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Mauled government seeks CBI probe into cubs’ death, 10-year jail for poachers

Mauled by allies and opposition alike over the death of four tiger cubs in Chandrapur forests in the last couple of days, Maharashtra government has sought CBI inquiry into the incident and has also proposed to the Centre to impose tougher punishment on poachers.The state government has proposed that the punishment for poaching wild animals be enhanced to 10 years’ jail sentence along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh. The existing term under the Wildlife Protection (WP) Act, 1972, is seven years’ jail and Rs25,000 fine.”We have written to the Centre to amend the rules making stringent provisions for tiger poachers,” forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Tuesday.Four tiger cubs had died of malnutrition in Saoli forest of Chandrapur district as of Sunday morning. Three cubs were found dead, while the fourth died while undergoing treatment. Chandrapur is Mungantiwar’s home district.Stung by the criticism, Mungantiwar has sought the help of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the death of tiger cubs. Justifying his move, Mungantiwar said, “We suspect that the cubs died as their mother didn’t breastfed them. The tigress, which is missing, may have been poached, or died while searching for food or water. Since CBI has the expertise to understand the complexities, we thought it would be better to seek their help.” Tigers are poached for smuggling its body parts to China where they were used for medicinal purposes, he pointed out.The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has claimed that 41 tigers died in Maharashtra, since January.The minister said the tigress and cubs were not part of Tiger Reserve area but buffer zone, where the surveillance is negligible. “We have hence ordered installation of camera traps and deployment of tiger reserve force in outer areas with significant number of big cats,” he said.According to wildlife officials, a tigress never goes more than half a kilometre for prey when it has one or two-month-old cubs. “Since there is no trace of the big cat or its pugmark in the area, we are worried it might have been killed,” said an official. He said the government had issued a resolution on providing four times compensation to the villagers whose lands were acquired for wildlife sanctuaries.Makes light of Sena remarksReacting to Shiv Sena’s demand in Saamna editorial, that he should take moral responsibility for the incident, Mungantiwar said, “I take it positively, as it will help us improve. As the minister for forests, I have to take moral responsibility.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Centre contradicting own stand on DDCA probe: AAP

Taking a jibe at BJP, AAP’s Delhi unit secretary Dilip Pandey said the saffron party had given Jaitley a clean chit merely on claims made by a “two-member committee of spokespersons”. “The committee, whose report which the BJP is citing was in public domain since November 17, did not have the mandate to name anyone. Its aim was to find out irregularities in the DDCA. The BJP should not claim Jaitley has been given a clean chit,” Pandey said.

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Real Madrid’s expulsion from King’s Cup confirmed<!– /.block –>BJP gleeful over articles in Congress mouthpiece slamming Nehru, Sonia; says truth hidden has come out <!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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BJP gleeful over articles in Congress mouthpiece slamming Nehru, Sonia; says truth hidden has come out

“Congress should give clarification and Gandhi too should offer some,” he said. As Congress sacked the content editor, BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma mocked it, saying it showed the party’s “intolerance against truth” as most of what had appeared was a “matter of fact”.

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Tamil Nadu elections: DMK chief Karunanidhi extends hand of friendship to Congress for alliance <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaNew Indo-Nepal bus service beginsIndiaManeka Gandhi launches ‘e-Office’IndiaMangaluru: Bajrang Dal leader arrested for posting hate comments against social worker on FacebookIndiaFour prisoners escape from Kadapa Central jail in Andhra PradeshIndiaWhy is Western media so biased against India? IndiaArun Jaitley turns 63; PM Modi wishes him long life <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Centre contradicting own stand on DDCA probe: AAP<!– /.block –>Tamil Nadu elections: DMK chief Karunanidhi extends hand of friendship to Congress for alliance<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Why is Western media so biased against India?

Someone who doesn’t live in India or hasn’t experienced its diversity, will never understand exactly how people from such distinct backgrounds live together with such harmony. When one sees the Western world grapple with issues like immigration or diverse religious groups, it makes one realise just how flexible our cultural system is, to allow so many people of so many backgrounds live with each other peacefully.

Nirmalya Dutta

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>After Sri Lanka President Sirisena’s outburst, Jayawardene & Sangakkara apologise for chaos created at Enrique concert<!– /.block –>Sebi slaps Rs 6.5 lakh fine on three entities in non-disclosure cases<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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NDA wants to honour all who fought for the country: Ravi Shankar Prasad

“The Central government is studying the legal implications and trying to remove the hurdles in the way of holding jallikattu,” he said. The sport, conducted traditionally co-inciding with the harvest festival of Pongal, held in mid-January, has been banned by the Supreme Court last year and there have been demands for steps to lift the ban.

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<!– /.block –>South Africa v/s England: Steyn gets his mojo back but England hold firm <!– /.block –>
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<!– /#sidebar-second –>EPL 2015: Liverpool does a huge favour to Manchester City and Arsenal<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Western Ghats to lose 60% protected areas?

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States unhappy with Kasturirangan report, push for lesser prohibitions.

If the states have their way, nearly 60% of the eco-sensitive, protected area of the Western Ghats, also known as water tower of peninsular India, will be thrown open for development and commercial projects. Five states located along the Western Ghats – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat and Kerala – have recommended to retain only 20,000 sq km as eco-sensitive area (ESA) and release the rest 36,285 sq.km for development. Among the six Western Ghats states, Tamil Nadu is yet to submit its recommendations on ESA areas to the Centre.A Central government appointed committee led by K Kasturirangan had recommended 56,825 sq km as ESA, nearly three times more than what the states have stated. The Centre too had notified 56,825 sq.km area as ESA in a draft notification in September this year. Western Ghats is one of the eight biodiversity hotspots in the world and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In their detailed reports on ESAs, the states have rejected most findings and recommendations of the Kasturirangan report, pushing for opening the Ghats to development and commercial activities. The state governments were unhappy with the Kasturirangan report and thus the Central government had allowed them to physically verify their ESAs.The Kasturirangan report had identified ESAs on the basis of natural landscape and cultural landscape. The natural landscape comprises of natural vegetation, forests, water bodies, hills and sacred groves while cultural landscape comprises of human dominated land use of settlements, agricultural land, horticulture and other plantations. For example, the report had identified 4,156 villages across six states as ESA, but the five state governments, in their recommendations, demarcated only 1,666 villages. Each state government has shot down prohibitions suggested in the Kasturirangan report on issues such as mining, township development and forest plantations. An analysis of the state reports by dna shows that broadly they have vouched for inclusion of only contiguous forests that are already notified along with non-forest private lands areas while excluding plantations, industrial zones and even non-cultivable agricultural land.Gujarat, however, is the only state to have increased its ESA area. The ground reality, the states’ reports claim, is that most villages across Ghats rejected the ESA tag, as they feared for loss of livelihood. The reports say that villagers were victims of misinformation campaigns. The villagers, reports said, termed the concept of ESAs as ‘government land grab’. Speaking on the state reports, veteran ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the first Central panel to have given a road-map for conservation of the Ghats, said, “The process states have followed to demarcate ESAs is more important than the area they have retained. It is a flawed process from several angles and most crucially, there is little people’s participation.”He added, “So called ground-truthing exercises involved gathering only select few groups of influential locals across villages. Also, I got first-hand reports of misinformation campaigns that were spread against the concept of ESAs.”While analysing the state reports, dna found each state government has used different approaches for giving ESA tag to villages. As per the Kasturirangan report, villages having more than 20% natural landscape were to be counted as ecologically sensitive. Maharashtra, which has the second largest ESA area has reduced the number of ESA villages from 2,154 to 1,254, reducing the protected area of Ghats to 6,719.3 sq.km. In Maharashtra, the government excluded a total of 879 villages for being isolated, distant from the contiguous, elevated range of the Ghats and for having less than 20% natural landscape. ESA villages that are home to industrial zones have been excluded without studying their pollution load on water resources. In Karnataka, the government thought it more ‘practical’ and ‘rational’ to count only those villages with 50% or more natural landscape and that already fall in the buffer zone of sanctuaries and national parks as ESAs. Karnataka has whittled down ESA villages to 153 from 1,553, shrinking the protected area to 2,020.01 sq.km. Once Tamil Nadu submits its report, MoEF&CC will deliberate on recommendations of all states and map ESA villages using satellite maps. The ministry is likely to meet representatives and MPs from each state before it takes a final call on how much area of the Ghats should be kept as ecologically sensitive. dna contacted Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar, who said the matter of finalising Western Ghats’ ESA is under process.

ULFA leader Anup Chetia released from jail

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Following his extradition on November 11, Chetia was arrested by CBI in Delhi in connection with a murder in Golaghat

Anup Chetia

ULFA general secretary Golap Baruah, alias Anup Chetia, was on Thursday released from the Guwahati Central Jail after obtaining bail in four cases registered against him.Chetia had on Wednesday got bail in the last of the four cases against him paving the way for his release from the jail Emerging from the jail, the ULFA leader told journalists that he will participate in the peace talks.Chetia said that he was in favour the ongoing peace talks between the central government and ULFA for restoring peace in Assam. “Many quarters have suspected that as in 1992 we will not continue with the talks with the government. I want to sincerely say that the political times then have changed today and have made us think afresh”, Chetia said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I will be a part of the ongoing tripartite talks among the ULFA, central and Assam governments to resolve the insurgency issue”, he said. On the role of his former colleague and now ULFA (Independent) ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah in the peace talks, Chetia said “the contributions of Paresh Baruah have to be acknowledged in taking forward our revolution during the last three decades. It is sad that he is not a part of the peace talks”.Following his extradition on November 11, Chetia was arrested by CBI in Delhi in connection with a murder in Golaghat. Chetia was handed over to India by Bangladesh where he was in jail since his arrest by the country’s police in 1997 on charges of cross-border intrusion, carrying fake passports and illegally keeping foreign currencies.

Government mulling doubling MPs’ salaries

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Parliament affairs ministry recommends hike in salary and two allowances raising itfrom Rs 1.40 lakh to Rs 2.80 lakh

2010The year when salaries and allowances of MPs were last revised SalaryCurrentRs 50,000ProposedRs one lakh Constituency allowanceCurrentRs 45,000ProposedRs 90,000 Office expense allowanceCurrentRs 45,000ProposedRs 90,000 Hundred per cent salary hike for Members of Parliament? This is one proposal that is neither likely to run short of numbers nor be sent to a House committee for scrutiny.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The parliamentary affairs ministry is recommending raise in salaries of MPs from Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh, constituency allowance from Rs 45,000 to Rs 90,000 and office expense allowance (for stationery items and secretarial assistance) from Rs 45,000 to Rs 90,000, according to sources. This would take the total of salary and two allowances of MPs from Rs 1.40 lakh to Rs 2.80 lakh a month.The new recommendations would be placed before the finance ministry, which has to approve it and provide for budgetary allocations. Once that is done, a bill amending the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, would be brought before both Houses for approval.The parliamentary affairs ministry has also approved the demand by the Joint Committee of MPs on Salaries and Allowances of Parliamentarians to raise the pension from Rs 20,000 to Rs 35,000. There is unlikely to be any change in their daily allowance as the ministry had turned down the proposal to raise it from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000, sources said.In fact, it has rejected around 75 per cent of the more than 60 proposals made by the panel, headed by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, on several other allowances and perks. The last time salaries and allowances of MPs were raised was in 2010. The bill to raise salaries of lawmakers generally gets support from both sides of the political aisle, but last time some MPs suggested than an independent body be set up to decide on future pay of parliamentarians in view of public criticism on them deciding their own salaries.”The Left parties have been opposed to the existing procedure of MPs deciding their own salaries. It is unfair. We have suggested that it should be left to an independent body,” said CPI MP D Raja.The AAP government had set up an independent committee on revision of pay and allowances for Delhi MLAs. The panel had recommended an increase from Rs 88,000 to Rs 2.10 lakh per month, including an increase from Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 in salary. The Delhi assembly cleared a bill on the same lines.In the case of MPs, changes in their salaries and pensions are done through legislative route, while perks and other allowances can be revised through a notification.Renowned journalist and former parliamentarian Kuldip Nayar said it was fair to increase the salaries of MPs but suggested that a mechanism on the lines of the Pay Commission could be considered.”When India got independence, Gandhiji said it should be only Rs 500 for lawmakers. But as time went by, they started feeling the pinch. Now, when everything is so costly it is justified to increase their salaries and allowances. I was an MP and I know that they get no subsidy actually except in the railway canteen of Central Hall… But it may have been better if there was something on the lines of Pay Commission,” he said.Among the suggestions of the panel of MPs that the ministry has rejected are providing canteen facilities on the lines of defence personnel, fourth of travel fare as incidentals, former MPs to be entitled to diplomatic passport and have access to VIP lounges at airports, the word “spouse” to be replaced with “companion” to accompany MPs in AC First Class train travel, increasing free air tickets between sessions for MPs from 34 to 43 and travel allowance during sessions.

