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Hyderabad: Conmen rob finance firm of 40 kg gold after posing as CBI officials

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of four persons posing as CBI officials struck at a private finance firm branch in neighbouring Sangareddy district of Telangana and made away with huge amount of gold, police said.Around four persons entered the branch at RC Puram area at around 9.30 am and posing as CBI officials they told the staff they are checking money exchange and later threatened them on gun point and robbed gold before fleeing away in a four-wheeler, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Madhapur Zone) Vishwa Prasad said.Preliminary reports said around 40 kg gold was robbed from the finance branch. However, police said they are in the process of collecting more details from the staff.”We are verifying…the exact quantity has to be ascertained,” Cyberabad Joint Commissioner Stephen Raveendra said. Further probe is underway.

In chase for missing Jai, Maha seeks video footage from Telangana

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra government has sought a video footage from Telangana to ascertain if a tiger spotted in the state’s forests is ‘Jai’, the famous feline, who went missing in April from Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary, near Nagpur.“Local news channels reported that Jai was spotted in Telangana’s forest area. We are seeking help from the Telangana government to send us a video footage of the tiger,” Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said.However, forest officials from Adilabad Forest Division, Telangana, said they did not have any video footage nor were they were successful in capturing images of the tiger on camera traps.“A tiger was spotted at Pippalakoti village, around four kilometers from Tippeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. The village is outside the forest area and has dense cotton plantation. It has been very difficult to track or locate the tiger. We have not been successful in getting any images either,” said Sivala Rambabu, District Forest Officer (DFO) Adilabad Forest Division.Naturalists, however, believe this to be yet another wild goose chase. “When I spoke to forest officials at Adilabad, they confirmed a tiger sighting by two of their rangers on December 14 at midnight. However, they couldn’t see a collar or even identify if the cat spotted was a male or a female,” said Sarosh Lodhi of Conservation Lenses and Wildlife (ClaW) — an independent group of wildlife lovers and photographers, who flagged off mission Finding Jai.The group has announced a cash prize of Rs50,000 to anyone who can help find Jai.Photographic evidence or a latest scat or hair sample, or at least detailed pug mark is needed to confirm if the feline spotted was Jai, but in this case there is nothing but speculations, said Lodhi.Inputs from PTI

Demonetisation: Note ban adds to cotton farmers’ misery in AP and Telanagana

Crop losses, mounting debts and a spate of pest attacks apart, the cotton farmers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh now have to deal with the demon of demonetisation as well.

“The note ban has been a worse epidemic than the white fly or pink bollworm for cotton farmers,” says Konda Surekha, a former minister from Warangal, one of the most prominent cotton-growing areas in Telangana. These farmers are sour that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had picked a wrong time for banning big currency notes — the harvest period of the Kharif season for cash crops like tobacco, tomato, groundnut, sugarcane and cotton. Now prices have fallen by 20 to 30 percent and they are unable to clear loans due to the ushering-in of the cashless regime in agricultural markets.

“My cotton stock withered at the market yard as traders said they had no cash to pay and offered cheques,” said Jagarlamudi Anil Babu, a cotton farmer of Prakasam district. Farmers say that banks would rather adjust cheques towards loans and interest than disburse cash.

A variety of issues abound for the cotton and textile industry like the non-implementation of the promised loan waiver, the delay in institutional credit and fall in global demand.

Cotton farmers in five districts of Telangana and six districts of AP are wringing hands in distress as cotton prices crashed to Rs 4,100 per quintal from Rs 5,600 per quintal in the pre-demonetisation period. “Adding to our woes, the traders are asking us to accept payments in cheques or scrapped notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000,” says a cotton grower from Inkollur in coastal Andhra who deferred cotton-plucking for a week due to demonetisation.

Representational image of a cotton-gatherer in Warangal. AFP

Representational image of a cotton farmer in Warangal. AFP

The RBI decision to allow scrapped notes circulation among farmers in marketing their produce and also purchase of seeds and fertilisers has given them temporary relief, but Telangana’s farmers say that Modi should have chosen mid-January to February for demonetisation. A cascading impact is evident from the distress on cotton farmers — weddings, house warming functions and thread ceremonies are either low-key affairs or deferred. Besides cotton, the tobacco industry is dominated by 70 percent cash transactions in the vicious circle of growers, lenders, commission agents and exporters.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana contribute to one-third of the country’s cotton trade. Chirala in Guntur and Siricilla in Karimangar are popular for their handloom and lungi markets and concentration of looms – they are considered the biggest in Asia for exports to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

According to the US-based International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) the currency crunch in India has created shortages in domestic textile market and also hit exports to global markets. Cotton exports from Australia, Mali, Burkina Faso and the US could fill up the gap caused by Indian cotton in 2016-17. The ICAC report also blamed the note ban as an ‘untimely move’ detrimental to the Indian cotton market, which could have a domino effect for the next two years.

Officially 21 cotton farmers had committed suicide in 2016 from June to December. Unofficially though, 61 farmers have committed suicide since June and 12 more in the months of November and December.

Since its birth as a new state in June 2014, Telangana has recorded 1,269 suicides. The Hyderabad-based Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), estimates farmer suicides in Andhra Pradesh in the past 20 years (1995-2014) at 38,000. Lack of access to institutional credit and low crop insurance add to farmers’ woes. “Besides, in anticipation of loan waivers, a large number of farmers did not repay loans last year, and banks have refused loans this year,” points out GV Ramanjeyulu, executive director of CSA.

“They take up crops in Kharif with high interest loans and high expectations to wipe off old dues but often end up adding to their debts and consequent suicides,” says K Changal Reddy, a farmers’ representative.

 Local common sense

In many parts of Telangana and Andhra the crisis has been tackled with local common sense. “Farmers are deferring payments to daily wagers but pay partly in the form of rice and also stood guarantee to small loans taken by them in the local grocery shops,” says Palaparthi Srinivasa Rao, a cotton farmer of Srikakulam. Traders linked payments to fertilisers and seed suppliers for the benefit of farmers. “We also tied up with lorry operators and hotels to pay their dues from the amounts due to them,” says Gopalakrishnaiah, a cotton exporter in Guntur market.

Kuvulu Rythu Sangam (Andhra Pradesh Tenant Farmers’ Association) state secretary N Ranga Rao says that for the Kharif crop season, farmers needed Rs 3,200 crores to take up harvesting in about 40 lakh acres. Another Rs 2,400 crores is needed for the Rabi season. “Since private money lenders also do not have valid currencies now, we depend on government to release crop loans early,” he said.

The monthly report of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) said the cotton market in Andhra Pradesh, one of the major producers in the country, has plunged into a deep crisis in the aftermath of demonetisation, as trade and export transactions have almost come to a halt and cotton prices have slumped by Rs 1,000 per quintal from Rs 5,000 to Rs 4,100 in just 40 days. Though the CCI has opened over 40 purchasing centres and offered cash payments in Rs 2,000 notes, the farmers are unwilling to sell and choose to suffer rather than sell at the current prices.

Arrears in loan waiver payments

Although both Andhra and Telangana government announced farm loans waiver as a poll promise, they have been paying dues to banks in installments. Telangana government had pegged arrears at around Rs 18,000 crores and Andhra had reduced the burden to Rs 36,000 crores. Banks were advised to issue new crop loans with the promise that loans as of June 2013 would be borne by the government. However, the RBI had opposed the bulk farm loan waiver initiative of both the states and advised banks to release only crop loans in a guarded manner and ensure that until clearance of arrears, farmers’ slates would not be cleaned.

As a result, banks refuse to give fresh loans until old loans are either paid by the farmer or by the state government. As a result, farmers had to take up farming with savings and loans from private money lenders. “My money lender wants cash and not cheque,” says Bharatakka, a cotton farmer of Ibrahimpatnam in Nalgonda district.

Cotton crop grown in Andhra is sent to the ginning mills of Guntur district which supply cotton to textile mills in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka. According to market sources, almost 70-80 percent of transactions have come to a halt and the market has been hit hard. This has meant the denial of wages to over two lakh people engaged in cotton trading, spinning, ginning and harvesting activities in the state.

In Telangana too, the situation is similar. Traders are offering farmers sops now to get them to sell their cotton and accept cheques — trips to Mumbai, Shirdi and Tirupati are being offered. “If we deposit the cheques in the banks, the bankers will adjust it against loans and interest and the government will not reimburse it,” said Muthyala Reddy of Warangal.

“Cotton trade is always cash and carry activity and bank operations are hardly 10-15 percent. If we offer to pay online or through cards, our suppliers of seeds and fertilises will just reject,” says a cotton farmer, K Samaiah at Enumamula market yard in Warangal. “The ceiling on withdrawals had also made us delay payments. The government cap on withdrawal at Rs 24,000 per week has sandwiched the farmers,” says Phani Raj, a cotton trader at Chilakaluripeta.

Continuing trouble for cotton

The cotton crisis since 2014 in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh had led farmers to shift to other crops due to delay in institutional credit and an unending wait for farm loan waivers. The total area under cotton declined by 12 percent to 10.5 million hectares this year against 11.88 million hectares in 2015-16.

In 2015 and in early 2016 the crop was hit by the white fly and pink bollworm leading to 30 percent drop in yields. “We are asking the farmers not to use non-Bt cotton seed as refuge crop and reduce area under cotton,” says K Dhananjaya Reddy, commissioner for agriculture (Andhra Pradesh).

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 15:21 IST

Demonetisation: Note ban adds to cotton farmers’ misery in AP and Telangana

Crop losses, mounting debts and a spate of pest attacks apart, the cotton farmers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh now have to deal with the demon of demonetisation as well.

“The note ban has been a worse epidemic than the white fly or pink bollworm for cotton farmers,” says Konda Surekha, a former minister from Warangal, one of the most prominent cotton-growing areas in Telangana. These farmers are sour that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had picked a wrong time for banning big currency notes — the harvest period of the Kharif season for cash crops like tobacco, tomato, groundnut, sugarcane and cotton. Now prices have fallen by 20 to 30 percent and they are unable to clear loans due to the ushering-in of the cashless regime in agricultural markets.

“My cotton stock withered at the market yard as traders said they had no cash to pay and offered cheques,” said Jagarlamudi Anil Babu, a cotton farmer of Prakasam district. Farmers say that banks would rather adjust cheques towards loans and interest than disburse cash.

A variety of issues abound for the cotton and textile industry like the non-implementation of the promised loan waiver, the delay in institutional credit and fall in global demand.

Cotton farmers in five districts of Telangana and six districts of AP are wringing hands in distress as cotton prices crashed to Rs 4,100 per quintal from Rs 5,600 per quintal in the pre-demonetisation period. “Adding to our woes, the traders are asking us to accept payments in cheques or scrapped notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000,” says a cotton grower from Inkollur in coastal Andhra who deferred cotton-plucking for a week due to demonetisation.

Representational image of a cotton-gatherer in Warangal. AFP

Representational image of a cotton farmer in Warangal. AFP

The RBI decision to allow scrapped notes circulation among farmers in marketing their produce and also purchase of seeds and fertilisers has given them temporary relief, but Telangana’s farmers say that Modi should have chosen mid-January to February for demonetisation. A cascading impact is evident from the distress on cotton farmers — weddings, house warming functions and thread ceremonies are either low-key affairs or deferred. Besides cotton, the tobacco industry is dominated by 70 percent cash transactions in the vicious circle of growers, lenders, commission agents and exporters.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana contribute to one-third of the country’s cotton trade. Chirala in Guntur and Siricilla in Karimangar are popular for their handloom and lungi markets and concentration of looms – they are considered the biggest in Asia for exports to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

According to the US-based International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) the currency crunch in India has created shortages in domestic textile market and also hit exports to global markets. Cotton exports from Australia, Mali, Burkina Faso and the US could fill up the gap caused by Indian cotton in 2016-17. The ICAC report also blamed the note ban as an ‘untimely move’ detrimental to the Indian cotton market, which could have a domino effect for the next two years.

Officially 21 cotton farmers had committed suicide in 2016 from June to December. Unofficially though, 61 farmers have committed suicide since June and 12 more in the months of November and December.

Since its birth as a new state in June 2014, Telangana has recorded 1,269 suicides. The Hyderabad-based Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), estimates farmer suicides in Andhra Pradesh in the past 20 years (1995-2014) at 38,000. Lack of access to institutional credit and low crop insurance add to farmers’ woes. “Besides, in anticipation of loan waivers, a large number of farmers did not repay loans last year, and banks have refused loans this year,” points out GV Ramanjeyulu, executive director of CSA.

“They take up crops in Kharif with high interest loans and high expectations to wipe off old dues but often end up adding to their debts and consequent suicides,” says K Changal Reddy, a farmers’ representative.

 Local common sense

In many parts of Telangana and Andhra the crisis has been tackled with local common sense. “Farmers are deferring payments to daily wagers but pay partly in the form of rice and also stood guarantee to small loans taken by them in the local grocery shops,” says Palaparthi Srinivasa Rao, a cotton farmer of Srikakulam. Traders linked payments to fertilisers and seed suppliers for the benefit of farmers. “We also tied up with lorry operators and hotels to pay their dues from the amounts due to them,” says Gopalakrishnaiah, a cotton exporter in Guntur market.

Kuvulu Rythu Sangam (Andhra Pradesh Tenant Farmers’ Association) state secretary N Ranga Rao says that for the Kharif crop season, farmers needed Rs 3,200 crores to take up harvesting in about 40 lakh acres. Another Rs 2,400 crores is needed for the Rabi season. “Since private money lenders also do not have valid currencies now, we depend on government to release crop loans early,” he said.

The monthly report of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) said the cotton market in Andhra Pradesh, one of the major producers in the country, has plunged into a deep crisis in the aftermath of demonetisation, as trade and export transactions have almost come to a halt and cotton prices have slumped by Rs 1,000 per quintal from Rs 5,000 to Rs 4,100 in just 40 days. Though the CCI has opened over 40 purchasing centres and offered cash payments in Rs 2,000 notes, the farmers are unwilling to sell and choose to suffer rather than sell at the current prices.

Arrears in loan waiver payments

Although both Andhra and Telangana government announced farm loans waiver as a poll promise, they have been paying dues to banks in installments. Telangana government had pegged arrears at around Rs 18,000 crores and Andhra had reduced the burden to Rs 36,000 crores. Banks were advised to issue new crop loans with the promise that loans as of June 2013 would be borne by the government. However, the RBI had opposed the bulk farm loan waiver initiative of both the states and advised banks to release only crop loans in a guarded manner and ensure that until clearance of arrears, farmers’ slates would not be cleaned.

As a result, banks refuse to give fresh loans until old loans are either paid by the farmer or by the state government. As a result, farmers had to take up farming with savings and loans from private money lenders. “My money lender wants cash and not cheque,” says Bharatakka, a cotton farmer of Ibrahimpatnam in Nalgonda district.

Cotton crop grown in Andhra is sent to the ginning mills of Guntur district which supply cotton to textile mills in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka. According to market sources, almost 70-80 percent of transactions have come to a halt and the market has been hit hard. This has meant the denial of wages to over two lakh people engaged in cotton trading, spinning, ginning and harvesting activities in the state.

In Telangana too, the situation is similar. Traders are offering farmers sops now to get them to sell their cotton and accept cheques — trips to Mumbai, Shirdi and Tirupati are being offered. “If we deposit the cheques in the banks, the bankers will adjust it against loans and interest and the government will not reimburse it,” said Muthyala Reddy of Warangal.

“Cotton trade is always cash and carry activity and bank operations are hardly 10-15 percent. If we offer to pay online or through cards, our suppliers of seeds and fertilises will just reject,” says a cotton farmer, K Samaiah at Enumamula market yard in Warangal. “The ceiling on withdrawals had also made us delay payments. The government cap on withdrawal at Rs 24,000 per week has sandwiched the farmers,” says Phani Raj, a cotton trader at Chilakaluripeta.

Continuing trouble for cotton

The cotton crisis since 2014 in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh had led farmers to shift to other crops due to delay in institutional credit and an unending wait for farm loan waivers. The total area under cotton declined by 12 percent to 10.5 million hectares this year against 11.88 million hectares in 2015-16.

