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Odd-even formula: Delhi ministers to carpool to work starting January 1

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Announcing the blueprint of road-rationing experiment, Kejriwal said that carpooling was the only solution to cope with the odd-and-even number scheme. “I will share the cars and I will do carpooling. It is the most practical thing,” the Chief Minister said.

Sending out a message to people, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet minister will carpool to work during the 15 days of odd-even scheme starting January 1.Announcing the blueprint of road-rationing experiment, Kejriwal said that carpooling was the only solution to cope with the odd-and-even number scheme. “I will share the cars and I will do carpooling. It is the most practical thing,” the Chief Minister said.Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that all the Delhi government ministers and officers will follow the scheme from January 1 to January 15. “During 15 days of odd-even scheme, I will carpool with my cabinet colleagues to reach Delhi Secretariat,” Rai said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain, who is also nodal officer for fighting pollution in the national capital, said that he will carpool to his work to encourage people to share their cars. In next two-three days, Delhi government will launch a carpooling app so that people can use share their cars during the scheme.

Monkey takes control of UPSRTC bus, drives off in Bareilly as driver sleeps in the back

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The monkey managed to start the vehicle with the key in the ignition. The bus started to move, waking up the driver.

Representational Image of a monkey

dna
In a bizarre incident, a monkey took control of a bus in Bareilly town of Uttar Pradesh on Monday, putting the vehicle into second gear and taking off before being scared away.According to a report in an English daily, the comic sequence of events began when the conductor of an Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) bus from Pilibhit left the vehicle at the old roadways station to look for passengers.With half an hour to go for departure, the driver dozed off in the back, providing the monkey with an opportunity for its mischief.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the driver reclined on the last row, the simian suddenly appeared and climbed inside the driver’s cabin. What’s more, it managed to start the vehicle with the key in the ignition. The bus started to move, waking up the driver. The driver then lunged at the monkey trying to shoo it away. Subsequently, the monkey got scared and shifted the engine into second gear before jumping out of the bus.Passengers at the bus station were petrified seeing a bus with no driver heading their way, and began to run helter skelter. The driver finally managed to bring the vehicle under control, but not before it had hit two other parked buses.”Monkeys have become a regular menace at bus stations and workshops, where they often fiddle with vehicles undergoing repair. They have also damaged CCTV cameras at stations. Three years ago we had taken the help of municipal authorities to get rid of them but they have returned,” said UPSRTC regional manager SK Sharma to the daily.The manager added that UPSRTC is holding talks with municipal authorities to hire am agency to catch the monkeys and shift them to an area where they cannot find any such vehicles to drive off in.

Delhi schools to shut down during odd-even scheme trial

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DoE has directed all government schools and un-aided/ recognised private schools, to declare holidays during the period.

AFP photo
Delhi government has ordered shutting down of schools in the national capital for 15 days from January 1 during the trial period of odd-even vehicle formula and would run the school buses under the DTC fleet.”To make the new Scheme functional with least disturbance to our children and also to augment public transport during the ‘Odd Even Scheme’ days, the government has decided to declare holidays for all schools from January 1 to 15 and also to procure the services of school buses for the requirement of DTC at notified rates,” an official notification by Directorate of Education (DoE) said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This order may result in some deviation to the number of school days prescribed in the Right to Education Act, but the government is of the opinion that we can be flexible about the number of days in the interest of health and well being of our children for all times to come,” it added.DoE has directed all government schools and un-aided/ recognised private schools, to declare holidays during the period.”It further, ordered that all the un-aided recognised private schools shall provide their fleet of buses to be kept at the disposal of Delhi Transport Corporation for which it has separately notified nodal officers at Depot as well as Zonal levels,” the communication sent to schools read.”Respective Deputy Directors of education should act as nodal officers to co-ordinate procurement of transport buses from unaided recognised schools falling within their jurisdiction for the aforesaid period,” it added.Interestingly, DoE had on November 27 issued a circular already declaring holidays for government and private schools from December 25 to January 15 for primary classes and from December 31 to January 15 for students of classes of 6th to 12th.According to the circular, as per the past practice, remedial classes will be held within the school premises for all the students of class 12 of all streams during Winter Break from December 31 to January 12.”The schools will remain closed for winter break, from 25th December 2015 to 15th January, 2016 for primary classes and from 31st December 2015 to 15th January 2016 for students of classes 6th-12th,” circular, issued by Additional D E (School) Sunita S Kaushik, had stated.

Don’t exempt women motorists from odd-even formula: Women Groups

According to the scheme, odd numbered vehicles will be allowed on odd dates and even numbered vehicles on even dates.