650 cases of communal violence in country this year till October : Government

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Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said 823 communal incidents took place in 2013 and 644 such incidents occurred in 2014

A total of 650 communal incidents have occurred till October this year, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said 823 communal incidents took place in 2013 and 644 such incidents occurred in 2014. “During January-October 2015, 650 communal incidents have occurred in the country,” he said in written reply to a question. Rijiju said the responsibility of maintaining law and order, registration and prosecution of crimes, including religion related offences, rests primarily with the respective state governments .State governments are competent to deal with religion related offences, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister said the central government assists the state governments in a variety of ways like sharing information, sending alert messages, sending central armed police forces to the state governments on specific requests. In addition, the central government send advisories prior to various religious festivals, observations and on developments having bearing on communal harmony, he said.

AAP govt making Delhi Assembly arena of political games: Vijender Gupta

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The session has nothing to do with public interest issues and it will only discuss CBI enquiry against a senior official of Delhi government and setting up of an enquiry committee to probe DDCA working, Vijender said.
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dna Research & Archives
Accusing Arvind Kejriwal government of turning the Delhi Assembly into an arena of “political games”, leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta on Monday charged that special session is called to “defame” the Centre and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.”Kejriwal government has turned the Assembly into an arena of political games. The sole purpose of calling the special session tomorrow is to malign the Central Government and the Finance Minister as much as possible,” he said.The session has nothing to do with public interest issues and it will only discuss CBI enquiry against a senior official of Delhi government and setting up of an enquiry committee to probe DDCA working, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP had tried to raise the “corrupt practices” of the officer many times in Delhi Assembly but its efforts were thwarted. The Delhi Government persistently refused to discuss it, he added.

Two-decade old CRPF camp from Srinagar removed

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The camp set up in 1990, was housed in three buildings near the main road in the locality adjacent to Rajouri Kadal where frequent stone-pelting takes place, especially on Fridays.

A two-decade old CRPF camp in Kawdara locality in Srinagar was removed on Saturday as part of an exercise to reduce the paramilitary force’s presence from places where it was no longer required.The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) removed one of its oldest camps in Kawdara locality of downtown Srinagar as part of a policy decision to reduce the footprints of the force from the areas where it is no longer needed, PRO CRPF Ashish Jha said.The camp set up in 1990, was housed in three buildings near the main road in the locality adjacent to Rajouri Kadal where frequent stone-pelting takes place, especially on Fridays. Jha said the decision to remove the camp was part of a regular process to review the deployment of the CRPF from those areas where it is no longer required.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”CRPF assists the Jammu and Kashmir police in law and order, wherever and whenever required. We regularly review the deployment of the force. This is a normal procedure,” Jha said.He added that there was no decision yet on removing any other bunkers or camps from other areas of the city.The CRPF has removed around 50 bunkers from the city since 2010.

PM Modi-led panel finalises Chief Information Commissioner; suspense over announcement

The Central Information Commission is working headless, for the second time since the BJP Government came into power in 2014, after Vijai Sharma completed his tenure on December one.
File Photo
PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Committee on Wednesday met and is understood to have decided on the new Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), a post lying vacant for about a fortnight.The meeting of the Committee, held in the Prime Minister’s office in Parliament, was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Leader of the Congress Party in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjuna Kharge, official sources said. The name of the next CIC has been finalised, they said. However, the name was not disclosed.The Central Information Commission is working headless, for the second time since the BJP Government came into power in 2014, after Vijai Sharma completed his tenure on December one. The transparency watchdog was without its chief for nearly 10 months after completion of the tenure of the then Chief Information Commissioner Rajiv Mathur in August 2014.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At present, there are seven Information Commissioners– Basant Seth, Yashovardhan Azad, Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher, M A Khan Yusufi, Madabhushanam Sridhar Acharyulu and Sudhir Bhargava– in the Commission. As per convention, the senior most Information Commissioner is chosen as chief. Presently, Seth is the senior-most Information Commissioner. The Commission comprises of one chief and ten Information Commissioners.A total of 33,724 complaints and appeals are pending in the Commission as on today, as per official data.

Amitabh Thakur will have to move govt first against his suspension: Allahabad HC

After the disposal of the appeal, in the event the petitioner was still aggrieved, then he would have an opportunity to avail the remedy before Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in accordance with law, the court observed.
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PTI
The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday said suspended IPS officer Amitabh Thakur will have first to approach the central government through the competent authority by filing an appropriate appeal against his suspension order. It said that in the event such an appeal was filed with in 15 days from today, the central government shall dispose of the it within three weeks.After the disposal of the appeal, in the event the petitioner was still aggrieved, then he would have an opportunity to avail the remedy before Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in accordance with law, the court observed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A division bench of Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi passed the judgement while disposing of a writ petition filed by Thakur challenging his suspension order dated July 13 this year.The petitioner alleged that the continued suspension order on account of inaction of the respondent – state and the malafide alleged deserve to be interfered with and the court should invoke its writ jurisdiction for quashing the same. A preliminary objection was raised on behalf of the respondents with regard to the maintainability of the writ petition while referring to rulings of the apex court and opposed the petition. In response, the petitioner had drawn the attention of the court to the order passed by the CAT dated November 30.”The suspension order has to be viewed in the light of the allegations raised on the issue of jurisdiction, violation of rules and malafides, if any, and the Central Administrative Tribunal is not precluded from entertaining any such petition as has been observed in the order dated November 30,” the court observed.Thakur was suspended after he had accused Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, on July 10 of threatening him on phone. He alleged that Yadav was angry because his wife Nutan had filed a corruption case against a minister in the state government. However, the state government said that Thakur was suspended on charges of indiscipline and corruption.

CBI raids: PM Modi trying to stop ‘honest politics’, says Manish Sisodia

“Modi is trying to stop honest politics by scaring (us) with CBI raids. People are with truth, they will not let him succeed,” Sisodia tweeted.

ANI
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of attempting to stop ?honest politics? following the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)?s raid on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office.”Modi is trying to stop honest politics by scaring (us) with CBI raids. People are with truth, they will not let him succeed,” Sisodia tweeted.He said that the Prime Minister Modi-led Government was trying to instil fear among officers working under Delhi Government<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A Chief Minister’s office has been raided, the files Chief Minister’s office are being looked into. Let Modi ji tell which files he wants to look into. They are trying to instil fear in the officers working under Delhi government,” Sisodia told reporters.He also accused the BJP-led Central Government of indulging in vendetta politics.Refuting Kejriwal’s allegation on raid, the CBI said that his secretary’s office had been searched with a clear warrant, and not the office of the Chief Minister.However, Kejriwal accused them of ‘lying’ and asserted that the CBI was looking at the files in the Chief Minister’s office.Meanwhile, the government slammed Kejriwal of accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the raid on his office and said that it has become a ?fashion? for the Delhi Chief Minister to bicker with the Centre and blame them for everything.

RTI online portal to be converted in Hindi: Govt

Till now, 463 public authorities have been aligned to the portal. It is proposed to extend the RTI online portal to more public authorities and also to make technical improvements in it during the next year, an order issued by the DoPT said.
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dna Research & Archives
A website meant for filing of RTI applications will be converted into Hindi language as well, the government said on Monday. At present, the portal– www.rtionline.gov.in– is available in English language only.The website was launched in August 2013 by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for all Central government ministries with a view to provide a facility to citizens to file RTI applications and first appeals online.Till now, 463 public authorities have been aligned to the portal. It is proposed to extend the RTI online portal to more public authorities and also to make technical improvements in it during the next year, an order issued by the DoPT said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Making RTI online portal available in Hindi language as well. Mobile application for RTI online portal,” said the scope of work made public by the government.Users will also get auto sms alerts and email if any modification is done in their account, it said. Besides, there will be more features for both the public authorities and citizens to improve interface and easy processing of RTI applications. The DoPT has sought comments from people on the proposed changes from people within 15 days.RTI users have also been complaining delayed response in processing their applications through the online portal. The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 empower a citizen to get time-bound response from government departments on their queries on governance.

Devendra Fadnavis calls on farmers to adopt new agriculture technology

Adoption of newer technology and imbibing science into agriculture, would redeem the cultivation of drought-hit farmers of Maharashtra.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

dna Research & Archives
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has called on farmers to adopt new technologies in order to improve and increase their farm yield, which will ultimately result in their well being.Inaugurating the 7th edition of agriculture festival ‘Agro Vision’ at Nagpur, on Friday evening, Fadnavis said due to rapid changes in climate, embracing new methodology and technologies was the “need of the hour”.Union Minister for Shipping and Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari, who is also the chief promoter of exhibition, Rajasthan Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Hansraj Ahir were also present at the inaugural function.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Minister said due to unfavourable climatic conditions, on 2014 there was a drought-like situation in 20,000 villages of the state, which has swelled to 24,000 this year and production has suffered drastically in the entire Marathwada and eastern part of Vidarbha.About 50% population in state is directly dependent on agriculture and makes use of traditional methods of farming, he said.”We cannot depend on nature as the climate is playing hide and seek with farmers. In such situation, we have to adopt new technology and do experiments with new crop that can improve the financial condition of farmers. Farmers must take the help of scientists, experts and change their mindset,” Fadnavis said.The Chief Minister on the occasion requested Gadkari to suggest the Central Government to allocate fund of Rs 2,500-3,000 crore to every state for investing in agriculture infrastructure and emphasised that it was important to improve the condition of farmers in the country.Gadkari, in his address, said irrigation facility for farmers in Maharashtra was 16.8%, 18% in Rajasthan, and 90% in Punjab and Haryana. He said farm yield can increase many fold in Maharashtra if farmers are provided with electricity supply 24X7.Scindia said her government would soon send farmers in small groups to Israel to study use of new technologies in farming.

Pollution Control Board’s new draft plan proposes segment-wise approach for cleaning up river Ganga

Even as a host of plans to clean river Ganga exist on paper, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has prepared a new draft plan for cleaning up the river in four segments based on geography, eco-flow of the river and pollution load. The National Mission for Clean Ganga, (NMCG), in-charge of implementing Ganga cleaning plans took a year and half to decide that setting up sewage treatment facilities for towns located on banks of Ganga will be the focus of conserving the river’s water quality. But the CPCB’s new draft has now proposed to shift the focus towards segment wise, in situ treatment of polluted water under the direct control of state governments. Dna has a copy of the draft plan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CPCB has said that there is an “immediate need to commission in-site treatment of the 144 drains joining river Ganga or any other actions without waiting for full-fledged sewage treatment plants as it may be a time taking process.” The pollution watchdog has proposed that the Centre invite private players to demonstrate, on a pilot basis, in-situ treatment which it thinks is more cost-effective and will be economical. In another major recommendation it has said that Ghats on river Ganga should be hand over to religious and private institutes for their up-keep.”Ghats are primarily used for religious and spiritual activities and local shrines are actively involved so they can be roped in”, said a top official from the union environment and forest ministry. CPCB’s plan has also noted that in the upper segments such as Narora, there is immense abstraction of water for irrigation and human consumption and that it should be reduced for increasing river’s flow.Under the segment wise approach, CPCB has proposed to divide river cleaning into four-segments, each having their own action plan based on the pollution load coming from domestic sewage and industries and flow of the river. According to sources, CPCB’s draft plan was presented to union environment minister Prakash Javadekar and the ministry has approved it prima-facie. It was also discussed with union minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation Uma Bharti and her ministry too has given an in-principle nod.The first segment has been demarcated between the river’s origin and Haridwar, the second segment between Haridwar and Narora. According to CPCB’s draft plan, these segments are the least polluted and fewer grossly polluting industries are situated on the banks of Ganga along this stretch.The third segment is divided into three sub-sections being the most polluted stretch. This segment stretches begins from Narora passing through Kanpur, Allahabad and ends at Varanasi. Segment four is spread across two sub-sections between Varanasi up to Diamond Harbour in Kolkata. “Each of the river’s stretch has a varying pollution load and one size for all approach won’t work to clean the river. A segment-wise approach would see a reduction in time taken for implementing project,” said a top-ranking CPCB official on the condition of anonymity. Mammoth taskRiver Ganga runs a course of 2,525 km before joining the Bay of BengalThere are 66 districts located along the Ganga’s main stem118 priority towns have been identified along the banks of Ganga144 drains discharge industrial and domestic waste into the Ganga and there are 764 grossly polluting industries on the river’s main stem that generate 501 million litres per day of waste water

Jiah Khan case: CBI slaps suicide abetment charge against Sooraj Pancholi

Nafisa alias Jiah Khan was emotionally attached with the accused. The wilful conduct of Sooraj drove the her to commit suicide. Hence Sooraj is liable to be punished, read the CBI’s supplementary charge sheet.