In 2015 and in early 2016 the crop was hit by the white fly and pink bollworm leading to 30 percent drop in yields. “We are asking the farmers not to use non-Bt cotton seed as refuge crop and reduce area under cotton,” says K Dhananjaya Reddy, commissioner for agriculture (Andhra Pradesh).

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 15:21 IST

Hyderabad: Five-year-old boy dies after falling in hot sambar vessel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A 5-year-old boy studying at a Government Primary School in Nalgonda district of Telangana died after falling in a vessel of hot sambar which was being prepared for mid-day meal, police said on Saturday.The incident occurred in Iduluru village on Saturday afternoon, when the boy, a first standard student, was standing in the queue along with other students when someone pushed him from behind and he fell into the hot sambar vessel, they said.”The boy, who suffered 70 per cent burns was initially taken to a government hospital in Nalgonda and later shifted to a state-run hospital in Hyderabad where he succumbed to his injuries around midnight,” Nakrekal Police Station Circle Inspector A Vishwaprasad told PTI over phone.Following a complaint by the grandfather of the deceased boy, a case of negligence was filed against three women cooks with Katangoor police station, the Inspector said.The District Collector visited the village and announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh, a government job and a house site to the family members of the deceased boy, police official said, adding the Head Master of the school was suspended and probe is on.

Cops frequently flout Supreme Court rules intended to prevent custodial deaths, says HRW report

Indian police often flout Supreme Court rules intended to prevent custodial deaths and “routinely violate” domestic and international laws around arrest and detention, says a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

At least 591 people died in police custody in India between 2010 and 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, of which the authorities reported 97 custody deaths in 2015. The police records list only six as due to physical assault by police; 34 are listed as suicides, 11 as deaths due to illness, nine as natural deaths, and 12 as deaths during hospitalisation or treatment.

“While investigations were ordered by courts, human rights commissions, or other authorities in some cases, Human Rights Watch is not aware of a single case in which a police official was convicted for a custodial death between 2010 and 2015,” the 114-page report, titled ‘Bound by Brotherhood: India’s Failure to End Killings in Police Custody’ and released on 19 December, states.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

It is based on interviews of more than 70 witnesses, family members of victims, lawyers, civil society activists, and journalists in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh, and the cities of New Delhi and Mumbai, and investigations into 17 custodial deaths between 2010 and 2015. It found that in each of the 17 cases investigated the police did not follow proper arrest procedures, making the suspect more vulnerable to abuse.

“Police abuses continue despite changes in laws and guidelines and the promise of police reforms since 1997,” the international rights group says.

The compliance with the six binding directives to the central and state governments to undertake police reforms as contained in the landmark Supreme Court decision of Prakash Singh versus Union of India remains “low”.

According to government data, in the vast majority of cases investigated — 67 of 97 deaths in custody in 2015 — the police either failed to produce the suspects before a magistrate within 24 hours as required by law, or the suspects died within a day of being arrested.

Supreme Court rules set out in the case of DK Basu versus West Bengal in 1997 and incorporated into the amended Code of Criminal Procedure call for the police to identify themselves clearly when making an arrest; prepare a memo of arrest with the date and time of arrest that is signed by an independent witness and countersigned by the arrested person; and ensure that next of kin are informed of the arrest and the place of detention. However, in practice, these rules have not prevented the worst of custodial abuses, the report argues.

Moreover, although the law stipulates an inquiry into every custodial death by a judicial magistrate, these were conducted in only 31 of the 97 custodial deaths reported in 2015. In 26 cases, there was not even an autopsy of the deceased. Last year, police registered cases against fellow police officers in only 33 of the 97 custodial deaths. The Supreme Court has often said that bringing evidence against the police in case of custodial crimes is an uphill task because the police feel “bound by their ties of brotherhood”— the report quotes Satyabrata Pal, a former member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

In some of the cases, inquiries are conducted by an executive magistrate — who are part of the executive branch of government like the police and hence more susceptible to pressure — instead of a judicial magistrate.

“The state relies on Section 197 (immunity from prosecution to all public officials for actions they undertake in carrying out their official duties unless the government approves the prosecution) heavily to protect the police officials,” lawyer Trideep Pais told HRW. “They are on the same side.”

“Activists are concerned about NHRC’s April 2010 notification to state governments that in cases of custodial deaths where no foul play was alleged, it was not mandatory for the inquiry to be conducted by a judicial magistrate because victims’ families are often unable to challenge police accounts of deaths in custody,” HRW says.

Though the NHRC — established in 1993 — has set guidelines for arrest and detention it remains beset with problems that limit its capacity to deal with custodial abuses.

The investigation division of the NHRC — that reviews cases of custodial deaths — is composed of serving police officials who do not have additional human rights training and tend to protect their erring colleagues.

The 2006 amended Protection of Human Rights Act remains problematic in certain aspects. The amended Act does not include lifting the one-year “statute of limitations” on NHRC investigations — a time limit that has been termed as “unrealistic” by rights groups given the ignorance of many victims of their rights under the Act and the difficulties that face them in obtaining counsel.

The national human rights body is still not authorised to investigate human rights violations by the armed forces and cannot independently make public their findings until the report is placed before Parliament. It is “tightly controlled” financially by the central government and reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs — “the same governmental department responsible for internal security, including police and other law and order officials, therefore undermining its independence”, among other constraints of the NHRC listed by the HRW.

India has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and signed the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment — both of which prohibit torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement authorities under international human rights law.

The 2016 report has listed a number of recommendations addressed to the Indian Parliament, state and central government ministries, police, civil society organisations, foreign donors and general public, as listed by the international rights group.

The last report on India was published in 2009 by HRW titled Broken System: Dysfunction, Abuse, and Impunity in the Indian Police.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 14:42 IST

AP official found in possession of assets worth Rs 5 crore, Rs 7 lakh in new notes seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior official of Excise and Prohibition Department has been allegedly found in possession of assets worth about Rs five crore and Rs seven lakh in Rs 2,000 notes were also seized from him, Anti Corruption Bureau sources said on Sunday.Raids on the properties of Additional Commissioner K Lakshman Bhaskar were conducted at 11 places in AP and Telangana on Saturday and Sunday that led to unearthing of huge assets worth about Rs five crore, they said.New currency notes of Rs 2,000 denomination worth Rs seven lakh was also recovered from the accused.Several crucial documents relating to Bhaskar’s properties and his benamis were also seized during the raids, the ACB sources said.The sleuths are yet to open his lockers in various banks, which could reveal more treasure, they said.He was apprehended and taken to Visakhapatnam as part of investigation of the case, the sources said.Bhaskar, a native of Ramanapalem area in West Godavari, had worked in various Excise Department in Visakhapatnam.The raids were conducted in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Rajahmundry and his hometown Ramanapalem, they added.

11 opposition MLAs suspended for day from Telangana Assembly

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eleven MLAs of the opposition Congress and TDP were on Saturday suspended from the Telangana Legislative Assembly after they vociferously demanded discussion on defection of opposition MLAs to the ruling TRS.The opposition MLAs were suspended as they shouted slogans and also entered the well of the House. Speaker S Madhusudanachary said the matter (defection of opposition MLAs to TRS) is under his consideration.Legislative Affairs Minister T Harish Rao, who moved the motion for suspension of the members, said the opposition members were indulging in unnecessary politics on a matter that is under the consideration of the Speaker.He said the motion for suspension of the MLAs was moved to ensure that the Question Hour goes on smoothly.The suspended members are D K Aruna, M Bhatti Vikramarka, T Jeevan Reddy, G Chinna Reddy, T Jeevan Reddy, N Padmavati Reddy, J Geeta Reddy, Rammohan Reddy and Vamsichand Reddy (all Congress) and A Revant Reddy and S Venkata Veeraiah (TDP). Protesting against the suspension of his party colleagues, Leader of Opposition (Congress) K Jana Reddy staged a walk-out, after making a speech during a debate on power situation in the state.Criticising him, state IT and Industries Minister K T Rama Rao said it was not right for the opposition leader to walk out after attacking the government on power issue.Congress adopted a “spit and run” policy both in Parliament and in the Assembly, Rama Rao said. Talking to reporters after suspension, Congress MLA M Bhatti Vikramarka said both the suspension and defection of opposition members to TRS were against the principles of democracy. The ruling TRS MLA G Suneetha told reporters that Congress members tried to stall the proceedings as they did not want the “good work being done by the government to be discussed”.It was decided that debate on any issue would be taken up after the Question Hour, but Congress members tried to stall the proceedings, she said. Congress and TDP adopted double standard on defection as opposition YSR Congress members had joined the ruling TDP in Andhra Pradesh, and opposition members were admitted into Congress when Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, she pointed out.

Supreme court orders ban on liquor shops on State & National Highways across country

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Concerned over 1.5 lakh fatalities every year in road mishaps, the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered ban on liquor sales on state and national highways across the country.Supreme court bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur directed the order on a batch of pleas seeking a direction to amend excise laws to ensure that no liquor is sold alongside highways.However, the court said that the liquor shops can operate till the period they were having their licenses. “All existing licences of liquor shops on highways will not be renewed after March 31, 2017,” the court said.The court also said that all signages indicating presence of liquor shops will be prohibited on national and state highwaysEarlier, the court also rapped the Centre for not doing anything concrete leading it to “step in”. It has been alleged that despite the recommendation of a committee to ban the sale of alcohol on state and national highway, states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were sticking to their prevailing excise policies under which licences were being issued to liquor shops along the highways.”An analysis of road accident data 2015 reveals that around 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads, resulting in 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour.”India being a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration, it is imperative that policy guidelines are framed to control road accidents. Also, the excise policies of Indian states and Union territories should be amended to conform to the spirit of Article 47 r/w Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” one of the pleas had said.

Demonetiation effect: Income Tax employees union complains of “unbearable workload”

Demonetiation effect: Income Tax employees union complains of “unbearable workload”

By

Hyderabad: The Income Tax Employees Federation and Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) on Tuesday urged the Centre to fill up the vacancies and take other steps to ease the workload in the wake of demonetisation.

There were almost 30-35 percent vacancies at assistant commissioner of income tax (ACIT) and deputy commissioner of income tax (DCIT) level and first supervisory position like joint commissioner of income tax (JCIT) and additional commissioner of income tax (Addl CIT), while at the staff level around 40 percent posts were vacant, it said in a release.

The employees were under “unbearable extra workload”, it added.

The issues of “faulty cadre structure”, promotions, recruitment, inadequate infrastructure including severe office space crunch and poor Internet and intranet connectivity should be dealt with, it said.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 10:56 IST

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Demonetisation impact: Telangana, Andhra Pradesh compete with each other to go cashless

In these troubled times, the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have seen opportunity. As demonetisation and the subsequent cash crunch hit the country hard, chief ministers of AP and neighbouring Telangana are vying with each other to become ‘digitally enabled’, a move being seen as key to insulate themselves politically and beef up their already deficit state economies.

Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) and N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of AP are offering themselves up as role model ‘Digital CMs’ to the Narendra Modi regime and have designed strategies individually.

Naidu launched ‘AP Purse’ last week, a government sponsored payment platform with 13 mobile banking and 10 mobile wallets. In turn, KCR launched an e-wallet enterprise in collaboration with ICICI Bank. “Why should we oppose demonetisation blindly? If Telangana has to survive, we have to go for cashless transactions to increase our revenue by five times,” said KCR at the Secretariat on Saturday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The idea behind trying to push the cashless transactions agenda is a banal one. Both states are hopeful of enhancing the prospects of central assistance for their mega infrastructure development agenda. Hence the push to leapfrog financial platforms — in an effort to project their states as the choicest destinations for infusion of global investment, technology and project monetisation in the near future.

AP Purse

Launching the new platform AP Purse on Tuesday, Naidu said that the government introduced Marpu Nestam (Friend for change), to educate people on digital financial literacy. The government will pay incentives to agents who train people in digital financial literacy.

AP Purse is an app which will provide links to 13 mobile banking and 10 mobile wallets with Aadhaar card to pay bills and purchases to retail traders and vendors in a cashless way. “We will train engineering students to enlighten the traders, vendors and also the common man on use of bank accounts and ‘RUpay’ cards,” he said. He made 90 lakh DWCRA (self-help groups of women) members and 70 lakh beneficiaries of the MGNREGS to open bank accounts in villages.

Naidu, who interacted with bankers and RBI representatives, said that Rs 2,472 crores was available with banks and that they would get another Rs 1,100 crores in December to tide over the cash crunch but emphasised that a cashless regime by 2017 was a stark reality. A document released by the CMO ahead of the launch of AP Purse said that there were only 46,126 (rural) and 60,173 (urban) banking outlets with internet facility, out of a total of 3.83 branches. There were only 10,516 ATMs of which nearly 6,250 were in urban areas. The Naidu government has let loose a blitzkrieg of advertisements in newspapers, Telugu TV channels and radio on use of cards, particularly the RUpay card of Jan Dhan accounts.

Telangana e-wallet and the Siddipet experiment

KCR has introduced the e-wallet in collaboration with ICICI Bank to address grievances of farmers, traders and Jan Dhan account holders.

KCR said that the state was geared to go digital at all levels. To begin with, stamps and registrations, civil supplies, excise and all government payments, including salaries to govt employees, would be on cashless platform of UPIS (Uniform Payment Interface System). “It will not be possible to change people’s habits overnight. Cash transactions are part of our life and culture. Initially all transactions above Rs 500 will be cashless,” he said.

The Telangana government has introduced a cashless transaction model in Rythu Bazaars (farmer markets) for the benefit of vegetable vendors in Hyderabad and Siddipet in collaboration with HDFC Bank. Customers can buy daily vegetables with tokens linked to their Aadhaar and HDFC cards. Besides Siddipet, the facility of Aadhaar linking for debit cards has been launched in Gajwel and Warangal market yards as well. “This is a temporary arrangement until the change crisis is resolved and banks’ link to markets is completed,” says T Harish Rao, state marketing minister.

Telangana has 5,200 bank branches with one bank for every three to four villages and has one lakh POS machines. “For a complete cashless regime, Telangana needs 20 lakh POS (swiping machines),” says a state finance ministry official. He said Rs 75,000 crores of cash was in circulation in the state before demonetisation, accounting for 86 percent of the total money in the state but so far only Rs 35,000 crores in banned notes were deposited in banks and the Centre has pumped in Rs 12,500 crores.

“Telangana has fewer banks and ATMs than Andhra — 5,212 bank branches and 10,000 ATMs. Hardly one tenth of banks and ATMs are in rural areas and Hyderabad accounts for 90 percent of branches and ATMs. Internet connectivity is very poor and only 60 percent of ATMs function in Hyderabad,” said Mohammed Ali Shabbir, Opposition leader in the Telangana Legislative Council. He also termed KCR’s claim of achieving cashless regime by 2017 as deceptive since there was only one bank branch to service 10 villages and just 88 lakhs people out of 4-crore population had bank accounts, he said.

The Effect

Opposition criticisms apart, Hyderabad and many towns of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada and Rajahmundry witnessed public furore with large queues in front of ATMs and banks. “Satrol ho gaya (business has gone kaput)” say wholesale traders at Goshamahal, Feelkhana, Begum Bazar, Siddiambar Bazar, Monda and Pathergatti where traders took cash from retailers for bulk purchases. “We had roaring business with 80 percent in cash and 20 percent on cheques and now everybody is demanding credit,” says Syed Aneesuddin, a bulk goods trader at Feelkhana.

Many traders say business is down now as they cannot give discounts to retailers – thanks to online payments, they have to pay Goods and Service Tax. According to RBI figures, there are about 13 lakh POS units in Telangana and the demand was for a minimum of 54 lakh.

The decision to go digital immediately by the two states is to get the early bird benefits from the Centre and also to improve their monthly revenues. “If we prove to be enabled for cashless transactions, our credentials in international markets will be benchmarked for big global investments,” Naidu told reporters on Saturday at Vijayawada.