AFP photo
No exemptions under the odd-even scheme should be given to women motorists, a number of women groups have conveyed to Delhi government saying that they also want to be a part of pollution-clean drive.The Arvind Kejriwal government is, however, yet to take a final call on exempting women drivers under road-rationing experiment starting January 1.According to the scheme, odd numbered vehicles will be allowed on odd dates and even numbered vehicles on even dates.”Some women organisations have approached the government not to grant exemption to women drivers in the odd-even formula as they also want to be a part of this pollution-clean drive. However, government will soon take a decision in this regard,” the Delhi Transport minister Gopal Rai said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rai said the government will soon launch a campaign to encourage people to be a part of odd-even formula with the help of AAP volunteers, Civil Defence and NCC cadets so that people follow this formula. Later in the day, Rai held a meeting with MLAs seeking their suggestions on rationing plan of bus routes in their constituency ahead of odd-even formula.”We sought suggestions from MLAs on which routes numbers of buses should be increased in their areas so that people don’t have to face problems while commuting public transport during a 15-day trial period of odd-even scheme,” Rai said.Earlier this month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and PWD Minister Satyendar Jain had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari respectively seeking Centre’s cooperation for the implementation of this scheme. Rai had also met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to increase frequency of local trains on Ring Railway.

Underage drivers and those without licences cause 1.62 lakh accidents across country

Accidents caused by drivers without licences during the period was 1.01 lakh, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
As many as 1.62 lakh road accidents were caused by underage drivers and those without licences between 2012 and 2014, the government said on Monday.Accidents caused by drivers without licences during the period was 1.01 lakh, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan told Rajya Sabha in a written reply. He said under-age drivers, below 18 years old, caused 0.60 lakh accidents in the three years.”Section 180 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 provides for punishment of imprisonment or fine or both for the offence of a owner or persons in-charge of vehicle permitting an unlicensed person or under-aged person to drive it,” the minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Section 181 of the Act provides for punishment of imprisonment or fine or both for the offence of driving by an under-aged person, he added. He said though the enforcement of various provisions of the Act including driving by underage and unlicensed drivers come within the purview of the state governments, the ministry has been carrying out awareness campaigns on this issue through print and electronic media.India accounts for 5 lakh road accidents a year, one of the highest globally in which 1.5 lakh people lose their lives.

BJP’s political rivals trying to communalise society: Nitin Gadkari

He was addressing a reception hosted for Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on his 60th birthday here, which was attended by more than 30,000 people.

Nitin Gadkari

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday accused the BJP’s political rivals of trying to “communalise” society, saying his party never believed in discrimination on the basis of religion.”There are some political leaders who live on fear..Image versus reality. We have been accused of anti-minority by political rivals who want to communalise the society. BJP will never discriminate on religion, caste and sex. We are taking everyone along with us while ruling the country,” Gadkari said. He was addressing a reception hosted for Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on his 60th birthday here, which was attended by more than 30,000 people.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a veiled reference to China and Pakistan, Gadkari said,”….There are so many neighbouring countries which are prospering. They are just aiming to grab land of others. We are tolerant persons. We don’t want to invade neighbours, but that doesn’t mean we will tolerate anyone trying to create trouble for us. We have said that we want peace…The same peace that Mahatma Gandhi spoke about”. Gadkari said only the strong and efficient power can give peaceful governance in the country.Hailing Parrikar, Gadkari said the former is following politics as an “instrument for bringing socio-political reforms”. “He (Parrikar) has maintained the same profile in public life right from the day he entered politics till date,” said Gadkari. On the occasion, he proposed a special gallery depicting the history of Goa’s liberation on an upcoming bridge on Zuari river here.”The proposed Zuari bridge should have a gallery displaying the liberation history of Goa for which my ministry will sanction the required amount. “In next five years, roads worth Rs 5 lakh crore would be constructed across the coastal state, of which one per cent would be mandatorily used for plantation and beautification,” the Highways and Road Transport Minister said, adding that the foundation stone for the bridge would be laid shortly.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar were also present on the dais. Naik said the growth of BJP in Goa was parallel to Parrikar’s rise in politics.”Parrikar has provided the best governance during his tenure in Goa. People always remember him as a person with vision,” he said. Parsekar said that Parrikar has been constantly in touch with the happenings in Goa despite being in Delhi.PWD Minister Ramakrishna Dhavalikar said that Parrikar proved as a “visionary” for the state working for the welfare of people. “He taught us how to rule the state despite difficult financial situation,” he added.

Manohar Parrikar’s birthday bash to be a simple ceremony: Goa BJP

More than 50,000 guests are expected in the event.

Manohar Parrikar

File Photo
The Goa unit of the BJP on Saturday announced that it will observe the birthday of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a simple manner here tomorrow, a decision which has been objected by the Congress. “The birthday celebration of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will be attended by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari,” Vinay Tendulkar, Goa BJP president said. “The birthday celebration will not be a grand one. It will be a simple ceremony. There will be no food or buffet, no lavish decoration. The stage will be simple and not too many flower decorations,” Tendulkar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> More than 50,000 guests are expected in the event. When asked about the funding of the bash, he said, “About the expense, we will tell you later. We will we have another press conference, where we will explain to you.” Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said that many people have made contributions for the event. “A minimum amount of Rs 5 to Rs 1000 we can accept. You can also give. Collection will be done in Sanvordem, Pernem and other parts of the state. There is no target for collection,” he said. Asserting that the BJP has earned the goodwill of the people, he added, “These people are in politics, business and at every level. Along with us, they also feel that Parrikarji’s birthday should be celebrated.”The Congress had demanded the celebration to be cancelled and the funds collected for the event to be routed for relief work after the recent Chennai deluge, which resulted in a huge damage to lives and property. More than 900 buses would be used to ferry the crowd that is expected to attend the function.