Rabia Khan, mother of Jiah Khan, leaves the sessions court in Mumbai on Friday
Salman Ansari
dna
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday slapped charges of abetment of suicide against actor Sooraj Pancholi over the death of model-actress Jiah Khan.”Nafisa alias Jiah Khan was emotionally attached with the accused. The wilful conduct of Sooraj drove the her to commit suicide. Hence Sooraj is liable to be punished,” read the CBI’s supplementary charge sheet.The CBI relied on several messages between the two to nail Sooraj. It also conducted certain psychological tests on him. The test reports from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Navi Mumbai, showed his statements to be incomplete and fabricated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”From the psychological assessment and behavioral analysis, it may be inferred that Sooraj is hiding some information… and did not want to disclose some content of his last argument with the deceased, that may have caused her death,” the charge sheet said.The reports also said that it has been inferred that hand- written notes or letters of the deceased showed her mental status.The agency said that the two were in contact with each other since September 2012 and used to stay together till her death- – for nearly 10 months. They were also having physical relationship, it said.”Investigations have revealed that the deceased used to clean the room of Sooraj, and used to iron his clothes. She also used to clean and arrange the dining table, purchase decorative articles for the living room and the bedroom of Sooraj, whenever she used to stay with him in his flat in Shanti Bhawan. Jiah had also presented several valuable gifts to Sooraj,” the charge sheet said.A note written by Jiah establishes that Sooraj had ruined her life, it said. The false promises given by Sooraj to Jiah, as mentioned in the note, said: “You promised me one; we made it to one year. We would get engaged.”

Ministry of AYUSH to integrate allopathic and traditional forms of medicine

Speaking to dna, Director General of the ICMR, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said that there was much government encouragement to find ways of integrating allopathic and traditional forms of medicine. ICMR, she said would be responsible for generating and collecting sound data and evidence.

Bringing traditional medicine into the domain of allopathic science, the ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) has announced several projects looking into its “efficacy” in various ailments. In Parliament, minister for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik said that the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy had undertaken clinical studies on “chikungunya and influenza like illnesses” and the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda Sciences (CCRAS) and Central Council for Research in Unani Medicines(CCRUM) had signed MOUs with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for joint collaborative projects on Ayurvedic and Unani formulations related to treatment of Dengue and Tuberculosis (TB) respectively.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to dna, Director General of the ICMR, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said that there was much government encouragement to find ways of integrating allopathic and traditional forms of medicine. ICMR, she said would be responsible for generating and collecting sound data and evidence.The MOU with the Unani council was signed two years ago under the aegis of the then DG, VM Katoch, who had written to all other institutions to cooperate. Swaminathan, then Director at the National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis, had held meetings with the Unani council to go over the compounds they said might help in TB.”However, we decided that the treatment for tuberculosis had to be allopathic,” said Swaminathan. What Unani could offer was relief with side effects, help build a patient’s appetite, weight, make their jaundiced liver healthier.This resulted in formulations of protocols and, so far, trials are being carried for the safety of these unani formulations in “animal models”. The next step will be to test the interaction of the formulations with existing TB drugs, on volunteers. If that goes well, then the trials will move to giving these formulations to TB patients.”The dengue project is recent and came about after the recent outbreak,” said Swaminathan. she recounted that the Ayurveda council had advertised a list of herbal remedies for dengue during the outbreak, and Swaminathan spoke to Ayush officials about validating these remedies. “If they work then we can out them out in a global market,” she said.Due to this conversation, two teams comprising allopathic and ayurvedic professionals were set up to, again, form protocols and chart a way of carrying out these studies in allopathic hospitals. “Currently it’s in the preliminary stages and we’re looking at four to five hospitals across India to test certain ayurvedic formulations. Right now they’re testing the batches for purity and quality,” said Swaminathan. After this, they need to approach the ethics committee.”Ayurveda hasn’t offered a cure for dengue, but increased symptomatic relief,” she added saying that maybe antiviral activity could be observed in these formulations. “We need to have such clinical trials, similar to how siddha medicine is being tested in a lab in Chennai for antiviral activities.”

Discussed all issues with Centre, says Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought adequate Central funds for the state during her stay in Delhi.

Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said she has discussed all the major issues concerning the state with the Central government during her visit to the national capital.”Tea, jute, flood, drought – we had talked about all issues,” Banerjee said at the NSCB International Airport on her return from Delhi. “We will say what we will have to say. This is our right.Bengal is a state of India. (But Bengal is being discriminated against,” she said. Banerjee called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought adequate Central funds for the state during her stay in Delhi. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Varanasi admin asked to make emergency plan ahead of PM Modi’s visit

Four more ADGPs have been deployed for the PM’s visit.

Narendra Modi

The administration in Varanasi has been asked to remain alert and chalk a contingency plan keeping in view the weather condition ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s visit there on December 12. “Though the weather was fine today, but keeping in view the forecast by different agencies that fog could occur in the next two days, Varanasi administration has been directed to remain alert and chalk a contingency plan for landing and other programmes,” IG (law and order) A Satish Ganesh told reporters. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Four more ADGPs have been deployed for the PM’s visit. A rehersal would be held tomorrow after which the officers would be briefed, he said. Uttar Pradesh Home Department has already requested the Centre to give it 15 companies of Central Para Military Force for the security of the Prime Minister.

Sanitation programmes have failed to achieve targets: CAG

The CAG has also recommended ensuring data integrity which alone can provide reliable periodic status check and timely remedial measures.

The CAG pointed out that while the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched by the Prime Minister on October 2, 2014 with an aim of 100 per cent open defecation free India by 2019, before this similar targets for eradication of open defecation were set out for 2012, revised to 2017 and again set out for 2022.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The country’s sanitation programmes have failed to achieve the desired targets largely due to planning level weaknesses even as large-scale diversions, wastages and irregularities were detected, the CAG said on Tuesday.”…audit clearly reveals the failure of the sanitation programmes in achieving the envisaged targets,” the CAG report on performance audit of total sanitation campaign/Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan tabled in Parliament said.The CAG pointed out that while the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched by the Prime Minister on October 2, 2014 with an aim of 100 per cent open defecation free India by 2019, before this similar targets for eradication of open defecation were set out for 2012, revised to 2017 and again set out for 2022.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The conceptual frame-work kept changing from supply driven to demand driven and finally to ‘saturation and convergence’ approach, yet the lessons learnt and experimentations through this long journey do not seem to have made much impact on the sanitation status in the country,” the country’s top auditor said.The CAG said its audit has brought out planning level weaknesses which were critical for the success of programme. Nearly Rs 10,000 crore was spent on the rural sanitation programme by the Central government in the five years covered by audit and large scale diversions, wastages and irregularities were noted, it said.”More than 30 per cent of individual household latrines were defunct/non-functional for reasons like poor quality of construction, incomplete structure, non- maintenance,” it pointed out.It said unless implementation is based on realistic planning and is backed by large scale information, education and communication campaigns to bring about behavioural changes in the target population and overall governance at the grass root level improves, mere deployment of resources may not have any significant impact. The CAG has also recommended ensuring data integrity which alone can provide reliable periodic status check and timely remedial measures. It said convergence with related programmes like NRHM is necessary and an effective mechanism for independent evaluations is required to achieve desired goal of Swachh Bharat.The first structured programme for rural sanitation, the Central Rural Sanitation Programme, was started in 1986. Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) was started with the main objective of providing access to toilets to all by 2012 and providing sanitation facilities for all schools and anganwadis by March 2013.In 2012, TSC was further transformed in Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) with modified objective of achieving the vision of Nirmal Bharat by 2022 thus effectively shifting the sanitation targets by nearly a decade, the report pointed out. P

Top Himachal BJP leaders to meet PM Modi today, seek Virbhadra Singh’s ouster

Virbhadra had said on Monday that the CBI was acting as a tool of Central government, but he was not bothered and has full faith in the judiciary.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Top leadership of Himachal Pradesh BJP, including Union minister JP Nadda and BJYM president Anurag Thakur, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday seeking ouster of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.Party spokesperson Ganesh Dutt said, “The appointment of the meeting with the PM has been fixed at 2 PM and the party leaders will apprise him of the corruption charges faced by Himachal Chief Minister and FIR registered against him by the CBI and ED.”All six MPs from Himachal – Union Health minister JP Nadda, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president Anurag Thakur, former chief minister Shanta Kumar, party general secretary and incharge of Himachal wing Srikant Sharma, leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly PK Dhumal and state BJP chief Satpal Sigh Satti – will meet Modi over the issue and impress upon the fact that Virbhadra’s continuation in office could hamper and influence the investigations, Dutt said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Virbhadra had said on Monday that the CBI was acting as a tool of Central government, but he was not bothered and has full faith in the judiciary.

National Herald Case: Congress steps up attack on government; accuses it of indulging in ‘dirty politics’

“Since the government came into power, two laws have become applicable in the nation. One law is for the ministers, Chief Minister and associates of the BJP and another law is for the Opposition of the nation, be it the Congress, the TMC or the BSP,” he said.

Extremely upset over the latest developments in the National Herald Case, the Congress on Tuesday stepped up its attack on the BJP-led NDA Government and accused the ruling dispensation of indulging in ‘dirty politics’.”There is a dirty politics department of the BJP and the ruling dispensation, which has been unleashed to target the Opposition. How can there be double standards or double yardsticks when it comes to invoking the law of the land,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told the media here.Sharma, who is the deputy leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, further said the central ministers have never been probed in connection with the money laundering cases.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There are serious allegations against the Chief Ministers of the BJP-ruled states- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. But the Prime Minister and the government feel that they are above the law and no action should be there,” he added.He alleged that the government does not believe in the rule of law as it has targeted a non-profitable company.Echoing similar sentiments, another Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the BJP of playing politics on this case.”Since the government came into power, two laws have become applicable in the nation. One law is for the ministers, Chief Minister and associates of the BJP and another law is for the Opposition of the nation, be it the Congress, the TMC or the BSP,” he said.Azad claimed that dictatorship is prevailing in the nation and democracy has ended.”We are not disrupting the House, we are lodging our protest and this is the forum. Democracy of this country is in danger. So, we want to endanger the democracy of the country,” he added.He asserted the Congress Party has great respect and regard for the judicial system and judicial procedures.Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi asserted that it was complete case of ‘political vendetta’ by the Centre and said that he would give an answer over the charges levelled at him in this case in the Parliament.”I will react to this when I go to the Parliament tomorrow. I absolutely see a case of political vendetta and this is the way the Central Government functions. They think they can do vendetta politics and stop me from asking questions, but I won’t. I will keep putting pressure on them, keep asking questions and do my job,” Rahul told the media in Puducherry.Congress president Sonia Gandhi also broke her silence and stood her ground asserting that she was not afraid.”Why should I be scared of anyone? I am Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law, I am not scared of anyone,” she told reporters.