Both these revenue-starved states are willing to go to great lengths in order to increase fund inflow — even at the cost of spending heavily on improving infrastructure and reducing liquidity in the market. While AP claimed that it had lost over Rs 1,300 crores in revenue generation in just one month, Telangana says it lost nearly Rs 800 crores. Both the governments have promised lavish welfare measures and freebies. Coffers cannot be empty for too long. And so the Telugu speaking neighbours have decided to join the Centre’s chorus on encouraging cashless transactions.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 14:05 IST

No mechanism to deal with complaints against retired judges appointed in HCs: Law Ministry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after agreeing with the judiciary to appoint retired judges in high courts to tackle rising cases, the Law Ministry has cautioned that there is no mechanism to deal with complaints of “wrongful acts” against them.As per the minutes of the meeting of the Chief Ministers- Chief Justices Conference held in April, approved after a gap of nearly six months in October, it has been resolved that “subject to integrity, suitability and performance of a person who has held the office as a judge of the high court, the provisions of Article 224 A can be invoked to deal with the extraordinary situation involving the large pendency of civil and criminal cases in the high courts…”The provision says that the chief justice of a high court, with the previous consent of the President (Centre), can request any person who has held the office of a judge of that court or any other high court to sit and act as a judge of the high court for that state.But now, the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry has told the Parliamentary standing Committee on Law and Personnel that “There is no mechanism to deal with the complaint against retired judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.”It was a responding to a series of questions asked by the committee on judges’ appointment and vacancies in the higher judiciary.The department was asked to explain the “merits/demerits” of appointment of ad hoc judges in the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts.It said “impeachment is the only remedy to remove a sitting judge. However, in this case, if a retired judge indulges in wrongful act or omissions, no mechanism has been laid down in respect of retired judges.”According to the minutes of the meeting, appointment of retired judges in high courts can also help achieve the goal of ‘five plus zero’ pendency. ‘Five plus zero’ is an initiative toensure that cases pending for more than five years are taken up on priority basis and pendency of such cases is brought down to zero level.As on June 30 while the total sanctioned strength was 21,303, the subordinate courts were functioning with 16,192 judicial officers — a shortage of 5,111.The 24 high courts face a shortage of nearly 450 judges.Over three crore cases are pending in courts across India.So far, the government has received names of 18 former judges for appointment in four high courts.The 18 names have been received from the high courts of Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Allahabad and Calcutta.The names are under process, highly-placed sources said.

Hyderabad building collapse: 11 bodies retrieved, building owner arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eleven bodies were recovered from the debris of an under-construction building which collapsed in Hyderabad on Thursday night, while a woman and her son were rescued. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) said that four bodies had been retrieved on Friday night.The rescue operation continued well into the night. ANI reported that the owner of the building was arrested by the police.The seven-storey building at Nanakramguda in the Cyberabad zone came crashing down on Thursday night. On Friday, Cyberabad police commissioner Sandeep Shandilya had told PTI that Rekha, around 35-year-old, and her son (4), who hailed from Chhattisgarh, were pulled out alive from the crash site. The woman and her son were admitted to a hospital for treatment, he said.All the victims of the tragedy are workers who lived in the basement of the building. Except one family, all others belonged to Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. The state government has arranged for sending the bodies and family members of the deceased to their native places in Andhra Pradesh through the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), the GHMC said. Telangana Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao visited the spot and announced ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of those killed. The state government would take tough action against the building owner for alleged violation of construction rules as well as the civic officials “who looked the other way”, he said. A family member of the building’s owner had been detained and two GHMC officials had been suspended, the Minister said.Andhra Pradesh Housing Minister K Mrinalini, who hails from Vizianagaram, also visited the site and spoke with K T Rama Rao and others. The Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Hyderabad, has been asked to investigate the cause of the collapse. A preliminary report in this regard was expected tonight, the GHMC said.The state government has also requested the secretary of Municipal Administration Department to examine the relevant issues and suggest systemic improvements to prevent such incidents in future, it added.Meanwhile, Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya met Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao who was in Delhi and discussed the incident with him. Dattatreya also directed Labour Ministry officials in Hyderabad to provide necessary help to the victims, a release from the Union Minister said. Telangana Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy and other party leaders visited the site.In an apparent reference to Rama Rao, Reddy said the “head of the department (Municipal Administration and Urban Development) should take the moral responsibility” for the tragedy and quit. NDRF personnel along with local civic workers handled the rescue operations which were difficult and time-consuming as the collapsed building was narrow.

Cash for vote case: Chandrababu Naidu gets Hyderabad HC relief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a relief to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, the Hyderabad High Court on Friday dismissed a complaint filed by a YSR Congress MLA seeking investigation into his alleged role in the cash-for-vote case.The court allowed Naidu’s plea seeking relief and dismissed the complaint filed by Ramakrishna Reddy on the ground that the latter had no locus standi to file such an application. The MLA’s counsel P Sudhakar Reddy said he had filed a private complaint in an ACB court making Naidu an accused in the cash-for-vote issue.The ACB court had ordered probe by ACB over alleged involvement of Naidu who sought relief in the High Court. Naidu had got a temporary relief in the High Court, but it was challenged by the MLA in the Supreme Court. The apex court referred the matter to the High Court. The MLA’s counsel said they will pursue legal options against Naidu.The so-called cash-for-vote pertains to allegations against TDP MLA A Revant Reddy and others that they tried to bribe a nominated MLA in MLC polls. Naidu had accused the TRS Government in Telangana of illegally tapping phones. In May 2015, nominated MLA in Telangana Assembly Elvis Stephenson lodged a complaint alleging that he was offered Rs 5 crore by TDP MLA Revanth Reddy to vote for TDP nominee in the election to the Telangana Legislative Council on June 1.On May 31, ACB arrested Revanth Reddy, Bishop Sebastian Harry and Rudra Udaya Simha when they were allegedly handing over an advance sum of Rs 50 lakh to Stephenson.A charge sheet filed by the ACB on July 28 last year mentioned TDP chief Naidu’s name, but not as an accused.An audio tape of Naidu’s purported conversation with Stephenson over phone on May 30, a day before the ACB arrested Revanth, had found its way to the media.

Under-construction building collapses in Hyderabad, several feared trapped

Fri, 9 Dec 2016-12:15am , Hyderabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Several people are feared trapped as an under-construction building collapsed in Nanakramguda area in Hyderabad on Thursday night. About 10 families, mostly labourers, were living in the premises of the building, according to Hyderabad Mayor B Rammohan. Telangana Home Minister N Narsimha Reddy and several other leaders and officials rushed to the spot where rescue work is underway.Reddy said violation of rules has been noticed in the construction of the building.

Speaker orders short duration debate on demonetization, Opposition fumes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Riding on the support of three opposition parties – Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and YSR Congress besides NDA partners, the government managed to start the debate on demonetization under Rule 193 in the Lok Sabha but could not take it beyond the first speaker amidst vociferous protests by the rest of the Opposition.Speaker Sumitra Mahajan acceded to the demand of treasury benches to begin the demonetization debate under Rule 193 amid vociferous protests by Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Left parties who were demanding debate under Rule 184 that entails voting.Leader of Congress, Mallikarjun Kharge said the Opposition was ready to initiate the debate under Rule 184 instead of their original demand for under Rule 56 to bring an adjournment for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance.”We have come down from Rule 56 to Rule 184. Now the government should also come down from Rule 193 and agree to Rule 184,” he said. While TMC leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay and P Karunakaran of CPM and SP and BSP supported Kharge, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) wanted the debate under Rule 193.However, as soon as TRS member AP Jithender Reddy rose to speak, Opposition members trooped into the well shouting slogans.Later minister for parliamentary affairs, Ananthkumar later said, “We want to know only one thing now whether the opposition wants a debate on demonetization at all. Emergent subject has been lost because of machination of Congress and TMC. They should also clarify their view on passage of four very important bills on Disability, Maternity benefits, HIV/AIDS prevention and Employees compensation. This omnibus obstruction is not only reprehensible but also mindless.”There was change in the situation in the Upper House as having superior strength, the Opposition parties kept up the pressure on the government through slogan shouting.Congress, BSP, SP and TMC members raised slogans demanding the government’s reply on the problems faced by employees and pensioners due to demonetisation.Leader of Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “The government employees and pensioners are not getting their salaries. I want to know from the government if there is a financial emergency…When the ATMs in Parliament are not working, one can imagine what would be the condition in small cities and villages”Whenever, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien called for a discussion, Opposition members trooped into the Well raising slogans — “Logon Ka Paisa, Logon Ko Do (Give the money that belongs to people)”, “Hosh mein aao, Hosh mein aao, Pradhan Mantri House Mein Aao (Come to your senses, PM come to the House).”

Rajya Sabha members seek impeachment of Telangana High Court judge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 60 Rajya Sabha members moved a petition on Monday seeking impeachment proceedings against a judge of the Andhra Pradesh/Telangana High Court alleging atrocities against a Dalit judicial officer. The Rajya Sabha Secretariat confirmed receiving the petition from 61 MPs and said a decision on its validity will be taken in the next two days after examining the matter.But experts said, under the Judges Enquiry Act, 1968, the petition is bound to be admitted. The petition, mainly signed by TDP and Left MPs, alleged that Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy committed atrocities against a Dalit principal junior civil judge in Kadappa district to allegedly put pressure on him in a criminal case.As per provisions of the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968, if the motion is admitted, the Speaker of Lok Sabha or the Chairman constitutes an investigation committee consisting of three members, including two judges. Hundred members of the Lok Sabha or 50 members of the Rajya Sabha have to sign the petition of impeachment.

NIA arrests 2 more al-Qaeda sympathisers in court bomb blast case

New Delhi: Carrying out with its probe in the blasts outside court premises in South India since April this year, NIA on Tuesday arrested two more persons for allegedly being involved in the conspiracy to carry out bomb explosions by a group sympathising with terror outfit al-Qaeda.

With Tuesday’s arrest, the number of people arrested in the case has gone upto five. The NIA, along with police forces from Tamil Nadu and Telangana, had arrested three persons on Monday for the five bomb blast cases in court premises of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka since April.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Among the arrests effected today was Mohammed Ayub Ali, who had been detained last night. Ali (25) of Madurai, who works as a public liaison officer for a hearing aid company, was placed under arrest today, NIA spokesman said.

The other person arrested was Shamsudeen, 25, a resident of Madurai after his name cropped up during interrogation of others arrested by the NIA.

The cases relate to blasts inside a vehicle at a parking place at district court complex, in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh on April 7; in a parking area of CJM Court Complex at Kollam in Kerala on June 15; inside court complex at Mysuru on 1 August, in Nellore of Andhra Pradesh on September 12 and inside a toilet complex of judicial court, Malappuram in Kerala on 1 November.

The NIA had arrested Abbas Ali, Suleiman and Samsum Karim Raja, all residents of Tamil Nadu.

The NIA spokesman had claimed that the arrested accused “during sustained interrogation confessed to their involvement in these blasts.”

Ali, a school dropout, was working as a painter and also ran a library in the name ‘Darul Ilm’ at Madurai. Raja is a Commerce graduate and runs a chicken broiler shop at Kannimara Koil street in Madurai.

Suleiman was working in a software firm. He was the main leader of the terrorist group which was influenced by the ideology of Osama bin Laden.

The group had claimed responsibility for these blasts and circulated pamphlets, pen drives and CDs in the name of “The Base Movement”, translation of the word al Qaeda.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 15:51 IST

Demonetisation: Jan Akrosh Diwas evokes partial respose in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh

Hyderabad: The nation-wide shutdown called by the Left parties over demonetisation of high value currency notes evoked partial response in Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Monday.

Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in some areas while there was not much impact elsewhere.

The services of state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) was near normal in both the states.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The activists of the opposition parties staged protest at RTC depots at many places since early morning, however, the bus services by and large remained unaffected.

Activists of Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Congress and YSR Congress Party staged sit-in at RTC depots. However, the employees union stayed away from the shutdown.

Main opposition YSR Congress and Congress clarified that they have not called for ‘Bharat Bandh’ but were only participating in protests against the people’s sufferings due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

The Left parties exempted banks from the strike call.

Congress and CPI workers were arrested by the police at RTC bus depot in Kadapa town of Andhra Pradesh when they staged a sit-in and tried to prevent buses from plying.

YSR Congress Party leader Bhuma Karunakar Reddy and others were arrested when they held a protest demonstration at RTC depot in Tirupati. The left parties took out a rally in the temple town and raised slogans against the central government.

The activists of opposition parties also staged protests in Nellore, Guntur, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and other towns in Andhra Pradesh, where TDP-BJP alliance is in power.

In Telangana, ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was not participating in the shutdown.

The Left parties and Congress staged sit-in since morning at RTC depots at various places including Khammam, Karimnagar, Jagtiyal, Suryapet and Sircilla.

The Left parties plan to take out a rally in Hyderabad, while Congress, which is observing it as ‘Akrosh Diwas’ would be forming a human chain at the regional office of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Hyderabad to highlight the problems faced by the people.

Some schools in Hyderabad declared holiday as a precautionary measure. Osmania University, Kakatiya University and Jawaharlal Nehru Technology University (JNTU) postponed their examinations.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 11:52 IST

Congress cries foul as K Chandrasekhar Rao moves to new official bungalow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao moved into his new official residential buildings complex at Begumpet in Hyderabad on Thursday though main opposition Congress cried foul claiming that “over Rs 40 crore of public money” has been “wasted” on its construction.On the occasion, the CM performed a string of rituals to mark the event. Rao, who had been staying in the Chief Minister’s Camp Office built during YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s regime in undivided Andhra Pradesh, moved into the sprawling new buildings complex after performing a traditional ceremony.Known to be a religious man, the TRS chief performed ‘Griha Pravesam’ (house warming ceremony) along with his wife as per traditional practices. The auspicious ‘muhurtham’ was 5:22 am. Under the guidance of seer Sri Tridandi Srimannarayana Chinna Jeeyar Swamy, Rao and his wife performed ‘Daiva Pravesam’, ‘Yati Pravesam’, ‘Go Pravesam’ and other rituals. ‘Sudarshana Homam’ and ‘Vastu Homam’ were also performed. Prayers of different religions were also recited on the occasion for the welfare of Telangana people.Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana ESL Narasimhan, Telangana Legislative Assembly Speaker S Madhusudanachary, Legislative Council Chairman Swamy Goud, Deputy Chief Minister Mahmood Ali, state IT and Municipal Administration Minister and Rao’s son K T Rama Rao, Nizamabad MP K Kavitha, who is Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter, and state irrigation minister T Harish Rao were among those present.Rao assumed office about two-and-half years ago as the first chief minister of the newly-created Telangana. The official buildings complex, including the CM’s residence and office, a conference hall and two existing buildings, has been named as Pragathi Bhavan by government. The conference hall, named ‘Janahita’, will serve as a meeting place for the Chief Minister. In ‘Janahita’, the CM will interact with various sections of the people, including farmers, workers, employees, artisans and a host of others on policy formulation and on their implementation, a state government release said.Slamming Rao over his “new posh bungalow”, state Congress president and MLA N Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged the new buildings complex was built “wasting over Rs 40 crore of public money”. He claimed that the cost of Chief Minister’s new house would be nearly Rs 150 crore if land price is also taken into account. Accusing Rao of “wasting public money to satisfy his Vastu beliefs”, Reddy maintained that such “wastage” is not permissible in a socialist and democratic country like India.According to some media reports, the posh complex came up on a space of over one lakh square feet, with several facilities and measures, including bullet-proof bathrooms.

Demonetisation drive: The ‘corruption economy’ will be unaffected by this move

At a meeting of senior police officers in united Andhra Pradesh a few years back, the DGP warned a top cop without taking his name. “Yeh dukaandaari yahan band karo”. Everyone knew who the barb was directed at.

The ‘dukaandaari’ was a reference to the practise of inspectors who got the posting of their choice to carry a sweet box to this top cop. Named after a popular sweet eatery in Hyderabad, in police parlance it was called the ‘Pulla Reddy box’. While the sweets would be arranged on top, the bottom layer would be wads of cash. After the DGP’s diktat, the officer stopped the practice at his office.

