructure and Power Ltd (JIPL), now known as JICPL, to “misappropriate” nationalised natural resources.The agency had earlier filed a closure report in the case in which it had lodged an FIR against the firm, Jayaswal and others for alleged irregularities by JIPL in acquiring the coal block.The FIR was lodged on the allegation that the company had not disclosed to the Ministry of Coal that it was already in possession of a coal block.

Himalayan earthquakes can rattle big cities: Iain Stewart

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During his recent visit to India, eminent geologist Iain Stewart paid a visit to Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College, where he spoke about potential natural disaster risks India faces. Stewart was on a lecture tour across India covering eight cities, organised by the British Council of India.Stewart, often described as the rock star of Geology, focuses on building communication bridges to spread awareness on the natural risks of life on the planet. India has two levels of risks, Stewart said at the event. “Over the centuries, foothills of the Himalayas have had several big earthquakes. In peninsular India you can get rogue events like the 1983 Latur quake or the Bhuj earthquake in 2001. But, in terms of risks, the real threat lies in the Himalayan region. If the Himalayan earthquakes are big enough, they can rattle some big cities in India, including Delhi” says Stewart.According to Steward, while India has some fantastic earthquake specialists, his major concern is public preparedness for a potential earthquake or a tsunamis or super cyclones that Mumbai may be predisposed to.“Climate change is altering the storm paths and intensities of cyclones, so the risk factor goes up. We already know that the Indian Ocean can have tsunamis. But the public, already grappling with manyissues, will probably get tired if we talk about a greater tsunami risk. They would just add it to the list as they go about managing their day-to-day struggles. This makes communicating the risks a major challenge,” he points out.A Fellow of the Geological Society of London and President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, he teaches Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth. Stewart has also hosted programmes for the BBC, including the BAFTA-nominated Earth: The Power of the Planet.

Congress guns for Rijiju over Rs 450-crore ‘scam’, minister says ‘I am not connected with the audio tape’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Setting the scene for a showdown with the Modi government in Parliament, the Congress on Tuesday demanded Union minister Kiren Rijiju’s resignation on account of an “audio proof” and documentary evidence which claimed that he facilitated a Rs 450-crore scam embedded in a huge hydro-electric project in his home state of Arunachal Pradesh.Congress alleged that Satish Verma, the Chief Vigilance Officer with North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ld (NEEPCO), had said in a report that the government was in danger of being swindled of nearly Rs 450 crore because it was being presented with inflated and fictitious bills. These bills were for the removal of large stones and boulders in trucks for the construction of a dam in Rijiju’s constituency.Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed that an audio recording of Verma’s conversation with the minister’s relative Goboi Rijiju revealed that the official is about to be promoted. In the audio tape, Goboi Rijiju also offered: “Sir, if there is anything that my brother can do, please do let me know.”
ALSO READ Not a crime to help poor tribals, all payments made during Congress regime, says under-fire Kiren Rijiju Coming back hard on the Congress for “malicious” intent, Rijiju reacted, “Those who are planting this news, if they come where we are, they will get hit with shoes. Is it corruption to try and help your people?”Backing Rijiju strongly, the BJP said, “Satish Verma is a charge-sheeted officer with a dubious track record and continues to work as a political fixer for the Congress party. The entire contract works were allotted when the Congress party was in power.Later, a much sober Rijiju told DNA, “It is the Congress that should apologise to the nation. I don’t have any brother. All works allotted and payments made were during Congress rule. I am not connected with the audio tape.”To bolster his claim that there was no wrong doing, Rijiju also posted on Twitter the letters he had written to Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, the latter’s reply to him and the representation by local residents of his constituency West Kameng bearing ten signatures.Besides, the ministry of power also came out with a long clarification on the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) website questioning the intent of wild allegations made in the media along with the copies of correspondence.Putting across the facts, the clarification said, “The letter written by Hon’ble MoS Home Affairs has no bearing on any payments released by NEEPCO as the payment had already been released before his letter under authorization of Shri Verma. NEEPCO is a Mini Ratna company and the government does not interfere in the operational matters of PSUs. No instructions or directions by the Government were given to NEEPCO at any time for making any payments. Thus, the allegations made are baseless, totally false and seem to be motivated by the charge sheet issued against an officer for violation of CVC instructions and service conduct rules.”Congress insiders from Arunachal Pradesh, however, conceded that allegations of corruption on Rijiju and demands for his resignation will not stick and the party is looking only for political gains.”Rijiju is a title of Miji tribe which has only 37,000 people spread out in the whole of Arunachal Pradesh. In West Kameng, the Miji population is much less and in Arunachal it is normal for a minister to get representation from people and forward it to ministry concerned with a request for expediting the work. Every minister writes such letters in hundreds. There is nothing extraordinary in Rijiju’s letter,” conceded a local Congress leader from Arunachal.

Ministry of Power backs Kiren Rijiju, releases documents to counter Congress ‘Rs 450 crore scam’ claims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Minister Kiren Rijiju was in the eye of a political storm today over an alleged Rs 450 crore scam in a power project in Arunachal Pradesh after he wrote a letter to the Power Ministry to clear the bills of contractors, provoking opposition demand for his ouster but he denied any wrongdoing. The controversy erupted over news reports that the Chief Vigilance Officer of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) Satish Verma, an IPS officer of Gujarat cadre who probed the Ishrat Jahan encounter case as part of the Special Investigation Team, had sent a report to the CBI, CVC and the Power Ministry highlighting alleged corruption in construction of two dams as part of the 600 mw Kameng Hydel project.In his report, Verma was said to have named Kiren Rijiju and Goboi Rijiju, who he claimed was the minister’s cousin, while alleging an “elaborate conspiracy” involving contractors, NEEPCO officials and the West Kameng district administration to defraud the state-run company and the government of funds that “may extend up to Rs 450 crore”. Alleging that it was a Rs 450-crore scam committed by using false and inflated transportation bills, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala released an audio tape of a purported conversation of the minister’s claimed cousin with Verma, and Rijiju’s letter recommending that held up payments be released. “Kiren Rijiju has no right to stay in office. He should either be dismissed by the Prime Minister or asked to resign till an independent probe is complete,” he said. The opposition party also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his “tall claims” of bringing transparency have “fallen flat” as had happened with several other scandals in the past including Vyapam, Lalitgate and the Vijay Mallya issue. “Mr Modi’s claims of transparency and honesty is now under question. People of India are looking at what action he takes on this issue,” Surjewala said. Rejecting Congress’ charge of his complicity in the alleged scam, Rijiju said he had only forwarded a memorandum received from “petty contractors” from his village to Power Minister Piyush Goyal on November 4, 2015 to get their petition considered on a priority.”I have written the letter to the Power Minister after I received representations from some people in my constituency in Arunachal West regarding pending bills. I have done no wrong and there is no corruption.”Peeved at the allegations, the Minister said, “Those who planted the story will be beaten up with shoes when they will come to our area.”He also denied that Goboi Rijiju was related to him, saying, “Among tribals in a village, everybody is a cousin. He is not related to me by blood. I have no brothers. Both my elder and younger brothers have expired.” National Secretary Shrikant Sharma also insisted that the contractor, who is at the centre of allegations, is not Rijiju’s cousin as alleged.”It is a completely baseless charge. Congress and its friends have hatched a conspiracy to target BJP as they have not been able to find a single case of corruption against our government,” he said.In his report, Verma said though the CBI conducted two “surprise” inspections, it did not file any FIR in connection with the alleged scam.Targeting the CBI, Surjewala alleged that the premier investigation agency has become a “puppet” in the hands of the Modi government and has not even registered an FIR in the matter despite the report by the vigilance officer.”If PM has courage of conviction, he must either sack Kiren Rijiju or ask him to resign and conduct a fair and free probe so that truth comes out…Till then, Rijiju should be divested of his post.””The Prime in the run up to elections used to say that he will neither do or allow corruption to happen. But there have been a series of charges of corruption that came to light in the Modi government,” he said.Payments to the main contractor Patel Engineering was stopped on the recommendation from Verma.Aam Aadmi Party also demanded Rijiju’s sacking for “trying to sweep under the carpet”, the alleged Rs 450-crore power scam.Addressing a press conference, party leader Ashish Khetan said the Minister of State for Home Affairs not only wrote a letter to Power Minister Piyush Goyal to release funds of contractors in state-run NEEPCO, but also “hid the fact that his brother was a sub-contractor in it.” Hitting out at the claims, the government said the claims were ‘false and baseless’ and that the contract issued in 2004 and 2012 were made under authorisation of the then CVO Shri SC Verma. They also added that there was no role of MoS Home Affairs in the release of payment. The Ministry of Power released a statement which said: Certain unsubstantiated, false and baseless allegations have been made by some persons in sections of the media about some alleged irregularities in payments made by NEEPCO Ltd. which are completely false and are totally denied.From the record, it is gathered that an officer, Shri S.C. Verma, who was appointed as CVO of NEEPCO on 8th October, 2014, was transferred on 4th July, 2016 to CRPF, since he was charge sheeted on 9th May, 2016 for continued violation of CVC instructions and for violation of All India Service Conduct Rules, 1968, for not performing his duties with due diligence and care. It was found that Shri Verma stayed away from Shillong, the headquarters of NEEPCO, for a total period of 310 days during the 18 month period (October 2014 to March 2016) without intimating the authorities or submitting any tour reports. It is also reported that most of his tours were to places which were not the area of operations of NEEPCO.After being relieved of his duties on 5th July, 2016, he sent 10 back dated reports to the Ministry of Power which were received between 18th July, 2016 to 25th July, 2016. Further it has been reported that Shri Verma retained some official files in his personal custody and did not hand them over at the time of relinquishing his charge. It has also been confirmed that 10 (ten) outward dispatch numbers were taken by Shri Verma from the Establishment Section of NEEPCO before relinquishing charge, and the same numbers were found in the office copy of the forwarding letters of these reports, which were received later on. The report on the alleged matter has been examined by the present CVO of NEEPCO and forwarded to CVC last month for appropriate action.As regards the alleged irregularities, it is pertinent to note that the project work was awarded to M/s Patel Engineering Ltd. (PEL) in December 2004, much before the present government took charge. Work for transportation of boulders/ sand was awarded to them in 2012 itself, much before the present government took charge. PEL executed the work from December, 2012 to July, 2015 and payment was made to them from time to time during this period, after due process of verification and measurement of quantity at site and the certification of distance by the State government officials namely Asstt. District Mineral Officer (ADMO), regarding quantity of boulder/sand mined from the respective quarry. In July 2015, Shri Verma visited the site and initiated an investigation and stopped all payments due to which the work at site was affected. On examination of the record, it has been found that, Shri Verma himself authorised on 19th October, 2015, adhoc payment of 60% of the billed amount and subsequently himself further authorised the provisional payment of 80% of the billed amount vide letter dated 3rd February, 2016.On 9th November, 2015, Hon’ble Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju forwarded a representation of local inhabitants of his constituency, complaining about the stoppage of payments to the sub-contractor of PEL for transportation of boulders/sand. At no point did Shri Rijiju recommend that payment be released but only requested that “kindly get this petition considered in your Ministry sympathetically on priority” (Copy of his letter and representation of local inhabitants is enclosed).Rijiju letter It was reported to the Ministry that, under the instructions of Shri Verma 60% payment had already been made on 4th November, 2015 to M/s PEL, much before the letter of Shri Kiren Rijiju. The same was intimated to Shri Rijiju by Shri Piyush Goyal, MoS (Independent Charge) Power vide letter dated 31st December, 2015. Piyush Goyal’s letterHence, the letter written by Hon’ble MoS Home Affairs has no bearing on any payments released by NEEPCO as the payment had already been released before his letter under authorization of Shri Verma. NEEPCO is a Mini Ratna company and the government does not interfere in the operational matters of PSUs. No instructions or directions by the Government were given to NEEPCO at any time for making any payments. Thus, the allegations made are baseless, totally false and seem to be motivated by the charge-sheet issued against an officer for violation of CVC instructions and service conduct rules. The following documents were also released by the government:

Not a crime to help poor tribals, all payments made during Congress regime, says under-fire Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Minister Kiren Rijiju came under attack over allegations that he influenced Power Ministry to clear bills related to a power project in Arunachal Pradesh, with Congress demanding his sacking but the minister denied any wrongdoing.Alleging that it was a Rs 450-crore scam in the form of false and inflated transportation bills, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala released an audio tape of a purported conversation of the minister’s cousin, a contractor in the 600 MW power project, and Rijiju’s letter recommending that held up payments be released.”Kiren Rijiju has no right to stay in office. He should either be dismissed by the Prime Minister or asked to resign till an independent probe is complete,” the Congress spokesman said.The opposition party also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying his “tall claims” of bringing transparency have “fallen flat” as had happened with several other scandals in the past including Vyapam, Lalitgate and the Vijay Mallya issue. “Mr Modi’s claims of transparency ad honesty is now under question. People of India are looking at what action he takes on this issue,” Surjewala said.Hitting back, Rijiju, who is Minister of State for Home, said, “I have written the letter to the Power Minister after I received representations from some people in my constituency in Arunachal West regarding pending bills. I have done no wrong and there is no corruption.”Peeved at the allegations, the Minister said, “Those who planted the story will be beaten up with shoes when they will come to our area.”Rijiju also tweeted copies of the representation he received and the letter he had sent to the Power Minister. “Really cheap!… Is it a corruption helping poor Tribals?,” he said on twitter.Stating that the contracts were given and most of the payments made during the Congress rule, he asked the opposition party to apologise. Reports claimed that Rijiju, his cousin, a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh, Goboi Rijiju, and several top officials of the state-run NEEPCO, including its Chairman and Managing Director, have been named in a 129-page report by the PSU’s Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma that alleges corruption in construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.NEEPC comes under the Union Power Ministry. “I pity Congress party … I feel that Congress should apologise to the nation for creating an issue which is non-existent. If local people have approached me to tell me that bills are pending and the bills are of small amount and what they are saying of Rs 150 crores, it is not like that,” Rijiju said.”Small pending bills, pending since 2012, 2013, 2014 before we came to power, the contracts were awarded when we were not in the government, the payments were paid when we were not in the government. Only I was told that some 20-30 per cent of payments were remaining which NEEPCO is not releasing the money. So I wrote a letter to the Power Minister that just look into the matter, thats it,” the Minister said. Verma’s report was sent to the CBI, CVC and the Ministry of Power in July this year. It alleges an “elaborate conspiracy” involving contractors, North East Power Corporation (NEPCO) officials and the West Kameng district administration to defraud NEEPCO and the government of funds that “may extend up to Rs 450 crore”. West Kameng, the site of the project, falls in Arunachal West which is the parliamentary constituency of Rijiju. The CBI has made two “surprise checks” but no FIR has been registered yet, reports said.Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma, a Gujarat IPS officer, was pulled up by NEEPCO for “unauthorised absence,” and transferred to the CRPF in Tripura soon after his report.Verma was also part of the three-member SIT set up to probe the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat in 2004 when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister.Verma had said Ishrat’s killing was a “premeditated murder”. Surjewala said, “This is a very serious issue. The Prime Minister should speak out on this issue…. “If PM has courage of conviction, he must either sack Kiren Rijiju or ask him to resign and conduct a fair and free probe so that truth comes out…Till then, Rijiju should be divested of his post.” “The Prime in the run up to elections used to say that he will neither do or allow corruption to happen. But there have been a series of charges of corruption that came to light in the Modi government,” he said.Payments were stopped after a letter by the Chief Vigilance Officer conducted a probe into the issue, he claimed.Targeting the CBI, Surjewala alleged that the premier investigation agency has become a “puppet” in the hands of the Modi government and has not even registered an FIR in the matter despite the report by the vigilance officer.Surjewala also played out a purported audio conversation between Goboi and Verma and the opposition party claimed it also had a mention of the goings on that led to pulling down of the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh.He claimed Rijiju’s relative was clearly attempting to influence the CVO in the 28-minute tape and was using his Minister brother’s name to seek his help in getting the bills cleared and was also enticing him with a promotion.”There seems to be a connection with making of these payments and were some of these payments used to buy and sell legislators is a matter that needs to be seriously probed,” he said.Alleging that “inflated” bills were put up for bringing boulders for the dam construction, he said some of the huge boulders were shown to be carried on scooters, motorcyles and cars by a single driver at the same time.

India seeks details of working reactors from US, French firms as proof of efficacy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India has asked American and French nuclear companies, which propose to build atomic plants in the country, to furnish details of functional reactors designed by them as proof of their efficacy.Sources said French company EDF and US firm Westinghouse are still not ready with fully operational “reference plants”, a pre-requisite before a final General Framework Agreement could be signed with these entities.The EDF proposes to build six nuclear European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) of 1650 MW each in Jaitapur and Westinghouse another set of six AP1000 reactors in Kovadda in Andhra Pradesh with an individual capacity of 1000 MW.A senior government official said designs presented by the two companies are new, so even the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) wants to see how the technology works.”We have told them to show a reference nuclear plant, which is functional and produces electricity. On paper, the designs of these companies look nice, but we should also know whether they work well or not. This will also help in getting clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, the nuclear watchdog in the country,” the official said.India specialises in Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors while the one which foreign companies are building are Light Water Reactors (LWRs) with some distinction from one another.Interestingly, the Russian have built Kudankulam units one and two, a VVER technology.The EDF, which is now negotiating with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), said it had given Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant 3 as the reference plant.The French government-owned company said the Flamanville plant with a capacity of 1630 MW should be operational by next year.However, sources said it might take a tad longer for the plant to become operational.EDF is also building another EPR reactor Taishan in China and that is expected to be commissioned before Flamanville.The company, which took over the reactor component of another French company Areva that was initially involved in discussion with the NPCIL, is building two more EPR plants in Hinkley Point in England.The government official added that the NPCIL is hoping that by the time the negotiations are finalised, both these companies are in a position to showcase a reference plant.Currently, discussions are being held techno-commercial at level with both these companies.

Asha Bhosale receives ‘exorbitant’ electricity bill, Maha govt steps in to help

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra government has directed authorities concerned to look into noted singer Asha Bhosale’s claim that she received “exorbitant” electricity bill for her bungalow in hill station Lonavala, which has “not been in much use”. State Power Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule has assured Bhosale that he would look into the matter and find out how she got such inflated bill for the bungalow.According to sources, the heavy bill could be due to a technical glitch in computerised billing system. Mumbai city unit BJP president Ashish Shelar has taken up the issue with the minister.In a statement issued on Tuesday, Shelar said the government has instructed the officer concerned in Pune to look into the matter. The said bungalow is located on Tungarli lake road in Lonavala, which Bhosale claimed is rarely in use.Despite it, the power bill for September was calculated at Rs 16,411.84. The bill has also mentioned that the owner has an outstanding amount of Rs 37,168.35 over non-payment of the previous bills, as per the statement issued by Shelar.

India, Russia to sign General Framework Agreement on Kudankulam units 5 and 6

New Delhi: India and Russia are likely to sign the General Framework Agreement (GFA) on Kudankulam units 5 and 6 by this month.

“Leaders of the two countries Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin had set a deadline to sign the General Framework Agreement for units 5 and 6 by the end of this month. The work is on and we are trying to stick to deadline,” a top official of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) said.

The joint statement, during Putin’s visit to India this year, had stated that the two countries will try to complete the GFA by the end of the year.

Negotiations for the contract are still on and details are being worked out by Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Rosatom, nuclear power agency of Russia.

Kudankulam NuclearPlant. AP

Kudankulam NuclearPlant. AP

Work on the ground breaking ceremony for unit 3 and 4 was held early this year.

The agreement for the project was inked by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and then Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988, but the actual work started only in 1997.

The unit 1 and 2 of Kudankulam plant were built at a cost of Rs 20,962 crore. A major share of power generated in the plant goes to Tamil Nadu, followed by Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry. Unit 1 was started in October 2013, while the second unit was connected to grid in August this year.

Unit 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam are expected to be commissioned by 2022-23.

The Russian built Water-Water Energetic Reactor (VVER) reactor Kudankulam unit 1 and 2 are the largest power generating stations in the country. After all the units (1-6) of the plant are commissioned, the nuclear park will have the power generating capacity of 6,000 MW.

First Published On : Dec 4, 2016 12:24 IST

Coal blocks allocation height of organised loot under UPA: Piyush Goyal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lashing out at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his criticism of demonetization, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal on said it was the UPA government who did the “height of organised loot and “mismanagement of economy” in allocation of coal blocks.Goyal delivered a speech on demonetization and its future effects on Indian economy at a city-based college.Singh had termed demonetization a “monumental management failure” and “organised loot” during a debate on the issue in Parliament.”If there was any height of organised loot and mismanagement of economy that had taken place, it had taken place during the allocation of coal block between 2006 and 2009 and if you read the files of coal allocation, you will come to know the magnitude of the scam as tremendous loot had taken place during the allocations and CAG, in their report, had mentioned of the loss of Rs 1,86,000 crore in these allocations,” said Goyal.He claimed that during the UPA government there was “competition over scams” like CWG, Adarsh, 2G, Augusta Westland.”When we are now acting against black money and corruption, the same person, who was leading the then government, who was custodian of all the system and an economist, is calling this historical move an ‘organise loot’,” he said.On the nation-wide protest called by Opposition tomorrow, he said any sane person in the country has understood that the people of the country have stood in the support of the decision.”The people of this country have shown immense faith and trust in Modiji and despite bearing hardships, everybody is saying that Modiji has done a good job,” he said.There will be benefits in the long run as the move will help eradicate unemployment, poverty in the country and farmers, women, underprivileged and unorganised sector will be benefited, he said.Asked about the government’s move against ‘benami properties’ he said in last three budgets, several moves were taken to fight against black money and corruption.”In future, you will see more thrust on ease of business and ease of taxation,” said Goyal.

Power Dept urges LG to form a panel to appoint DERC head

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government’s Power Department has requested Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung to constitute a three-member selection committee to appoint chairman for the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).”A proposal to this effect has been sent to the LG for approval,” said a senior Power Department officer. He added: “As per Section 85 of the Electricity Act, 2003, the selection committee is to be constituted by the state government. The power and functions of the state government were delegated to the LG vide a Government of India notification. dated 20.2.2004.”Former DERC Chairman Krishna Saini, a 1981-batch Indian Revenue Service officer, who was appointed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, was removed from the post on November 4, following Jung’s direction to withdraw his appointment order. Saini was appointed without Jung’s approval, which had led to a major confrontation between the AAP-led government and the LG.Interestingly, the Delhi Cabinet had to approve his removal, which has still not happened.In its judgment on August 4, the High Court had declared Saini’s appointment illegal following which Jung set aside his appointment on grounds of “illegal infirmities” on September 22.Taking a serious note of Jung’s order, Kejriwal had shot off a lengthy letter to the LG, asking him to reconsider his decision in public interest. The state Cabinet requested Jung to reconsider the decision thrice, but all in vain. Thereafter, the Power Department issued an order to remove Saini with immediate effect.

Delhi CM Kejriwal cancels LG’s order of removal of DERC Chairman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The removal of Krishna Saini as DERC Chairman has triggered yet another row between the Lt Governor and AAP government with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “cancelling” the LG’s order, alleging it was part of a conspiracy to increase power tariff in the national capital.Kejriwal also attacked LG Najeeb Jung for removing Sukesh Jain from the post of Power Secretary, which he alleged was done as the officer did not cancel Saini’s appointment notification as told by the LG office. LG had directed removal of Saini and an order to this effect was issued on Friday.Sukesh Jain was threatened of “serious consequences” as he initially turned down the LG office’s alleged directive to remove Saini with immediate effect, Kejriwal alleged.”It’s sad that he (Jung) is cutting salaries of people, stopping mohalla clinics, closing schools. He has turned governance into a joke in Delhi. Does he intend to shut down Delhi?” Kejriwal asked.The Delhi government has issued show cause notices to the Deputy Secretary (general administration department) and other officers who issued the order cancelling Saini’s appointment, Kejriwal told a press conference.”There’s a big conspiracy to increase power tariff in Delhi. An honest officer like Krishna Saini was appointed by following the due process. We kept LG in the loop when the selection committee was formed in January. We sent him the information of selecting him as well. Why did the LG choose to act eight months later? On whose directions?” the Chief Minister asked.Sources in the LG office claimed the government was needlessly dragging it into the case, which it said amounted to undermining constitutional and judicial authorities as the Delhi High Court has already upheld the LG’s order on the DERC appointment issue.The sources added that contrary to Kejriwal’s claim, the government was sent five reminders asking it to re-process the appointment of DERC as LG’s prior approval was not taken while appointing Saini.Meanwhile, Sukesh Jain, who has been replaced by Varsha Joshi as Power Secretary, will continue to serve as OSD to the CM. “BSES discoms are owned by Anil Ambani who is a close friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There must be a reason that compelled the discoms to conspire to remove him,” Kejriwal alleged.”Saini took a number of pro-public decisions and riled the power companies in the process. He put an end to their thuggery,” he claimed. He said that Power Minister Satyendar Jain had written to the LG twice informing that matters that involve differences of opinion should be forwarded to the President, but “LG did not do so and acted unilaterally”.”The file from LG’s office came to me a week ago and I was in the process of consulting legal experts. On November 3 night, (former) Power Secretary Sukesh Jain got a call from the LG office asking him to cancel Saini’s appointment notification. The LG office called him again yesterday morning to put pressure. Who put pressure on the LG to resort to such illegal and unconstitutional steps? The BJP-led Centre wants Ambani’s person as DERC chief,” Kejriwal alleged, adding “we will fight and resist any such move”.

