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Odd-even scheme will fail, AAP looking for escape route, says BJP

She said infrastructure development and better traffic management were ways to deal with pollution and cited the highway project launched by the Centre on Thursday in this regard. The Centre, Lekhi said, had given an additional fund of Rs 1200 crore to the Delhi government for sewage treatment but nothing has been done so far. AAP has also done nothing on its promise of ‘swaraj’, she said, noting that adequate funds were not being given to local bodies. Instead the AAP government was using Delhi’s resources for political purposes, she said, referring to its publicity budget of Rs 526 crore.

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Also ReadIndiaSaradha scam: Madan Mitra’s bail plea rejected, custody extended till January 14IndiaSnag forces RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to travel in non-bullet proof car in KochiIndiaPM Modi wants bureaucrats to give ideas for ‘transformative change’IndiaOdd-even scheme will fail, AAP looking for escape route, says BJPIndiaCPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situationsIndiaFrom Dadri to Yakub Memon’s death: 16 things India outraged about in 2015 <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –> Sourav Ganguly elected in NCC executive council<!– /.block –>CPI(M) plenum ends, party bats for ‘flexible tactics’ to deal with emerging political situations<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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PM Modi lays foundation stone of Delhi-Meerut Expressway project

Earlier today, Prime Minister Modi reviewed the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport and Rih-Tedim road project in Myanmar and described the project as one of the cornerstones of India’s ‘Act East’ policy, and urged for its speedy completion.

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Sehwag ‘rewrote’ rules of cricket

Former India opener Virender Sehwag will be remembered as a batsman who rewrote the rules of the game, writes BBC Monitoring’s Vikas Pandey

New revelations and multiple complaints: Greenpeace India mired in sexual harassment charges

New Delhi: Environment rights NGO Greenpeace India could be in for more trouble as an ex-staffer has gone public with allegations of rape and sexual harassment by her colleagues.

The organization’s inaction against the perpetrators has spurred more female ex-employees to come out with similar accusations. Now, the NGO is at the receiving end with activists lambasting the organization’s irresponsible handling of the cases.

Recently, Greenpeace was in the news after the government froze it’s accounts for non-compliance of norms. The Delhi high court, however, released two of its accounts so that it could function.

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AFP

In an article published on a web forum last week, an ex-employee (name withheld) of Greenpeace alleged that she had to leave her job in 2013 after being sexually harassed and raped by her colleagues.

Narrating her ordeal, she said that it started a year after she had joined the NGO at their Bengaluru office. The first incident happened during an official trip in October 2012. “I got a call from a senior colleague at 11pm, asking me to vacate my room and insisting that I sleep in his suite. In another incident, he approached me physically despite my discomfort, insisted on force-feeding me birthday cake,” she told IANS.

Though she registered a written complaint with the HR manager, she did not receive any verbal or written communication from the internal complaints committee (ICC) of the organization, which looks into sexual harassment cases. To her shock, she learnt that the person was a serial offender and no action had been taken against him despite his misbehaviour with two other female employees.

However, she said, she was blamed for registering the complaint. “Once in an official meeting, in my absence, two senior employees indulged in character assassination against me. Even some female colleagues, part of the ICC, made me feel that I was at fault, that I didn’t know how to ‘set boundaries’,” she said.

However, matters came to a head in 2013. “It was after a party, when a male colleague whom I knew quite well found me unconscious and raped me. You cannot imagine the pain and fear I went through. I was terrified to speak and I knew even if I had, no one in this organization would come to my aid. I did not have the strength to report my rape, neither to the police, nor to my employers. How could I, when the processes had failed me once already?” she asked. Traumatized, she left the NGO after a few months.

She said it took her long to overcome the incident, and finally, she decided to tell her story through a Facebook post in February this year. Immediately after her post, Greenpeace issued an apology on their website and promised her to re-investigate the case in an adequate manner. Admitting the lax attitude in dealing with the case in 2012, the statement said, “The victim deserves both an apology and a meticulous examination of what happened.”
However, the victim pointed out that the NGO’s subsequent actions exposed their empty talk. “The ICC, which convened in March, recommended the termination of the offender, but the executive director overrode the decision on some pretext and the only thing I received was a written apology from the molester,”” she said.

Supporting the claims of the victim, another ex-senior manager Reema Ganguly, who was a part of the ICC, told IANS that she quit Greenpeace in May after executive director Samit Aich overrode the committee’s recommendation. “The committee’s suggestion of terminating the molester was overturned by the executive director, and they dismantled the committee which was only three months old, whereas the duration (for such a committee) is for three years. It was very clear that the committee is an eyewash by the NGO,” said Ganguly.

However, Aich defended the decision to dismantle the committee. “‘We came to know that the committee decisions were leaked to many people in the office. So I sought legal opinion on this and I was told that since its leaked, the decision stands invalid. So we dissolved the committee and reconstituted it,”” said Aich.