Odd-even formula: Here’s how you can travel in Delhi during the vehicle restriction period

The decision to implement the odd-even formula could be taken by the ruling AAP government as it was ready to “take risks” unlike other governments.

Delhi metro

Delhi Metro will run at the highest possible frequency during the odd-even vehicle restriction period from January 1 to 15, Delhi Home Minister Satyender Jain said on Saturday. Jain, who is the nodal minister on anti-pollution measures, said that depending on its success, the initiative may “go on till infinity”. Buses would ply on a dedicated lane from January 1, he added. The decision to implement the odd-even formula could be taken by the ruling AAP government as it was ready to “take risks” unlike other governments. “We cannot wait for it to be perfected”, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “We have spoken to DMRC. For 15 days, the metro would run on peak frequency or maximum possible frequency and run till late. Irrespective of whether there is rush or not. So that people have an alternative and autos don’t overcharge,” Jain said. However, the DMRC officials said, “We have nothing to add officially after what the minister has said.” During the morning peak hours, stretching from 8 AM to 11 AM, trains are available every 2 minutes 18 seconds on the Yellow Line (Line 2) and every 2 minutes 30 seconds on the Blue Line (Line 3/4), two of the busiest metro corridors. Asked whether single woman drivers would be exempted from this restriction, Jain said, “Even I think they should be exempted” but several such exemptions are still being deliberated upon and the final blueprint will be released on or before December 25. “50 per cent seats will be reserved for ladies in around 2,000 school buses that are being inducted temporarily into the public transport fleet. Poocho App will also have safety features,” he said speaking at an interaction at the Indian Women’s Press Corps. Jain reiterated that AAP ministers, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, would car-pool to work. “CM, Manish (Sisodia) and I went in the same car to meet Rajnath Singh. It’s usual for us.” Jain said that while Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system was a “good concept”, the government decided to scrap it due to its faulty design.

Will study NGT order on diesel-run vehicles: Delhi government

Earlier in the day, the NGT directed that diesel-run vehicles will not be registered in Delhi with immediate effect and asked the central and state government departments not to purchase such vehicles. Under interim measures, there will be no renewal of registration of diesel vehicles which are more than 10-year-old.

Delhi government today said that it will study the National Green Tribunal’s order directing that diesel-run vehicles will not be registered in the city with immediate effect.According to transport department, around 400 new diesel- run vehicles are registered in the national capital. There are around 5.5 lakh diesel vehicles plying in the national capital. In total, 88.27 lakh vehicles are registered in Delhi. “Similar matter pertaining to vehicles is pending in Supreme Court. We will study the NGT’s order and then, make a statement,” a Delhi government spokesperson said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that government will consider the green court’s order. More than 26.29 lakh cars and jeeps were added to the national capital in the period between April 2013 and March 2014. During last year, 27.90 lakh cars and jeeps were added in the capital, the report said.Earlier in the day, the NGT directed that diesel-run vehicles will not be registered in Delhi with immediate effect and asked the central and state government departments not to purchase such vehicles. Under interim measures, there will be no renewal of registration of diesel vehicles which are more than 10-year-old.The court also directed all the public authorities, corporations, DDA, police and other public department to prepare and submit an action plan for phasing out diesel vehicles, particularly the trucks being used by all these bodies by January 6, the next date of hearing.

Number of buses in Delhi to be doubled from Jan 1, to meet vehicle shortages

According to officials, separate bus lanes across all arterial roads in the city will be marked by December 25 and those obstructing movement of buses in these lanes will be penalised.

In further development on its ambitious odd-even car rule, the AAP government on Thursday said an additional 6,000 buses will be deployed to enhance public transport from January 1. That aside, frequency of metro trains will be increased more autos will be allowed to ply on the roads, the government said. According to officials, separate bus lanes across all arterial roads in the city will be marked by December 25 and those obstructing movement of buses in these lanes will be penalised.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> PWD Minister Satyendar Jain said the Delhi government has decided to slap fine of Rs 5,000 against officials concerned including park in-charges if leaves and garbage are burned in their areas –a major source of air pollution– as per the National Green Tribunal’s order. The Delhi government is also in talks with the Railways for improving frequency of trains running between Delhi and nearby cities of NCR, Jain said.The decisions were taken after a meeting was attended by all Delhi ministers, top officials of Traffic Police and representatives of all departments and agencies concerned. “We will run 6,000 buses as per cluster system. The drivers will be hired by the bus owners. DTC will arrange for conductors and decide the route,” Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai, said. Rai said rules are being relaxed to allow more autos on the road. He added that an auto driver can give his vehicle to someone else for driving under the new rules. As per existing rules, only permit holder of a specific auto can ply the vehicle. “We will launch the first stage of Puchho app tomorrow which will help people hire autos for commuting in case they are covered under the odd-even scheme,” he said He also said that after the launch of the app, commuters will be able to book autorickshaws using their smartphones. Delhiites should also check their pollution control certificates before January 1, the minister said. According to the government, there are 100 major construction projects being carried out across the national capital, also a contributor to pollution.Contractors will have to install boards indicating construction site as per rules.