Siddaramaiah pitches for amendment on supremacy of regional languages

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pitching for supremacy of regional languages, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah pushed for the state’s demand to make it the medium of instruction for primary education on Tuesday. Speaking at the 61st Karnataka Rajyotsava (state formation day) celebration event in Bengaluru, he urged the Prime Minister to call a meeting of Chief Ministers of all states and bring an amendment to the Constitution to this effect. “I have written two letters to the Prime Minister. I have also written to all Chief Ministers because the Supreme Court’s order is causing a threat to all regional languages,” Siddaramaiah said.The Chief Minister said he had also met the Prime Minister in this regard. “We have to bring an amendment to the Constitution. It has to get declared in Parliament that regional languages are supreme in states.. amendments should be brought to make changes to the Supreme Court order. So Prime Minister has to call a meeting of Chief Ministers of all states and decide,” he said. “I will continue to make this demand,” he said, adding most language and education experts had opined that the mother tongue should be the medium of instruction in primary schools.Siddaramaiah said it would help in development of regional languages and also mental development of children. In May 2014, the Supreme Court while hearing the issue before it challenging two Karnataka Government Orders of 1994, making the mother tongue or regional language compulsory to impart education from Class I to IV, had held that the government cannot impose mother tongue on linguistic minority for imparting primary education.The CM said the state government had announced a language policy in 1994, “which was questioned by unaided educational institutions in courts, where we had to face a setback.” “Despite appealing against it, we did not get justice. We made all possible efforts, but this was an order passed by the Constitution bench. As the Supreme Court is final, we cannot appeal in any other courts,” he added.Pointing out that the state government was taking all steps to protect and encourage Kannada, Siddaramaiah said, “It is our mother tongue; it is language of this land, this soil. Showing our Kannadiga pride just on November 1 or in this month is not enough, it should be a continuous process.” Recalling Karnataka’s united fight on the Cauvery water issue, Siddaramaiah said, “Power may come or go. It is not permanent, but the land, water, culture and language of this state are paramount.””It is our responsibility to protect even at the cost of power and the state government is committed to it”.

Akhilesh asks BJP to name its CM candidate, criticises PM Modi for chanting ‘Jai Sree Ram’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Hitting out at BJP for claiming that the state has five chief ministers, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today asked the party to find at least one acceptable leader who could be projected as its chief ministerial face in the upcoming Assembly elections.”These BJP people had been saying all along that there are five chief ministers in the Samajwadi Party government. I want to tell them to at least find out one (leader for the post) and bring him in front of the people,” Yadav said at a programme of the Power Department here. Alleging that BJP does not have strength of its own, Yadav questioned what the party had done in over two years since it came to power at the Centre and claimed that even the AIIMS is coming up in the state because the land for it was made available by the state government.Akhilesh termed the BJP members as “hoshiyar, chamatkari and chalu” and recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising the slogan of ‘Jai Sree Ram’ at the recent Dusherra funtion in Lucknow. “What slogan was raised by the Prime Minister during the Dusherra function…earlier they used to chant ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ but now you have forgotten Bharat Mata…which path (do) they want the country to tread,” he said. “You (BJP) are discussing surgical strikes…even senior people had known what it was…I have studied in a military school my classmates are serving at the borders…I asked them and they told me that surgical strikes have been taking place earlier also…this very work is what army does…but (see) how BJP people are misleading the country”, Yadav said.Referring to the upcoming elections, Yadav said people have many options before them and charged the BSP government with wasting public money during its government. “The BSP government installed elephants in this very city…in the past nine years they have remained static…all the funds were wasted and they claim they will form the government,” he said.Citing the various development works undertaken by his government, he said it had taken the state on the path of development and prosperity and claimed ‘work speaks for itself’.No one can compete with the SP government as far as its works are concerned, he stressed.

Farhan Akhtar after Karan Johar: The MNS challenge gets bigger for Fadnavis govt

Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has received good audience response on the first day of its release, and there’s a message in it for the patriots of the gutter variety. In fact, it is the second tight slap on the face of the latter after the Army refused Rs 5 crore donation extracted from Johar for having Pakistani actors in his movie and senior ministers slamming such extortionist tactic. Now the audience has delivered their response.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTIMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

The movie, according to media reports, has done about Rs 18 crore business in the domestic circuit on day one – combined with overseas collection total earnings come to about Rs 22.5 crore. This despite another biggie, Ajay Devgn-starred Shivaay, being in the race for the Diwali audience. The rather impressive advance bookings in multiplexes reflect no collective faux patriotism-driven ill-will against the movie, which has Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in it.

The message? Leave it to people to decide what they want to watch or read or enjoy. They understand what patriotism is; don’t force on them your version of it. They are intelligent enough — at least more intelligent than the street thugs — to understand that the mere presence of an actor from a hostile country in a film does not constitute an offence to India. They also know the idea of patriotism is too precious to be left to the interpretation of the street and idiots. If they find something repulsive to their sentiments they would reject it on their own.

Political parties in India have always treated the power of the street with the certain degree of reverence, at the cost of civil liberties of the ordinary citizenry. Governments could act against the outfits threatening violence if they wanted. After all, the might of the state is too big for the lumpen elements to handle, never mind whether they carry any political weight. But they desist from taking action; more often than not it’s sheer opportunism. If there’s a ‘cause’ on display on the streets their resistance gets weaker. All this is well-known and need no elaboration.

The point here is where does it leave the rights of individuals as citizens of the country? The instruments of the state in cahoots with criminal forces can make a mess of these. As an expose in a television channel a couple days ago said some members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have been in the practice of taking money to engineer protests, including violent ones, in the city. With the police ‘managed’ they can organise protests of any size and intensity. Those caught on camera were also aware of making the manufactured agitation television worthy. Obviously, all of this happens in the knowledge, if not patronage, of the state.

Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister in Nazi Germany, believed in the power of the street. “Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state, for every form of power politics has its roots in the street,” he said. Our governments, it includes those of all parties, obviously carry the same conviction but won’t spell it out openly. Such an arrangement has to come at the cost of those who cannot fight back. It includes all of us who have other interests in life than the politics of power. It chips away at our freedom to live freely in a free country.

As this piece is being written there’s news that filmmaker-actor and the maker of film Raees Farhan Akhtar has been threatened by the MNS for refusing to pay Rs 5 crore to the Army Welfare Fund. Obviously, nothing has changed on the ground after the controversy over Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The slaps from the audience and the Army have not worked.

The Devendra Fadnavis government has a challenge on its hands. Tackling the MNS for the second time will require the will of the state more than its might. Will it allow people to decide on the movie and come down hard on street power? Let’s wait and watch.

Cyrus Mistry ouster: How the Tatas diminished themselves with the chairman coup

When it came to the crunch, the name probably mattered as much as anything else.

In the messy exit of Cyrus Mistry as chairman of Tata Sons, it is still not clear why he had to leave through a boardroom coup rather than being given a graceful exit when his initial term ended. His exit may have a lot to do with the fact that he didn’t carry the Tata name — one of the only two chairmen in the group’s long history to not do so. The other non-Tata to head the group was Sir Nowroji Saklatwala from 1932-38, a forgotten era.

Mistry’s premature removal saw the re-entry of the same man who brought him in: Ratan Tata. And that is the ultimate irony. Tata bid goodbye when he turned 75, as that was the age limit set by him in order to see off the troublesome satraps he inherited from his predecessor, JRD Tata’s tenure. He returns at the ripe old age of 79. Perhaps, the group needs a Tata to head it for some more time, till it moves to an even keel. But it did not cover itself with glory in the way it saw off Mistry.

File image of Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry. AFP

File image of Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry. AFP

When JRD was asked who he would choose as his successor, he was actually spoilt for choice between Russi Mody, Sumant Moolgaokar and Nani Palkhivala — among other super-achievers. But JRD told India Today in an interview that it would help if the group head bore the Tata name. That’s how Ratan Tata got the top job.

But it was a great choice, for only someone with the Tata name could have had the gumption to go after the satrapies in the flagship companies of Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Chemicals and Indian Hotels, headed by the redoubtable Russi Mody, Sumant Moolgaokar, Darbari Seth and Ajit Kerkar respectively. Under Ratan, the group became a true conglomerate. Earlier, the companies were linked less by shareholding, and more by the satraps’ personal regard for JRD. Ratan packed off the satraps by imposing an age limit on their active tenures, and the Tata name ensured that the group’s key holding company, Tata Sons, majority owned by several Tata trusts, stood by him in this difficult fight for supremacy.

But the same age limit that helped him consolidate his control also ensured that he himself was honour-bound to bid goodbye when he turned 75. A high-profile search committee ended up recommending the name of Cyrus Mistry, of the Pallonji Mistry Group, and Ratan went along with that name.

It could not have worked without Ratan’s active blessings and backing, and that is what Mistry seems to have lacked, especially over the last one year.

Why didn’t it work out? One hears all kinds of reasons, including some that indicated that Mistry’s values were not in conformity with those of the Tata group. There were also murmurs that some of his decisions – to sell off parts of the Corus group, or to let the split with DoCoMo end up in court – may not have gone down well with the major shareholders.

But these whispers are unlikely to be the real reasons for Mistry’s exit for the real issue was his ability to assert himself as the group’s boss at a time when it was in choppy waters.

There is nothing on record to show that Mistry has done badly, given that most of the group’s problems predated his arrival. When he took over in December 2012, many of the key Tata companies were overloaded with debt and facing global and domestic headwinds. The Tata Corus acquisition handed down by Ratan was bleeding red; the power sector was in trouble as Tata Power’s import-based coal plant at Mundra was in trouble after Indonesia clamped duties on exports; the Tata DoCoMo deal negotiated during Ratan Tata’s regime was coming unstuck; Tata’s own passionate car dreams were going up in flames, with both the Nano and the Indica hitting the skids. With the economy tapering down under the mismanagement of UPA-2, the Tata Group was staggering under debt and costly investment mistakes. But for the cash spewed by Tata Consultancy Services, and the fortuitous Jaguar Land Rover acquisition just in time for a China-led boom, the group as a whole would have been in deep, deep trouble.

Perhaps the only thing you can hold against Mistry is that he was slow in moving ahead with the drastic changes he needed to make. But this could be because he had to gain the confidence of the CEOs of group companies. While the decision to sell Tata Steel’s UK assets was needed to bring down the group’s debts, a decision was also taken to sell Tata Chemicals’ fertiliser unit at Babrala.

In fact, it was only last month that he gave his first-ever detailed interview, and that too to a group publication, Mistry opened up on his plans for the group. Among other things, he said the group would now take “hard decisions on pruning the portfolio” as it faced “challenging situations” in some of its businesses.

He said in that interview:

“The group has invested Rs 415,000 crore ($79 billion) in capex over the last decade. Our investment over the last three years alone has been in excess of Rs 170,000 crore ($28 billion). We recognise that growth has to be a function of the operating cash flows we generate. At the group level, over the last three years, our operating cash flows have grown by over 30 percent CAGR; but this, as we know, is not the appropriate way to use such data – our individual companies need to earn the right to grow. At the group level, we are focused on helping our companies earn this right by building strong operational cash flows and looking at their capital structures.”

Is it possible that Mistry’s move to tell each Tata company to earn its capital may have infuriated many of the CEOs drowning in debt?

In the interview, Mistry had this to say:

“Over the last three years, the gross debt across the group has increased by about 2 percent per annum in US dollar terms, while cash and equivalents have grown at over 10 percent, leading to a reduction of 3.3 percent in net debt in the same period. As of March 2016, the group had a net debt of about $24.5 billion. Capex has been on average $9 billion in each of the last three years. In the financial year 2016, cash from operations reached $9 billion a year and exceeded the capex. At the group level, therefore, the aggregate debt is not something I feel concerned about. In fact, such aggregations at the group level could mislead, as the companies which have high cash generation, capex and debt are not all necessarily the same, and resources of different companies are not fungible with one another, as they are distinct legal entities with different shareholders.”

Effectively, Mistry was saying that the group’s flagships had to take care of the bulk of their debts themselves, and that the group cannot always operate on an aggregated basis. This meant Tata Steel, Tata Power or Tata Teleservices, all upto their necks in debt, would have had to find ways to fend for themselves.

In effect, they would have had to downsize.

It is not difficult to surmise that the bosses of these companies, always treated as first among equals in the group, would not have taken kindly to this advice. It is also more than likely that Ratan may have lent them an attentive ear, assuming these tales reached him. That the debt was incurred largely during Tata’s tenure cannot be understated. Mistry was essentially trying to undo his excesses.

If we assume that Mistry’s correctives were unpalatable to the new satraps, the short-term return of Tata to the helm was only to be expected. No one barring Ratan Tata has the stature to pull off the deep surgery that the group requires.

Mistry’s fault – perhaps the main one – was that he could not do what was needed quickly. But this begs the question: could he have moved any quicker when he needed time to build trust with his senior executives so that he could assert himself? No outsider has the kind of advantage that the Tata name carries.

The closest Mistry came to admitting that things were not moving fast enough was when he said the following: “Tata as a business group, when compared with private equity firms, has distinct advantages as well as some drawbacks. From a nurturing perspective, the Tata brand, developed over 15 decades, adds huge value to our companies. This also makes exits more difficult as the Tata group has a deeper commitment to stakeholders and the brand cannot be transferred.”