Extreme babus! Central govt employees can now take part in adventure sports at taxpayers’ expense

To foster the spirit of risk-taking and team work, the Modi government has asked the 50 lakh central government employees to participate in adventure sports

Central government employees can now go skiing in the sylvan surroundings of Gulmarg or rock climbing in Manali, all while enjoying a special casual leave granted by the government which will also bear the expenses for their outing.To foster the spirit of risk-taking and team work, the Modi government has asked the 50 lakh central government employees to participate in adventure sports. The measure was also aimed at tackling “the alarming situation of stress and impact of sedentary life” on them. “It would create and foster spirit of risk taking, cooperative team work, capacity of readiness and vital response to challenging situations and endurance,” an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the scheme, the DoPT will sponsor programmes for five to seven days by six institutes–including Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir, National Institute of Water Sports, Vasco da Gama, Goa and Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi–for this purpose.The activities under the programme will include trekking, mountaineering, rock-climbing, cycling in a difficult terrain, skiing, surfing, boat sailing, snorkeling, rafting, parasailing, ballooning, paragliding, jungle safari, desert safari, beach trekking and environmental awareness camps.An expense of upto Rs 20,000 will be reimbursed by the government, besides grant of special casual leave to the employees to help them participate in these activities, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training on Friday said.Financial assistance of 100 per cent of programme fee would be provided in a calendar year to two officials of each ministry or department who have been awarded for excellence in service and nominated for the programme.

Govt prepared for future Chennai-like rains: Mahesh Sharma

Chennai Airport terminal is still facing power problems as the basement remains flooded.

PTI
Minister of State for Culture and Tourism and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma on Sunday said that after witnessing the torrential rains and having dealt with the situation now, the Indian Government is prepared to deal with such deadly deluges in the future.”We knew there would be heavy rains, but no one expected such a deluge. But having dealt with the state of affairs now, we are prepared. The Indian Government is also ready in case such a situation rises again in the future,” Sharma told ANI. Talking about the Chennai Airport being active again, Sharma said that the runway was cleared, fully operational and added that commercial flights have already begun their services.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The DGCA gave its clearance after checking the runway on which some flights were made to land on a trial basis yesterday, he added. However, the airport terminal is still facing power problems as the basement remains flooded.”The entire power backup is in the basement which is filled with water and that’s why there is such a problem. But now power is being provided to the terminal through an alternate route and its running on generator,” Sharma said.Meanwhile, Chennai Central resumed its services and trains have begun operating successfully and the schedules are expected to return to normal from tomorrow.The first train of the day, Chennai Central- Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Andaman express, left Chennai Central at 5:15 am.

Chennai floods: Railways to run special trains to help stranded passengers

However, trains continued to be cancelled in large numbers and tracks remain submerged in many places.

PTI
With the waters receding slowly in some areas in Tamil Nadu, the Railways have increased their deployment to rescue stranded people, with around 10 to 20 special trains running everyday, evacuating people in large numbers.”The water has receded in some areas in Chennai and we are repairing the damages in tracks and bridges. We are using more of the special trains and are planning a massive deployment. We ran 22 special trains yesterday and have planned 10 special trains today. Additional coaches are on standby for the specials,” Railways Public Relations Officer Anil Saxena told ANI. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, trains continued to be cancelled in large numbers and tracks remain submerged in many places.”Even though the special trains are doing well, we hope that by evening we can restore long distance trains. Chennai Central still remains waterlogged, which is making things difficult. Around 130 trains had to be cancelled today and we have cancelled around 500 trains till now,” Saxena added. Around 66,000 people have been rescued through the special trains and food, drinking water and medicines are also being distributed in large number, while railway engineers and technicians are working hard to normalise the situation and provide rescue and relief to stranded passengers, he added. Meanwhile, in a positive note for stranded passengers, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said that commercial flights are expected to begin their services after December 6, once power is restored in the airport.”We started technical flights yesterday, but resuming commercial flights services will take time as the airport basement remains flooded and there is no power supply. We expect commercial flight services to resume after December 6,” Sharma told ANI.With the torrential rains having slowed down to light showers, rescue ops and relief works have intensified as the NDRF and the Navy are taking advantage of the situation to help the stranded people.

Rajiv Gandhi killers to stay in jail

It ruled that the Centre has “primacy” over states’ right to grant remission in the cases investigated by the CBI or central agency like NIA, and state governments must get “concurrence” of the Central government before freeing convicts in certain cases.

Rajiv Gandhi

Seven convicts undergoing life imprisonment for assassinating former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi will remain in jail as the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that the Tamil Nadu government cannot unilaterally remit their sentences without consulting the Centre as the cases were investigated by CBI. It ruled that the Centre has “primacy” over states’ right to grant remission in the cases investigated by the CBI or central agency like NIA, and state governments must get “concurrence” of the Central government before freeing convicts in certain cases.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A five-judge bench, which settled questions arising out of Tamil Nadu government’s decision to free killers of Gandhi, dealt elaborately with the situations where the Centre will prevail over states’ decision to grant remission. The Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, who demitted office on Wednesday, also said that states cannot exercise “suo motu” the power to grant remission without any specific plea from the convicts. “…it is always safe and appropriate to hold that in those situations covered by sub-clauses (a) to (c) of Section 435(1) falling within the jurisdiction of the Central Government it will assume primacy and consequently the process of ‘Consultation’ in reality be held as the requirement of ‘Concurrence’,” the court said in its 258 page verdict. On February 18, 2014, the apex court had commuted death sentence of three convicts, Murugan, Santhan, Periarivalan. The next day, the Tamil Nadu government ordered the release of all the seven life convicts, including four others who were undergoing life term. The Centre rushed to the court on February 20, 2014 and had their release stayed.

Tamil Nadu govt does not have power to release Rajiv Gandhi’s killers: Supreme Court

New Delhi: Dampening hopes of release for the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the Centre has “primacy” over states’ right to grant remission and referred the issue of clemency for the assassins to a three-judge bench.

Virtually overturning the Tamil Nadu government’s clemency decision, it also said the state governments must secure “concurrence” of the Union government before freeing convicts in certain cases.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

A five-judge bench, which settled questions arising out of Tamil Nadu government’s decision to free Gandhi’s assassins, dealt elaborately with the situations where the Centre will prevail over states’ decision to grant remission which included cases where their powers are coextensive, where trial has been held under central laws or conducted by agencies like CBI, or when they pertain to death penalty.

The Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, who demitted office today, also said that states cannot exercise “suo motu” the power to grant remission without any specific plea from the convicts.

“Having regard to the principles culled out in paragraph…, it is imperative that it is always safe and appropriate to hold that in those situations covered by sub-clauses (a) to (c) of Section 435(1) falling within the jurisdiction of the Central Government it will assume primacy and consequently the process of ‘Consultation’ in reality be held as the requirement of ‘Concurrence’,” the court said in its 258 page verdict.

The bench, also comprising justices F M I Kalifulla, P C Ghosh, A M Sapre and U U Lalit, was unanimous in answering all questions referred to it by a smaller bench, except one which related to the issue whether courts can quantify jail term in offences and consequently stop the states from remitting sentences in certain cases under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The bench also ordered that the case relating to the grant of remission to the killers of Gandhi be sent to a three-judge bench to deal with it in pursuance of guidelines laid down in the judgement.

“Now that we have answered the Reference in the matters, the matters will now be listed before an appropriate three learned Judges’ Bench for appropriate orders and directions in the light of the majority Judgement of this Court,” the Chief Justice said.

The court dealt extensively with questions as to whether the Section 432(7) of CrPC gives “primacy” to the Centre over states where either of two can exercise the power of remission and whether there can be two appropriate governments in a given case under the provision.

“The status of appropriate government, whether Union or the State Government, will depend upon the order of sentence passed by the Criminal Court as has been stipulated in Section 432(6)

“…..and, in the event of specific Executive Power conferred on the Centre under a law made by Parliament or under the Constitution itself, then in the event of conviction and sentence covered by the said law of Parliament or the provisions of the Constitution even if the Legislature of the State is also empowered to make a law on the same subject and coextensive, the Appropriate Government will be the Union Government having regard to the prescription contained in the proviso to Article 73(1)(a) of the Constitution,” it said.

The court dealt with instances where cases are registered under either state laws or the central laws and laid down the test to determine as to who will prevail and under which circumstances.

“The definition, therefore, makes it clear that insofar as it relates to commutation of death sentence, the Appropriate Government is the Central Government. That apart, if the sentence of death or life is for an offence against any law relating to a matter to which the Executive Power of the Union extends, then again, the ‘Appropriate Government’ is the Central Government,” it said.

Applying the principle stated in an apex court decision, the bench said that in other words, cases which fall within “the four corners of Section 432(7)(a) by virtue of specific Executive Power conferred on the Centre”, the Union government will have the “primacy” and would be treated as “appropriate government” having power to grant remission.

“Barring cases falling under Section 432(7)(a), in all other cases where the offender is sentenced or the sentence order is passed within the territorial jurisdiction of the concerned State, the state government,” it said. The apex court had on February 20 last year stayed the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release three convicts -Murugan, Santhan and Arivu, whose death sentence had been commuted to life term by it two days before. The Supreme Court had later also stayed the release of four other convicts — Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, saying there were procedural lapses on part of the state government.

Santhan, Murugan and Arivu are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore. The other four are also undergoing life sentence for their role in Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.

The Center had asserted that the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi did nor deserve any mercy as the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving foreign nationals.

The Tamil Nadu government, on other had, had asserted the states have power to grant remission under the law and trashed accusations that its decision to release the seven convicts was “political and arbitrary”.

PTI

Chennai floods: 4 trains between Tamil Nadu, Kerala cancelled

he Chennai-Egmore-Thiruvananthapuram Ananthapuri Express and Chennai Egmore-Guruvayoor Express and their pairing trains have been cancelled, the railways said in a release here.

With heavy rains in Chennai leaving tracks inundated, Southern Railways today cancelled at least four trains between the Tamil Nadu state capital and Kerala. The Chennai-Egmore-Thiruvananthapuram Ananthapuri Express and Chennai Egmore-Guruvayoor Express and their pairing trains have been cancelled, the railways said in a release here.Meanwhile, the Kanyakumari-Bangalore Express, which was scheduled to leave Kanyakumari at 12.10 hours today, has been rescheduled to start at 1600 hours today as the pairing train is running late, the release added. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related read: Chennai floods: Here are the helpline numbers from South Central Railway Also read: Chennai floods: Here is the list of 12 trains cancelled by South Central Railway

Chennai floods – Officials on the job to restore power supply: Piyush Goyal

“PowerGrid and other central ministry and PSU officials have reached Chennai to be in control room and in the field. Working to restore full power,” Goyal tweeted.

A central team and officials from transmission utility PowerGrid have reached Chennai and are working to restore full power supply in the flooded city, Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said. “PowerGrid and other central ministry and PSU officials have reached Chennai to be in control room and in the field. Working to restore full power,” Goyal tweeted.”We stand with the people of Chennai and Tamil Nadu during the Chennai floods. Have directed my officials to provide all possible assistance to the state.” <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chennai today turned into a virtual island as several coastal areas of Tamil Nadu remained marooned after heavy rains pounded the city, its suburbs and neighbouring districts, cutting off crucial road and rail links, shutting the airport and rendering thousands homeless.

Chennai floods: Here are the helpline numbers from South Central Railway

The SCR has set up the following Help Line Numbers at various major stations to provide information to the passengers and minimise inconvenience.

PTI
Heavy rains and water overflowing above the danger level at Railway Bridges in Chennai-Gudur section has impacted the movement of normal train services following which the South Central Railway has cancelled 12 trains and assured full refunds of fare for the same. “Due to unforeseen circumstances such as breach or flood, the ticket is surrendered within three days excluding the scheduled day of departure of the train full refunds of fare shall be granted,” tweeted South Central Railway (SCR).The SCR has set up the following Help Line Numbers at various major stations to provide information to the passengers and minimise inconvenience.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here are the helpline numbers:Secunderabad : 040-27786170 (On PF No:1)040-27700868, 040-27786539, (On PF No:10)Vijayawada : 0866 2575038Guntur : 0863-2222014Gudur : 7842307029

GST will not make common man’s life any better that soon

GST is a system which is largely going to benefit business entities. For manufacturers and service-providers, GST means a pan-India market.