Inspectors were instead asked to deliver the ‘Pulla Reddy box’ at his residence.

Prime minister Narendra Modi would like India to believe that with his financial masterstroke of demonetisation, generation of black money of this kind would be a thing of the past. But utopia is not a ‘Made in India’ product. India needs to stop fooling itself that demonetisation will wipe out the corruption economy. It cannot because it is sustained by the black sheep in the political establishment and aided and abetted by the bureaucracy.

Take the example of another south Indian state where the `cover system’ is right now in vogue. An aspirant for posting at a particular police station goes to the local MLA who gives him separate letters in three different envelopes, marked to the IG, DIG and SP of the district, pushing his case. The money is paid directly to the MLA and depending on the honesty quotient of the top cops, a part of the booty comes to them as well.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

In this state, the police machinery no longer decides on who to post where. The neta has taken over the job. The SPs are told by their uniformed bosses to handle this direct political interference in postings at their level. “We do not want any friction. Manage it at your level. Don’t let it come to the state capital,” was the oral diktat given to SPs in this state.

“My own inspectors are forced to pay for both postings and retention after they complete one year in the post. Money is paid to the MLAs and even the minister to get the state police headquarters to do so,” says a district SP, known for his probity.

It is a fixed rate card for postings. Sources say to get posted as sub-inspector in a rural police station where there is the possibility of making big money, a payment of Rs 5 lakh is expected. A circle inspector’s posting comes for Rs 7 lakh. If you want to get posted as DSP in a jurisdiction of your choice, Rs 10 lakh need to be shelled out.

The amount also has to be shelled out if you are in a ‘good’ post and likely to be transferred. Money is then paid to retain the lucrative post. Do the math to realise how much a corrupt SI or CI must be making on the side to be able to afford such hefty bribes. This does not mean every cop is dishonest. But more often than not, the ones who do not pay are shunted to loopline postings.

The only time the rate is lowered is when the cop belongs to the same caste as the local MLA or minister. In such cases, appointments are done with quid pro quo made clear. At times, a pliant police officer at the SHO level is appointed for a temporary period only to settle a legal dispute — most often a land dispute — in favour of a political heavyweight.

It is a fallacy to think the black money is generated only by businessmen, traders, builders and politicians. Of course, it is. But given the extent to which the state controls our lives, different government departments like revenue, excise, transport are also an integral part of the black money mafia.

Which is why the demonetisation exercise is at best, a temporary blip, which will make the corrupt now lose 30 to 40 per cent of their loot, if it happens to be in cash. That is the hit they will take when they get their booty exchanged through commission agents. But the corruption economy will be back in business with a vengeance, sooner than the main economy, to make up for what they have lost. India, for all you know, will witness more corruption post 30 December. The new 2000 rupee notes will occupy lesser space in Pulla Reddy boxes. Gujarat witnessed the first such case of bribery last week when two port trust officials were arrested for allegedly accepting Rs 2.9 lakh in new 2000 rupee notes.

How do the dishonest SIs, CIs and SHOs manage to earn so much to bribe a politician to get a posting of their choice, you would wonder. The favorite spots for collecting mamool (bribe) for cops are the wine shops. Each wine shop under the jurisdiction of a police station is forced to pay between Rs 10000 to 20000 every month. The booty is then distributed between all the policemen involved, with a share often going right up to the top. Failure to pay up invites cases against the shop owners.

Trucks transporting sand illegally are another hunting ground. If the truck belongs to a politician, a lower fine is imposed. Sky is the limit if it does not have political patronage. Quarries, mines, settling accident cases are other ways of making money.

The senior cops never soil their hands in the extortion business. A constable, usually the most trusted man of the SHO is entrusted with the job of collecting the moolah and dividing the share among everyone. This man goes by a different nomenclature in different states. He is called ‘collector’ in some and ‘roadmaster’ in others.

In Karnataka, DSP MK Ganapathi killed himself in July and named minister KJ George and two senior IPS officers as the cause for his death. But a probe absolved the trio of any role in Ganapathy’s death.

In August, sub-inspector Ramakrishna Reddy committed suicide in Medak district of Telangana. His family alleged that his superiors had been mounting pressure on him for Rs 15 lakh in bribes. In the suicide note, he reportedly named nine policemen including the DSP and a circle inspector for pushing him to taking the extreme step.

A superintendent of police tells me how his district minister has not called him even once since the night of 8 November. “He would otherwise call me everyday to get some work or the other done, including pushing for postings and transfers. But he is completely silent now,” says the SP. He suspects that the neta is busy getting his black money, that he has reportedly hoarded, converted into white through brokers in the state capital.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 10:39 IST

Kakarala Madhavi is CPM secretary for Andhra-Odisha border: Women at forefront of Maoist ops

The AOB (Andhra-Odisha Border) Committee, a crucial military zone of the CPI (Maoist), which remained headless after the bloody encounter killings of its top leaders including Bakuri Venkataramana alias Ganesh on 24 October in Malkangiri, now has a woman as its chief.

Kakarala Madhavi, the new Secretary of the AOB Committee of the armed rebels will now call the shots at what is considered the last post of the Maoists. This post is a prestigious one amongst the group — it was earlier held by Maoist legends like Devanna and Azad.

Kakarala Madhavi, 34, is a native of Rajamahendravaram of East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, the same area where popular film star and MP Jayaprada hails from. Madhavi was the choice for commander in view of her experience in the region and also her rapport with the local tribals in the border district of Malkangiri.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Madhavi is the daughter of Kakarala Subba Rao, a veteran character theatre actor and a member of the Virasam (Viplava Rachayitala Sangham or Revolutionary Writers’ Association). There is confusion as to whether she is Padmakka or Radhakka, two daughters of Rao, who had both joined the People’s War Group (PWG) before it became the CPI (Maoist). “My daughters were addicted more to Left philosophy and Communist literature than me,” Subba Rao had said in an interview with a TV channel recently.

A college drop-out, Madhavi had joined the movement 10 years ago under the influence of her father’s active involvement in the Communist movement. In fact, she had also played a role in a drama on Lenin, staged by her father, who was a theatre artiste, writer and also a director. She had worked as a deputy commander, commander and also a member of zone committees, finally making it to the central committee now. She had worked not only in the Nallamala and Dandakaranya forests but also in Telangana, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and also in some front organisations — cultural, farmers and youth wings of the CPI (Maoist).

Madhavi is perhaps the six or seventh woman top leader in the hierarchy as of now. Sources told Firstpost that an emergency meeting of the central committee of the Maoists held in the jungles of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh a few days ago had placed on record the contribution of the 31 slain rebels to Left wing extremism. Of the slain Maoists, 11 were women, including two deputy commanders.

The central committee also appointed another senior Maoist woman field operative Pothula Kalpana, 34, as the person in charge of military operations in the area. The Committee had justified the appointment of young women to key posts by saying that this move was to win the confidence of locals and tribals in the AOB region. The highest body of the CPI (Maoist) had said that internal lapses in guerrilla strategy had cost too many lives in the 24 October encounter. “Treachery, gross negligence and overconfidence” had led to the massacre at Janthi village in AOB, said a document of the central committee.

Women in revolutionary groups

Lack of recruitment of educated activists as well as desertion of the movement by aged sick seniors had forced Maoists to recognise the value addition made by women cadres and elevate them in several key positions. “Maoists took the calculated risk as women cadres were more committed, duty conscious and loyal to party hierarchy than men cadres,” said former DGP of Andhra Pradesh Dinesh Reddy, during whose period the AP police struck terror in the Dandakaranya forests in Telangana.

After a series of police-driven media exposures on the plight of women cadres in Maoist groups in the 1990s, the central committee of the PWG had framed guidelines and mandatory approval by the committee for inducting cadres in armed dalam (group), front organisations, the People’s Guerrilla Land Army (PGLA) and also the special military commissions. At a time there were nearly 175-250 women members in the field and also in front organisations, but the number has now dwindled to less than 100, according to police. “Very few women — except those linked to top guns in Central Committee or those married to dalam commanders or dalam members — are continuing. There are no single women,” said a senior police official.

A major reason for teenage girls to join the dalams was to escape from the traditions of early marriage when they were in school or junior college. “I joined the dalam to escape from family pressure to marry and stop my education. Now everything is lost as I don’t have any studies either,” said 19-year-old girl Renuka, a Maoist rebel who met this writer in the 1990s in Karimnagar, Telangana. Two years later, she surrendered and returned home; went back again and was killed in a shootout.

A college drop-out, Madhavi had joined the movement 10 years ago under the influence of her father’s active involvement in the Communist movement

But things have now changed for women activists who are chosen to head crucial committees including intelligence, suicide strike teams and are also key contributors to policy decisions in dealing with the tribals and landless poor. The central committee had acknowledged the role of women cadres in a document released two years ago on how the Salwa Judum domination in Chhattisgarh was throttled and tribals — Khoyas and Kondadoras — were won back to their side.

Women have been an active part of war machinery of the CPI (Maoist) and its earlier avatar, the PWG. The number of women cadre has been on the rise since the late 1990s. Replying to a question in Parliament on 13 July, 2013, then Minister of State for Home Affairs, RPN Singh had said that 40 percent of Maoist cadre were women.

“I was motivated by the fiery, inspiring songs of a visiting Maoist squad sung in my village,” said V Sujata, a 20-year-old Dalit armed activist in the Sircilla belt of Karimnagar, in 2005. Local police had painted her as a “loose girl” and that jeopardised her family efforts to get her married off. She had taken to Maoism to escape from community penalty to the family.

In 2008, Sujata went back to her village as a deputy commander of a dalam and took revenge on the police and also other villagers who had maligned and harassed her. Her dalam had cut the hands and ears of her detractors. Sujata was however killed in an encounter in 2009 near AOB. “But that explains the real reason why teenagers wants to join the Maoist movement — they want to escape from age-old customs and ridiculous social ostracisation,” said Professor Hargopal, a civil rights activist of Telangana.

Changing roles of women in Maoism

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Unlike Sujata, there were many others like Anupuram Anasuya, wife of Anupuram Komarayya, of the North Telangana Special Zone Committee (NTSZC) who went to jungles out of commitment, leaving her infant behind, and who died in a later encounter defending her husband and the movement. Similarly, Polam Bharathi, wife of Polam Sudharshan Reddy, joined the dalam, but quit after her husband was killed in an encounter. Many others like Nelakonda Rajitha alias Padmakka, an undergraduate, had married Sande Rajamouli (a Politburo member and chief of Central Military Commission) and was killed in an encounter in 2002. “Women joined the rebel fold and even went underground, living in exile, to escape from the exploitation of powerful people in the village,” says popular civil rights activist Kancha Ilaiah.

Most women activists like Nirmala (wife of Chandra Pulla Reddy) and Anuradha Ghandy (wife of Kobad Ghandy) were highly educated, urban ideologues and leaders. For instance, Anuradha Ghandy, a Sociology lecturer, had led the all-India women’s movement but died of cerebral malaria in the Dandakaranya jungles.

Police said girl cadets who wanted to become like Madhya Pradesh’s notorious ‘Bandit Queen’ Phoolan Devi, were used as decoys during raids and ambushes. They were also used as errand girls to collect funds, medicines, food from villages and also as personal couriers of the top leaders. While most men cadre ran away fearing the heavy firepower of security forces, women cadres remained on ground and returned fire and often helped the top cadres to escape even at the cost of their own lives. “In order to give women cadres a safe and secure career, the CC had always encouraged them to get married to the men of their choice in the armed units,” says another document of the CPI (Maoist).

The committee also invited women cadets with a minimum 3 years experience to visit Abuj Marh in Chhattisgarh once in two years to undergo special indoctrination and military training to prepare them for higher responsibilities, as many male cadres were deserting the movement due to sickness or family issues. “But the disturbances since the Green Hunt operation had put this exercise on hold,” said another police official.

Women activists have thus become the vanguard of the Maoist operations during the toughest situations. Nirmala Chatterjee, a leader of the Maoist Communist Centre and widow of Sagar Chatterjee, had led the Maoist attack on Chandrapura Railway Police station in West Bengal in 2005. In a recent document, Ganapathi alias Muppala Lakshman Rao, numero uno of the CPI (Maoist) had written — “Women activists, particularly from Dalit and tribal backgrounds, have been a main source of strength for the Maoist movement, and only the functional and organisational deficits of the movement had shortened their utility,” the document quotes.

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 14:36 IST

Babus to visit states to assess demonetization drive

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior bureaucrats working in central departments have been asked to visit states for on-the-spot assessment of demonetization drive and to provide their feedback.A total of 32 teams of nearly 70 senior officers–of the level of Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary– and those working as Director or Deputy Secretary have been formed by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).”The officers have been deputed to undertake field visits in various states for making on-the-spot assessment of the situation and to provide feedback thereon,” an order said. The officers have been drawn from various central government departments.Teams of three officers each would visit Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, it said. Two-member teams would visit Telangana, Kerala, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Goa and Assam. Whereas, teams of one official each would visit Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Sikkim. “Department of Economic Affairs will decide the dates/ duration of the field visits as well as the terms of the reference for the same,” the DoPT said.The Centre had on November 8 demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in order to check black money, corruption, money laundering, terror financing as well as counterfeiting of currency notes.Large number of people are queuing up at banks since then to exchange old notes and withdrawing money as ATMs are also being calibrated by the government to dispense newly-introduced Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denomination notes.

Water level in 91 reservoirs dips to 68%: Government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Water level in 91 major reservoirs in the country has plunged to 68% of their total capacity from 70% last week, the government said on FridayAccording to Water Resources Ministry, 107.449 billion cubic metre (BCM) of water was available in these reservoirs for the week ending on November 17.The stock was 127% of the storage reported during the corresponding period last year, while it is 98% of the decadal average, the Ministry said in a statement. Last week, the stock available in these reservoirs was 110.097 BCM. The total capacity of the reservoirs is 157.799 BCM.The states which have recorded less storage vis-a-vis the corresponding period last year are Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, while the water levels in reservoirs in Karnataka are equivalent to those reported last year.Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have reported better stock compared to last year.

Land conflict: 32 lakh face severe hardship

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Land conflicts, largely related to infrastructure projects, have impacted an estimated 32 lakh people in the country and land disputes have stalled 5,780 projects as of October 2016, two new reports on land related disputes revealed on Wednesday. One report related to land conflicts and the other one related to land disputes and stalled investments, analysed 289 ongoing land conflicts and found that it covered an area of 12 lakh hectares and were spread across 185 districts of the country.The 5,780 projects stalled are those that were ones announced after 2000. The proportion of stalled projects where the investment is greater than Rs 100 crores is 17 per cent. The reports were prepared by Rights and Resources Initiative, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Bharti Institute of Public Policy. Ground research, government records and the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy were the major sources for the report.As per the report, several districts across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Uttarakhand have more than 10 stalled projects whose worth is Rs 10,000 crore.

Demonetisation: After poisoning kin, farmer commits suicide with father in Telangana

Hyderabad: A farmer and his father died while his wife and son were hospitalised after they consumed food allegedly laced with pesticide in Siddipet district in Telangana amid reports he was worried over “fall” in rate of his land in the wake of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Balaiah (45) last night allegedly mixed pesticide in chicken curry and chapatis, which he ate along with his father Galaiah (65), wife Lakshmi and son Prashant, a B.Tech student, at their residence in Dharmaram village, police said.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“After some time all of them complained of ill health and Balaiah died on the spot while Galaiah died on the way to a hospital. Balaiah’s wife and son, who were not aware that pesticide was mixed in food, are undergoing treatment at a hospital,” said Dubbak police station Circle Inspector Niranjan.

Balaiah, who owns around six acres of agriculture land, wanted to sell it and initially he was told that it will fetch Rs 6-7 lakh per acre, but suddenly in the last couple of days he was told that the rates had drastically come down to Rs 2-3 lakh per acre.