Regional Transport Offices most corrupt body; loot more than Chambal dacoits: Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari

Lashing out at regional transport offices (RTOs), Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday termed them as the most corrupt in the country and said they indulge in loots bigger than those of dacoits of Chambal.”RTO is the most corrupt organisation in the country. They are indulged in loot surpassing even what the dacoits did in the forests of Chambal,” Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said today while giving vent to his anger over large scale corruption at RTOs.Peeved at delay in implementation of the new motor law, he said once the Road Transport and Safety Bill is enacted, it will reform the entire sector. The vested interests opposed to transparency and computerisation in the transport sector are against the new bill and “I am pained to say” that RTO officials have provoked ministers in the states to oppose the bill, he said at a media conference. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I feel guilty conscious… Nowhere driving licences can be obtained so easily as in India. Thirty per cent of these are bogus licences,” he said adding that the racket by RTOs was behind opposition to the Bill and was behind the propaganda that the Centre would infringe upon their rights.The states are on board now and once the new law is enacted, it will change the transport sector with electronic driving licensens, online permits and other reforms, he said. The Bill incorporates the global best practices and provides for the creation of a National Road Safety and Traffic Management Authority to look after all issues related to vehicle regulation and road safety.It also seeks to come down heavily on traffic offenders and proposes steep penalties of up to Rs 3 lakh along with a minimum 7-year imprisonment for death of a child in certain circumstances, besides huge fines for driving violations.

Sachin Tendulkar opens questions innings in RS, four more this week

After three years of being nominated as a member in the House of Elders, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has opened his innings of asking questions. While on Monday he gave a written query, the second so far, on changes in issuance driving licences, he has four more questions listed out for the week on Human Resource Development and Railways ministries.Tendulkar asked his first question on Friday on criteria for declaring suburban railway services as a separate zone. “Will the Minister of Railways be pleased to state the rationale behind creating a new zone for Kolkata Metro and whether it can be replicated in other cities such as Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi that also have similar suburban rail services; the criteria that a suburban railway system must fulfil to enable it to be notified as a separate zone; and whether the above three cities fulfil that criteria and are eligible for being notified as separate zones?”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With just a seven per cent attendance in Rajya Sabha since 2012 (as per PRS legislative research), this was his first major participation in the House, where he has not participated in any debate. The absence of nominated members came up in Rajya Sabha on Monday morning when a lawmaker sought exemption from attending the House. When the Chair sought permission of the House for it, JD-U MP KC Tyagi objected to members who have been continuously absent from being nominated.Besides Tendulkar, Bollywood actress Rekha and Mithun Chakravarty, who are also nominated members, have a low attendance of five per cent and ten per cent, according to PRS figures. None of them have participated in debates so far. A member runs the risk of disqualification for being absent for 60 consecutive days.”Sachin Tendulkar is the biggest cricketer. Rekha is a big star. They are nominated to share their life’s experiences with the House. But, the House is denied of that. I request that in future such people are not nominated,”Tyagi later told dna.About Tendulkar asking written questions, he said “he has made his maiden run in Parliament.”On Monday, Tendulkar asked whether under the proposed new Motor Vehicles Act, the government proposed to make driving licence procedure more transparent and stringent in order to curb fake licences; whether it is also proposed to implement strict guidelines to test and train the driving licence applicants; and what steps are being taken in the new Act to safeguard the rights of pedestrians, drivers, physically challenged persons and to curb the incidents of road rage.Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways P Radhakrishnan said the ministry was working on a proposal to replace the Motor Vehicles Act with ‘The Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015’. He gave a detailed response listing the proposals in the bill.

Give ‘odd-even’ formula a chance, urges Arvind Kejriwal

Amid debates over the practicality of the proposed alternate-days rule for plying of vehicles in the streets, Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that government will come out with a “foolproof plan” before December 25

Arvind Kejriwal

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday recorded an audio message urging people to give the ‘odd-even’ restriction on plying of vehicles a chance while top officials met to work out its modalities even as the Delhi Police said that they have not yet been approached by the government seeking assistance in enforcement of the rule.Delhi Home Minister Satyender Jain, however, asserted that police is a part of government and “not the government”. It is police’s responsibility to implement the law enacted by the government, he said. In his message, which will be released tomorrow, Kejriwal sought support of people for the proposal’s success and has said it will be applicable to him and all the ministers as well, a senior government official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid debates over the practicality of the proposed alternate-days rule for plying of vehicles in the streets, Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that government will come out with a “foolproof plan” before December 25. Jain also told a TV channel that the odd-even formula will not be applicable on two-wheelers running in the national capital, which was later downplayed by the government, saying the details were yet to be worked out.”The odd-even formula will only be applicable on private cars plying in Delhi. For now, the movement of two-wheelers, taxis, autos will be not be restricted on alternate days under this formula,” the minister told a tv channel.Kejriwal has called a review meeting with concerned ministers and officials tomorrow wherein the detailed plan will be put before the CM. Ahead of that, a preparatory committee, chaired by Jain that has prepared a detailed report on the matter, met.Jain is also scheduled to meet Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday. Meanwhile, a senior official of Delhi Traffic Police said that there is no clarity till now regarding the legal provisions under which people who violate the odd-even formula will be prosecuted. “They (the government) are yet to approach us for a reasonable discussion on the scheme, which is imperative for its implementation,” he said.Amid all these, the air quality plunged into the ‘severe’ category in places across the city, with real time readings showing PM 2.5 five times above the prescribed limit at times, which has the potential to affect healthy people and “seriously impact” those with existing respiratory ailments.