That this interview now seems to have disappeared from the Tata.com site tells its own story. Mistry seems to have become a non-person overnight.

It is a pity that Mistry is being made a scapegoat for something he was not responsible for.

Perhaps the next chairman of Tata Sons will be someone whom the Tata Trusts and Ratan Tata trust fully.

But the group has lost a lot of its credibility in doing what it did to Cyrus Mistry.

Mistry’s exit has diminished the Tata name.

Uri attack: Lashkar-e-Taiba claims responsibility in posters, says report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeThas claimed responsibility for the Uri attack that killed 20 jawans, the Indian Express reported Tuesday. The claim comes in spite of Pakistan’s rejection of India’s allegations that terrorists based in that country were involved in the Uri attack, According to The Indian Express, LeT posters were seen in Gujranwala in the Pakistani part of Punjab saying it would hold last rites in absentia for one of the four terrorists involved in the Uri attack.The report said that the poster had named one perpetrator as Gujranwala resident Muhammad Anas, who operated under the alias Abu Siraqa.The posters reportedly carried images of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. “Ghaybana namaaz janaza (last rites held in the absence of the body of the deceased), will be held at Bada Nullah, near Girjakh, in the Punjab town of Gujranwala,” the poster said.Last month, 20 Indian Army jawans were killed and 19 others were injured in the terror strike in which four terrorists were neutralised.Two maps depicting the general topography of Uri were recovered from the terrorists who stormed into the Army camp even as the army intensified efforts to identify the exact stretch along the Line of Control (LoC) from where they entered India.The maps showed various places of Uri including the Brigade Headquarters and other installations of this town, about 75 km North of Srinagar. The place is strategically important in view of the power project operated by the National Hydel Power Corporation (NHPC).Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had denied any Pakistani angle to the attack, terming such an assertion as “India’s long-time habit”..

After ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ stir, MNS’ next target is traders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Emboldened by its successful campaign against Bollywood film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, MNS now wants traders to “sacrifice” their business with Pakistan for the sake of the “nation” even as cotton exporters today observed that the Raj Thackeray-led outfit’s stand will affect the industry.The stir by MNS against release of the Karan Johar film for featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan blew over on Saturday following mediation by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in a tripartite meeting among Thackeray, Johar, and Producers’ Guild president Mukesh Bhatt at the CM’s residence.Exploiting the controversy to the hilt ahead of the Mumbai municipal corporation polls next year, Thackeray on Saturday asked the filmmakers who had worked with Pakistani actors to contribute Rs 5 crore as “prayaschit” (penance) money to the Army Welfare Fund. MNS spokesperson Shalini Thackeray on Sunday demanded that the traders should sacrifice business for the sake of nation.”Nation should be first. If jawans are sacrificing their lives (at border), why can’t traders sacrifice their trade? Money making should be the secondary priority in case of Pakistan,” she said.”Pakistan has already violated the clauses of MFN status given by India. Now, it’s high time that India isolate Pakistan, not only on cultural issues but on trade (front) as well. Banning the film (ADHM) was only to set an example that India has started to isolate Pak…next comes trade,” she told PTI.The senior leader said MNS will definitely play its role in ensuring that all kinds of trade with Pakistan are stopped.”However, the government will have to play a major role as far as trade is concerned,” she said.Meanwhile, concerned over rising tensions between the two countries after the Uri attack coupled with aggressive posturing by MNS, the cotton traders said they are afraid of losing business to the tune of Rs 5,500 crore with Pakistan. Maharashtra is a major contributor in cotton manufacturing states, followed by Gujarat.According to Sharadram Sejpal, spokesperson of Power Loom Association, India had placed an order to import 20,000 bales cotton from Pakistan in June as there was low production in the domestic market.”Generally, we export cotton to Pakistan. But June period was bad. At a time when we are expecting a record breaking production (of cotton), MNS’s stand against Pakistani actors has affected the cotton industry as well and powerloom industry will ultimately have to suffer,” Sejpal said. He demanded that the Raj Thackeray-led party should keep politics away from trade.Reacting to this, Shalini said, “Cotton associations should themselves come up and stop exporting to Pak, instead of them banning our imports.”According to Pradeep Jain, who operates a ginning mill in Jalgaon, Maharashtra will record a bumper production of cotton this year as monsoon has been very good.”We will produce around 1 crore cotton bales (1 bale equals to 170 kg) this year and if exports are stuck due to sentiments of patriotism after Uri attack by Pakistan, it will have a negative impact on the cotton industry, specifically on cotton growing farmers,” he said.Jain said that Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China are the major importers of Indian cotton.”Pakistan starts import of cotton from September every year. It consumes an average of 20 to 25 lakh bales whereas Bangladesh consumes 20 lakh bales from Indian cotton exporters,” Jain said. Out of the total cotton production, an average 65 lakh bales of cotton are exported from India alone.

India, Russia finalise agreement for setting up units five and six at Kudankulam

New Delhi: Scaling up cooperation in the atomic energy sector, India and Russia have finalised a general framework agreement and credit protocol for setting up units five and six at the Kudankulam nuclear plant.

The formal announcement of the pact and the credit protocol is likely to be made after bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday in Goa on the sidelines of Brics Summit.

“Russia and India finalised ‘General Framework Agreement’ and a ‘Credit Protocol’ for Units 5 and 6 and are planning to announce it in Goa,” Russian sources said.

Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi. PTIVladimir Putin and Narendra Modi. PTI

Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi. PTI

They said the two countries are also planning a ceremony of “first pour” of concrete to the foundation of Unit 3 and 4 and a ceremony of inauguration of Unit 2 of the Kudankulam nuclear plant.

Both ceremonies will witness the participation of Putin and Modi as well as Kudankulam engineers in Tamil Nadu via video-conference, they added.

On 10 August, the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear was dedicated to the nation jointly by Modi and Putin who had participated at the ceremony from Moscow via video-conferencing.

The Kudankulam 1 has been jointly built by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Russia’s Rosatom and it had started generating electricity in 2013.

The agreement for the project was inked by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and then Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988 but actual work on the ground started only in 1997.

The unit 1 and 2 of Kudankulam plant were built at a cost of Rs 20,962 crore. A major share of power generated in the plant goes to Tamil Nadu, followed by Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.

Each of the units has a capacity to generate 1,000 MW of power.

Explained: How the Indus Water Treaty affects India and Paksitan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) is a water sharing arrangement, signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960, by then Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President General Ayub Khan. The World Bank (the erstwhile international bank for reconstruction and development) brokered the treaty and is also a party to it.The Indus system of rivers comprises three western rivers which includes the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab and three eastern rivers — the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi.What does the treaty grant India and Pakistan?Under the treaty, India has exclusive rights on the eastern rivers and their tributaries while Pakistan has exclusive rights on the western rivers. Pakistan also received a one-time financial compensation for the loss of water from the eastern rivers and to build a new canal system.The waters of the Indus basin begin in the Himalayan mountains in the region under China. The river flows from the hills through the arid and dry states of Punjab and Sindh, converging in Pakistan, and empties out in the Arabian Sea, south of Karachi.History of the TreatyDuring the first years of Partition, the water of the Indus was apportioned by the Inter-Dominion Accord of May 5, 1948 between India and Pakistan which required India to release sufficient waters to the Pakistani regions of the basin in return for annual payments from Pakistan.The accord was, however, meant to fulfil Pakistan’s immediate requirements and was to be followed by negotiations for a more permanent solution. Thereafter, though there was a stalemateIn 1951, David Lilienthal, former Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority and of the UN Atomic Energy Commission, visited the region and recommended that, to reduce hostility between India and Pakistan, a program to develop and operate jointly the Indus basin river system could be evolved. According to him, this would also lead to a settlement of the Kashmir issue. The president of the World Bank, Eugene R Black, received the suggestion and mediated the water sharing agreement.In December 1954, the two sides returned to the negotiating table and continued their meetings for the next six years. The Treaty led to the setting up of an Indus Water Commission to adjudicate any future dispute over the allocation of water. The commission, which has survived two wars, is required to meet regularly to discuss potential disputes and provide an ongoing machinery for consultation and conflict resolution through inspection, exchange of data and visits.Can the treaty be revised or modified?There is a provision for mediation and arbitration by a neutral umpire in case of any disagreement. The IWT has, so far, been implemented by both the countries faithfully. It has not gone for any modification till date, even though Article-XII of the IWT allows for any kind of modification when both parties agree. The current tensions between the two sides might, however, lead to a flashpoint.How does it affect Jammu and Kashmir?Jammu and Kashmir too has not been able to harness the full potential of the treaty. In 2007, the Union Water Ministry had estimated Jammu and Kashmir can increase its Irrigated Cropped Area (ICA) by 4,25,000 acres. But today, Out of 6,00,000 Hectares of cultivated land in Jammu and Kashmir only 1,50,000 Hectares is under irrigation. This has also affected hydropower generation. Current estimates suggests there is a possibility of harnessing more than 20,000 MW but today there is only an estimated 2,500 MV being harnessed.It is revealed from the above analysis that the actual power potential of Jhelum, Chenab, Indus and Ravi are 3,560 MW, 10,360 MW, 2,060 MW and 50 MW respectively. Currently, the harnessed potential of these river basins are 750.1 MWs, 1563.8 MWs, 13.3 MWs, and 129 MWs respectively.Power potential of ChenabThe Chenab is at the core of Jammu and Kashmir’s quest for power. Of the 16,480 MW, the total identified potential of all the water resources in the state put together, Chenab alone can generate 10,360 MW. So far, only 1,531.50 MW has been harnessed.Once the river crosses the International Border at Diawara Village in Akhnoor into Sialkot in Pakistan, the Chenab is then joined by the Jhelum River at Trimmu in the Punjab province of Pakistan, and then by the Ravi. Finally, it merges with the Sutlej at Uch Sharif to form the Panjnad (Five Rivers), which joins theIndus at Mithankot.The water level starts soaring by late May and reaches around 50,000 cusecs by June. By August, it starts receding to the normal level.The Indus River System Authority that compiles the annual average flows – kharif (April 01 – September 30) and rabi (October 01 – March 31) at Marala suggests certain changes in the overall discharge. The average annual flows were at 26 million acre feet between 1922-61, soared up to 27.5 maf between 1985 and 1995 and dropped to 12.38 maf in 2001-02.Power potential of JhelumThe river is a potential threat during floods when it gets up to 95,000 cusecs (its carrying capacity is only 40 thousand cusecs). It has an identified potential of 3,536 MW of which so far 732.60 MW has been harnessed by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and 252 MW by the Power Development Corporation (PDC). Currently, another 241.85 MW capacity is under various stages of implementation.Power potential of IndusOne of the greatest rivers of the world, the Indus’s estimated annual flow stands at around 207 cubic kms. Zanskar is its left bank tributary in Ladakh as the Shyok, Shigar and Gilgit rivers carry glacial waters into the main river. Just a few small and micro hydropower projects have been set up, part of the reason being that the potential spots were far away. The NHPC has commissioned two power projects — Nimoo-Bazgoo and Chutak in Leh and Kargil with a cumulative installed capacity of 90.26 MW.

Protest in Dhaka against Indo-Bangla power plant project near Sundarbans

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A citizens group in Bangladesh on Saturday held a day-long protest here demanding that the government cancel the proposed 1320 megawatt Indo-Bangla joint venture power plant near the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports asked the Bangladesh government to not proceed with the Rampal Power Plant Project as it will cause severe harm to the Sundarbans.It announced to hold several rallies in Dhaka and divisional and district headquarters throughout September, October and November in support of their demand. The protesters plan to submit an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after holding a protest march in front of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka, the Daily Star online reported.Its member Anu Muhammad announced to hold “Cholo, Cholo Dhaka Cholo” protest march soon, to press home their demand. It will hold a grand rally in Dhaka on November 26.Earlier in the day, the committee started the sit-in programme demanding cancellation of all projects – including the power plant – that will cause harm to the Sundarbans. Eminent personalities of the country attended the protest.”Among the 16 crore people in this country, not even 1600 people are in favour of the Rampal power plant. The government ought to cancel this project,” columnist Syed Abul Maksud told the gathering.