When asked why they did not follow the committee’s decision of terminating the offender, Aich said a strong warning was given to the person. “I have given a strong warning to the person and as a result, he has put in his papers. I admit that there have been flaws in our earlier system and we will tighten our disciplinary actions in future,”” he added.

Reacting to the allegations, programme director for Greenpeace India, Divya Raghunandan, told IANS that the former employees had raised some valid issues and that they will investigate it in a “serious manner”. Acknowledging that there were flaws in the earlier system, Raghunandan said, “When we revisited the cases, we felt that it should have been handled in a better way.”

Asserting that they were re-evaluating the overall procedures for handling complaints of sexual harassment, she said that the employee in question had resigned. “We have reconstituted the ICC and ordered an audit into the old cases. The implicated employee has put in his papers already,” she said.

However, activists and former employees question the failure of the NGO in punishing a serial offender and protecting him for years.

Holding the executive director of Greenpeace India responsible for the shabby handling of the cases, Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, said that the events had tarnished the image of the NGO. “Greenpeace failed to stand by their promise of punishing the offender. They disbanded a committee, which recommended punishment for the molester. The NGO is muzzling voices of dissent. They have stretched the cases for so many years. The punishment has to be spelt out clearly,” Krishnan said adding that they have written to Greenpeace International and were waiting for their response to act further.

Voicing similar concerns, Usha Saxena, a former employee, alleged that she was forced to quit Greenpeace because she took a stand against the rampant cases of harassment in the NGO. Saxena, who joined Greenpeace in 2009, said that her protests against sexist jokes and remarks fell on deaf ears.

“I filed a misconduct complaint against senior HR director for making discriminatory and threatening remarks about my gender, my age and ordering me to seek “psychological counselling”. For that, I was bullied out in 2013,” Saxena told IANS.

Another ex-staffer (name withheld) also said that she was harassed by the same person implicated in the first incident. She said she resigned in March 2015 after inaction by the NGO. “He made some objectionable comments in front of many senior colleagues, including the executive director. No one reacted, rather they were all amused. “Though she registered a complaint with the HR Department the next day, it met the same fate as the previous ones,” she told IANS.

She also said she would take further legal action if the offender is not punished.

IANS

Hughes’ bat, jerseys head to Mount Everest | Reuters

KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Chhurim Sherpa began her journey for a third ascent to Mount Everest on Sunday but this time some odd items were also part of her climbing gear.

Chhurim, who is the first woman to climb the 8,850 metre (29,035 feet) Everest summit twice in a week, will take a cricket bat and two jerseys belonging to deceased Australian cricketer Phil Hughes to the summit as a mark of tribute to the player.

Hughes died in November after he was hit on the back of his head by a ball while batting during a domestic match in Sydney, sparking a massive outpouring of grief.

Chhurim, who like many sherpas in Nepal is called by her first name, is expected to carry the items to the top and back to Kathmandu, where they will be kept at the Australian embassy.

Chhurim’s Everest ascents on May 12 and 19 in 2011 were recognised by the Guinness World Records as a first. She will be among 350 climbers who have returned to the world’s highest mountain a year after it was hit by a worst-ever disaster.

Sixteen guides, who were trying to fix ropes and crack snow and ice to carve out a route for foreign climbers, were crushed to death by an avalanche in the treacherous Khumbu Icefall, one of the most dangerous parts of the climb to Everest.

That incident forced 326 foreign climbers to abandon their pursuits as many guides refused to climb demanding better wages, insurance covers and benefits.

“Climbing Sagarmatha is a big challenge and risky in itself,” the 31-year-old Chhurim said, referring to the Nepali name of the mountain.

“I will try hard to reach the bat and jerseys to the top.”

More than 4,000 people have climbed Mount Everest since it was first scaled by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and his mate Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

On Saturday, the government said it would set aside part of special fees collected from tens of thousands of trekkers and mountain climbers every year to support the families of guides and porters killed or for treatment of those who are injured.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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

Actress Roopa Ganguly of ‘Draupadi’ fame joins BJP

Roopa Ganguly, best known for her role as Draupadi in BR Chopra’s Mahabharata joined BJP

Bengali actress Roopa Ganguly, famous as ‘Draupadi’ of B R Chopra’s epic TV series ‘Mahabharat’, joined the BJP on Wednesday. At a function in Howrah district, the 48-year-old actress-singer was formally inducted into the party fold in the presence of senior BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.BJP’s state leadership has been trying hard to attract film and television artistes from the state. They already have singer-turned-MP Babul Supriyo and Bengali film actor George Baker among others. Besides ‘Mahabharat’, Ganguly is a well-known face on the television due to her roles in serials like ‘Karam Apnaa Apnaa’ and ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo’.Having acted in films like Goutam Ghosh directed ‘Padma Nadir Majhi’, Aparna Sen’s ‘Yugant’ and Rituparno Ghosh’s ‘Antarmahal’, she had also won the National Film Award in the best playback singer category for the Bengali film ‘Abosheshey’ (At the End of It All).

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