Tamil Nadu rains: Centre suspends toll collection on National Highways in state

The order is to come into force with immediate effect and has been issued to ease the rescue.

Government on Wednesday said it has ordered suspension of toll collection on all National Highways in Tamil Nadu till December 11 in view of the flood situation caused by unprecedented rains in the state. “In view of the flood situation caused by unprecedented rains in Tamil Nadu, the Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has ordered suspension of toll collection on all National Highways in the state till December 11, 2015,” an official statement said.The order is to come into force with immediate effect and has been issued to ease the rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations being undertaken by various central and state agencies on war footings and to help the stranded and marooned people in different parts of the state, the statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rescue and relief operations were in full swing today in the worst flood-affected areas of Chennai and suburbs and neighbouring districts, which enjoyed a welcome respite from torrential rains as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Rs 1,000 crore more aid to Tamil Nadu.

No dearth of funds for Clean Ganga mission: Nitin Gadkari

A number of ghats and gardens would be built on its banks boosting tourism and provide a source of income for at least 10 lakh youths, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said.

Nitin Gadkari

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday said the central government is giving priority to making river Ganga pollution free and there is no dearth of funds for the Clean Ganga mission.Projects worth crores of rupees have been launched to make river Ganga pollution free. A number of ghats and gardens would be built on its banks boosting tourism and provide a source of income for at least 10 lakh youths, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said. He was speaking at a symposium on preservation of river Ganga organised at Chaudhary Charan Singh University in Meerut, which was also attended by a number of leaders including Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government alone can’t keep the Ganga clean. It can make the river pollution free by spending Rs 20,000 crore but the society has to come forward to keep it that way, Bharti said, adding the Supreme Court, political parties, media all are united in cleaning the river. “I have dedicated myself for the Ganga. My life would find its true success once I succeed in making the river pollution free and I will succeed in my endeavour,” she said.

Saradha scam: Calcutta HC rejects Madan Mitra’s bail plea

The High Court had on November 5 ordered Mitra to be kept under house arrest till November 17.

Madan Mitra

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday rejected the bail petition of former West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, who is an accused in the Saradha chit fund scam.Mitra, who had on Wednesday resigned from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, has been asked to immediately surrender before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate.The High Court had on November 5 ordered Mitra to be kept under house arrest till November 17. The TMC leader had got a bail in this case by an Alipur court on October 31.The High Court had also questioned the bail granted to Mitra by a lower court as the same had been refused to the TMC leader earlierin August. The CBI had arrested Mitra in connection with the scam in December last year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Government to compensate road developers in case of delays

Thirty-four projects will significantly benefit from this decision and infra sector will get a boost from the decision, while highways building will be fast-tracked.
Getty Images

In yet another policy decision to fast-track highway building, the government today authorised NHAI to pay compensation to road developers, in case of delays not attributable to them, a move that will significantly benefit 34 stuck projects.The decision was taken in a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.”The Cabinet has taken a very bold decision to allow the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to go into the merits of each case and wherever the delays are not attributable to the developer, to extend the tolling period if that should be required and take such measures, which will once again revive these toll projects and get them to operation.” Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said briefing the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thirty four projects will significantly benefit from this decision and infra sector will get a boost from the decision, while highways building will be fast-tracked, he added.”The CCEA has given its approval for authorising National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to allow extension of concession period for all current projects in BOT (Toll) mode that are languishing during the construction period due to causes not attributable to the concessionaire,” an official statement said.It said such permission would be subject to conditions that include the tenure of the Operations Period as envisaged originally in the concession agreement may remain unchanged.This will result in a corresponding increase in concession period.”The decision regarding eligibility of projects for the extension of concession period, and the extent of time extension required may be taken by NHAI on a case to case basis based on the recommendation of the concerned Independent Engineer (IE). The concerned IE, both individual and the firm, shall be accountable for the assessment of the extension recommended in the concession period,” the statement said.Authority shall follow the guidelines while determining the period of delay not attributable to the concessionaire, it said adding, the projects using the special dispensation shall have to achieve physical completion in the next three years.The statement said NHAI will be authorised to pay compensatory annuities to the concessionaire corresponding to the actual period of delay not attributable to the concessionaire upon successful completion of the project, i.e on achieving COD.The number of annuities payable, including compensatory, will be capped by the number of annuities envisaged in the concession agreement.