ED attaches Rs 749 crore assets of YSR chief Jagan Mohan Reddy and his wife

Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday attached properties worth Rs 749.10 crore belonging to YSR Congress chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and his wife Y S Bharathi Reddy in connection with its probe in a money laundering case.The agency launched the investigations on the basis of a charge sheet filed by the CBI accusing Jagan, son of then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy, of entering into a criminal conspiracy with others to get a mining lease allotted to M/s Bharathi Cement Corporation Private Ltd of which Bharathi is the chairman.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jagan received bribes from various persons/companies in the guise of investments in his group companies as a quid pro quo for undue favours granted to them by the Andhra Pradesh government, the ED said in a statement.A case of laundering was registered against Jagan and others by ED’s Hyderabad zonal office under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. ED said its investigations under PMLA revealed that Jagan laundered the proceeds of crime through his group companies M/s Sandur Power Company Pvt Ltd, M/S Classic Realty Pvt Ltd, M/s Silicon Builders Pvt Ltd, M/s Saraswati Power and Industries Pvt Ltd and 10 other firms in the form of investments, purchase of movable and immovable properties, third party payments, etc.Apart from it, M/s Bharathi Cement Corporation Pvt Ltd has received the proceeds of crime in the form of limestone mined from the mines allotted illegally to them in Kadapa district by then AP government. The value of limestone works out to be more than Rs 152 crore during the relevant period, it said.”During investigation under PMLA, the proceeds of crime involved in money laundering were identified in the form of movable (Rs 404,72,32,182) and immovable properties (Rs 344,38,10,378) totally valued at Rs 749.10 crore,” ED Joint Director (Hyderabad Zone) S A Umashanker Goud said.The attached properties are spread across Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In the past, the agency had attached properties worth several hundreds of crores belonging to Jagan and others.CBI had filed 11 chargesheets against Jagan and others pertaining to the alleged investments made by various private firms and individuals to the tune of several crores in his businesse. The agency said this was part of quid pro quo arrangement in exchange for alleged favours by the erstwhile Rajasekhar Reddy government.

Don’t recommend states to hike power tariff for next few years: Piyush Goyal

Listing out a slew of steps taken recently taken by the union power ministry to curb power thefts and power transmission losses in the country, union power minister Piyush Goyal said he doesn’t believe the states should change their power tariffs in the next few years, given that there is surplus power available with the central government.Goyal was speaking at the backdrop of the state power ministers’ conference held over the last two days, attended by power ministers and secretaries across all states.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If the states take Goyal’s words seriously, none of the states may see a hike in their power tariff in the next few years.Government will soon bring a proactive hydro power policy to push stalled projects and explore the possibility of providing benefits of renewable energy like wind and solar to hydro projects beyond 25 MW to harness the clean source.Addressing the media here, Goyal said the power ministry in association with the state governments are also working towards changing the hydropower sector by reviving several smaller defunct projects.Hydro projects of up to 25MW capacities have been categorised as small hydro power projects and get benefits as renewable energy projects. Hydro power potential in the country is about 150 GW with 50 GW in Arunachal Pradesh alone.”We are in the process of framing a pro-active comprehensive hydro power policy to revive the hydro power sector. The policy shall also explore possibility of providing benefits of renewable energy to hydroelectric projects beyond 25 MW,” he said.Goyal announced a resolve to electrify villages by December this year except in left wing extremist areas such as parts of Jharkhand, odisha and Chhattisgarh, much ahead of the revised deadline of May 1, 2017.Initially, government had planned to electrify all 18,452 villages by May 1, 2018. States are expected to achieve electrification of 12,300 villages (two third of 18452) on August 15, 2016.Talking about the government’s flagship UDAY scheme meant for revival of cash-strapped power discoms, he said, “There will be savings of Rs 1.8 lakh crore every months through UDAY while discoms were losing Rs 60,000 crore every year.”Showering praises on the Andhra Pradesh government for bringing significant changes in the power sector, Goyal said power thefts can soon be reported at a toll free number 1912.The states have also resolved to henceforth procure only smart meters. All states will send a revised proposal under this. The government has planned to provide smart meters to consumers with 200 units consumption.

Lodge complaint on power theft, check status of power outages with new app

Getting information about power outages in your home, lodging complaints on power thefts at your locality and checking their status will soon be possible with just a click of a button.The Union ministry of power has developed an application that will facilitate easy access to information related to the power situation of your locality. The URJA application , as it is called, will be launched by union power minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday at conference of Power, Renewable Energy & Mines Ministers of States & Union Territories in Goa.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ministry will also be launching an innovative, soft campaign based on Gandhigiri, called Urjagiri, that will entail felicitating and garlanding people caught stealing power, thus embarassing them and coercing them to stop power pilferage.According to sources, the URJA application will empower consumers by helping them seek better services from their power distribution utilities. “The aim is to create a better consumer connect with the urban power distribution sector by providing information on power outage, timely release of connections addressing complaints, power reliablity, among others,” a senior official said.”It will also help consumers have an easy access to information related to AT&C losses (comprises power loss due to power theft and transmission losses due to poor infrastructure) and in their towns and lodge complaints related to power,” the official said, adding that the transparent system will also create better competition among different power distribution companies who will vie for better consumer delivery.Power being a state subject, the URJA application as well as the Urjagiri campaign will have to be implemented at the state level.The average AT&C losses reported across the country is nearly 28 -29 per cent. Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand reports some of the highest AT&C losses among the states, nearing 30 per cent and 32 per cent respectively.Even the national capital loses an estimated Rs1,000-1,300 crore annually due to power theft.

Water level at Koyana dam signals darkness

Power from Satara’s Koyana dam may not be available to light Maha homes further. The crippling drought may force the state government stop hydra power generation from there. The dam generates 1,960 MW electricity daily.As per the state water resource department, the dam has a mere 11% water against 29% last year. “We can no more use Koyana water for power generation. It should be reserved for drinking purpose. That will impact the supply of the electricity but we are left with no other option but to stop the generation of power from there,” said a senior water resource department official on condition of anonymity.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>dna is in possession of a copy of the status report of the state’s dams and the water level there.State chief secretary Swadhin Kshetriya said it is true that Koyana dam may soon stop generating power. “But we are expecting good rainfall this year. It will mitigate all our water and power woes,” Kshetriya said.”The dam has a capacity of generating 1,960 MW power a day. But since there is no rain and water level of the dam has depleted to alarming levels, power generation has to be stopped,” said another official from the water resource department.Maharashtra’s total power demand is 16,000-16,500 MW, of which hydra power contributes to 3,000 MW. “Other than from Koyana, we are getting hydra power from Tata power plants, located at Bhivpuri, Khopoli, Bhira and Ghatghar. The water level in these dams are also alarming,” said the official.Moreover, the state’s dams are left with just 11% of water. The dams in Konkan region has the maximum water, 34%, while rest of the regions are battling to meet the end.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal warns discoms over power outages

New Delhi: In a stern warning to discoms, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said they will be made to compensate consumers for even one-hour-long outage if they do not spruce up their supply network in the next six months.

The warning has come in the wake of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) issuing an order to discoms and power distribution companies to compensate consumers for unscheduled outages extending up to two hours. Penalties can go up to Rs 100 per hour.

Kejriwal said there is need to make discoms “accountable for outages” and then, Delhiites will be benefited from the privatisation of power sector.

A file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFPA file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

A file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

“For now, we have asked discoms to compensate consumers for unscheduled power cuts extending up to two hours, but after six months if there is no improvement in their power supply network, government will bring it down to one hour norm,” he said here.

“The privatisation of power sector had been done in order to provide better facility of electricity to Delhiites,”
Kejriwal said, adding that the accountability of power distribution companies will be questioned if power outages continue.

“Why electricity wires and transfers get damaged only in Delhi? Why is there no such incidents in Washington, London and New York?” he asked.

“We will also make Delhi a world-class city and for this, the accountability of discoms should be fixed for power outages. They should be penalised for outages. There will then be benefit of privatisation of power sector in the national capital,” he added.

As per the DERC’s order issued yesterday, power distribution companies will have to compensate to consumers for unscheduled power cuts extending up to two hours.

The move followed frequent power outages this month in the midst of an intense heatwave. However, power companies had attributed the blackouts to local faults.

South Delhi faces long outages, discoms told to improve supply

South Delhi on Saturday reeled under massive power cuts with some areas facing outages for around five hours following which Delhi Government pulled up the BSES discoms asking them to take remedial measures.Areas like Okhla, Lodhi Colony, Bhogal, Nizamuddin, Jangpura Extension, Masjid Moth, Malviya Nagaar, Kalkaji and parts of Lajpat Nagar and South Extension, faced power cuts in the range of 2 to 5 hours making life difficult for the residents in the blistering heat.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials from Power Distribution Company BSES blamed Delhi Transco Ltd, Delhi Government run entity that maintains the transmission network in the city, for the long outages saying technical problem in the network caused the power cuts.”There was no power in my area for five hours. We have made complaints to the concerned authorities but there was no response,” said a resident of Okhla.Delhi Transco officials said, there was a technical glitch in its distribution network supplying power to South Delhi but at the same time added that BSES could have used the alternate network if it had made such arrangements.Officials from Delhi Government’s Power department said the discoms have not been investing in improving its infrastructure due to which power cuts are taking place across the city when the load on the network goes up due to higher consumption of electricity.Several areas in West and East Delhi too faced long power cuts. There were very little outages in North Delhi where power is supplied by Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDL). Power Minister Satyender Jain took strong note of the long power cuts and directed the discoms to take urgent measures to ensure round the clock power supply.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal to visit Singapore and push for energy cooperation

Piyush Goyal Image Courtesy: PIB

Piyush Goyal Image Courtesy: PIB

New Delhi : Power Minister Piyush Goyal will lead a high-powered delegation to Singapore from Monday, eyeing deeper engagement in the energy sector with the city-state which is an important source of FDI in India.

“The visit would primarily focus upon engaging with the leading energy and technology companies and also strengthening connection with Singapore’s strong investor community,” FICCI  said in a statement.

“It aims to further strengthen relations, which have been elevated to the level of ‘Strategic Partnership’ between the two nations having received a boost under the present Government,” it added.

Singapore is a global financial hub for clean technology funds, asset management companies and private equity funds. It is home to commodity traders especially those dealing withproducts like coal and natural gas.

Exit polls see Modi’s BJP winning key new state of Assam in mid-term boost | Reuters

NEW DELHI Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should win power this week in Assam for the first time, exit polls showed on Monday, but trail regional groups in four other areas that have held polls.

Voting in stages over the past month ended on Monday in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala states and the union territory of Puducherry. Results are due on Thursday.

A victory in Assam, a tinderbox of ethnic and religious animosities, would testify to the continuing appeal of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while defeat elsewhere would reflect Modi’s difficulties in making inroads against popular regional parties.

An exit poll by India Today-Axis My India predicted victory for the BJP in Assam, which borders Bhutan and Bangladesh. “Our historic victory in Assam will open new frontiers for the BJP in the northeast,” BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav said.

Modi waged a polarising election campaign in a bid to form the party’s first government there. In campaign rallies, he vowed to disenfranchise millions of Muslim immigrants in a response to rising discontent among the state’s Hindus.

The results should be a snapshot of Modi’s performance as he approaches the half-way mark of his five-year tenure.

Modi, 65, swept to power in 2014 with a promise of jobs and growth, playing down his roots in the powerful Hindu-nationalist umbrella group to which his party is affiliated.

A separate poll by ABP Ananda showed the party will be defeated in the eastern state of West Bengal and two southern states, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Victory in these states could have given Modi greater control over the upper house of parliament, which would put him in better position to push through key policies.

A majority of his key economic reforms are stalled, his push to turn the country into a manufacturing powerhouse has floundered and sizeable minority groups blame him and his party for pushing a Hindu nationalist agenda at their expense.

Yet his government has made progress elsewhere, most notably in the power sector where change is reaching distressed rural communities in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state.

Modi must win in the Uttar Pradesh state poll next year to sustain his hope of one day gaining full control of parliament and a second term in 2019.

Opinion and exit polls have a patchy track record in India and surveys get carried out with sample sizes ranging from a few hundred to several thousand voters.

(Reporting by Rupam Jain; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Prakash Singh Badal follows Modi’s footsteps: Announces largest roof top solar panel in the world

The Punjab Government has announced the installation of the world’s largest solar power roof top panels at the Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, Beas in Amritsar today. The panels will cover a total area of 82 acres over eight shelters with the project cost of Rs 139 crores. Commissioned by Tata Solar Power for R.S.S.B Educational and Educational Society in Amritsar, the plant will be the largest installation of solar roof top panels in a single phase. Dera Baba Jaimal Singh also boasts of the 11.5 MW Power Plant on a single roof top, the largest in India. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following in PM Modi’s footsteps, Badal has announced this project in a leading English daily today. The environmental benefits are touted to be equivalent to that of planting two lakh trees and abetment of 4 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide in the next 25 years.
ALSO READ Indian Railways goes green, solar-powered train to be tested soonModi walks among solar panels in solar power plant at Sabarkantha district of Gujarat in 2011. (Image Courtesy: PTI)
ALSO READ Maharashtra to go Kochi way, run ports & jetties on solar and wind energyBenefits of Solar Panels- Inexhaustible source of energy
– Best replacement of non-renewable sources like coal and gas for power generation
ALSO READ Watch: PM Narendra Modi at first renewable energy global investors meet – No release of carbon dioxide, other poisonous gases into the atmosphere – Used for variety of purposes like cooking, heating, electricity generation – Can be installed anywhere​Gujarat contributes about a third of India’s total solar power generation with 900 MW. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi was able to eliminate power shortage from the state of Gujarat and aims to do that on a national level.The Government of India aims to generate 100,000 MW by 2022.