Even if the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill is passed and the new system is implemented from April 1, 2016, the common man will have to wait 4-5 years to enjoy its benefits. GST is a system which is largely going to benefit business entities. For manufacturers and service-providers, GST means a pan-India market. S Dutt Majumder, former Central Board of Excise and Customs chairman, told dna: “Overall, the compliance cost of business will go down. Hence, prices will also go down”. But this chain process will take 4-5 years to reach out to consumers. The soul of GST is its unique credit share. There would be a credit chain that wouldn’t be broken.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Anyone who pays tax on the inputs of either goods or services will have it set off against tax liability on the finished goods and final service. This is called input tax credit or ITC. Service tax, which constitutes 60% of the economy, may jump from 14-18% till GST is implemented. In the GST regime, there would not be a cascading effect. Take, for example, a mineral water bottle. Once the bottle is out of the factory gates, state governments step in and impose state VAT. If a bottle price is Rs 100, and excise duty and service tax is Rs 10 each, the price of the bottle becomes Rs 120. On that Rs 120, state governments collects 10% value added tax (VAT). The final price of the bottle then becomes Rs 132 (100+20+12=132). Manufacturers should have got a tax credit of Rs 20. Now, since the tax is paid to the centre, the state will not repay that money to them. GST is a consumption-based tax. It is based on the “destination principle.” GST is applied on goods and services at the place where the final consumption takes place. It is collected on value-added goods and services at each stage of sale or purchase in the supply chain. GST paid on the procurement of goods and services can be set off against that payable on the supply of goods or services. The manufacturer or wholesaler or retailer will pay the applicable GST rate but will claim it back through the tax credit mechanism. Being the last person in the supply chain, the end-consumer has to bear this tax. Though this is the case even today for all indirect taxes, the difference under the GST is that with the streamlining of multiple taxes, the final cost to the customer will be lower on the elimination of double-charging in the system.

Janlokpal Bil: Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan detained with supporters outside Delhi Assembly

Bhushan claimed that they were detained on orders of the Delhi Assembly Speaker who had directed the police that the protestors should not be allowed to march to the gate of the Assembly where the Janlokpal Bill was tabled by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia .

Prashant Bhushan

Expelled AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan were on Monday detained along with their supporters as they staged a protest over the Janlopkal Bill outside the Delhi Assembly alleging that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had “diluted” the anti-graft measure.”Those who claimed to be messiah of the Janlokpal movement are themselves killing it,” Yadav said as he led the protestors who had gathered under the aegis of Swaraj Abhiyan accompanied by Bhushan and Anand Kumar. DCP North Madhur Verma said, “Yadav, Bhushan and 150 protestors were detained and have been taken to the Maurice Nagar police station.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhushan claimed that they were detained on orders of the Delhi Assembly Speaker who had directed the police that the protestors should not be allowed to march to the gate of the Assembly where the Janlokpal Bill was tabled by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia . On the Janlokpal bill, Bhushan said the 2015 bill was different from the 2014 one in several aspects and claimed that the 2015 bill gave more say in appointment and removal of Lokpal.”The Bill has a provision of investigating Central government employees and the Centre will not allow this. Then Kejriwal will play a victim card. The 2014 Bill did not have the provision of investigating the Union government officials,” Yadav said. The AAP had shot back saying Bhushan should join the BJP for “shielding” Central government employees by opposing the clause.Referring to Kejriwal hugging RJD President Lalu Prasad during the oath taking ceremony of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Yadav said, “They (Kejriwal supporters) were saying nothing happens in shaking hands or hugging as it is political courtesy. Today, we see what happened due to that.” “Four years ago we were against the arrogance of the government and we do that even today. Please don’t forget that if the people bursted Narendra Modi, Manmohan Singh and Kapil Sibal bubble, they can also burst smaller bubbles,” he added.The protestors today carried placards saying, ‘Those who betray people are scared of an open public debate’, a day after Bhushan had dared Kejriwal for an open debate on the Janlokpal bill.

Uddhav Thackeray assures help to drought-affected farmers in Marathwada

The Sena leader is visiting farmers affected by crop loss due to drought, unseasonal rains and hailstorm in Parbhani, Jalna and Nanded districts.

“Shiv Sena will give Rs 10,000 to each affected farmer,” he said.

File Photo
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said his party will stand firmly behind the farmers affected by drought in various parts of Maharashtra. “We will also take care of education of children of the drought-hit farmers,” Thackeray, who is on a visit of the drought-hit areas of Marathwada, said in Parbhani district of the region. The Sena leader is in Marathwada today to disburse financial assistance to the affected farmers. “Shiv Sena will give Rs 10,000 to each affected farmer,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Sena leader is visiting farmers affected by crop loss due to drought, unseasonal rains and hailstorm in Parbhani, Jalna and Nanded districts. “He will also give essential items to each affected family. The effort is to help them mitigate their difficulties and overcome them. They should not contemplate suicide,” a party leader said. Thackeray visited some of the affected villages in October and distributed financial help, food grains and sweets for Diwali festival and also agriculture equipment to the affected farmers and the kin of suicide victims.During the present visit, Sena MLAs will also meet and interact with affected farmers, besides visiting the affected lands in these areas. They will also meet the revenue and agriculture officers including district collectors, zilla parishad chief executive officers, tehsildars and block development officers.The team will also examine the measures taken by the state/Central governments to tackle the drought condition, like deployment of water tankers, works under Employment Gurantee Scheme and others programmes along with the works under the Jalyukata Shivar Scheme.

Mumbai Central chawl dwellers take redevelopment upon themselves

What’s more, even the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has agreed to accept their proposal. The property in question is a Bombay Improvement Trust (BIT) chawl.

The BIT chawl in Mumbai Central
Emmanual Karbhari

Redevelopment is DIY (Do It Yourself) stuff. Over 1,000 residents from a Mumbai Central chawl are getting ready to show us all how. When they do it, it will be real-estate history.Fed up with dubious developers, cheating, forgery and delays, the residents have decided to redevelop the Bellasis Road property on their own.What’s more, even the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has agreed to accept their proposal. The property in question is a Bombay Improvement Trust (BIT) chawl.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have been struggling with developers for almost a decade. So, we thought of this move. We will submit our proposal to the BMC soon, along with the consent of residents,” said activist Santosh Daundkar of the BIT Chawl Seva Sangh. The residents have called for a special general body meeting on Sunday.Most of the 1,074 tenants, occupying 19 buildings, have lived here for generations and don’t want to leave the prime locality.”Of the 19, three buildings are occupied by policemen and three others by BMC staffers. Once we get formal approval, we will go for tendering and redevelop the property in a transparent manner. Each tenant will also get a corpus fund of around Rs 6 lakh. We will appoint a top firm to undertake the redevelopment,” Daundkar said. Normally, when a developer undertakes redevelopment, tenants only get a bigger flat and no profits. In this case, the redevelopment firm will only charge a flat rate, leaving the profits for the tenants.Right now, there are common toilets on each floor.After redevelopment, each tenant, owning a 180 sq-ft room, will get a one-room self-contained flat of 500 sq ft.The residents are aided by structural engineer Chandrashekhar and IPS-officer-turned-lawyer YP Singh, who will look after the legal aspects.”Tenants can even make a good profit if they redevelop the chawl themselves. There will be no illegalities or irregularities, which is, usually, the case when developers step in,” Singh said.BMC officials said that a society of residents could redevelop a chawl. “The redevelopment will happen under Section 33(7) of the Development Control Rules. If their proposal fits the bill and gets 70% consent, they can redevelop. However, other developers will also be eligible. It will be open to all,” said Kishore Kshirsagar, deputy municipal commissioner (estates).The redevelopment of the massive complex has been mired in controversy, with allegations of corruption and bogus documents being raised.”Redevelopment of other BIT chawls is also stuck due to developers,” said Daundkar.”If our project is successful, it will set a new trend. Tenants in other societies will also go for self-redevelopment, instead of being at the mercy of developers,” he said.Hope developers are listening.

Indrani had snatched Sheena away from Rahul, Peter Mukerjea told domestic help

Peter Mukerjea

Pradeep Waghmare, a domestic help at Indrani’s residence in Worli, on Saturday threw more clues into the Sheena Bora murder case.In his statement, Waghmare told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that he had visited Indrani’s flat for some cleaning work on April 25, 2012, a day after the murder. Sheena Bora was allegedly murdered by her mother and former TV honcho Indrani Mukerjea. Both Indrani and her husband Peter Mukerjea are accused in the case.The flat was empty for some time. Indrani, her daughter Vidhie and Peter were in London, and they had returned to Mumbai on April 23.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The security guard of the building, he said, told him that Rahul had come there many times inquiring about Sheena and had created a ruckus. “Inside the flat, I saw a number of containers packed with food items in a decomposed condition in the kitchen and a bad odour was coming. In the toilet, a nightie was found lying on the floor. Half-consumed water bottles were also found in the kitchen, but I do not know if it was mixed with Vodka. I saw a new pair of men’s chappals. I showed it to madame and she instructed me to immediately throw it out,” he said.Waghmare, who was working in Star India, where Peter was the CEO, started working as a domestic help at Indrani’s residence in late 2005. On Sheena’s and Indrani’s relationship, Waghmare said: “In 2011-12, when I was asked to transfer a computer and an air-conditioner from Sheena Bora’s residence in Andheri, Indrani’s secretary Kajal Sharma told me that Sheena was Indrani’s sister.”He said he came to know the truth only in 2013-14, when Mikhail Bora used to be in touch with him. He said he didn’t disclose it to anyone fearing Indrani. Mikhail used to call him to inquire about his parent’s bank accounts and some financial transactions. Once in April 2012, Waghmare says Peter called him on the phone and asked him in Hindi whether Rahul had come (to the Worli flat). “I told him, yes, he had come.” Waghmare said Peter then told him: “Madame had snatched Sheena away from Rahul, but don’t bother”. He claimed Indrani was very close to her driver, Shyamvar Rai. The statement then talks about Waghmare informing Indrani and Peter about the ruckus created by Rahul outside the building. “I first informed Indrani about the ruckus. She was keen to know my response. I told her that I told Rahul that I was instructed by Indrani to not visit the flat for the next three days, and, hence, I was not aware about Sheena’s whereabouts. Later, Peter asked me as to what happened. When I told him about the incident, sahab told me that madam had snatched Sheena from Rahul,” said Waghmare.

Woman commuter harassed on train tweets incident, Suresh Prabhu provides immediate help

“@RailMinIndia plz plz help in train no 18030. One male passenger harassing me at Shegaon. I am in train and terrified,” she tweeted.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

A woman passenger travelling alone on an outstation train in Maharashtra was immediately attended to by authorities after she sought help through a tweet directed to the twitter handle of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, a senior Central Railway officer said on Saturday.The commuter, identified as Namrata Mahajan, had posted the tweet, which was directed to Prabhu’s handle @RailMinIndia, at 6.59 PM while she was passing through Shegaon railway station on Friday.”@RailMinIndia plz plz help in train no 18030. One male passenger harassing me at Shegaon. I am in train and terrified,” she tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Central Railway chief PRO, Narendra Patil said a senior officer, Ved Prakash, immediately noted the tweet and contacted him to do the needful to help the woman. “But she (Mahajan) has not given full details of the train she was travelling in. So a reply seeking details of her train and her berth position was sent to her twitter handle.She was also asked to contact security helpline number 182 which she did after sometime and also gave details about her position via twitter,” said Patil who had by then alerted DRM Bhusaval to get ready to address a passenger in distress. As the train reached Bhusaval railway station in 40 minutes, Mahajan was immediately attended by RPF jawans, he said.Relieved after getting the swift assistance, Mahajan thanked the minister. “@RailMinIndia sir help reached to me. Thanks a lot sir,” she tweeted.When asked why Mahajan felt distressed, Patil said, “the man had a wait-listed ticket and his behaviour and body language did not seem to be decent and since Mahajan was travelling alone, she felt terrified”.The male passenger was shifted to another coach as he had a valid ticket. Patil also appealed to passengers to dial the national security helpline number 182 in case of any emergency.

Sheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea undergoes lie-detector test

New Delhi: Former media baron Peter Mukerjea underwent a lie-detector test on staurday in connection with the three-year old sensational murder of his step daughter Sheena Bora.

CBI sources said several questions about the crime, his conversations with his wife Indrani Mukerjea and his own statements were put to him during the test by CBI officials at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory.

They said there were some questions where there were indications of “deception”.

PTIPTI

PTI

The agency has received the nod from a special court here to subject Peter to polygraph tests.

The agency will have to produce Peter before a special court in Mumbai on Monday which has given it his custody.

CBI has subjected Mukerjea to intense questioning since 19 November when he was taken into custody which ranged from alleged siphoning off funds from the media house founded by him and Indrani, overseas account of Sheena Bora, relations between family members, missing details of Sheena and his conversations with his son Rahul.

The sources claimed that on many accounts his answers were purportedly not convincing and changing which prompted CBI to put him to polygraph test.