Nitin Gadkari leaves for Brazil to attend conference on road safety

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari Minister on Sunday left for Brazil to attend the two-day global conference in Brazil on road safety.

India, along with host country Brazil is one of the Friends of the Decade of Action for Road Safety – an informal group committed to the success of the global plan.

File Photo
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari Minister on Sunday left for Brazil to attend the two-day global conference in Brazil on road safety.The 2nd High Level Global Conference on Traffic Safety Time of Results, is being held in the capital city Brasilia on November 18 and 19, an official statement said. It is slated to be one of the most important discussions in the world on traffic safety and aims to reaffirm the international community’s commitment towards reduction of traffic accidents that are responsible for 1.2 million fatalities every year, the statement added. One of the major objectives of the event is to review the progress made by countries in implementing the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The plan aims to save five million lives worldwide through the adoption of policies, programmes, actions and legislations to increase safety on the roads especially for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety was held in Russia in 2009. Thereafter, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution for “Improving Global Road Safety”, in 2014. The forthcoming Brazil conference emerges from the UN resolution. The resolution expresses a concern about the fact that only 7 per cent of the global population is protected by appropriate traffic laws, which provides mandatory use of helmets, seat belts and protective devices for children among other norms.According to WHO’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013, 35 countries, accounting for nearly 10 per cent of the world population, have passed laws tackling one or more of the five key-factors of risk between 2008 and 2011. However the number of countries with comprehensive legislation about all five key-factors of risk remained constant at 28 (representing 7 per cent of the world population, or 449 million people) since the last WHO report in 2009.The goal of the Global Plan is that, at the end of the Decade of Action, the number of countries with comprehensive legislation on the subject increase by 50 per cent.Led by the WHO, the conference aims to strengthen the commitment of the international community around policies, legislations, measures and actions that can halt the factors that cause 1.2 million deaths worldwide and physical trauma to another 30 to 50 million people due to traffic accidents every year. The fatalities primarily affect children and young people from 5 to 29 years and young men are the main victims.India, along with host country Brazil is one of the Friends of the Decade of Action for Road Safety – an informal group committed to the success of the global plan.

Bihar elections: Take strong action against those criticising Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, says Gadkari

Seeking to defend its leadership from the attack by its veterans, the BJP on Tuesday tried to put the ball back in their court.

Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari

Blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for Bihar poll defeat is unjust, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday. Gadkari demanded stringent action against those making irresponsible statements against Modi and Shah. He also ruled out Amit Shah’s ouster as BJP President following the party’s debacle in the Bihar elections on Sunday.On Tuesday however, replying to LK Advani and company’s criticism after the devastating loss in Bihar, senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Venkatesh Naidu and Nitin Gadkari, had issued a statement saying that the party would certainly welcome any guidance and suggestion of their seniors in this regard.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: BJP veterans’ revolt: Singh, Gadkari and Naidu offer tepid defenceSeeking to defend its leadership from the attack by its veterans, the BJP on Tuesday tried to put the ball back in their court, saying the “healthy precedent” of collective responsibility for poll victories and defeats was set by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani himself. The BJP also said it would certainly welcome any guidance and suggestion of “our seniors”, shortly after Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar raised a banner of revolt against the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party President Amit Shah in the wake of Bihar poll debacle.Related Read: Bihar polls rejected dictatorial attitude of BJP govt: CongressThe BJP response came by way of a joint statement issued by three Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari, all former BJP Presidents. “The Party has been very fortunate to have been led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Shri LK. Advani for decades. They had set a healthy precedent of the Party collectively taking up responsibility for victories and defeats. The Party would certainly welcome any guidance and suggestion of our seniors in this regard,” the brief statement said.Reacting to the rebellion of veterans in the BJP, Congress, though refusing to comment directly, had said it speaks volumes about the functioning and authoritarian style of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, which the main opposition has been highlighting over past 15 months.Party spokesman and former minister Manish Tiwari had said while it was an internal matter of the BJP, the manner veterans in the BJP, who had lead the party from two seats in the Lok Sabha to making it a ruling party, were sidelined and isolated speaks of Modi’s mind and work style.Another spokesman Abhishek Singhvi had said the BJP and Modi have not learnt any lessons from the poll debacle in Bihar. In an apparent reference to the BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha’s diatribe against the party, Singhvi said what was a matter of worry was that no action was initiated against Vijayvargiya even after he made a derogatory statement against his party colleague which kicked up a row.Singhvi said what is being witnessed was the politics of deception as the PM was “running with the hares and hunting with the hounds” to keep the core constituency happy, as also the RSS which has got the “remote control”.”The finance minister attributes the defeat to (party) motormouths but, sir, where is the concrete action taken? What is the use of the finance minister giving us all the homilies when neither he nor his party’s top leadership has taken the slightest action,” Singhvi asked.