India biggest renewable energy lab in the world: US envoy

India has emerged as the biggest renewable energy lab in the world and is at the threshold of dynamic growth in the deployment of smart grid technology, US envoy Richard Verma has said.Verma, accompanied by other dignitaries, visited Tata Power Delhi Distribution’s Smart Grid Lab in Rohini and Tata Power DDL’s grid connected 225 KW Solar Power Plant in the vicinity.”Today, India has emerged as the biggest renewable energy lab in the world and is at the threshold of dynamic growth in the deployment of smart grid technology and integration of renewable energy projects.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It’s great to see how the US government, companies and Tata Power-DDL are collaborating toward the use of smart technology for the common good,” Verma said.Praveer Sinha, CEO and MD of Tata Power-DDL, said, “I strongly believe that the Indo-US collaboration in the power sector especially related to new technology implementations can help India meet its rising energy demand.”Verma was accompanied by Kal Penn, Commissioner on the US President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and Hollywood Actor, Idris Diaz, Deputy Mission Director (A), USAID, and other senior officials from the US Embassy and the USAID.

Jharkhand will be a power hub by 2019: Chief Minister Raghubar Das

Jamshedpur: The Jharkhand government plans to develop the mineral-rich state as a power hub by 2019, Chief Minister Raghubar Das said, while launching an electricity reforms programme, RAPDRP.

A joint venture by the Jharkhand Electricity Board and NTPC, it will produce 4000 MW here and the entire state will have electricity by 2019, Das said after launching the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme here on Sunday.

Raghubar Das. PTI.Raghubar Das. PTI.

Raghubar Das. PTI.

Directing officials to develop the state electricity board as a professional body, the chief minister said that it was the responsibility of the junior and executive engineers to collect bills equivalent to the cost of power generation and distribution from a transformer.

Das said recruitment process of 600 linemen would begin by 15 June, which would help solve problems of the people to some extent.

Distribution of electricity under Dindayal Upadhyay scheme was going on as per the set timeframe, he added.

Tripura agrees to supply additional 100 MW power to Bangladesh, but on one condition!

Tripura government has agreed to a proposal to supply additional 100 MW power to Bangladesh, but with a condition that the Centre would continue a steady flow of gas to 101 MW thermal power project in Sipahijala district, Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey said on Saturday.Recently, Bangladesh has written to the Government of India about its requirement of additional 100 MW power from Tripura and the ministry of power wanted the opinion of the state government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are also interested to supply additional 100 MW of power to our neighbour. We can give them the entire production of the 101 MW gas based thermal power project at Monarchak in Sipahijala district. If the Government ofIndia can ensure steady flow of supply of gas to the project. We have intimated our opinion to the central government,” state Power Minister told reporters here.The Monarchak project is owned by North East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), a state owned power company which made an agreement to sell the entire production to Tripura.The project is now ready for commercial run if natural gas is supplied. During trial run gas was supplied by ONGC, which has huge recoverable reserve in the state.A double circuit transmission line from Sryamaninagar here to Comilla district in Bangladesh covering 47 km was erected by the Government of India, through which 100 MW power is being supplied from Tripura’s 726 MW gas based thermal power project in Gomati district since March 23.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, along with Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, on March 23 opened the transmission through video-conferencing.

Odisha CM Patnaik meets PM Modi, seeks resolution of issues relating to power, coal, forest

New Delhi:  Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi and sought Centre’s urgent attention towards resolution of several pending issues relating to power, coal, forest and finance concerning the state.

While thanking the Centre for allocating Baitarani West Coal Block to Odisha Mining Corporation, CM urged the PM to consider resolving other pending issues at the earliest as these have far-reaching implications for coal production, power generation, industrial growth, employment generation and rural livelihoods and above all on equitable sharing of resources, an official statement said.

Patnaik requested Modi to allocate an alternative coal block to Odisha Thermal Power Corporation (OTPC) instead of Tentuloi Coal Block as this allocated block is neither feasible for mining nor viable for operations as the cost of extracting coal from this deep cast mine would be prohibitively high.

A file photo of Naveen Patnaik. PTIA file photo of Naveen Patnaik. PTI

A file photo of Naveen Patnaik. PTI

The chief minister suggested that the Tentuloi Coal Block could be replaced by either of the three blocks – Baitarani East Coal Block, Karadabahal or Brahmanibill Coal Block.

He also underlined that the bidding process for implementation of Ultra Mega Power Project, Bedabahal, Sungargarh has been delayed and needs to be expedited to meet the future power requirements of the State.

Highlighting that over 37 per cent of geographical area in Odisha is recorded as forest area which makes it difficult to identify non-forest land of large chunks for raising compensatory afforestation, he asked the Prime Minister to extend this special dispensation to the State Government/ State Government Undertaking projects.

Raising pending clearance issues, Chief Minister said environmental clearances in respect of many mining projects have remained pending in the Union Ministry on account of the delay caused in the submission of final report by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

This has been hampering the production of minerals of iron and manganese ore in many mining leases and supply of raw-material to mineral based industries in the State with adverse impact on industrial growth, the CM told Modi, the statement said.

Patnaik told Modi that the Budget proposal for an increase in the Clean Environment Cess from existing Rs 200 per MT to Rs 400 per MT would result in collection of about Rs 6,400 crore from Odisha without any commensurate benefit to the host State.

He added that the National Clean Energy Fund generated through this Clean Environment Cess is earmarked for renewable energy in the country, meaning thereby that the States having an edge to generate renewable energy due to geographical advantages will gain at the cost of coal bearing states like Odisha which have to bear the brunt of negative peripherals including loss of human habitat, forest cover, industrial disasters and damage to environment.

He said there was an urgent need to correct the situation by renaming this Cess as Environment and Rehabilitation Cess and sharing at least 60 per cent of the proceeds with the coal bearing states to deal with negative peripherals.

This, he stated, would ensure sharing of cost and benefit by states in an equitable manner.

Modi appreciated the concerns raised by Patnaik and assured that the concerned Ministries would be directed to examine and resolve these issues at the earliest in consultation with the State, the statement said.

Government exploring ways to fast-track rural electrification

New Delhi: The government is exploring ways to fast-track rural electrification in Odisha, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Assam, which are home to most un-electrified villages.

The matter came up for discussion at a recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official source said.

Representational image

Representational image

“During the meeting, the Prime Minister was apprised of the status of village electrification. The Power Ministry said… the states like Odisha, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Assam were the states with most un-electrified villages,” the source added.

The ministry will continue to monitor power supply to the villages for 3-4 years, post electrification.

Prime Minister Modi had earlier spoken about the process of rural electrification doing “exceedingly well”.

“During 2015-16, 7,012 villages have been electrified till date (March 28). Out of remaining 11,440 villages, 7,843 villages are to be electrified through grid, 3,148 are to be electrified through off-grid where grid solutions are out of reach due to geographical barriers and 449 villages are to be electrified by state governments,” the ministry had said in a press release.

A total of 1,654 villages were electrified during April-August 2015 and 5,358 have been added to this list during August 15 last year to March 27 this year.

The progress is also being monitored through Gram Vidyut Abhiyanta (GVA).

The Centre has set a target of electrifying 18,452 un-electrified villages by May 1, 2018.

Centre powers 7,000 villages, achieves rural electrification target

New Delhi: The Power Ministry on Monday it has achieved the target of electrifying 7,000 villages in the current fiscal.

“During 2015-16, 7,012 villages have been electrified till date. Out of remaining 11,440 villages, 7,843 villages
are to be electrified through grid, 3,148 villages are to be electrified through off-grid where grid solutions are out of reach due to geographical barriers and 449 villages are to be electrified by state government own,” the Power Ministry said in a press release.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

It said that total 1,654 villages were electrified during April 2015 to August 2015 and 5,358 additional villages have been added in this list during August 15, 2015 to March 27, 2016.

In order to expedite the progress further, a close monitoring is being done through Gram Vidyut Abhiyanta (GVA) and various actions are also being taken on regular basis like reviewing the progress on monthly basis, sharing of list of villages which are at the stage of under energisation with the state discoms, identifying the villages where milestone progress are delayed.

The Centre has a set a target to electrify 18,452 un-electrified villages within 1,000 days by May 1, 2018.

The project has been taken on mission mode and strategy for electrification consists of squeezing the implementation schedule to 12 months and also dividing village electrification process in 12 stage milestones with defined timelines for monitoring, it added.

The statement said that 196 villages have been electrified across the country during last week (March 21 to
27, 2016) under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY).

Of these electrified villages, 75 are in Assam, 22 in Arunachal Pradesh , 22 in Bihar, 20 in Chhattisgarh, 16 in Odisha, 16 in Jharkhand, 11 villages in Uttar Pradesh, 9 in Madhya Pradesh, 4 in Manipur and 1 in Rajasthan, it added.

PTI

NGT slams discoms over wires around trees in Delhi

Power distribution companies in the capital on Wednesday came under fire from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for putting high tension cables on trees, with the green panel warning of action against their top bosses if the wires were not removed within six weeks.Click Here For LIVE SCORE: India vs Bangladesh, ICC World T20″Why are you (discoms) putting wires around the trees? Why don’t you put wires on poles?… You make all the trees free of wiring in any part of NCT, Delhi within six weeks from today…”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In the event of default of direction and the work of trees being made free of electrical wiring in any form whatsoever, the Managing Director of the Company would be liable to be proceeded against in accordance with law personally,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.During the hearing, the counsel for BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, told the green panel that they required at least eight weeks to free the trees of electrical wires and poles were being installed at various points to achieve the target.The green panel directed all municipal corporations and concerned departments to file their compliance reports with regard to deconcretisation of trees within two weeks.”They shall protect the trees and ensure that their roots are not exposed…In the affidavit it would be specifically stated, any two colonies by each of corporation where aforesaid work in terms of the direction of the Tribunal have been followed and complied with. The affidavit be filed by the Commissioners of the respective Corporations,” the bench categorically said.The matter was listed for next hearing on April 29.The NGT had last year issued notices to Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd and North Delhi Power Ltd for choking trees by putting wires around them.In 2013, it had directed public authorities, including municipal bodies, Delhi Development Authority to ensure that sign boards, advertisements, wires and other objects that deface trees as well as concrete around them in the national capital are removed forthwith.The bench was hearing a petition filed by advocate Aditya N Prasad alleging that concretisation of trees in various parts of Delhi was leading to weakening of the roots and eventually their death.

Greenpeace demands probe into all ‘aging’ heavy water reactors

Greenpeace India on demanded a probe by independent experts into all “aging” heavy water reactors in the country even and alleged the country’s nuclear regulator has failed to ascertain the reason behind the recent “serious” incident at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station in Gujarat.One of the two 220 MW units of Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Surat district was shut down on March 11 after leakage of heavy water and a temporary emergency situation was declared but there was no radioactive leak and all workers were safe. “The Kakrapar accident was likely caused by degrading components and we’re concerned similar aging effects could cause accidents at other aging heavy water reactors. “We need independent expert investigation into the Kakrapar accident and the immediate inspection of all other aging heavy water reactors,” said Hozefa Merchant, Greenpeace campaigner. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Greenpeace India said, “The demand for investigation comes as the Indian nuclear regulator failed to identify the leak within 72 hours of the accident.”The NGO said although the reactor was shut down, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) had stated that the leak was significant enough to be considered a level 1 accident on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). It said the Kakrapar unit 1, a pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWRs) based on CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium) design, is over 20 years old and seven others, out of the current 18 in India, are of similar design and as old.”Any mishap in these reactors could endanger the lives of over four million people living around a 30 km-radius around these eight reactors,” it said. The population within the 30 km radius around Kakrapar is close to a million people, it said, adding, four of the oldest reactors are located in Rawatbhata in Rajasthan and Chennai in Tamil Nadu.The green body said the risk of accidents increase with age in CANDU reactors, with the inevitable degradation of hundreds of pipes that hold the fuel and transport heavy water. “Due to increasing accident risks, CANDU reactors typically need to be shut down and ‘completely retubed’ after about 25 years of operation in order to continue operating safely,” Greenpeace India said.

Cause of heavy water leak at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station yet to be found out

A day after unit one of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat went into automatic shutdown after a heavy water leak in the reactor’s primary heat transport system, authorities are yet to zero in on the cause of the leak, its scale and the component that failed, senior officials from the plant site said.On Friday and Saturday morning, a team from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Tarapur, Maharashtra, and Gandhinagar carried out radiation monitoring, plant director Lalit Kumar Jain said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>dna asked Jain if the leak has been plugged and the pressure tubes in the heat transport system has ruptured. “We don’t know yet if the pressure tube has leaked. That part has to be seen and we are moving towards that. We still have to investigate which specific part was affected,” he said.KAPS authorities were expecting a team of experts from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Body (AERB), Mumbai, to arrive at the plant on Saturday for a thorough probe into the incident. AERB is the apex nuclear regulator and gives safety clearances to all plants across the country.Plant authorities also said that BARC checks have confirmed that there was no release of radioactivity and no increase in the radiation field. “There was no release of radioactivity and no increase in the radiation field, both in the plant and public premises. While the BARC team inspected the public premises, we had separate teams for monitoring radiation within the plant too. We also cleared out the air from the containment section,” a KAPS official said.KAPS has a history of heavy water leaks, with the last one occurring in 2011. According to Jain, biennial inspections are carried out as per schedule and the last one happened in April 2015.Speaking on the heavy water leak, former AERB chief A Gopalakrishnan, who was the head of the regulatory board between 1993 and 1996, told dna: “It appears to be a first case of a pressure tube rupture, causing a small loss of coolant accident (LOCA) in an Indian pressurised heavy water reactor. People around Kakrapar station were saved due to the positive response of the back-up cooling system. But the incident is not over until the leak is totally stopped.”The first such incident happened in August 1983 in Canada’s Pickering PHWR, from which India learned the hydriding of the PT, and developed a Pressure Tube Aging Management Program to be diligently followed by NPCIL and overseen by AERB. This appears to have not been done as needed, and this negligence probably led to this incident.”As per official AERB and International Atomic Energy Agency data, leaks of heavy water at Indian nuclear power stations are not exactly rare.In the past two decades, leaks have been reported at Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS), India’ first heavy water reactor, in 1996. In 1997, three separate incidents were reported from Kakrapar unit I, Madras Atomic Power Station-II and Narora-II reactors. In 2004, leaks at RAPS resulted in large release of tritium to the atmosphere as per AERB’s 2009 data.