The farmer had taken loans and in view of the sudden fall in the market rates of land he got worried on how to pay back the debts and discussed the same with his father last night before resorting to the extreme step, he said quoting the complaint lodged by the 16-year-old daughter of the deceased.

As per the complaint, Balaiah’s family was facing financial problems. Accordingly, police have registered a case under section 174 CrPC and further investigation is underway.

However, some villagers alleged that in view of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 tenders, the market rates of land had come down and there was a talk that no one would pay big amount to purchase the land, the inspector said.

He, however, clarified that Balaiah’s daughter did not mention so in the complaint.

“We will record the statements of Lakshmi and Prashant also,” the police officer added.

First Published On : Nov 16, 2016 20:21 IST

Demonetisation: In times of cash crunch, jugaad comes to the rescue

Srinivas, a farmer in Siddipet town of Telangana, fished out his wad of Rs 2,000 notes from his pocket. “This is Rs 10,000, all in denominations of 2,000,” he said. “This is of no use. I can neither buy a cup of tea for myself or a meal for Rs 5 nor buy a bus ticket. When I go back home, my wife also scolds me for keeping these notes which cannot be used.”

In neighbouring Medchal district, several women are standing in a long queue at a bank, armed with lunch boxes and water bottles. Hussaini Bi said she had left her children at home and come to the bank, knowing it will be a long haul for her to get money. Another woman has to withdraw money so that she can visit a doctor. Her worry is that the doctor would be gone from the clinic by the time she manages to withdraw cash.

But not everyone in non-metro India is so badly off. A well-known hospital in Adilabad district generates income of more than Rs 10 crore but files income tax returns of only around Rs 27 lakh. The cash at hand is regularly invested in real estate. When the prime minister announced on 8 November that currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 will no longer be legal tender, the doctors running this hospital had Rs 2 crore plus in cash in hand.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The next morning, salaries of all employees for the next three months were paid in advance using the old currency. The hospital then ordered items and medical equipment it would need for the next one year. The cash was exhausted. No questions asked.

The positive fallout of the crisis sparked by demonetisation is that the management now vows to transact only in white.

The real estate sector has seen a slump and those sitting over vast tracts of land are an aggrieved lot. There are no ready buyers in the market and no one wants to invest in a huge chunk, fearing that Modi’s next strike will be on those who own land. And not every seller is willing to take old currency notes.

But it is not for nothing that India is called the land of jugaad. This person who owns land in Ranga Reddy district on the outskirts of Hyderabad came up with an idea. He wants to sell his land for Rs 6 crore and has already prepared backdated documents for the land sale. His plan is to take Rs 6 crore in old currency, deposit it in the bank, pay 30 percent tax on the land deal that he will claim happened before November 8. This would mean he will pay Rs 1.8 crore in tax. After three months, as an incentive to the buyer, he is also willing to give him some amount in new currency as a cashback. He is trying to convince potential buyers sitting on that kind of humongous cash to settle for this “win-win deal”.

Jewellery shops came under the scanner throughout the country after it was reported that most of them reported huge purchases immediately after the PM’s demonetisation announcement. Several jewellery stores were raided after that to get a handle on the kind of turnover generated using black money.

It now seems that many of these stores may have pushed their jewellery inventory underground and passed it on their friends, including several chartered accountants. The connection was made when some CAs offered to take old currency and give gold in return. Which means if you have Rs 1 crore of old currency, you can be offered Rs 60 lakh worth of jewellery. This cash would be shown against purchases made before 8 November, with some furious book building exercise at work.

In sharp contrast, Mohammed Jameel in Begumpet area of Hyderabad is a hassled man. His son is getting married on 16 November but instead of making arrangements, he is standing in queue to withdraw cash. “The ATM has no money. I requested the bank manager to allow me to withdraw more but he refused to let me take more than Rs 10,000. How do I manage for a wedding?” asks Jameel.

The refusal by bank officials perhaps is because they too are under the radar. Two Syndicate Bank employees in Saroornagar area of Hyderabad were booked over the weekend by the police for exchanging demonetised notes worth Rs 6 lakh, without the customer providing any ID proof.

In the last one week, India — in its big cities, small towns and villages — is in a state of flux. In the times of demonetisation, desh badal raha hai.

First Published On : Nov 16, 2016 12:36 IST

Impact of human activity on extreme weather events on rise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Anthropogenic climate change had an increased impact on the occurrence of several extreme weather events recorded between 2011-2015, especially those involving extreme high temperatures, a scientific assessment by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has revealed. According to WMO, the impact of human induced climate change on such events has increased by a factor of 10. Though not all extreme events bear a stamp of anthropogenic climate change, several of them have a direct relation to it while some have an indirect relation, which manifest in increasing its risks.”The influence of climate change on the daily lives of people has been clear due to the multiplication and intensification of extreme events, including heatwaves to record rainfall and damaging floods,” said P.Taalas, Secretary-General, WMO.In India, the 2013 Uttarakhand flood disaster and the 2015 heat wave were the two biggest extreme weather events which killed over 8,000 people, the WMO noted. While the report does not attribute a direct relation between anthropogenic climate change and the Uttarakhand disaster, it has said that the largest human impact has been on rising occurrences of extreme heat, as seen during the 2015 heat wave.The 2015 Indian sub-continent heat wave that killed over 4,000 in India and Pakistan was the worst heat wave globally in the past five years, the report said. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US, assessed 2015, a strong El Niño year, as the world’s driest year over land since 1993″The most consistent influence of anthropogenic climate change has been on the rising occureence of extreme heat varying from a duration of few days to a full year. In some studies, the probability of the observed event has increased 10 times or more as a result of human induced climate change.”The 2015 heatwave, though shorter in duration than previous ones, was more intense and saw temperatures rise to nearly 50 degree Celsius. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha were the worst hit states. The WMO noted that, “although temperatures near or above 45°C are not uncommon at the that time of year (summer) in many parts of interior India, such temperatures during the 2015 pre-monsoon region in extended to near coastal regions that do not normally experience such extreme heat, including Andhra Pradesh in Eastern India, where the heat was also accompanied by very high humidity.”In terms of casualties, the worst single short-period event of the 2011-2015 period was Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines in November 2013. The death toll for Haiyan (Yolanda) was estimated at over 7,800 people, with 4.1 million people displaced.

Telangana seeks compensation from Centre for ‘losses’ due to demonetisation

Hyderabad: Telangana‘s revenues have taken a severe beating following the demonetisation move, and the state wants the Centre to compensate for this loss, a key leader of the ruling TRS said on Tuesday.

AP Jithender Reddy, TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti) floor leader in the Lok Sabha, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s intention to curb black money (by demonetisation move) is welcome, but the way it was implemented was not correct.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He recalled that high value currencies were made invalid within four hours of the announcement on demonetisation. “With this panic button, all professionals, all the labour class people, employees, everybody have come onto the streets for changing the money (old currency),” Reddy told PTI, adding that the economy of the newly-born state of Telangana has come to a “standstill”.

Stating that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has adopted a target-based approach in implementing various Government programmes in a time-bound manner, the Mahabubnagar MP said “with this panic situation, the state’s revenue has come to a standstill, which is jeopardising our plans”. “So, I have requested the Prime Minister that the revenue loss occured by the state should be compensated by the Centre,” Reddy said.

“Whatever taxes supposed to come to the state…for example, registration fees (property) affected, RTA (Regional Transport Authority) money (motor vehicles registrations) has been affected … commercial taxes, sales taxes, all the revenues, excise has been hampered now,” he said.

“Revenue for the state has stopped,” he said. TRS is not (not) for rolling back the move, and would not join ranks with some opposition parties demanding its withdrawal, Reddy said, adding, “our demand will be basically compensation (for the loss)”.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 15:01 IST

Demonetization: Two youths circulating photocopy of Rs 2000 note booked

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two youths were booked on charge of circulating photocopy of the new Rs 2,000 note in Mahabubabad district of Telangana, police said on Monday. According to Mahabubabad Rural Circle Inspector Krishna Reddy, a youth, who was running a colour photocopy centre in Kuravi mandal of the district, took around four copies of the new Rs 2,000 notes. He gave a photocopy to one Pradip asking him to exchange the same or purchase something with it in the market. “As per preliminary investigation, the youth who was running the photocopy centre allegedly told Pradip that they can earn easy money by exchanging the copies of the new Rs 2,000 notes,” the Inspector said.Accordingly, Pradip took his relative’s bike on Sunday and went to a petrol bunk and filled petrol worth Rs 500 and gave the colour copy of the new Rs 2,000 note. The staff of the bunk raised suspicion and informed the police. Based on a complaint filed by the petrol bunk staff, a case was booked against Pradip and the photocopy centre owner under sections 420 (cheating) and 489-C (possession of forged or counterfeit currency-notes or bank-notes), Reddy said.The police officer said they were questioning Pradip and also launched a hunt to nab the photocopy centre owner, who was absconding. Further investigations were on, police added.

Amity student from Telangana commits suicide

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 21-year-old student of Amity University here allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his hostel room, police said. G Sai Krishna, a native of Telangana, was a first year student of post graduate diploma in facilities management and had joined the course recently, a senior police officer said. He allegedly hanged himself last evening. He has left a note written in Telugu, addressed to his parents. The hostel was empty at that time as other students had gone for Diwali holidays, SHO of Sector 39 Police Station, Amarnath Yadav, said. Krishna was rushed to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead, the SHO said. A few days back, Krishna was scolded by his father regarding his studies and also for borrowing money from someone and not being able to pay it back, he said. Krishna’s father is an advocate. In his note, Krishna wrote that committing suicide is not easy and told his parents that they have done a lot for him, Yadav said. The body has been handed over to his family after post-mortem, police said. In August, a student of BA-LLB course in the university, had allegedly committed suicide at his residence in Delhi. The deceased, who was the son of a joint secretary-level official in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, was debarred from appearing in the sixth semester exams in May due to “shortage of attendance”.

Noida: 21-year-old student of Amity University from Telangana commits suicide

Noida: A 21-year-old student of Amity University in Noida allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his hostel room, police said on Saturday.

G Sai Krishna, a native of Telangana, was a first year student of post graduate diploma in facilities management and had joined the course recently, a senior police officer said.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

He allegedly hanged himself last evening. He has left a note written in Telugu, addressed to his parents. The hostel was empty at that time as other students had gone for Diwali holidays, SHO of Sector 39 Police Station, Amarnath Yadav, said.

Krishna was rushed to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead, the SHO said.

A few days back, Krishna was scolded by his father regarding his studies and also for borrowing money from someone and not being able to pay it back, he said.

Krishna’s father is an advocate. In his note, Krishna wrote that committing suicide is not easy and told his parents that they have done a lot for him, Yadav said.

The body has been handed over to his family after post-mortem, police said.

In August, a student of BA-LLB course in the university, had allegedly committed suicide at his residence in Delhi.

The deceased, who was the son of a joint secretary-level official in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, was debarred from appearing in the sixth semester exams in May due to “shortage of attendance”.

SIMI encounter aftermath: All suspects of 2014 Pune blast case were killed in shootout

Pune: Three among eight members of SIMI who were killed in an alleged encounter by Madhya Pradesh police after they escaped from Bhopal Central Jail on Monday were the suspects in a 2014 bomb blast case in Pune.

The suspects in the Pune blast case were killed in the SIMI encounter. PTI

The suspects in the Pune blast case were killed in the SIMI encounter. PTI

Ahmed Ramzan Khan, Zakir Hussain alias Sadiq and Shaikh Mehboob alias Guddu alias Ismail who were killed in the encounter were wanted in a case related to the low-intensity blast on 10 July, 2014 in the parking lot of Faraskhana police station here in which five people were injured.

The famous Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh temple is adjacent to this spot.

Two other suspects in this case — Mohammad Aizazuddin and Mohammad Aslam — were killed in an encounter in Telangana last year.

An officer of Anti-Terrorism Squad which is probing the blast case said it was trying to get custody of the three SIMI members, but could not get it as the accused were facing several cases in Madhya Pradesh itself.

“With all five suspects, including the three who were killed on Monday, now killed in encounters, the case is likely to be closed,” said the ATS officer.

“Had we got the custody of these three, we would have been able to establish the local links of these suspects. However, now that all three suspects are dead, it seems the case might be closed,” he said.

Four of the 8 SIMI activists killed learned bomb-making in UP’s Bijnor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four of the eight SIMI activists, who were killed in an encounter near Bhopal on Monday after breaking from jail, had learned bomb-making in Bijnor and escaped from here after an accidental explosion. According to police sources here, an explosion occurred in a house in Jaatan colony here on September 12, 2014. By the time police reached the spot, the six persons living in the house had escaped. The six persons, who were living in the house, were identified as SIMI activists Aslam, Ejaz, Zakir, Amzad, Sallu alias Salik and Mehboob.On investigation, it was found that the SIMI activists were trying to make bomb with matchstick heads when the explosion occurred. Mehboob was injured in the incident.While Aslam and Ejaz were killed in an encounter in Telangana on April 3, 2015, Zakir, Amzad, Salik and Mehboob were killed this morning by Madhya Pradesh Police near Bhopal.Superintendent of Police Ajay Kumar Sahni said a case of sedition and under other serious charges is pending against them.

RSS calls Tipu Sultan ‘religious bigot, violent sultan’, opposes celebration of Tipu Jayanti

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RSS opposed the celebration of ‘Tipu Jayanti’ in Karnataka on Friday, saying they would stage protests against it as the ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom was a “religious bigot and a violent sultan”. “Our outfits will be out on the streets to stage protests against Tipu Jayanti as the then Mysuru ruler was a tyrant, a religious bigot and a violent sultan,” RSS kshetriya sarsanghchalak of Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, V Nagaraj told reporters here.Tipu Jayanti, slated to be celebrated across the state on November 10, is being observed since last year following a Congress government decision which had triggered a major row and caused violence in Kodagu district in November last. Nagaraj said celebrating Tipu Jayanti will amount to “rubbing salt into the wounds” of Christians and many other communities who were persecuted by the then Mysuru ruler.Even well-known Left historian KM Pannikar had translated the records of religious persecutions of Tipu, written in Arabic and Persian languages into Malayalam and English, he said.Replying to a query, the RSS leader asked the government to pursue the Rudresh murder case so that the killers get capital punishment. RSS worker Rudresh was hacked to death by two motorcycle-borne men on Kamaraja Road on October 16 when he was with his friends, after attending a Sangh event. Four persons were arrested on Friday in connection with the murder.Nagaraj expressed satisfaction over the arrest of Rudresh’s killers. “We are happy that the culprits have been arrested and we congratulate the Bengaluru police for it,” he said. “However, our demand before the government is that the case will have to be properly filed and pursued so that the culprits get capital punishment,” he added.The RSS leader refuted reports that Rudresh was murdered due to personal rivalry and said there was no complaint regarding his conduct and he had a great ability to build the Sangh and the BJP in the state.

Chandrababu Naidu’s plan to ban Rs 500, Rs 1,000 notes won’t cut through Andhra’s black money economy

Just few hours before the expiration of the Income Declaration Scheme (to disclose black money), officials at the Income Tax Towers at AC Guards in Hyderabad were in for a shock. A frail-bearded individual who claimed to be Gopalan had brought thirteen suitcases full of assorted currency, some in haphazard bundling. There were seven American Tourister suitcases with Rs 1,000 notes, and the rest with Rs 500 notes. It took a dozen of IT sleuths and half a dozen counting machines to complete the task in five hours.

The officials did not mind though, as the Finance Ministry ranked the team first, and announced a bonus for them all. “He made us famous and took us to top of the list,” says a senior IT official with glee.

Representational image. Reuters

It was not just the IT officers who were gleeful though. The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) too were in joy. The frail Gopalan had given them enough grist to start a mudslinging fest.

Immediately following this episode, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu launched a verbal attack on his opponent and Opposition leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy. “I want the Centre to demonetise all the Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes if it really wants to end the reign of black money in the country,” he said.