Increasing rush in Delhi Metros becoming like ‘Mumbai locals’: Arvind Kejriwal

Earlier, Kejriwal flagged the issue of overcrowding of metro coaches saying it was compelling a section to opt for other means of transport including private vehicles which, he said, was “not a good thing”.

Arvind Kejriwal described Delhi Metro as a shining example of “cooperative federalism”, saying that if this model is replicated elsewhere, Delhi as a city would benefit.
File Photo
PTI
Increasing rush is making Delhi Metro experience like that of “Mumbai locals”, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday, eliciting a promise of more coaches and increased frequency of trains from Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu at the inauguration of the Jahangirpuri- Samaypur Badli extension New Delhi.Both the Chief Minister and the Union Urban Development Minister emphasised on the need to work together as ‘team India’. Naidu also accepted Kejriwal’s request to change the name of two stations on the newly-launched section.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At an event at the DMRC headquarters, Kejriwal hailed Naidu as “one of the most progressive minds” in the Union Cabinet. The first train was flagged off via video-conferencing.”Going back to cars should not be allowed. I will be suggesting to DMRC and also hold a review meeting with them. They will be going for additional coaches and increasing the frequency as well so that more coaches and more trips are there and people can be accommodated,” Naidu said.Earlier, Kejriwal flagged the issue of overcrowding of metro coaches saying it was compelling a section to opt for other means of transport including private vehicles which, he said, was “not a good thing”.”Crowd is going up every year resulting in a major section preferring other means over metro. But the real success of metro is achieved when a person takes metro over car. Middle class and even upper middle class had started using the metro. But due to the crowd, metro is no longer comfortable. It is turning into locals of Mumbai where you are pushed in and out of coaches by the crowd,” Kejriwal said.The 4.4-km long Jahangirpuri-Samaypur Badli extension of metro’s Yellow Line, will bring outer Delhi areas such as GT Karnal Road, Rohni, Transport Nagar, Badli into Delhi metro’s fold. Currently, Jahangirpuri is one of the terminal stations on this line, the other end of which runs till Gurgaon’s Huda City Centre. With this extension, its length will be 49 kilometres.Kejriwal described Delhi Metro as a shining example of “cooperative federalism”, saying that if this model is replicated elsewhere, Delhi as a city would benefit. Metro has also bucked the perception of government enterprises being “inefficient”, he said. Naidu underlined the need to have a multi-pronged strategy in Delhi to tackle the problem of congestion, thinking in terms of “parking, pricing and management” and an ‘Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority’.”Inland water transport system is also being considered by the shipping ministry,” he said.Naidu readily agreed to the proposal of renaming Haiderpur station to ‘Haiderpur Badli Mor’ and Sector 18 station to ‘Sector 18-19 station’ to respect the sentiments of the local people. BJP MLA Vijender Gupta, who was also present on the occasion, had moved the proposal to Kejriwal.”These stations have rooftop solar panels as well and have provision for rain water harvesting. Every house in Delhi must have solar panels and rainwater harvesting. There’s going to be a major crisis over water in the coming days. J Jayalalithaa has made it mandatory in Tamil Nadu and it has bore excellent results. Good examples should be followed, our parties may be different,” Naidu said.Terming metro as the “flavour of the season”, Naidu said in the coming days metro coverage is expected to touch 1,000 km across the country.”Metro is the flavour of the season but the cost is very heavy. Everyone everywhere wants the metro. Keeping problematic issues such as land acquisition in mind, the Centre and states should work together. There’s no such problem in Delhi by and large due to cooperation,” Naidu said.The total metro network including the Airport Express Line with the opening of this section will become 213 km with 160 stations. The total travel time from Samaypur Badli station to Huda City Centre station will be around 1 hour and 20 minutes, a DMRC statement said.

Saradha scam: HC orders Bengal minister Madan Mitra under house arrest

Kolkata: West Bengal Transport and Sports Minister Madan Mitra, an accused in the multi-billion rupee chit fund scandal, will be kept in house confinement under police watch till a CBI plea for cancellation of his bail was decided, the Calcutta High Court said on Thursday.

However, Mitra’s house confinement in his south Kolkata residence at Bhowanipore would start once he was released from hospital, where he is now under treatment.

Madan Mitra. PTIMadan Mitra. PTI

Madan Mitra. PTI

Hearing the Central Bureau of Investigation plea, a vacation division bench of justices Joymalya Bagchi and Mir Dara Sheko came up with the observation that Mitra – being a cabinet minister – was capable of influencing witnesses if he remained free.

The judges barred the minister from leaving his house, save for medical emergency or when the CBI needed him in connection with its ongoing investigation into the scam.

CBI counsel K Raghavacharyulu submitted that the Alipore Court had acted in haste to grant bail to the minister.

He argued the CBI was not sent any notice by the sessions court about the bail hearing on 31 October, which violated section 439 (1) (b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure that mandates serving of such notice to the public prosecutor. As such, the bail order was illegally passed.

The vacation judges said the matter needed to be heard on merit and so a regular bench, preferably one which had heard Mitra’s bail petition in the past, should hear the CBI’s plea, once the court reopens on 16 November.