Gujarat: Leaks in Kakrapar nuclear plant, one unit shut

A power generation unit at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station in Surat was shut down after leakage of heavy water.The leakage was reportedly due to primary heat transport system of the plant, reports India Today. There is no nuclear radiation, officials said. “No radiation leakage or increase in radioactive level, no offside emergency declared,” D Rajendra Kumar, Collector.”Consequent to a small leak in Primary Heat Transport (PHT) System, the reactor was shut down as intended as per design provisions. All safety systems are working as intended. The radioactivity/radiation levels in the plant premises and outside are normal,” a statement issued by the plant administration said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Emergency services of the nuclear plant and the Vyara district administration have been alerted.The atomic plant has two 220 MW reactor.The first reactor of the plant was commissioned on September 1992 and the commercial production began in May 1993. The second unit was commissioned in January 1995 and it began producing electricity in September 1995.

Can’t penalise without creating awareness on Swachh Bharat: Government

The government on Thursday said it cannot slap penalty for not implementing the Swachh Bharat Mission without first creating awareness and establishing necessary infrastructure.”We are having three-pronged strategy. First, trying to educate people and change mindset, second one is creating infrastructure. The third and last option which has not yet been tried is penalisation. Certain countries like Singapore have it. But I cannot straightaway go to that system without creating infrastructure,” Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If you want to go for urination in Connaught Place area (in Delhi) and if there is no public toilet anywhere, you cannot ask him to go back to his native place and do it there. We have to create infrastructure also. We are doing both,” Naidu said.Noting that delineation of duty for non-performance of the officer or employees concerned a big and sensitive issue, the Minister said, “We have been sensitising the urban local bodies to see accountability is brought into the system.” In a federal system, it is the urban local body, panchayats or municipal body which have to lead in this campaign, supervise and monitor it, he added.He was replying to a supplementary query raised by Vandana Chavan (NCP) on non-implementation of the mission at local level and if there is a possibility to fix accountability and impose penalty. Replying to another supplementary on impact of advertisements on the mission, Naidu said, “Sir, impact cannot be quantified in such short time though I understand purport of the question. “Listing down achievements”It cannot be quantified in short duration. But at the same time, 4.17 lakh for girl children in schools. With regard to urban areas also, the momentum is catching up day by day,” he said. The government is trying to changing behaviour through various campaigns through print and electronic media.Spiritual gurus, leaders and icons of cricket, sports and industry are also being engaged, Naidu added. To another query by BJP member Basawaraj Patil that the mission would remain unsuccessful without banning plastic, he said, “Banning plastics is not related to my ministry. We are getting demands and it is an important issue. I will convey this serious issue to the concerned ministry.”Noting that the mission is gradually turning into a mass movement for cleanliness, Naidu said the Centre has released so far Rs 1,641.57 crore to states for implementing the urban component of the mission, while Rs 7,631.47 crore under the rural component. Against the target of constructing 25 lakh individual household latrines upto March 2016, work has commenced on around 23.25 lakh and 10.28 lakh have been completed, the minister said in his written reply.Work has commenced on 1.34 lakh public toilet seats and 35,2016 have been constructed against the target of contructing one lakh community and public toilet seats in urban areas, he said quoting reports from the state governments. In the area of Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM), against the target of achieving 100 per cent door to door collection in 50 per cent of the wards, 43.92 per cent of the wards have door-to-door collection as reported by states.Water to wealth initiativeUnder water-to-weath initiative, the Minister said that the policy on promotion of city compost has been approved under which provision has been made to provide market development assistance of Rs 1,500 per tonne of city compost for enabling scaling up production and consumption of the product. The chemical fertiliser companies have been mandated to co-market city compost made out of municipal solid waster along with chemical fertilisers, he added.The Minister further said that the Power Ministry has amended the Electricity Tariff Policy to include a provision that distribution licensees should compusorily procure 100 per cent power produced from all the waste-to-wealth initiative plans in the state and at the tariff determined by appropriate commission.For the recycling and reuse of construction and demolition waster, the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) has amended the IS 383 — Specification for coarse and fine aggregates, enabling the use of recycled aggregates in construction activities.”These interventions of SBM in waste-to-weath initiative would give a big boost to the recovery, reuse and recycling of municipal solid waste so that dumping, landfilling and pollution is brought down,” the Minister said.

PM Modi to inaugurate power supply from Tripura to Bangladesh on Mar 23

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate by remote control 100 mw power supply from Tripura’s Palatana project to Bangladesh on March 23.The same day Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would provide 10 GB Internet bandwidth to India, Tripura Power and Communication Minister Manik Dey told reporters.Dey said there would not be any formal function in the state to mark the occasion as the entire programme would be held through video-conferencing.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the formal opening of international gateway of internet, Tripura will be third state which is having such gateway after Mumbai and Chennai. This will help the entire north eastern states, he said.Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had laid the foundation of the project in Agartala on July 13, 2015 that aims at strengthening telecom services in the north eastern states.Under the project, an international gateway for broadband connectivity will be set up at Agartala in which connectivity will be provided through Bangladesh under an agreement between BSNL and Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company limited.The cost of the project is Rs 19.1 crore and annual operational expenditure is around Rs 7.2 crore. The bandwidth of 10 GB can be extended up to 40 GB.Meanwhile, pricing of one unit of power was fixed at Rs 5.5 in a meeting between Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey and Bangladesh Minister of State for Power Nasirul Hamid on January 9 last in Dhaka.PGCIL erected 47 km long 400 kv double circuit transmission lines from Suryamaninagar powergrid near here to Comilla in Bangladesh.The 726 MW gas based thermal power project at Palatana in Gomati district is run by ONGC Tripura Power Corporation (OTPC).

Facebook post saying ‘Dear PM Narendra Modi, we don’t deserve a person like you’ goes viral

A Facebook post lamenting the current situation in the nation has gone viral getting over 1 lakh shares and 135,000 likes. The post says The Facebook page is run by Team Shanknaad, who describe themselves as social activists. According to their website: “We’re social activists based across the globe working together towards a common goal: Bharat. We wish to see a Bharat of virtues without any corruption or separatism, a nation of socially uplifted classes, protected minorities, harmony among sects and beliefs, rights for the people, emancipated women and freedom for all.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asia Cup 2016 Live: India vs Bangladesh, Final T20 Cricket Scorecard & Ball by Ball CommentaryThe post read: “We don’t deserve a person like you.Major portion of the country’s population is not valuing your work. You work for more than 16 hours a day.. Sacrificing your sleep for the betterment of this country.. But you will never receive appreciation for the same. You will still be blamed for small silly issues.. These people can handover the nation to one family for 60 years but won’t give you 5 peaceful years to work.The reason being, this country is full of fake pseudo intellectuals, hungry and lazy humans. They might not able to run their small family of 4 people.. But will definitely advise you on how you should run this nation. Waah!(applaud)” Read the full post below: Dear Prime Minister,We don’t deserve a person like you.Major portion of the country’s population is not valuing your…
Unofficial: Dr. Subramanian Swamy on Saturday, 5 March 2016Gurcharan Aulakh wrote on Facebook: “Gurcharan Aulakh Dear PM, you are a real Karam Yogi, please continue your good work, slowly and steadily the change will come and people would eventually realise your efforts. Please do not get disheartened by the actions of this rag tag opposition who would try everything in their power to disturb and dislodge you. Most of the educated class and the youth is with you and above all there is a Power Above, which sees everything and I am sure India would be the winner. I pray for India and thus for your success. Hum honge Kamyab ek din ” We shall overcome one Day” and that day is not far. Jai Hind!”Disha Bhattacharya: “We,the people of India,don’t care what these opposition says about our pm. We know he’s the best pm we can ever get. We love him,n will always do no matter what happens”

Man held for using ‘abusive’ language against Karnataka minister

A man “frustrated” over unscheduled power cuts in his area has been arrested for calling Karnataka Energy Minister D K Shivakumar and allegedly using abusive words against him, with the arrest drawing flak from the Opposition.Giridhar Rai, who the minister said was a BJP activist, was arrested from his house in Bellare in the Dakshina Kannada District, produced in a court and remanded to judicial custody on Monday, police said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Upset over not getting any response from the electricity department, Rai allegedly expressed anger when he got the minister over phone and used “derogatory” words against him during the conversation.”We have a call centre, he is a BJP activist. He cannot use filthy language against me. One day is ok, two days is ok, he has been harassing all my engineers, my staff and lastly myself. I don’t want to say the words used by him,” Shivakumar said.”He can’t threaten me, so it was my duty to enquire with my officers. I myself spoke to the police officers to take necessary action as per law,” he said.The arrest triggered a controversy with the BJP and JDS slamming the minister and questioning his conduct.Former chief minister and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar said, “The entire government, Chief Minister, his ministers have lost patience. They are not ready to listen to ordinary citizens.”Stating that it was the duty of ministers and Chief Minister to answer the public, the BJP leader said, “They have to solve the problem and not attack or aggressively act on citizens or file cases. It is completely wrong. We condemn the Power Minister’s attitude.”Former chief minister and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy alleged that police machinery was being misused in the case.”The way in which the Power Minister has directed the officers to arrest the man shows that this is not people’s government. We will raise the issue during the discussion on the Governor’s address (in the Assembly),” he said.He alleged that the government had no capability to provide power supply to people and if someone makes a request, the person was getting arrested on the direction of the minister.”Is there democracy here? Is it elected government here?” he questioned.”Police machinery is being misused to silence those who are discussing the government’s functioning,” he added.

Irom Sharmila ordered to be released from judicial custody

A court in Imphal on Monday ordered the release of Manipuri rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila, who is on a fast for 15 years demanding repealing of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), from judicial custody.The CJM, Imphal East, ordered release of Sharmila, who had been charged under Section 309 of IPC (attempt to commit suicide) by launching an indefinite hunger strike to press for repeal of AFSPA, observing that there was no evidence for attempt to suicide by the lady and ordered her release.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to the media in the court compound, Sharmila said she is hopeful to secure her demand for repeal of AFSPA with the support of the people. She further vowed to continue her fast to press her demand.From the court, Sharmila was taken back to the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences here amid 24-hour security by police. Sharmila had started her fast in 2002 demanding the repeal of the Act which she termed draconian.

Himachal govt to comply with HC direction on jaundice outbreak

The Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary on Sunday held a meeting to discuss compliance measures following a High Court order on the jaundice outbreak in Shimla and surrounding areas. It was decided that the High Court order would be implemented within the stipulated time frame.Chief Secretary P Mitra asked officials concerned to file their replies to the High Court through the nodal officer of Irrigation and Public Health Department. He also directed the departments concerned to maintain a proper vigil on the quality of water. The meeting was attended by the Additional Chief Secretary of Health, Additional Chief Secretary of Power, Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development, Secretary of Law, Secretary IPH, Member Secretary of Pollution Control Board and Director of Health among others.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In its order on February 25, the High Court took serious note of “contradictory” status reports filed by officers concerned relating to jaundice outbreak case and asked them to show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them.It also directed the government to create a post/ statutory body, to be manned by a competent authority, in order to deal with entire water supply system of Shimla town and also to deal with the entire water crisis relating to the entire state and submit compliance reports to this Court every after two weeks.

Govt allots two coal mines in Odisha to Neyveli Lignite Corporation

Chennai: The Government has allotted two coal mines in Odisha to public-sector, Neyveli Lignite Corporation(NLC), for the power projects of its subsidiaries.

CoalReutersCoalReuters

Representational image. Reuters

In a notification, the lignite-mining company, Neyveli Lignite Corporation said, “The Ministry of Coal has conveyed the allotment of Talabira-II and III coal mines in Odisha to NLC by the competent authority in order to meet coal requirements for the power projects by NLC’s subsidiary companies.”