Naidu did not stop at this statement, though. He went ahead and wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his demand, but not bothering to explain his logic behind it. The publicity wing of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) then launched a tirade against Jagan, alleging that he was the one who disclosed the hoard, citing sources from the NDA government.

Slugfest over black money

Sources told Firstpost that after the Congress came to power in 2004, Jagan had paid an income tax of Rs 7 crore against Rs 2.9 lakh he paid in 2002. In the wake of CBI cases foisted on him in 2012-13, Jagan had made advance tax payment of Rs 84 crore. In the 2014 election affidavit, he had mentioned an asset base of Rs 416 crore and liabilities of Rs 137 crore. In the year 2015, Jagan made an advance tax payment of Rs 22 crore. These figures are also bandied about by the TDP to fling mud at their main Opposition party, hoping that some of it will stick.

But Jagan and YSR Congress party leaders are not silent spectators. They ask how Chandrababu Naidu became rich with just two acres of ancestral property in his native Naravaripally village of Chittoor. They allege that Naidu amassed wealth during his first tenure, and now again in the current tenure. “Naidu had made corrupt money worth Rs 1.32 lakh crore after Amaravati, Pattiseema, Polavaram and Rayalaseema (irrigation) projects,” says Ambati Rambabu, YSRC spokesperson.

If Naidu could write a letter to the Prime Minister, so could Jagan. So, he wrote to the PM demanding all names involved in the disclosure of Rs 13,000 crore worth of black money in Hyderabad to be made public. “Why is Chandrababu alone privy to that information and not the public?” he asked in a two-page letter. The Prime Minister’s Office has not responded to either of these letters. “It is also an irony that just recently AP, under Naidu, has been ranked as the most corrupt state in the country by National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER),” adds Jagan.

Naidu’s son Lokesh jumped into the fray to take on Jagan disclosing family assets for the sixth time since 2011, an exercise Naidu began five years ago to gain a “Mr Clean” image ahead of polls. Naidu declared a net worth of Rs 3.73 crore (1,312 times less than Jagan) and his wife Bhuvaneshwari net worth was Rs 33.66 crore. Son Lokesh declared Rs 14.5 crore, daughter-in-law Brahmani declared Rs 5.38 crore and his grandson Devansh Naidu Rs 11.7 crore. “No other political family has declared its property list in such a transparent manner,” said Lokesh, as he made the declaration.

Andhra: Hub Of black money

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, though separate states now, boast of a heritage of rich agricultural activity even before Independence. Wealth distribution, though, was uneven. While only four districts in Telangana had the potential for economic activity, the entire coastal region of what is now Andhra Pradesh, flourished, and with it, large scale corruption.

Black money dominates the lifestyle of the coastal regions — for instance, during Sankranti Pandugalu (harvest festival), mango and banana plantations are hired for week-long gambling, wine and women, an attraction for politicians and businessmen from across the country, who participate as guests.

A small village near Mogalthuru (native to film star Chiranjeevi) was known for its fine collection of Harley Davidson bikes, Lenovo laptops, Apple iPhone 6 smartphones, and Paris Hilton fashion. Recently one resident of this village acquired a Rolls Royce Phantom car, and it made a journey of only three kilometres every evening, because that was the length of the only motorable road in the village. “I earn as much as Rs 72 lakhs as my share from paddy, sugarcane and tobacco crops twice a year. I pay no tax and can buy anything,” says Sunil Raju, a farmer in Mogalthuru village.

Hyderabad: The new hub

In pre-Independent India, Hyderabad has always been a seat of enormous wealth. The last Nizam, Osman Ali Pasha, even doled out a plane load of gold to Pakistan in the initial days of its making. After his death, most of his wealth was squandered by his adopted son Nizam Mukkaram Jah and his brother Muffakam Jah.

From 1983, money began pouring into Hyderabad when Seemandhra industrialists saw opportunity and were assured of fair play by the TDP which had come to power for the first time. The vast agricultural wealth of Seemandhra flowed into Telangana. Farmers of Seemandhra ventured not only into Hyderabad, but also made investments wherever there was irrigation potential — Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Nalgonda and Khammam in Telangana; Raichur and Bellary in Karnataka; and Nanded, Aurangabad and Sholapur in Maharashtra. “Without political support, it is impossible to make huge investments and tackle the power of local musclemen,” explains Vadde Shobanadeswar Rao, a former TDP minister and businessman from Vijayawada.

N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. Reuters

Most of the agricultural income has gone into creation of IT infrastructure in the city’s IT corridor and in creating residential spaces in Manikonda, Gachibowli, Nizampet, Jubilee Hills, Shamshabad and Shamirpet.

Rise of a parallel economy

Everybody wanted to cash in. A journalist-turned-real-estate-agent, Govind Reddy would have sack loads of currency in his car to buy vacant land available in the city. When he died in a car accident in 2008, police were shocked to find Rs 2 crore worth currency in his car. Farmers and small land holders around Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Medak districts had a windfall when Hyderabad became a major hub for IT activity under the initiatives of Chandrababu Naidu, and then BJP-led NDA government under Atal Behari Vajpayee. An acre of private land was quoted at Rs 10-15 crore during that boom period.

The story of K Raghunath Reddy is illustrative of the conditions prevailing at the time. Reddy, a school teacher with three acres in Manikonda, says he almost had a heart attack when buyers offered him Rs 10 crore per acre. His family wanted him to sell just one acre so that they could build a house with a courtyard to keep two buffaloes. “He asked the buyers to give him just Rs 1 crore at the time and keep the rest in deposit until he decided to make investments. Even then he could not handle the cash and spent most of it on a Singapore-Bangkok tour with family, and kept the rest in his toilet/bedroom in plastic bags,” said a family member who did not wish to be named. Reddy took his entire family and neighbours on a Singapore tour for a week, hosted by the buyers. He bought a Zen car for each of his family members as well, and installed air conditioners in his courtyard for the buffaloes.

The parallel black money economy also bred social and communal unrest, according to social analysts. “The rise of Maoism, a louder, shriller Telangana movement, the Seemandhra agitation, the birth of the TDP, failure of Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam party, growth of MIM, formation of YSRC — all of these are a fallout of the support or lack of it by these parallel forces,” says Nageswar Rao, a senior columnist based in Hyderabad.

This black parallel economy also dominated media circles. “How did ventures like Udayam, Vartha and Metro fail while others with highly prejudiced content are on top of the charts,” asks Rao.

A study conducted on the economic wealth of Andhra and Telangana by the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS) in the wake of Telangana agitation, identified that huge parallel economy of both the regions were behind the protests. “They are fanning and funding, and function as custodians of this regional battle,” says the study submitted to the Justice Srikrishna Committee which was in charge of bifurcation. The same agency had surmised then that that the parallel black economy of the erstwhile united AP was worth over Rs 25 lakh crore.

The illegality runs deep and has a long history. Unfortunately, for Chandrababu Naidu, simply demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will not help. And the Rs 13,000 crore worth of disclosures from Hyderabad are a mere tip of the black money iceberg.

Malkangiri encounter: Maoists threaten to kill Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, son

Security agencies involved in anti-Maoist operations are on a high alert after the CPI (Maoist) issued a threat to the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and his son Lokesh, and pledged to avenge the killing of 28 Maoists in the Malkangiri operation. In a statement issued by the CPI (Maoists)’s AP state committee, the ultras have said that they will even press a suicide bomber, if necessary, to attack Naidu.

Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh. CNN-News 18

Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh. CNN-News 18

The police in Andhra Pradesh have taken notice of why the CPM has used its defunct AP state committee to issue a statement on an encounter that took place in Odisha. Once their stronghold, Andhra Pradesh (Telangana included), has all key Maoist leaders in its territory either killed or arrested.

“For an encounter in Andhra-Odisha border area, their AOBSZC (Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zone Committee) should have issued a statement,” said a state police official. The police suspect that the overground supporters of Maoists issued the statement in AP state committee’s name.

Security briefs suggest that Maoists will retaliate sooner than later in response to the Malkangiri encounter. “They will carry out an attack to boost the morale of the cadre and also to show that a setback like the one in Malkangiri is just a part of its war against the Indian state,” said the police official.

The police are suspecting retaliatory attacks in Maoist hotbeds like Bastar in Chhattisgarh or Gadchiroli in Maharashtra. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have also been on alert as the police suspect the Maoists may try to carry out an audacious attack in the state to send a signal that they have not been wiped out completely from their erstwhile bastion.

Political leaders have been advised not to travel through interior areas. In Telangana, arrangements have been made at vulnerable government offices to prevent loss of property. The surrendered Maoist cadres and police informers also have been asked to take precautions.

Odisha anti-Maoist operation: A look at the top Naxal leaders believed to be among the 24 killed

In one of the biggest and most successful operations against the Naxals conducted in India, at least 24 Maoists were killed in a fierce encounter with security forces in Odisha’s Malkangiri district on the border with Andhra Pradesh.

This was a major blow for the Naxals as some of their top leaders were killed in the operation.

According to The New Indian Express, at least 50 Maoists had gathered for what is believed to be a meeting of the dreaded Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) of the CPI (Maoist). This was clearly an important meeting because Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna was also reportedly present at the meeting but managed to escape.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

This also means that even though 24 Maoists were killed, an equal number of them managed to escape. Nevertheless, the impact of the death of top Naxal leaders will be huge on the Maoists, although the deaths of many of these leaders is yet to be confirmed because many of the bodies are yet to be identified.

According to The Indian Express, Ramakrishna’s son, Munna, was among those killed in the operation. Ramakrishna had made Malkangiri his base of operations earlier and had taken part in peace talks with the then Congress government headed by YS Rajasekhara Reddy in 2004.

Another top Naxal leader who was killed was Gajarla Ravi alias Uday alias Anand. 49-year-old Ravi has been associated with the Naxal movement for the past 26 years, according to The Hindu. He had also accompanied Ramakrishna during the 2004 peace talks.

Another report in The Times of India said that Ravi completed his high school in his native Velishala village of Chityala mandal in Jayashankar district, now in Telangana.

The report added that sources said that after he took admission into Industrial Training Institute in Hanamkonda, he hoisted the red flag in the college campus, after which he was arrested. This inspired his younger brother Azad alias Sariah to join the Naxal movement.

Chalapathi alias Appa Rao is also believed to be dead. He was the secretary of the East Division of the Naxals and carried a reward of Rs 20 lakh on his head. In June, a selfie had landed him into trouble when Vizag rural police managed to recover a photo showing him and his wife Aruna, deputy commander of the Koraput-Srikakulam Division Committee, from the laptop of slain Naxal Azad.

NDTV further reported that other top Naxal leaders killed in the operation were Venkatramana alias Ganesh, Aruna, Daya and Bengal Suresh. Ganesh and Daya had bounties of Rs 20 lakh on their heads. Eleven women Naxals were also among those killed.

The report also said that the number of Naxals killed in this operation is believed to be the biggest ever.

The New Indian Express report quoted a senior police official as saying that Maoists are now clearly “fighting a losing battle”. “What should be understood is that we are currently using the lowest rung of our response teams to tackle them. But if and when we decide to unleash our complete capabilities, they will be no match,” the senior officer said.

Another Firstpost article noted that “the biggest proof of the dwindling clout of the Red rebels in the area is the frenetic pace at which work on a 918 metre bridge over river Gurupriya, a project that has had to be abandoned repeatedly in the last few years due to stiff opposition from Maoists, has been progressing in recent months.”

It also noted that once Malkangiri is freed from the clutches of Naxals, Maoists would have a tough time finding a foothold in Odisha.

With inputs from PTI

Hyderabad: Woman tweets about harassment by cabbie to cops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A woman on Friday tweeted to Hyderabad police and the Telangana DGP alleging that she was harassed by a cab driver.”Cab guy car-harassed me, followed me to my house trying to intercept me, run me off the road. Equal parts infuriating & scary! (sic),” she said in the tweet.Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma asked the city police on Twitter to “track the cab and the driver and update”.To which, Hyderabad police responded: “her commuted limits are under the jurisdiction @cyberabadpolice was informed to the #cyberabadpolice (sic).”Cyberabad police said they were waiting for her to lodge a complaint. The woman, in another tweet, thanked the Telangana DGP and Hyderabad police, saying, “Your team has been great so far. Hopefully he is caught.”

All issues between AP, Telangana to be resolved amicably: Guv Narasimhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Governor E S L Narasimhan on Friday asserted that there were “no disputes” between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and all issues were being sorted out through negotiations.After a 90-minute meeting with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in Vijayawada this afternoon, Narasimhan told reporters that “if there is any (contentious) issue, we will resolve it amicably through discussions”.”There are no disputes (between AP and Telangana). Only the media is seeking controversies. We are sorting out everything through discussions. Even in the case of Schedule 9 and 10 of the AP Reorganisation Act-2104, we are trying to address them through negotiations,” the Governor, common for both the states, said.On his part, the Chief Minister too said confrontation was good for none. “We are ready to resolve all issues amicably. But there will be no compromise on the state’s interests,” Chandrababu said. The Chief Minister said he discussed law and order, development and “all issues” with the Governor.”Since I met him after some gap, we discussed all issues,” he said.Asked if he discussed about the possible expansion of the state Council of Ministers, Chandrababu said, “If there is anything, I will let you know first.”On Telangana government’s request that buildings vacated by the AP government in the Secretariat at Hyderabad be handed over to it, the Chief Minister said they would discuss the issue and take a decision.

Telangana cabinet to discuss Krishna River water sharing issue tomorrow

Thu, 20 Oct 2016-10:31am , Hyderabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A meeting of the Telangana Cabinet would be held tomorrow to discuss the construction of Secretariat and sharing of Krishna River water.Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has decided to hold the Cabinet meeting in the Secretariat tomorrow, a release from his office said on Thursday.The Cabinet meeting is likely to discuss construction of new secretariat and the decision of the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal on sharing of Krishna waters (with neighbouring states).The state government is reportedly contemplating building a new secretariat. The present one reportedly has ‘Vastu’ defects.

If Govt suppresses rights of one particular religion, Congress won’t accept: Digvijaya Singh on Uniform Civil Code

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> AICC General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said the ruling BJP has “changed the meaning of secularism” and was taking up issues convenient to its political agenda. Addressing a gathering at the Rajiv Sadbhavana Yatra here, Singh hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying BJP was taking up issues that would “divide people on communal lines.” “BJP has changed the meaning of secularism. Those who oppose BJP are being termed as ‘anti-nationals’. Those who support them are called nationalists. According to BJP or Sangh, Muhammad Ali Jinnah who was behind the division of this country, is secular and Mahatma Gandhi who fought and took bullet for the unity of Hindus and Muslims is called communal,” the senior leader alleged.He charged the BJP with taking political advantage out of the sacrifices made by the Indian soldiers.Reacting to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s recent remark where he credited his ‘RSS teachings’ behind taking decision to conduct ‘surgical strikes’ across LoC, Singh said, “Is it not insulting the Army? Our Foreign Affairs Secretary says surgical strikes were held even before also. You mean to say the Army had the ideology of Sangh at that time also?” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told a Parliamentary panel yesterday that the army had carried out “target specific, limited-calibre, counter-terrorist operations” across the LoC in the past too but this is for the first time the government has gone public about it.He ridiculed Modi’s recent comments that the country would go from “Yudh” (war) to “Budh” (referring to Buddha, peace) and sought to know if the government wants to destroy the lives of lakhs of people before seeking “peace like Samrat Ashoka.” “The NDA government has failed on all fronts. No jobs, no increase in FDIs, no black money brought back to India. In order to cover up their failures, they want bring war between India and Pakistan,” he claimed.On the ongoing debate on Uniform Civil Code, the former MP Chief Minister suggested the government to take the opinion of the Opposition also on board. “Congress always took the opinions of all religious leaders and took decisions (when in power). Everybody has fundamental rights. When it comes to marriages it depends on the system of that particular religion. “If you want to bring Uniform Civil Code, then talk to the leaders of all religions. Discuss with all political parties. Try to get consensus. If you suppress the rights of a particular religion, then Congress will not accept,” he said. He accused Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao of encouraging defections into the ruling TRS party. Telangana PCC President Uttam Kumar Reddy, former Union Minister S Jaipal Reddy were among those who spoke at the programme. Former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, M N Rao was awarded the Sadbhavan Award-2016.

dna Evening Must Reads: Babul Supriyo attacked, Kejriwal’s plea dismissed by HC, ADHM row, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Union minister Babul Supriyo attacked in Asansol, blames TMC supportersUnion Minister Babul Supriyo on Wednesday was attacked with brickbats allegedly by a mob at Asansol in West Bengal. He took Twitter to post a picture of his injury marks. Check the picture here.2. Blow to Kejriwal: Delhi HC dismisses plea to stay trial in defamation case filed by JaitleyDelhi High Court has dismissed Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to stay trial court proceedings in criminal defamation case filed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. HC said that Kejriwal’s plea to stop trial against him and other AAP leaders is ‘devoid of merit’. Read more here.3. Cauvery row: Supreme Court reserves judgment, Karnataka asked to provide 2000 cusecs/dayOn Monday, a high level panel had suggested of doing away with “outdated and unscientific water application techniques” to resolve the wrangle. The panel said that both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were facing water shortage, creating unemployment and financial hardship for the people. Read what the apex court said here.4. Dhoni has enough capabilities as batsman, doesn’t need time to settle, reckons KumbleThere has been constant debate on whether Mahendra Singh Dhoni should bat up the order with questions being raised about his ability as a finisher, but coach Anil Kumble made it clear that the veteran skipper has “enough experience” and “does not need time to settle down”. Read more here.5. ADHM row: After MNS, now BJP MLA asks cinema halls not to screen movie in TelanganaAfter MNS, Telangana BJP MLA Raja Singh has opposed screening of upcoming Bollywood film “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, starring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.He alleged that the tax paid by Pakistani actors to their country is used against India. Read what Singh said here.