PTI

Sheena Bora murder: CBI to conduct polygraph test on Peter Mukerjea

The CBI has sought Interpol’s help to gather information about the bank accounts in Singapore and Hong Kong since they suspect that Peter and Indrani had allegedly siphoned off nearly 900 crores there.

CBI to conduct polygraph test on Peter Mukerjea
File Photo

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was on Friday granted permission by a Delhi court to conduct a polygraph test on Peter Mukerjea, taking the investigation further in the Sheena Bora murder case, according to Hindustan Times.A CBI source said, “A Delhi court has granted its permission to our request for conducting a polygraph test on Peter Mukerjea and it will be done by Monday. Peter has not been forthcoming about the details connected to the crime and the polygraph test may help establish the truth.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to probe the suspected ‘financial motive’, the agency is accessing their East Asian accounts, seven Indian bank accounts allegedly held by Peter and his wife Indrani Mukerjea and ownership details of two alleged assets in Spain and UK. “The agency is scrutinising the transactions of the couple’s seven bank accounts, which they control jointly or alone, for any suspected inflow or outflow of funds during the months just before and after April 2012,” added the source.The CBI has sought Interpol’s help to gather information about the bank accounts in Singapore and Hong Kong since they suspect that Peter and Indrani had allegedly siphoned off nearly 900 crores there, they would also examine if the accounts there were in Sheena’s name to park laundered money. The CBI would question Peter about its finding that the couple had allegedly “contacted the Mumbai police to seek Sheena’s whereabouts,” after the murder.

Villagers in Varanasi blame Coca-Cola plant for water scarcity

New Delhi: Eighteen village councils in Uttar Pradesh are demanding a local Coca-Cola bottling plant be prohibited from extracting water from the ground, claiming its over usage has led to water scarcity in the area, said an environmental campaign group.

The villages, which are located in Mehdiganj area of Varanasi district — the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — claim they have been facing water shortages since 1999 when the plant began operations.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“Elected village council heads represent the voice of the people, and they are clear that Coca-Cola is not welcome in Mehdiganj. It is time for Coca-Cola to pack up and leave,” said Amit Srivastava of the California-based India Resource Center, which is supporting the village councils.

“Coca-Cola paints a pretty picture of itself internationally as a responsible user of water, but the reality in India is that it exploits groundwater at the expense of the poor, the women, children, farmers and livestock who have to live with less water because Coca-Cola mines groundwater in a water scarce area for profit.”

Mehdiganj is largely agrarian and communities here rely on groundwater to meet most of their needs, including for personal drinking and washing, irrigation and for livestock.

Coca-Cola uses the same groundwater source to meet its production needs — placing it in direct competition with the local community, environmentalists say.

Srivastava said the 18 village councils had written to State Pollution Control Board, which granted a license to Coca-Cola, urging authorities to prohibit the company from extracting any more groundwater in the area.

He also pointed to recent data released by the Central Ground Water Authority which declared Arajiline block, where the bottling plant in located, as “over exploited” in 2011.

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt ltd said a 2012 study by another authority called the Central Ground Water Board into a complaint by villagers of ponds, wells and hand pumps drying up found no evidence that the company was responsible.

“The Central Ground Water Board observed that this depletion was not due to withdrawal of ground water by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd (HCCBPL) plant,” said a company statement emailed to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“The report further mentioned there was a clear trend of water depletion in seven blocks of Varanasi district and particularly in Arajiline block, the rate was higher.”

Despite the decline, the report also said there was enough water in ponds, dug-wells and good crops of wheat and mustard were observed in the fields, the statement added.

Reuters

Varanasi villagers blame Coca-Cola for water scarcity | Reuters

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Eighteen village councils in Uttar Pradesh are demanding a local Coca-Cola bottling plant be prohibited from extracting water from the ground, claiming its over usage has led to water scarcity in the area, said an environmental campaign group.

The villages, which are located in Mehdiganj area of Varanasi district — the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — claim they have been facing water shortages since 1999 when the plant began operations.

“Elected village council heads represent the voice of the people, and they are clear that Coca-Cola is not welcome in Mehdiganj. It is time for Coca-Cola to pack up and leave,” said Amit Srivastava of the California-based India Resource Center, which is supporting the village councils.

“Coca-Cola paints a pretty picture of itself internationally as a responsible user of water, but the reality in India is that it exploits groundwater at the expense of the poor, the women, children, farmers and livestock who have to live with less water because Coca-Cola mines groundwater in a water scarce area for profit.”

Mehdiganj is largely agrarian and communities here rely on groundwater to meet most of their needs, including for personal drinking and washing, irrigation and for livestock. 

Coca-Cola uses the same groundwater source to meet its production needs — placing it in direct competition with the local community, environmentalists say.

Srivastava said the 18 village councils had written to State Pollution Control Board, which granted a license to Coca-Cola, urging authorities to prohibit the company from extracting any more groundwater in the area.

He also pointed to recent data released by the Central Ground Water Authority which declared Arajiline block, where the bottling plant in located, as “over exploited” in 2011.

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt ltd said a 2012 study by another authority called the Central Ground Water Board into a complaint by villagers of ponds, wells and hand pumps drying up found no evidence that the company was responsible.

“The Central Ground Water Board observed that this depletion was not due to withdrawal of ground water by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd (HCCBPL) plant,” said a company statement emailed to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“The report further mentioned there was a clear trend of water depletion in seven blocks of Varanasi district and particularly in Arajiline block, the rate was higher.”

Despite the decline, the report also said there was enough water in ponds, dug-wells and good crops of wheat and mustard were observed in the fields, the statement added.

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, Editing by Ros Russell)

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

Sheena Bora murder case: Delhi court allows CBI to conduct lie-detector test on Peter Mukerjea

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday got permission from a city court to conduct a lie-detector test on former media baron Peter Mukherjea as he was “evasive” and “not cooperating” in the probe into his step-daughter Sheena Bora’s murder.

CBI sources said the agency moved the application in a CBI special court after its officials could not get appropriate and satisfying answers from him during his grilling.

Peter Mukerjea. PTIPeter Mukerjea. PTI

Peter Mukerjea. PTI

The sources said that the test is needed to evaluate whether his revelations are true or he is misleading the agency.

Sources said the agency questioned Mukherjea to ascertain whether funds allegedly siphoned off from the media house founded by him and his wife Indrani Mukherjea were parked in an overseas account of Sheena, her daughter from an earlier marriage.

Mukherjea was also asked if the matter resulted in a dispute between Indrani and her daughter.

As per the sources, the agency also confronted Mukherjea with the Income Tax returns filed by him and Indrani to ascertain their various investments in India and abroad.

The agency has been scrutinising bank accounts held jointly by him and Indrani, arrested for killing Sheena.

The source of money in several accounts, including ones in HDFC, Barclays and Kotak Mahindra, is also being probed.

The agency has identified bank accounts of Indrani and Mukherjea and found that Indrani has over a dozen fixed deposits. Interestingly, in one account, Indrani reportedly had made a fixed deposit of Rs 80 lakh and she opened it after the murder of Sheena.

The agency has earlier said the motive behind the murder was monetary gain.

The CBI had arrested Indrani, her second husband Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Shyamvar Rai for the murder of Sheena.

Indrani, Khanna, and Rai reportedly killed Sheena and disposed off her body. Sheena was allegedly strangled in a car on April 24, 2012 and her body was burnt and dumped in a forest in Raigad, about 84 km from Mumbai, the next day.

IANS

Sheena Bora murder case: CBI gets permission to conduct lie detection test on Peter Mukerjea

Former media baron Peter Mukerjea, who was taken to New Delhi for two days for questioning by senior CBI officials and experts on the financial trail in the Sheena Bora murder case

CBI gets permission from special court here to conduct lie detection test on former media baron Peter Mukerjea in connection with Sheena Bora murder case.Former media baron Peter Mukerjea, who was taken to New Delhi for two days for questioning by senior CBI officials and experts on the financial trail in the Sheena Bora murder case, was brought to Mumbai yesterday as his CBI custody ends today. He was produced in a magistrate court later today where the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to seek his custody to further question him in connection with the sensational murder case. Peter, husband of Indrani Mukerjea, was arrested on November 19 and granted CBI custody till today by a special court in Mumbai.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sheena (24) was Indrani’s daughter from an earlier marriage who was allegedly killed by her mother, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai in April 2012.Earlier, Peter was evasive during his interrogation by CBI team in New Delhi which grilled him for several hours after he was shifted from Mumbai in connection with the case. The CBI has claimed financial transaction as the motive behind Sheena’s murder and that Peter during his interrogation disclosed investments of crores of rupees made by him and Indrani.The central agency has also claimed that it has come across some important information and documents which are very crucial for the purpose of investigation with regard to the case.With agency inputs

Drought-hit India’s quest for water hampered by rice cultivation

Water table drops to depth of nearly 100 m in some states | Water-intensive crops and back-to-back droughts to blame | Local officials impose rules to address shortages

Representational image

AFP
Pleas by local Indian officials for farmers to switch from rice to oilseeds and pulses and protect dangerously low water levels are falling on deaf ears, and may be further undermined by government policies encouraging cultivation of thirsty crops.Back-to-back droughts for the first time in nearly 30 years mean some rural areas in the north are running out of water for human consumption and agriculture, prompting warnings of serious consequences if urgent action is not taken.”It is unlikely that India will have another drought next year; three years in a row has never happened before,” said Ashok Gulati, a farm economist who advised the last government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”But with extreme events increasing due to climate change, you never know. If we don’t wake up now then, God forbid, people will leave farming to become labourers at railways stations.”With more than two-thirds of the 1.25 billion population living off the land, water scarcity could affect the majority and hit long term food supplies.As world leaders meet in Paris next week to agree a deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, India says climate change is already hurting the agriculture and water sectors, and the impact is amplified by poverty and a heavy reliance on farming.Locally, officials are trying to change farming habits and enforce stricter rules on water usage.”We are encouraging crop diversification; we are going for pulses,” said Amit Kishore, chief development officer in Rampur, a farm belt city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.”We have been trying to convince farmers to shift to horticulture as well, but the uptake has not been satisfactory.”Four out of Rampur’s six administrative areas are so-called “dark zones”, with 80 percent or more of groundwater exhausted. In those zones, the practice of boring wells has been banned this fiscal year.Without urgent action, the region risks going the way of Punjab and Haryana, two parched states where the groundwater has sunk even further.Some farmers in those states now need to dig 300 feet (91 metres) for water, compared to five feet (1.5 metres) in the 1960s, according to research by a local government scientist.”RICE SELLS”Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged farmers to use water wisely, advocating a “per drop, more crop” approach that includes water-saving methods like drip irrigation.Yet his 18-month-old government has also boosted incentives to grow water-intensive rice, wheat and sugarcane that India exports, at the expense of crops like oilseeds or pulses that it has to import.Little wonder some farmers in the northern farming belt are ignoring the advice of local officials.”We grow rice because that is what sells,” said Babu Ram Saini, standing by a pond in Jiwai Jadid village in Rampur. “Productivity for lentils is so low that we’ll not be able to sustain ourselves without massive government support,” he said.Some experts are advocating tougher measures to force more efficient use of water. Wastage is encouraged by the supply of free or subsidized power which boosts politicians’ popularity.”We have been trying to tell farmers that if you continue growing rice, more places are going to become dark zones,” said V.K. Mishra, a regional head of the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow.”We should make a law that you can’t grow rice in areas where the water table is very low.”Rice covers 62% of Punjab’s area under cultivation, up from 10 percent in 1970. The expansion of rice has been similar in neighbouring Haryana.Though the droughts have hit crops, India still produces more rice, wheat and sugar than it consumes, drawing accusations from the World Trade Organization that stockpiling to provide cheap grain to the poor unfairly distorts trade.”It is quite natural for our farmers to go for rice and cane when both power and water are almost free,” said economist Gulati, adding that selling such produce abroad is like exporting “precious water for free”.

Sheena Bora murder case: CBI grills Peter Mukerjea in New Delhi

The sources said the agency might subject Peter to scientific tests but for doing that it will need his consent, adding he has been changing his statements on financial dealings related to INX media, in which he and Indrani were partners, throughout the four sessions of questioning.