A 5 MTPA (million tonne per annum) power project has been undertaken by NLC Tamil Nadu Power Ltd. Neyveli Uttar Pradesh Power Ltd is constructing a 10 MTPA project and Sirkali Power Projects has undertaken a 20 MTPA project, according to the notification.

PTI

Maharashtra: Power tariff for those consuming over 300 units may rise

In what may prove to be a bitter pill for middle class families, those consuming over 300 units of electricity in Maharashtra may have to pay more tariff in the near future.Maharashtra Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said that considering the growing demand for power and ensuring uninterrupted power supply the state government is planning to construct two thermal-based at Dahanu in Thane district.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is of utmost importance that a city like Mumbai has uninterrupted power supply. Instructions have been issued to the energy department to submit its plan for alternate power supply to Mumbai within 15 days,” he said.”Considering the growing demand for power and ensuring uninterrupted power supply the state government is planning to construct two thermal based 660 MW units at port side of Dahanu in Thane district,” Bawankule said.Mumbai gets a power supply of 3,416 MW. As per Mahavitaran’s projection, by 2021 the demand for power in Mumbai will be around 4,350 MW.”The aim of the government is to ensure that the burden of power tariff rates for those consuming less than 300 units is not raised. Those like the Ambanis can afford to pay higher tariff rates,” he said.Bawankule further said the four power utilities supplying power to Mumbai, namely Mahavitaran, BEST, Tata and R-Infra – have been asked to present their annual tariff plans for 2016-17 to the state government before submitting them to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).He added that Energy Secretary Mukesh Khullar has been asked to study the Mumbai power tariff issue and submit his report to the state government.”The government has given its nod for converting an oil-based unit of Tata Power Company (TPC) to thermal. Besides this the government has decided to give further extension to the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between TPC and BEST which is due to expire in 2018,” Bawankule said.At present the monthly maximum demand for power in Mumbai is around 3,416 MW, while the supply is around 2005.31 million units.Out of the actual demand, Mahavitaran supplies 250 MW, Tata 1,048 MW, BEST 838 and R-Infra 1,530 MW.

RK Pachauri to be Executive Vice Chairman in spite of sexual harrassment allegations

Notwithstanding allegations of sexual harassment by a former colleague, TERI Chief RK Pachauri was on Monday appointed Executive Vice Chairman of the green body after new Director General Ajay Mathur took over the charge from him.”Dr. Ajay Mathur has joined as Director General of TERI. The Governing Council of TERI has appointed Dr. R K Pachauri as the Executive Vice Chairman with immediate effect,” a TERI official said. The post of Executive Vice Chairman has been recently created and Pachauri will be the first to hold the post.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mathur is a former Director General of Bureau of Energy Efficiency, an institution under the Power Ministry. Pachauri headed TERI, which works in the field of sustainable development, energy and climate change, for the past 35 years.In February last year, a junior colleague had accused him of sexual harassment following which he had to proceed on leave but joined work in July with a court quashing the internal committee report that found him guilty of misconduct. He was removed as chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, an international body of scientists that makes periodic assessment of climate change science, as well.

Nuclear plant at Kudankulam stops power generation because of steam leak

Chennai: The 1,000-MW nuclear power plant at Kudankulam stopped generation on Thursday night following a steam leak, Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO) said.

The unit was restarted only on 30 January after nearly seven months of maintenance shutdown.

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. PTIThe Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. PTI

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. PTI

According to POSOCO, the atomic power plant outage happened at around 8.35 pm due to steam leak in the secondary side.

On Thursday, the power generation touched the day’s peak of 757 MW while the average generation for the day was 582 MW.

“A minor steam leak in the feed water system in turbine building from 14 mm impulse line is being attended,” RS Sundar, site director at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) told IANS on Friday.

The unit is expected to restart operation on 7 February.

India’s atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is setting up two 1,000 MW atomic power plants at Kudankulam in Tirunelvelli district, around 650 km from here, at an outlay of over Rs 17,000 crore.

The first unit attained criticality, which is the beginning of the fission process, in July 2013.

Subsequently it was connected to the southern grid in October 2013.

However, commercial power generation began only on 31 December, 2014.

The unit also experienced breakdowns after commercial production started.

The unit was shut down in June 2015 for 60 days for refuelling and annual maintenance in June 2015.

Operating at full capacity, the unit supplies power to Tamil Nadu (562.5 MW), Puducherry (33.5 MW), Kerala (133 MW), Karnataka (221 MW) and Andhra Pradesh (50 MW).

The NPCIL skipped several deadlines in restarting the first unit and finally on January 21, 2016 the reactor restarted the fission process and was connected to the southern grid on 30 January.

According to the official position, the second 1,000 MW unit at Kudankulam is expected to go critical, or start the fission process, for the first time sometime this year.

However, sources told IANS that the unit may go critical early in 2017.

The second unit has to get some parts from Russia as some of its components have been used in the first unit so that the latter could start operating fast.

The fuel has to be loaded into the second reactor.

A senior official in the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) recently told IANS that the results of the second unit’s commissioning and inspection reports are being studied.

“After the reports are studied, AERB might lay down some conditions which have to be completed before NPCIL applies for the permission to load the fuel,” he had said.

Meanwhile the AERB has given its nod for site preparation work for building the third and fourth units at Kudankulam. The two units would cost around Rs 40,000 crore.

IANS

11 inspiring quotes by Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. Here are some quotes to remember him by.1. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.2. Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.3. Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.4. An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>5. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.6. You must be the change you wish to see in the world.7. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.8. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.9. Nobody can hurt me without my permission.10. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.11. Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.

Haryana recovers over Rs 50 crore in power dues from poll candidates

Power utilities in Haryana have recovered over Rs 50 crore in electricity dues from candidates who had contested in the recently-held panchayat polls.A spokesman of the Power Department said while the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has recovered a sum of about Rs 21.82 crore, the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) has received payments of outstanding bills to the tune of about Rs 28.45 crore.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said a sum of about Rs 1.44 crore has been received in district Ambala, Rs 4.85 crore in Yamunanagar, Rs 1.03 crore in Kurukshetra, 2.88 crore in district Kaithal, Rs 3.98 crore in Karnal, about Rs 2.16 crore in Panipat, about Rs 1.50 crore in Sonepat, about Rs 1.80 crore in Rohtak and about Rs 2.18 crore in Jhajjar.Similarly, recoveries to the tune of about Rs 1.32 crore have been made in Gurgaon, about Rs 2.33 crore in Palwal, about Rs 2.37 in Narnaul, Rs 7.57 crore in Hisar, about Rs 5.15 crore in Jind, Rs 1.99 crore in Faridabad, Rs 1.46 crore in Rewari, Rs 4.14 crore in Bhiwani and Rs 2.12 crore in Sirsa, he said.

New tariff policy to boost investment, clean energy

Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the new power tariff policy to ensure 24X7 affordable power as well as to promote clean energy, better regulation of discoms and faster roll out of investments.Immediately after the meeting, power minister Piyush Goyal said the policy is also aimed at achieving the efficiency to ensure affordable tariffs, smart meters to introduce lower tariffs during nights and ease of doing business. He said the new policy will reflect a concern for environment and encourage renewable energy. “It will also look to strengthen regulatory mechanism so that power distribution companies become more efficient and conscious towards their duties to consumers,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the Cabinet note, first time a holistic view of the power sector has been taken and comprehensive amendments have been made in the tariff policy 2006. The new policy seeks to promote hydro projects through long-term PPAs (power purchase agreements) and exemption from competitive bidding till August 2022. The note is, however, silent on the new tariff rates except to claim that the government has taken a “holistic view” of the power sector, promising electricity to the remote unconnected villages as and when the micro grids reach them.It claimed the power cost to the consumers will be reduced through expansion of existing power plants and pan-India transmission lines to access power from anywhere in the country, ensuring round-the-clock supply. The policy envisages installation of smart meters to reduce theft and net-metering with “Time of Day” metering. The minister said the basic thrust of the new policy is also to improve the ease of doing business to ensure financial viability of the sector by promoting consistency and predictability in regulatory approaches across the jurisdictions.Henceforth, the Central Regulator will fix the tariff for the composite schemes where more than 10% power is sold outside the producing state. The policy seeks to remove the market uncertainty from changes in duties, levies, cess and taxes in the competitive bid projects. It allows sharing of the un-requisitioned power, competitive bidding for new transmission projects to ensure faster completion at lower cost.The policy envisages to produce electricity from coal washery rejects to provide affordable power to people living near the coal mines. The policy also envisages investments in the coal-rich states of Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. It calls for allowing the state governments to set up the plants with up to 35% of power procured on regulated tariff. The note said the new policy will benefit power consumers in multiple ways as besides reducing the cost of power, it will spur renewable power for a cleaner environment. There will be no inter-state transmission charges and losses for solar and wind power.

Discom audit: CAG moves SC against Delhi HC ruling

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has moved Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court’s verdict quashing city government’s 2014 order asking the CAG to audit the accounts of three private power distribution companies here.”The CAG functions under the Constitution as an instrumentality for ensuring accountability and probity by placing its reports in the Parliament/Legislature and any interpretation that whittles or waters down the jurisdiction are contrary to the mandate under Article 149 and against principles of Parliamentary democracy…. Merely because a body is under the purview of a Regulator the mandate of CAG cannot be ousted,” the apex auditing body said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the high court had held “there can be no other audit by CAG at the instance of the state government when regulatory body, Delhi Electric Regulatory Commission (DERC), is already there to audit the accounts of discoms.The NGO-URJA and Kejriwal government have already approached the Supreme Court against a high court verdict. The apex court has already listed their pleas for hearing on Monday.Last year, the AAP-led government had ordered the CAG audit of discoms Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, which supply power in Delhi, on grounds including that it has 49 per cent stakes in the discoms.The NGO United RWAs Joint Action (URJA) had filed the PIL before the high court seeking order for CAG audit of the three discoms-TPDDL, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd. The court had not agreed with the city government’s contention that the audit was ordered in public interest for determining the tariff.”Determination of tariff is in sole domain of DERC which is well empowered to itself conduct the same or have the same conducted and the report of CAG audit of discoms has no place in the Regulatory Regime brought about by the Electricity Act and the Reforms Act”. The discoms are 51:49 per cent joint venture between the private companies and the Delhi government.

Delhi Metro recycles over 8.80 tonnes of waste paper

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has recycled over 8.80 tonnes of waste paper in the recent months, fresh production of which would have entailed 15.84 MW power, over 2,200 KLD water and considerable CO2 emissions.Authorities said that the decision to recycle and reuse waste paper generated from the offices of the Metro was taken in August last year, and the objective achieved within five months. “A specialised agency was roped in for the purpose and waste paper baskets were installed at all offices requesting the employees to dump waste paper in those baskets,” DMRC chief spokesman Anuj Dayal said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The agency then collected the waste paper, recycled them for use again and delivered back to the Metro authorities, thus being able to “substantially” reduce the consumption of fresh paper since a bulk of the requirements are now fulfilled by recycled waste paper, he said.”According to a study conducted by DMRC, Metro has been able to achieve savings by the help of this recycling. Power savings during this period was 15.84 MW; water consumption avoided was 2,200 KLD (Kilo Litres/Day) while waste water generation resulted in savings of about 61.60 KLD. The CO2 emission was also reduced by 25.04 tCO2 eq,” Dayal added.

National Conference throws its hat in the ring for government formation in J&K

Even as the stalemate over government formation continues, the main opposition National Conference (NC) has thrown its hat in the ring expressing readiness to consider any proposal for alliance with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir.NC president Farooq Abdullah said his party has not slammed doors for the alliance (with the BJP) for the government formation in the restive state.”If any proposal comes (from BJP or Centre), NC will call the working committee meeting to discuss the issue. If such situation arises, we can think over it. We have not slammed our doors. Our doors are open,” he told reporters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier Farooq while addressing NC workers in Udhampur noted that peoples’ aspirations hold paramount importance in democratic polity and the moment ruling elite suffers from mistaken belief of being ‘kings’ they get distanced from the masses.”National Conference firmly believes in people to be the fountain head of power. This being core of his party’s philosophy, a major stride was taken in 1996 to steer Jammu and Kashmir on the path of democracy. Those years were really difficult,” he saidFarooq also referred to his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat in 2011. “I had told Mr Modi that I want to see the day in my life when I would look in his (Modi’s) eyes and would be able to see my Allah, and when he (Modi) looks in my eyes, he will see his Ram”, he said.Farooq’s statement comes a day before Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is holding its first core group meeting since the demise of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. PDP has called all the members including MPs, general secretaries and ex ministers for the meeting to discuss the prevailing situation.PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who had literally became recluse after the death of her father, will resume work formally on Sunday when she will preside over the meeting.”The meeting will review the situation post Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s demise. Obviously the discussion on alliance with government formation would also come up. The leaders would give their inputs and suggestions”, said a PDP leaderPDP has so far been playing hardball with the BJP over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir. PDP had earlier asked BJP to meet some conditions before Mehbooba Mufti takes oath as the next chief minister of the state.The conditions include return of power projects run by the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC), return of land under the occupation of the security forces, avoiding controversial issues, liberal central assistance and other demands mentioned in the agenda of alliance.

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