ADHM row: After MNS, now BJP MLA asks cinema halls not to screen movie in Telangana

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After MNS, Telangana BJP MLA Raja Singh has opposed screening of upcoming Bollywood film “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, starring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.Singh threatened that he would “attack” theatres in entire Telangana, starting from his constituency Goshamahal, if the film is screened there.”My idea is that a message should go to Pakistan in all possible ways about India’s opposition and public anger against Pak-sponsored terrorism,” Singh said.”There is widespread anger in the country against Pakistan at the moment following the neighbouring country’s support to terrorism against India,” the MLA claimed.He alleged that the tax paid by Pakistani actors to their country is used against India.
ALSO READ WATCH | Karan Johar finally breaks silence on the ADHM row, read full statement here!The filmmaker should know that there are many talented actors in India itself, Singh said.The legislator said he is also “campaigning against China which is supporting Pakistan”.
ALSO READ ADHM row | ‘Remember how expensive your glass walls are’: MNS threatens multiplex ownersSingh was in news earlier for opposing a proposed beef festival here.The Raj-Thackeray led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has opposed the movie and threatened to break glasses of film theatres screening it.
ALSO READ ADHM row: Mumbai Police assures protection to multiplex owners against MNS threat”We will oppose the screening of the movie everywhere in the state (Maharashtra). If any multiplex operator dares to screen the film, they (operators) should remember that multiplexes are decorated with expensive glass sheets,” MNS leader Amey Khopkar had said.Under pressure over opposition to the upcoming release of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, Johar had yesterday said he will not “engage with talent” from Pakistan in future and made a fervent appeal against stalling the blockbuster.

‘Anti-India’ speech: Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy acquitted by court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A court on Tuesday acquitted Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy of all charges in a six-year-old case accusing him of delivering two “anti-national” speeches at Punjabi University in Patiala. Additional Sessions and District Judge Mohammad Gulzar passed the order after the case was heard on a day-to-day basis, starting September 27.Ghandy (66) told reporters after the acquittal that he had disassociated himself from the banned outfit of CPI(Maoist). The prosecution had a list of 13 witnesses, out of which one could not be produced and was shown as untraceable.Ghandy was booked in January 2010 by Patiala Sadar police under sections 10, 13, 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sections 419 and 120-B of the IPC for holding meetings on the premises of Punjabi University in April and May 2009, in an alleged bid to promote Maoist ideology. He was brought here from Cherlapally Central Jail, Telangana, where he was lodged on September 27. The case was concluded in 20 days as the hearing was held on a day-to-day basis.Earlier in May, one of Ghandy’s associates, Bacha Yadav who was also facing charges under UAPA was discharged by the same court for want of prosecution sanction, which was to come from the Union government. Yadav was released from the Central Jail, Patiala, in June.Ghandy had pleaded that he was booked for delivering the lecture in Aoril and May 2009 and at that time, CPI (Maoist) was not banned. The organisation was banned in June 22, 2009, he had argued.

Telangana map officially redrawn adding 21 new districts

Siddipet : Nearly two-and-half years after it came into existence as India’s 29th state, Telangana‘s map was redrawn on Tuesday with the creation of 21 new districts.

As a Dasara gift to people, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government unveiled the new districts with an aim to improve administration at the grassroots level.

This has taken the total number of districts in India’s youngest state to 31.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao formally inaugurated Siddipet district at 11.13 am, the auspicious time set by astrologers.

File image of K Chandrashekhar Rao. PTIFile image of K Chandrashekhar Rao. PTI

File image of K Chandrashekhar Rao. PTI

Siddipet is the home district of the Chief Minister and carved out of Medak district.

Before unveiling the plaque, Rao unfurled the national flag and performed religious rituals.

Simultaneously, 20 other new districts were inaugurated by his cabinet colleagues.

Telangana, which has a population of 3.5 crore, was carved out of Andhra Pradesh and it came into existence as India’s 29th state on June 2, 2014.

Telangana Assembly speaker S. Madhusudhana Chary inaugurated Jayashankar district while Council Chairman K. Swamy Goud launched Jangaon district. Both these districts are being carved out of existing Warangal district.

Warangal Rural, another district being carved out of existing Warangal, was inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari.

Another Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahamood Ali inaugurated Jagitial district, created out of existing Karimnagar district.

Sixteen other districts inaugurated on Tuesday were; Yadadri, Peddapally, Kamareddy, Medak, Mancherial, Vikarabad, Rajanna, Asifabad, Suryapet, Kothagudem, Nirmal, Wanaparthy, Nagarkurnool, Mahabubabad, Jogulamba and Medchal (Malkajgiri).

Barring Hyderabad, the existing 10 districts have been split into three or four districts.

The government has also created 25 new revenue divisions, 125 new mandals, four new police commissionerates, 23 new police subdivisions, 28 new circles and 91 police stations.

The government last month issued draft notification for creating 17 new districts but later decided to create four more districts in view of strong demands from various sections.

Though the protests were on for creation of more districts in different parts of the state, the government made it clear that there will be no further addition.

On an average, each district will have population of two to four lakh families, except Hyderabad where the number is much large.

TRS, in its election manifesto, had promised to create 14 new districts but the demands from various regions forced it to increase the number.

The Chief Minister’s reorganisation of districts was another step towards sustainable development and creation of golden Telangana.

He claimed that the move will help in effective monitoring and implementation of welfare schemes. He said the officials will be able to pay attention to the development of each and every poor family.

Opposition parties have criticised the government for reorganising the districts in an ‘unscientific’ manner.

Congress party’s Telangana unit President Uttam Kumar Reddy said the government carried out the process in an irrational and unilateral manner.

New map of Telangana.

Chandrasekhar Rao to offer golden crown worth Rs 3.70 crore to goddess

Sat, 8 Oct 2016-05:45pm , Hyderabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao would offer a golden crown worth Rs 3.70 crore to Goddess Bhadrakali in Warangal for fulfilling his vow on formation of separate Telangana state. The crown, weighing 11.7 kg, was specially made to order by the Telangana government.Rao, who had a look at the crown last night, would present it to the Goddess on the behalf of the state government on October 9 on the occasion of Devi Navarathri. He had made different vows during separate statehood agitation for the fulfilment of the goal.

Hyderabad: 13-year-old girl dies after 68 days of fasting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 13-year-old girl from Hyderabad died last week after fasting for 68 days for the Jain holy period called Chaumasa, reported NDTV.The girl, Aradhana, was admitted to a hospital two days after she finished her fast of 68 days due to a cardiac arrest. Her funeral was celebrated and called ‘shobha yatra’ — a mark of celebration— which was attended by 600 people.A member of the community, Lata Jain said, “It has been a practice for people to undertake severe penance when they give up even food and water. They are glorified, lauded and honoured at community meetings by the religious elders. They are also showered with gifts. But in this case it was a minor and that is my objection.”The class 8 student was allowed to give up school so she could fast. Her grandfather Manekchand Samdhariya said that it was known that Aradhana was fasting, “Everyone knew Aradhana was fasting. They came and took selfies with her,” he added. People known to the family have said that the girl had earlier undertaken a fast of 41 days. Politicians like Telangana minister Padma Rao Goud, Zaheerabad MP BB Patil were present at grand event for the completion of fasting which is called ‘Paarana’. Child rights activist Shanta Sinha has said that a police complaint must be filed and that the child rights commission must take cognisance.

Intelligence agencies warn of ISIS threat to Kerala HC judges, politicians

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Intelligence agencies in Kerala have alerted the state government about threat from ISIS-linked module to two high court judges and some politicians, close on the heels of NIA arresting six persons of the terror module from the state.A report in this regard has been submitted by ADGP Intelligence to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who also holds the Home portfolio, police sources said.The sources, however, declined to divulge further details.The National Investigating Agency on Sunday arrested six persons from Kerala for allegedly plotting terror attacks in the country during the agency’s ongoing investigation into the disappearance of 21 people from the state who are believed to have joined the Islamic State.NIA teams along with Kerala Police, Delhi police and Telangana police had launched surveillance on the movements of the accused involved in the conspiracy and during searches, the six were arrested from Kozhikode and Kannur districts.Five of them were arrested while they were conducting a meeting at Kanakamala hilltop in Kannur and another person was arrested from Kuttiyadi in Kozhikode, a NIA release had stated.The NIA has already registered a case in connection with the 21 missing youths from Kerala who are believed to have joined ISIS terror group in Afghanistan and later moved to Syria and some other countries.Meanwhile, DGP Loknath Behara said state police has strengthened its vigil in the backdrop of the arrests of six persons by NIA from the state.The state police will be monitoring the situation in cooperation with Central agencies, he told reporters here.

NIA arrests six people from Kerala for allegedly plotting terror attacks

New Delhi: The NIA on Sunday arrested six persons from Kerala for allegedly plotting terror attacks in the country during the agency’s ongoing investigation into the disappearance of 21 people from the state who are believed to have joined the Islamic State.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Those arrested have been identified as Manseed alias Omar Al Hindi, Abu Basheer alias Rashid, Swalih Mohammed T alias Yousuf, Safwan P, Jasim NK and Ramshad Nageelan Kandiyil alias Aaamu from two districts of Kerala. All the six would be presented before a Specal NIA court on Monday at Ernakulam, sources in the anti-terror probe agency said.

NIA was assisted by police personnel from Kerala, Delhi and Telangana during the operations.

An NIA spokesman said that acting on specific information, its teams along with police from Kerala, Delhi and Telangana tracked the movement of the accused.

During searches conducted on Monday in Kozikhode and Kannur districts of Kerala these six people were arrested, the spokesman said. Five of them were arrested when they were allegedly conducting a meeting at Kanakamala hilltop in Kannur district.

During subsequent searches, another person was detained from Kuttiyadi in Kozhikode district and later arrested.

The NIA spokesman said that during the searches, incriminating material besides electronic devices were seized.

“Follow up searches are being conducted by NIA in Chennai, Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and Kannur, Kozikhode and Mallapuram in Kerala with support of Tamil Nadu and Kerala Police,” the spokesman said.

The searches were conducted after credible information was received that some youth from Kerala and Tamil Nadu along with their accomplices have entered into a criminal conspiracy to commit terrorist acts by collecting explosives and other offensive material for targeting important persons and places of public importance in various parts of south India, sources said.

The NIA has already registered a case in connection with the 21 missing youths from Kerala who are believed to have joined ISIS terror group in Afghanistan and later moved to Syria and some other countries.

Cauvery dispute: Incidents of violence in Karnataka, TN not a sign of healthy democracy, says Venkaiah Naidu

Hyderabad: The recent incidents of violence in both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over Cauvery water dispute is not a sign of healthy democracy, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday.

“…because, 69 years after Independence if you start quarreling … set on fire this bus and that bus. What happened recently in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is not a good thing for democracy…It is not a good sign for a healthy democracy,” Venkaiah remarked after formally inaugurating the Telangana Postal Circle.

File image of Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

File image of Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

“We are all one people…we are one country…we may be different states for administrative convenience and for developmental purpose. But at the end of the day we all are Indians. This feeling has to be there among us. So, let us keep this spirit in mind and move forward and both states (Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) should work (together) and should develop,” the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister stressed.

Venkaiah further said every issue mentioned in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act will be taken to its logical conclusion. “No doubt about it and there is nothing to worry about it. Certain issues may take time…its not that simple that you divide the state and everything is done. Sometimes problems erupt during separation of families and it takes time to resolve the problems,” he said.

He reminded that it took a lot of time to resolve problems pertaining to (after creation of) Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh states. “The government is working speedily though there are certain issues…legal disputes, differences between both the states among others. We at the Centre and Prime Minister are working…efforts are on to solve the problems,” Venkaiah added.

On maternity leave getting increased to 26 weeks for women, Venkaiah suggested Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya to also think about paternity leave for men. “I am not saying jokingly…they (men) can reach home to serve the wife, who has been serving the family for years,” he said adding “though, if both go on leave for 26 weeks then there will be problem…the government will go on leave.”

Andhra, Telangana, Karnataka floods: 11 dead, over 1,000 evacuated; NDRF teams deployed

With heavy downpour pummelling Telangana over the past few days, authorities are keeping a watch on the flood situation even as over 1,000 villagers were evacuated in Karimnagar district.

The water from the under-construction Mid Manair Dam in Boinapally mandal of Karimnagar had started overflowing from the bund and the earthen embankment had got breached, resulting in floods in the area.

“Over 1,000 villagers staying in six villages near the Mid Manair dam, which was overflowing, were evacuated last evening. It was a precautionary evacuation… the situation has now improved and they will be sent back on Monday,” Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) Pradeep Chandra told PTI on Monday.

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had on Sunday directed his ministerial colleagues to stay in their respective districts and monitor the flood situation and supervise relief and rehabilitation works.

Image of the flooded area taken from the drone. Twitter@ncbn

Image of the flooded area taken from the drone. [email protected]

In view of the flood situation, Rao cancelled the Cabinet meeting scheduled on Monday and asked the ministers to work in coordination with district-level officials and ensure evacuation of people from the low-lying areas to safer places.

In the wake of increasing flow in Godavari river and its tributaries following heavy rains in the catchment areas of the river in Maharashtra, the Chief Minister directed the district ministers, officials and also the police of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam districts, to remain alert.

Rao further directed Warangal district administration to be on high alert as river Godavari is in full spate. The river is receiving huge inflows, therefore those living on the banks of the river should be alerted.

Similarly, the CM asked the minister T Nageshwara Rao to maintain alertness in Khammam district as the water level in the river could reach danger level at Bhadrachalam in the district.

“We are taking measures in view of the heavy rains in the past few days in the state including in Hyderabad, which is unprecedented after the 1908 floods in the city,” he said.

DIG (Warangal Range) Ravi Varma told PTI, “We are keeping a watch on the water level in Warangal and Khammam districts. Our personnel have been deployed in the villages along the river bank, if necessary, the process of evacuation will begin.”

Telangana Irrigation Minister Harish Rao had informed the Chief Minister that all projects in Godavari basin have received inflows to their full capacity and also briefed him about the necessary measures taken to handle the situation.

So far, 11 people have died in rain-related incidents in Telangana. While eight deaths were reported in Medak district, three were from Warangal.