Peter Mukerjea
File Photo
PTI
Former media baron Peter Mukerjea is being evasive during his interrogation by CBI team in New Delhi which grilled him for several hours on Tuesday after he was shifted from Mumbai in connection with the murder case of his step-daughter Sheena Bora.The sources said the agency might subject Peter to scientific tests but for doing that it will need his consent, adding he has been changing his statements on financial dealings related to INX media, in which he and Indrani were partners, throughout the four sessions of questioning. They said Peter is facing probe under the ongoing case of Sheena Bora murder and specific charges against him will be slapped, if needed, at the time of filing supplementary charge sheet.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sources remained silent on the reasons for shifting him here from Mumbai but said this is not the first time that an accused has been shifted as it has happened in the case of Madhumita Shukla murder and Ajit Sarkar murder case in which musclemen-turned politicians Amarmani Tripathi and Pappu Yadav were accused respectively. They clarified that the move was triggered by the need for investigation and in no way casts any aspersion on local police or CBI team probing the matter.Although CBI is tightlipped on the matter but speculation is rife that agency may carry out a lie-detection and brain mapping test on Peter which is available at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory. Another reason being talked about in the CBI corridors is the independent style of working of the DIG handling the case, they said. Mumbai also has a small scientific aid unit of CBI which also carries out polygraph test but it is not elaborate in terms of facilities available in New Delhi.Sheena (24) was Indrani’s daughter from an earlier marriage who was allegedly killed by her mother, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai in April 2012. Peter was arrested on November 19 and granted CBI custody till November 26 by the special court in Mumbai.CBI has claimed financial transaction as the motive behind Sheena’s murder and that Peter during his interrogation disclosed investments of crores of rupees made by him and Indrani. The agency has also claimed that it has come across some important information and incriminating documents which are very crucial for the purpose of investigation.

Sheena Bora Murder case: Peter Mukerjea’s CBI custody extended

Rahul Mukerjea, son of Peter, had on Sunday defended his father and said he was certain of his father’s innocence.

Indrani and Peter Mukerjea

The CBI custody of former Star TV CEO Peter Mukerjea, who has been charged with murder and criminal conspiracy in connection with the Sheena Bora murder case, was on Monday extended by three days.The Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) had earlier sought an additional ten days remand for Peter. Rahul Mukerjea, son of Peter, had on Sunday defended his father and said he was certain of his father’s innocence.However, according to the chargesheet filed by the CBI, Rahul found Indrani Mukerjea (the prime accused) and Peter’s initial responses to be evasive and contradictory, which prompted him to put them on record.It was on the basis of Rahul’s evidence that CBI arrested Peter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the CBI said that while it had earlier booked under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), he had also been additionally charged under Sections 302 and 364, and would be prosecuted accordingly. It said that four serious charges have been levelled against him.

Woman committed suicide by jumping in front of the Delhi metro, say police

Delhi: An unidentified young woman allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a Delhi Metro train on Sunday evening, police said.

The incident took place at the Yamuna Bank station around 6.10 p.m.

Delhi Metro. AgenciesDelhi Metro. Agencies

Representational image. Agencies

A Central Industrial Security Force officer said that the CCTV footage showed the woman who was in her mid-20s, wandering aimlessly at the metro station for more than 10 minutes before jumping in front of an arriving metro train at platform number three.

“We did not recover any suicide note from her possession. Metro services on the route were disrupted for around 20 minutes after the incident,” the officer said.

IANS

Terrorism cannot be tackled only through talks, says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar said that India has been suffering due to terrorism since long, but the Western countries were unable to accept it.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The problem of terrorism cannot be checked only through dialogue and the “pressure” of armed forces should be simultaneously exerted on terrorists to make them understand that everybody has the right to live, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said in Bhopal on Sunday. “Terrorists should be given invitation to hold talks, but this alone will not resolve the problem as they don’t want to understand that others also have a right to live. Therefore, there is a necessity to keep pressure of armed forces on them,” Ravi Shankar told reporters at the Central Press Club here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to a query, he said “narrow mindedness” was the reason behind terrorism. “It (terrorism) will not be able to survive if kids are educated on all religions,” he added. Ravi Shankar said that India has been suffering due to terrorism since long, but the Western countries were unable to accept it. “They used to say that it was a reaction to an action. But when Paris was attacked by terrorists, the entire Europe got shaken and all of them got united to fight against it. Only after the Paris attack they realised that India is badly affected by the menace,” he added.Against the backdrop of Opposition’s charge that “intolerance” is on the rise in the country, the spiritual guru said he did not find any atmosphere of intolerance. “There was no bridge between different communities and such problem normally occurs during polls only,” he said apparently referring to incidents of communal tension.On Dadri lynching, he said that nobody has the right to take away life and to take law into their hands. “The country has the necessary potential to become a world guru as it is very young, talented, has deep heritage and that diversity is honoured in the country,” the spiritual guru said.Ravi Shankar said a programme to mark completion of 35 years of the Art of Living will be organised in Delhi from March 11-13 in which delegates from 155 nations will take part. “Through this congregation, a Kumbh of sort, we will try to give the message against terrorism that world is a global village (‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam) and respect for all religions (‘Sarvadharma Sambhav’),” he added.

Govt to study 7th Pay Commission report in right perspective: Union Minister Jitendra Singh

There are about 47 lakh central government employees and 52 lakh pensioners.

MoS Jitendra Singh

dna Research & Archives
The government will study the Seventh Central Pay Commission report in the right perspective and only then it will be processed further, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Sunday.”There are certain procedures which are followed after submission of report. The government will study the report in right perspective and only then it will be processed further,” Singh, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office and for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension said during an interaction with media persons at his residence in New Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Seventh Central Pay Commission had on Thursday submitted its report to the government in which it has recommended a 23.55% hike in salary, allowances and pension to central government employees and pensioners.Also Read: 7th Pay Commission hikes salary and pension by 23.55%, to be implemented from January 1, 2016There are about 47 lakh central government employees and 52 lakh pensioners.

No annual increment if central govt employees fail to perform, recommends 7th pay commission

New Delhi: Central government employees should not be allowed to earn annual increments if they fail to meet performance criterion, the Seventh Central Pay Commission has recommended even as it sought upgradation of performance benchmark to “very good” from “good” level.

It has also recommended introduction of the Performance Related Pay (PRP) for all categories of central government employees.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

There is a widespread perception that increments as well as upward movement in the hierarchy happen as a matter of course. The perception is that grant of Modified Assured Career Progression (MACP), although subject to the employee attaining the laid down threshold of performance, is taken for granted, the panel said.

“This Commission believes that employees who do not meet the laid down performance criterion should not be allowed to earn future annual increments. The Commission is therefore proposing withholding of annual increments in the case of those employees who are not able to meet the benchmark either for MACP or a regular promotion within the first 20 years of their service.

“This will act as a deterrent for complacent and inefficient employees. However, since this is not a penalty, the norms for penal action in disciplinary cases involving withholding increments will not be applicable in such cases.

This will be treated as an efficiency bar,” it said in the report submitted to the government.

Additionally, for such employees there could be an option to leave service on similar terms and conditions as prescribed for voluntary retirement, the panel said.

PTI

23.55% pay hike? Analysis shows it could well be just 14.29%

Congress spokesman Ajay Maken, whose political turf is New Delhi constituency – housing the largest number of central government staff, says the 7th Pay panel has even withdrawn other benefits enjoyed by low-paid employees.

Will the central government employees, who were looking forward to fatter pockets and heftier allowances in the New Year, really get the promised 23.55% pay hike? A careful analysis of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations makes out that since the dearness allowance (DA) has not been merged with the basic, the hike could be a mere 14.29%. Assuming that DA would be 125% then, considering the 2.57 fitment formula recommended by the commission chief Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur, the actual enhancement will be way below the promised 23.55%. Before implementing the 5th and 6th Pay panel recommendations, set up in 1994 and 2006 respectively, the government had merged the DA with the basic salary, thereby taking the minimum hike to 40%.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> While the last Pay Commission under Justice BN Srikrishna had recommended to reduce gap between the lowest paid and the highest paid employee from 1:12 to 1:8, the current Commission has increased it further to 1:14. A minimum pay of Rs 18,000 per month and a maximum of Rs 2.5 lakh has been recommended by the commission. It has also restricted annual increment to 3%. Congress spokesman Ajay Maken, whose political turf is New Delhi constituency – housing the largest number of central government staff, says the 7th Pay panel has even withdrawn other benefits enjoyed by low-paid employees. For example, in the name of parity in the rank of assistants, between the field staff and headquarter staff, grade pay of Rs 4,600 of assistants of central secretariat service has been revised to Rs 4,200. It will apply to stenographers as well. Also two additional increments granted at the time of promotion to under-secretary level stand abolished. Also quantum of percentage-based allowances in the name of rationalisation has been reduced. For example, the house rent allowance which at present is 30, 20 and 10% in respect of class x, y and z category of cities will come down to 24, 16 and 8% respectively. Further, all non-interest bearing advances for festivals and marriages have been abolished. More interestingly, advances for purchasing car, scooter or cycle also stand abolished. Significantly, transport allowance, which is at present linked with DA, has been delinked, meaning it will not be raised with the increase in transport fares. The employees will also have to shell out exorbitant money every month towards insurance coverage. A class 10 and above employee, who had to shell out Rs 120, will now be giving Rs 5,000 from source. For class 1 to 5, the deduction is Rs 1,500 and for class 6 to 9 it is Rs 2,500. Though these recommendations will directly benefit 4.8 million staffers and 5.5 million pensioners, taking into consideration its cascading effects on state government and other sectors, nearly 20 million people get affected. Reacting to these figures, a senior government official here said, all these factors will be taken into account before implementation. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is setting up a group of secretaries to study the recommendations.

Sheena Bora murder: Peter Mukerjea played a key role, says CBI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday claimed that former TV honcho Peter Mukerjea played a key role in the murder of Sheena Bora, daughter of his wife Indrani.For the first time, the motives behind the murder were also established. CBI officials say money, relationship with Peter’s son Rahul and blackmailing by Sheena were the three main motives.A major contention of dispute between Sheena and Indrani was a posh flat in one of Delhi’s upmarket areas. Though the flat was gifted to Sheena, she was never officially made its owner, said a CBI official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In September 2004, though Indrani made a will in favour of Sheena, the flat was never transferred in the latter’s name. Six years later, Indrani and Peter even sold the flat for Rs 1.10 crore without Sheena’s knowledge, he said.This infuriated Sheena, and she started blackmailing Indrani that if she was not compensated with a 3 BHK flat in Mumbai, she would expose Indrani’s character and let the world know that she was Indrani’s daughter and not sister, as Indrani had told Peter and others, said the officer.”Indrani was aware that Sheena was possessing a number of documents, including the will, Sheena’s birth certificate and gynaecological prescriptions of Indrani before Sheena’s birth,” said a CBI officer, requesting anonymity.In between, in 2008, Sheena got into a relationship with Rahul, which was objected to by Indrani and Peter, the officer said.Fed up with Sheena’s constant blackmailing, in 2011, Indrani and Peter made a will stating that in the event of their death, Vidhi, Indrani’s daughter from her former husband Sanjeev Khanna, would be the owner of the entire property, the official said.The CBI claimed the trio – Indrani, Peter and Khanna – then hatched a plot to kill Sheena. The couple offered their driver Shyamvar Rai Rs 2 lakh for helping them kill Sheena, said the officer.Sheena, who was engaged to Rahul, was allegedly murdered on April 24, 2012.The 24-year-old was allegedly strangulated in a car, her body burnt and dumped in a forest in Raigad, about 84 km from Mumbai. Her remains were found a month later and buried by the police, which treated the body as unclaimed. The police first arrested Rai and Indrani and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna later.

Sheena Bora case: Peter Mukerjea to be produced in court

The CBI is likely to seek his custody as they want to interrogate him to unravel his role in the murder case.

Former media magnate Peter Mukerjea, arrested by the CBI in connection with the sensational Sheena Bora murder case for allegedly “shielding the accused”, will be produced in a magistrate’s court here on Friday.Peter Mukherjea’s wife Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai will also be brought to the court since their judicial custody expires on Friday.In a fresh twist in the Sheena case, Peter Mukherjea was arrested on Thursday by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), hours after it filed a chargesheet in which Indrani, the mother of the victim born from her first marriage, and two others were accused of the crime.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A CBI spokesperson had said that Peter’s name surfaced during its probe in the case and “he has been arrested”.The spokesperson refused to divulge any further details in the case, but sources in the probe agency said he has been arrested for allegedly “shielding the accused” and “inconsistencies” in his statements.Peter was placed under arrest after another round of questioning on Thursday. Peter, who has been kept in the office of Special Task Force of CBI here, will be produced before the magistrate’s court.The CBI is likely to seek his custody as they want to interrogate him to unravel his role in the murder case.The probe agency, which was handed over the case on September 29 after a turf-war between the ousted Commissioner Rakesh Maria and the new incumbent Ahmed Javed, had questioned Mukherjea for hours before it was decided to place him under arrest, the sources said.Sheena Bora was allegedly murdered by her mother, Indrani’s former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai here in April 2012. The body of the 24-year-old was dumped in a forest in the neighbouring Raigad district.The court is likely to give a copy of chargesheet to Indrani, Khanna and Rai. The chargesheet, filed three months after Sheena Bora’s remains were found in a forest near Mumbai, names Indrani, Khanna and Rai as accused–who were all arrested in August this year.The agency has charged them with criminal conspiracy to kidnap, murder, cheating, destruction of evidence, forgery and use of forged documents besides violation of provisions of Information Technology Act.Mikhail Bora, the younger brother of Sheena, told ANI that he has no idea what is going on. Since CBI is investigating, he wants to see what happens. “I’ve told time & again, will cooperate with CBI 100%, seeking justice for my sister & I hope will get it soon.”

Centre issued advisory after Paris attacks: But seven years after 26/11, states are yet to take security seriously

By Sunil Raman

Speaking after last week’s Paris attacks, the Union Home ministry announced that states had been directed to stay alert to security threats from terror groups and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed confidence in the state police’s ability to keep peace in a state where memories of the attacks in Mumbai in 2008 are still alive.

Confidence of political leaders does help in reinforcing a sense of comfort among people. But mere statements before TV cameras do not essentially reflect the reality of the existing security infrastructure, intelligence gathering and sharing, manpower and most importantly commitment of state governments to growing threat to national security from groups within and outside India.

Most TV channels pegged their discussions post-Paris attacks on similarities that the pattern of attacks had with Mumbai in 2008. A few others used the news development to yet again focus on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India and the failure of US and Western powers to “rein in” Pakistani military establishment. Little has been said or discussed about the preparedness of states to pre-empt or tackle any kind of security threat. Have we learnt anything from 2008? Are we better prepared today?

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

After all it is the state governments that are eventually responsible for ensuring that their local security agencies are alert; there is effective inter-agency information sharing and co-ordination besides getting physical infrastructure and human resources in place.

Maritime security: A look at what has happened since 2008 Mumbai attacks reveals a sense of complacency both at Central, but largely at state levels. A draft Piracy Bill placed by the UPA government in 2012 lapsed as the Parliament did not take it up for discussion and passage; an essential piece of legislation that would demarcate legal territory for Navy and Coast Guard in the Coastal Security Bill that was drafted in 2013 has still not been tabled in either House of Parliament.

In response to a question on funds spent on coastal security since 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Rajya Sabha was informed in December last year that Rs 570 crore have been spent on coastal security in six years. While the Coast Guard secures waters off coastlines up to 200 nautical miles, beyond that is the responsibility of the Navy. The idea behind raising a maritime police force was to keep track of communities, people and any activity taking place along the coastline.

But states like Maharashtra with a 720 km-long-coastline over five districts continue to show a lethargic response to secure the area inspite of huge central funding. The Congress-NCP government and now BJP government seem preoccupied with politics to give such an important issue adequate attention. There are marine patrol boats which are rusting, there are inadequate number of marine police stations, inadequately trained staff, huge number of vacant posts and frankly, lack of government determination to safeguard coastline, according to a CAG Report released a few months ago.

In 2008, armed terrorists from Pakistan after hitting the coastline had unhindered access to hotels, train station and cafes in Mumbai. Later the central government took a number of decisions and initiated setting up of Coastal Command, funded 13 coastal states and union territories and set up radars to get real time intelligence on movement of ships.

Tamil Nadu, in turn, has done well but experts say everyday, thousands of small boats leave Rameswaram and it is near impossible to monitor them in the waters between Tamil Nadu coast and Sri Lankan waters.

There are around 75 small ports in different states with no basic security infrastructure yet. Small boats land there but no one is scanned. No one knows who comes and who goes.

Seven years later we still do not have an up-to-date databank of names of residents in coastal areas; the national register of citizens is far from complete.

If marine security initiatives have been slow to take root because state governments fail to appreciate and understand larger security issues, some other significant areas have also not got enough attention. Most of them treat security issues as ordinary policing activity and address individual incidents from narrow political interests. Every security incident has a larger impact and wider connection that needs to be addressed not by making political points though. At the end of the day, state governments have an important role in the implementation of national security strategy.

Policing: It remains bogged down in most states by local politics, staff shortage, diversion of cops for VIP duty and failure to use new technological solutions. For every one lakh people, India, on an average, has 106 policemen. If there are fewer men on ground then the failure to upskill them and use new technology has added to the challenge for tackling any kind of terrorist activity.

CCTV coverage: Most state governments including Delhi have invested little resources to provide CCTV coverage alongwith the ability to interpret real time data. Most cities faced with a terror threat have a robust CCTV coverage that helps police keep an eye on vulnerable areas. The extensive CCTV surveillance system in London has been operational for years with real-time interpretation of footage underway at a state of the art control room in Soho district. Facial recognition technology has also been put into use in several European cities now. In the seven years since the Mumbai attacks, state governments have not invested in technology or empowered counter-terrorism forces.

Evacuation procedure: In cities like Delhi, Gurgaon or Bangalore there are no evacuation procedures in place. In Gurgaon’s Cyber City, where many leading international companies have offices, there is little evidence of public-private partnership on sensitisation and education of procedures to evacuate buildings during a security threat.

Security in non-metros and state capitals: Barring areas where VIPs live, most other residential areas are left to the mercy of vigilant residents. Basic security infrastructure is absent and local police rely on informers and traditional methods for surveillance. Awareness of security challenges and mitigation are poor.

These glaring gaps need to be looked into and bridged by state governments who believe that the Central government is responsible for security issues. Over the years, the Central government held meetings with states to sensitise them about changing security environment and challenges posed by new terror groups, but a large number of states have not much to show even after seven years. While central agencies can share intelligence and provide financial assistance, states cannot shirk their responsibility. The Paris attacks should not just remain a topic of discussion on TV channels; they should galvanise state governments to review security preparedness and tighten loose ends.

The writer is a former BBC journalist

Sheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea arrested by CBI

Indrani, Khanna and Rai are currently lodged in judicial custody in Mumbai which is due to expire on Friday.

Image Credit: Twitter

After the CBI filed a chargesheet in Sheena Bora murder case in a magistrate’s court in Mumbai, it arrested accused Indrani Mukerjea’s husband Peter Mukerjea on Thursday evening. The chargesheet, running into more than 1,000 pages and containing statements of 150 witnesses, 200 documents and seven statements recorded before magistrate, was submitted before magistrate RV Adone at Esplanade court in South Mumbai. It names Indrani, Khanna and Rai as accused–who were all arrested in August this year–after Rai allegedly spilled the beans while he was being interrogated in a different case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The probe into the sensational case, which was personally supervised by the then Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria, was later handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) by the Maharashtra Government considering its various aspects including the suspected money trail.Last week, the magistrate’s court recorded the confession of Shyamvar Rai under section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code, which, unlike a police statement, is admissible as evidence in the court, a CBI official said. Rai had written to the court and had said he wanted to reveal “the truth” about the case. No details were available on his confession.24-year-old Sheena Bora was allegedly murdered by her mother, Indrani’s former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai in Mumbai in April 2012 and her body was dumped in a forest in the neighbouring Raigad district.Indrani, Khanna and Rai are currently lodged in judicial custody in Mumbai which is due to expire on Friday.

Punjab: CBI likely to visit Faridkot to probe holy book sacrilege incident

Punjab Police will provide the required logistical support and offer its co-operation to the CBI in conducting the investigations, the spokesman added.

The incidents saw massive protest by Sikh activists in Faridkot which even led to the death of two persons allegedly in police firing.

A CBI team is likely to visit Faridkot for investigating the alleged sacrilege incidents in the area, that led to massive protests in the state and killing of two youth. Punjab government had on November 1 handed over the probe into the sacrilege incidents in Bargari village at Faridkot, to the CBI. “In pursuance of Punjab Government notification dated 9-11-2015, the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India issued a notification dated 5-11-2015 transferring to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation of cases dated 2-6-2015, 25-9-2015 and 12-10-2015 of Police Station Baza Khana, district Faridkot,” a Punjab police spokesman said here this evening.”The CBI has re-registered these FIRs as Regular Cases (RC) and a team of CBI officers will be visiting Faridkot shortly in connection with the investigation of the above-mentioned cases,” he further said in a release.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Police will provide the required logistical support and offer its co-operation to the CBI in conducting the investigations, the spokesman added. The three sacrilege cases were registered at the Bajakhana police station in Faridkot district. These related to the theft of Guru Granth Sahib at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village in June and the putting up of posters in Bargari and Burj Jawahar Singh Wala villages in September. The third incident involved inciting Sikhs to protest against the theft of the holy book and the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib with torn pages of the holy book being found at Bargari in October.The incidents saw massive protest by Sikh activists in Faridkot which even led to the death of two persons allegedly in police firing. The government had earlier set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under ADGP I P S Sahota to probe the matter. The SIT had arrested two brothers, identified as Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh, of Panjgrain village of Faridkot, in connection with the Bargari village incident.Sikhs owing allegiance to various groups, including hardliners, had been seeking the arrest of “real culprits” as they alleged that the two brothers were “falsely implicated”.Under intense attack over handling of the situation, the SAD government had also shunted out Punjab police chief Sumedh Singh Saini, who was replaced with Suresh Arora.

Sharing your experience a must for transferred, retired bureaucrats: Modi govt

The circular has been sent DoPT to remind all the retiring officers to leave a note for their successors

As part of bureaucratic reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year had asked retiring and transferring officials to put on paper, experiences and suggestions for their successors. Even, though an official memorandum was issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), after his instructions, the bureaucrats put that on the back-burner. Now, Modi has again reminded the officers to start the practice immediately, and also build a knowledge bank for good governance. The forgotten memorandum had underlined that “written notes for the successor serve the purpose more effectively and also help build an institutional memory.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister in-charge of DoPT has re-launched the exercise, naming it as ‘Anubhav’ of the Babus, advising all officers retiring in the next six months to leave behind a note or write-up on their achievements. The outgoing officers should also mention the outstanding work done by them which contributed to efficient functioning of the government or any innovation introduced by them which could have led to improvement in work culture. He said ‘Anubhav’ will serve as a platform for retiring employees to showcase their achievements and look back with satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment that the written account left behind by them could serve as a vital database for future.The ministry of personnel has, through a circular dated November 5, 2015, sought to reiterate and remind all the ministries and departments to adhere to this initiative seriously. The new order is also meant for all the retiring Central Government Employees, including Central Secretariat Service (CSS) and Central Secretariat Stenographers Services (CSSS) officials. This is the second initiative of the government to gain from the retiring Babus, after Prime Minister Modi wanted the senior IAS officers on the verge of retirement to revisit the place of their first posting as district collectors or SDMs and furnish feedback about the changes over the years as visualised by them.Soon after coming to power, the PM had set out a slew of measures to put bureaucracy on the tracks. He not only initiated, keeping direct contacts with all the 77 secretaries and also calling their suggestions, but also issued 11 commandments ranging from cleaner offices to speeding up decisions and reviewing goals and promises. Modi had also taken seriously bureaucrats presence at elite clubs. Many argue that bureaucratic paralysis is responsible for low investments, bureaucrats continue to delay decisions. Sources in the government say, in the wake of recent rout in Bihar, Modi has taken the issues seriously and many more initiatives are waiting to be rolled in coming days to ensure an economic turnaround. Vital database for futureThe outgoing officers should also mention the outstanding work done by them which contributed to efficient functioning of the government or any innovation introduced by them which could have led to improvement in work culture. He said ‘Anubhav’ will serve as a platform for retiring employees to showcase their achievements and look back with satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment that the written account left behind by them could serve as a vital database for future.