In capital Hyderabad, some of the low-lying areas are still inundated, even as Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and some NGOs are offering essential food items, such as milk, for relief of those affected.

Also, four columns of Army are already deployed in rain-affected areas of Hyderabad and neighbouring Ranga Reddy district. Besides, a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team was kept on standby in Hyderabad to participate in rescue work, if necessary.

A total of 17 NDRF teams comprising over 550 personnel have been deployed by the Centre
in the flood-affected regions of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.

The central force has also deployed about 60 boats and teams of paramedics to help those stranded after the heavy rainfall in the last few days in these areas.

“While three teams are pre-positioned at Peduguralu,Narsarapet and Amravati areas of Guntur district, one team each is pre-positioned at Hyderabad and Vizag and two teams each are pre-positioned at Srikakulam and Nellore districts,” the National Disaster Response Force said in a statement.

Similarly, it said, five flood rescue teams comprising 158 rescuers and 16 boats have been deployed at various flood prone areas of Telangana.

“One team each is pre-positioned at Medak and Nizamabad and three teams are pre-positioned at Hyderabad,” the NDRF said.

In Karnataka, three teams comprising 84 rescuers have been deployed in Bidar, Kalaburagi and Bengaluru districts.

Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu tweeted pictures of the flood-affected areas.

While rescue operations are underway, there was this 14-year-old boy, who held the trunk of a tree for eight hours (see video) and saved himself while three of his family members were washed away in floods in Andhra Pradesh.

With inputs from agencies

Over 550 NDRF personnel deployed in flood-affected Andhra, Telangana, Karnataka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A total of 17 NDRF teams comprising over 550 personnel have been deployed by the Centre in the flood-affected regions of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.The central force has also deployed about 60 boats and teams of paramedics to help those stranded after the heavy rainfall in the last few days in these three states.In Andhra Pradesh, nine flood rescue teams comprising 309 rescuers and equipped with 32 inflatable rubber boats and communication equipment have been pre-positioned at various rain-affected areas of Guntur, Vizag, Srikakulam and Nellore.In Telangana, NDRF teams are pre-positioned at Medak, Nizamabad and Hyderabad. River Godavari is in full spate while torrential rain continued to lash several parts of the state for the fifth consecutive day today. Five districts on the banks of Godavari have been put on high alert.Meanwhile, the State Cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled in view of the prevailing flood situation in the state.In Karnataka, three teams of the force have been deployed in Bidar, Kalaburagi and Bengaluru districts. NDRF team deployed at Kalaburagi carried out flood rescue operation and evacuated 21 marooned persons to safer places.

Minorities panel chief comes out openly against triple talaq; urges Muslim Law Board to change stance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Claiming the triple talaq issue has the potential to escalate and cause eventual de-recognition of Muslim Personal Law and imposition of uniform civil code, the Chairman of State Minorities Commission that serves Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has urged the All India Muslim Personal Law Board ​ (AIMPLB) to change its stance on it.The Muslim community today has a huge social problem where literally lakhs of women all over the country are suffering because their men divorced them by pronouncing talaq thrice, Abid Rasool Khan said.Khan told PTI that he has written letters to the AIMPLB and Jamiat-Ulema-I- Hind expressing his views, noting that during his tenure in the last more than three years, he has come across many cases of Muslim women approaching the Commission seeking justice in matters of harassment, desertion, physical abuse, non-payment of maintenance and not granting talaq or Qula, among others.”I would like to alert you that if you AIMPLB insist on the triple talaq, you will be committing injustice to literally lakhs of our sisters and opening the doors for the Supreme Court to strike down this law as it is seen as being in violation of human rights,” he said.”… This (triple talaq) has become an issue which has the potential to escalate and cause the eventual derecognition of our personal law and the imposition of a uniform civil code,” he said.Noting that India is a secular country, Khan said though religious laws are recognised, where they were found to be in violation of human rights, they were struck down by courts.”A case in point is the ‘Sati’ (Prevention Act, 1987) and the latest Bombay High Court judgement in the Haji Ali Dargah case,” Khan said.”It is possible that a similar action may be taken in the case of triple divorce. If that happens, then the AIMPLB would have been instrumental in opening the door for the eventual imposition of the uniform civil code,” he said. Triple talaq has resulted in a large number of Muslim women being abandoned by their husbands who divorced them in a fit of anger or because of their ignorance about the way to divorce a woman, Khan said.”Added to this is the taboo of marrying a divorced woman. That is again un-Islamic, which results in young girls being condemned to live their lives as widows unable to get married again,” he said.Khan said in the letters that Islam intends to make marriage easy and divorce difficult so that there may be time for reconciliation and the marriage may be saved.”Unfortunately, in this country, the Muslims have turned their own law upside down and have made marriage extremely difficult and expensive and loaded all the expenses on the bride and her family which is not the way of Islam at all,” he said.”And Muslim men are misusing the talaq and instead of following ‘Sunnah’, are following a ‘Bida’ and committing a sin and divorcing their wives without giving themselves a chance at reconciliation which Islam intends,” Khan said.The Centre indicated last week that it is likely to take a tough stance against triple talaq in the Supreme Court on the plea that according sanctity to it under Sharia is “completely misplaced” and it is “unfair, unreasonable and discriminatory” as many Islamic countries have regulated matrimonial laws.The Centre is also of the view that the issue is not to be seen from the point of view of uniform civil code, but be treated substantively as an issue of gender justice and that of fundamental rights of women.These views are likely to be articulated by the Centre before the Supreme Court in the triple talaq case that will come up before it sometime this week.

Hyderabad professor recounts horror after being rescued from ISIS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Out of ISIS clutches after nearly 14 months of his kidnapping while on his way to Tunisia’s airport to board a flight to India in July 2015, Professor CH. Balram has no words to express his happiness.Professor Balram told ANI,”I am extremely delighted to reunite with my family. Media should excuse me for not being able to take any of your questions at the moment, but I promise that in the coming days, I will definitely call for a detailed interview with all media persons.””I take this opportunity to express my thanks to Libyan Army, the Indian embassy in Tripoli, the state government, the Central Government, my family members, relatives, friends and all well wishers who supported me,” he addedProfessor Balram’s wife Sridevi and her two children made frequents calls to the Indian embassy in Tripoli and tried to contact the English department dean in Sirte University, under whom her husband had worked for some time.Expressing her happiness, Sridevi said, “I am very happy as we all family members are reunited. And for this, I want to thank the Central Government, the state government as well as the Indian embassy in Tripoli.””My husband has been released from ISIS is a very Big and happy news for us,” she added.Their eldest son Vijay Bhasker said, “It is a very joyous moment, as my father has been reunited with us almost after 14 months after enduring a lot of trouble and was in very bad condition.””I just want to say thanks to everybody, who have directly or indirectly been involved in this rescue mission and helping us to reunite our family. Primarily, the Indian Government, both Central and state governments, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Libyan side, who had to coordinate for the rescue mission,” Bhaskar added.Professors Gopikrishna, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, and Balaram Kishan, a native of Telangana, were teaching at Libya’s Sirte University. Gopikrishna was an assistant professor of computer science and Balram an English professor.They were abducted by Islamic State militants on July 29 last year.

Hyderabad rains: CM K Chandrasekhar Rao monitors situation; NDRF, Army kept on standby

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With heavy rains causing havoc in the capital and other parts of Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has ordered officials to set up control rooms in all the districts to reach out to marooned people with necessary relief. A team of Army personnel today visited some of the marooned areas in Alwal in Ranga Reddy district to assess the situation.According to an official statement issued by the CM’s office at midnight, a 60-member National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has been kept on the standby in the city for necessary rescue operations. “Army personnel are also available as and when requested,” the release said.Some of the low lying areas in Hyderabad are still cut off from the rest of the city, even as Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and some NGOs are offering essential food items such as milk towards relief of those affected. The CM also instructed the officials to take necessary steps to prevent spread of communicable diseases.According to a senior official of GHMC, Army officials met GHMC Commissioner Janardhan Reddy during the wee hours today and their forces are prepared to swing into action as and when called for. The district administration of Rangareddy, Khammam, Warangal and Medak besides GHMC have declared holiday for educational institutions today also.Yesterday, the Telangana government had said that it has kept two choppers ready to move people from low lying areas in the city, if necessary.Besides, four persons were killed and six others injured in separate rain-related incidents in Medak district yesterday. According to the weather report issued by the Indian Meteorological Department today, “heavy to very heavy” are likely to occur in isolated places in Telangana.

Hyderabad rains: Three killed and three injured, CM urges Centre for help

Hyderabad: Three persons were killed as heavy rains lashed various parts of Telangana on Friday, an official said.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

All the deaths were reported from Medak district, which has received heavy rains since Thursday night. A 35-year-old woman and her seven-year-old daughter were killed when their house collapsed in Medak town.

In another incident of house collapse in Mubarkpur village, a 65-year-old man was killed. Three others were injured in the two incidents.

Authorities in Medak, Nalgonda and Warangal districts have declared two-day holiday for all schools and colleges in view of the heavy rains.

Hyderabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Adilabad districts were also receiving heavy rains.

Lakes and streams were overflowing in these districts, inundating low-lying areas. Roads were also flooded in some parts of Telangana, affecting the movement of vehicles.

Hyderabad-Nizamabad road was also inundated, leading to long traffic jam.

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has asked officials to be an alert in view of the forecast of more rains over next two days.

Rao, who is in Delhi, reviewed the situation on Friday and directed Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma to prepare a report about the loss due to the heavy rains. He said tanks breached at many places while roads and bridges were damaged.

He asked the District Collectors to assess the damage. The Chief Minister urged the Centre to provide help for relief operations.

Rains disrupt normal life in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana; NDRF deployed for rescue, relief operations

Very heavy rainfall, under the influence of a low pressure area over Bay of Bengal, has left Palnadu region in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh battered, and rail and road transport disrupted due to flooding. The NDRF has been deployed for rescue and relief operation.

This is the second time in less than a fortnight that Palnadu has witnessed very heavy downpour of upto 22.8 cm, which threw normal life out of gear.

Many passenger trains were cancelled on the Nadikudi-Guntur section, while express trains from Secunderabad, which normally pass through Guntur, have been diverted as the rail tracks near Piduguralla were inundated.

Three teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in the Palnadu region for rescue and relief operations even as the weather forecast said rains are likely to continue till Friday.

About 40 passengers of an APSRTC bus were rescued after it was stuck midstream on a causeway at Krosuru and flood water gushed in from Utukuru rivulet. Locals used ropes to rescue the stranded passengers.

Representational image. Naresh SharmaRepresentational image. Naresh Sharma

Representational image. Naresh Sharma

The KL Rao Sagar Project, downstream Nagarjuna Sagar, has been receiving heavy water inflows due to downpour in the catchment areas of neighbouring Telangana.

It is currently holding over 25 tmcft of water and the government has decided to fill it up to 30 tmcft and release excess water into the sea through Prakasam Barrage. With Munneru rivulet also in spate, the Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada is full to the brim.

Accordingly, Krishna district authorities have started discharging 10,000 to 20,000 cusecs of water from the barrage into the sea.

Rivulets in Guntur district are in spate, inundating housing colonies in Sattenapalli town and nearby villages.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation from the Command and Control Centre and directed the officials to keep two copters ready for emergency operations.

Deputy Chief Minister (Home and Disaster Management) N China Rajappa and Agriculture Minister P Pulla Rao were rushed to Guntur district to oversee the rescue and relief operations.

On Thursday, five persons were killed in separate rain-related incidents in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

Three persons were washed away in the Kuppaganji rivulet near Chilakaluripet, while another was rescued by the villagers.

One person was killed in a lightning strike at Brahmanapalli village near Piduguralla, while another was killed when an uprooted tree fell on him.

Deputy Chief Minister N China Rajappa, who also holds the Home and Disaster Management portfolios and who has been touring Chilakaluripet to oversee the rescue-and-relief operations in the flood-hit areas, announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.

As there was a forecast of more rain in the next couple of days, people living in the low-lying areas were being evacuated to safer places, the deputy chief minister said.

He has directed the officials to be on a “high alert” to tackle any eventuality.

Rains continue in Hyderabad, Telangana, low-lying areas water-logged

On Thursday Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao instructed the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation to take the help of Army and NDRF for the relief measures if needed, as rains are lashing the city for the last two days.

Rao, who is in Delhi, spoke to GHMC commissioner B Janardhan Reddy on phone and asked to be “extra cautious” in view of the forecast of heavy rains in the next four days over Telangana, an official release quoted him as saying.

If necessary, help of the Army, NDRF, police and other agencies can be taken, the CM said.

Representational image. Naresh SharmaRepresentational image. Naresh Sharma

Representational image. Naresh Sharma

Normal life in some low-lying areas of the city is disrupted due to the water-logging, and traffic has been hit badly due to the downpour.

Met department has said “heavy to very” rains are likely in isolated places during the next four days in the state.

Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao and some senior officials visited Allamthota Baavi and Mayur Marg in Begumpet which are inundated due to sudden overflowing of Begumpet nala. Rao also inspected relief camps set up by the Government.

A GHMC official said there was a rainfall of 20 mm in eight areas in just one hour between 1 pm and 2 pm on Thursday.

Water entered into some buildings in Nizampet and Bachupalli on the outskirts of the city.

On Friday, the Telangana government asked IT companies to allow their employees in the city to work from home so as to avoid venturing out in view of incessant rains here for past two days, even as help has been sought from the Army for rescue operation in some areas.

Following the heavy downpour which crippled normal life ,the state government has declared a holiday for educational institutions in Hyderabad on Friday and Saturday.

The government has sought help of the Army for rescue operation in some areas of the city, for which the Defence wing has agreed, a senior official of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation said.

“We sought their help and they also came forward. They have been given maps and other information of areas like Gachibowli, Nizampet, Alwal and Hakimpet. They are willing to swing into action whenever we call them, the GHMC official told PTI.

Telangana’s Information Technology Secretary Jayesh Ranjan said they have sent an advisory to IT companies’ association to either declare a holiday or allow their employees to work from home following forecast of heavy rains on Friday and Saturday.

“We have asked the association to send an advisory to all the IT companies located in the city. Accordingly, they issued advisory to all the IT firms. This is in the interest of safety of the employees. The response from companies is good,” Ranjan said.

With inputs from PTI

Hyderabad rains: Telangana govt asks Army for help, urges IT cos to work from home

Hyderabad: The Telangana government on Friday asked IT companies to allow their employees in the city to work from home so as to avoid venturing out in view of incessant rains in Hyderabad for the past two days, even as help has been sought from the Army for rescue operation in some areas.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Following the heavy downpour which crippled normal life in Hyderabad, the state government has declared a holiday for educational institutions in Hyderabad on Friday and Saturday.

The government has sought help of the Army for rescue operation in some areas of the city, for which the Defence wing has agreed, a senior official of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation said on Friday.

“We sought their help and they also came forward. They have been given maps and other information of areas like Gachibowli, Nizampet, Alwal and Hakimpet. They are willing to swing into action whenever we call them, the GHMC official told PTI.

Telangana‘s Information Technology Secretary Jayesh Ranjan said they have sent an advisory to IT companies’ association to either declare a holiday or allow their employees to work from home following forecast of heavy rains on Friday and Saturday.

“We have asked the association to send an advisory to all the IT companies located in the city. Accordingly, they issued advisory to all the IT firms. This is in the interest of safety of the employees. The response from companies is good,” Ranjan said.

Heavy rains battered the city which is a major center for the technology industry, and some other parts of Telangana for the past couple of days, throwing life out of gear in some places.

Some localities in low lying areas of Miyapur and Nizampet continue to be inundated since the last two days.

Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao reviewed the situation and directed officials to take all precautionary measures in view of the heavy rain forecast on Thursday.

State IT Minister KT Rama Rao along with senior officials toured the city last night and reviewed the situation. He instructed officials to evacuate people from low-lying areas.

Normal life in some low-lying areas of the city has been disrupted due to the water-logging, and traffic has been hit badly due to the downpour.

Hyderabad traffic police has advised commuters to avoid undertaking unnecessary journeys.