Mitra was asked to file an affidavit on the CBI’s petition by 13 November, while the probe agency would file its counter by 17 November when a regular bench would hear the matter.

Indicted by the agency of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust in the multi-crore-rupee scam, Mitra, was granted bail by a lower court on Saturday, nearly 11 months after his arrest on December 12 last.

Mitra, who was under treatment in the state-run SSKM hospital where he had spent most of his incarceration period, left for home on Sunday after a medical board gave him a fit certificate.

On Tuesday, the CBI moved the Calcutta High Court seeking cancellation of the bail, and around the same time Mitra was admitted to a private hospital in the city.

A five member medical board has been constituted to look after the minister who has been admitted with complaints of chest pain, mild breathlessness and erratic sleep pattern, the hospital said in a statement.

According to jail authorities, Mitra spent less than 50 days in the prison since he was sent to judicial custody on December 19.

IANS

Government forms panel to approve schemes under Nirbhaya Fund

The Nirbhaya Fund has a total of Rs 3,000 crore as Rs 1,000 crore each was allocated to it in 2014-15 and 2015-16 on top of Rs 1,000 crore initial corpus.

An empowered committee comprising officials from various ministries, including Women and Child Development, Home Affairs, Road Transport and Railways, has been constituted to approve schemes proposed under the Nirbhaya Fund, Finance Ministry said on Wednesday.The government in April this year has made the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry the nodal agency for the Nirbhaya Fund in place of Home Ministry, which could utilise only one per cent of the pool set up after the December 16, 2012 brutal gang-rape.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Secretary, Women and Child Development Ministry, will be the chairperson of the committee.The Nirbhaya Fund has a total of Rs 3,000 crore as Rs 1,000 crore each was allocated to it in 2014-15 and 2015-16 on top of Rs 1,000 crore initial corpus.”The Members of the Empowered Committee may nominate an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary as representative to the Empowered Committee of Officers,” the Finance Ministry said in a circular.”The Empowered Committee of Officers will take decision on the sanction of schemes/projects from Nirbhaya Fund within l5 days of the date of receipt of the proposal by the Ministry of Women & Child Development,” it added.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari says ‘sorry’ for rising road accidents

The Road, Transport and Highways Minister said he has failed in the mission regarding the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015, as he was helpless since Parliament was not functioning and some states were not on board.

Nitin Gadkari also said that he is one of the victims of big accident and his secretary has also met with accident.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Saying “sorry” for high number of road accidents in the country, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said the government plans to introduce the Road Safety Bill in the upcoming winter session of Parliament.The Road, Transport and Highways Minister said he has failed in the mission regarding the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015, as he was helpless since Parliament was not functioning and some states were not on board. Once enacted, the legislation will make the system transparent curbing widespread malpractice at regional transport offices (RTOs), Gadkari said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Really I feel very bad. Every year this country faces five lakh accidents, 1.5 lakh deaths. I am very sorry. We want to change that. Regarding the accidents, it is really shameful and I admit today after trying my level best today I cannot succeed to clear this bill. I am vigorously trying. I am a failure. Lot of actions have taken place,” he said at an event here.About three lakh persons are crippled annually in 5 lakh road accidents, while another 1.5 lakh lose their lives in India, which has one of the highest number of road accidents globally. Some states were opposed to the Bill, fearing that the legislation will encroach upon their administrative and financial powers were opposed to it.”We have already discussed the issue with state governments and whatever objections (were there) from their side, we have already satisfied them. Now after that we are again going to Cabinet. I feel that in the next Parliament session we will try to introduce (it) in Parliament,” Gadkari said.He said since the subject is concurrent, cooperation from states is required. “Without cooperation of state government we cannot go ahead in this subject,” he added. Noting that there are lot of lobbies, corruption at RTOs, he said, “we want to make system transparent, result oriented and time bound for giving national and state permits”.Gadkari said that he is one of the victims of big accident and his secretary has also met with accident.”It is very unfortunate, it needs some pressure because it is a subject in concurrent list. We need state government cooperation, there is a lot of big corruption in RTOs (Road Transport Offices), lobbies are against it but with public support we will try to clear it (the bill),” he noted.The Minister was speaking at the ‘National Strategy Day on India’ organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and industry body CII. The Bill seeks to come down heavily on traffic offenders and proposes steep penalties of up to Rs 3 lakh along with a minimum seven-year imprisonment for death of a child in certain circumstances, besides huge fines for driving violations.The Bill is also aimed at bringing down fatalities in road accidents by two lakh in the first five years.

Did not transfer VAT commissioner for ‘fighting graft’, says LG Najeeb Jung’s office

LG Secretariat said he acted on the basis of orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

LG’s Secretariat is asked to issue relieving orders when the transfer order issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, said Jung’s office.

Delhi Lt Governor’s office on Friday refuted the charges of AAP government that Najeeb Jung had relieved the VAT commissioner for “fighting graft” and pointed out at instances of “poor treatment” meted out to top officials including the Chief Secretary by it.Responding to Cabinet resolutions asking the LG to explain the “compelling circumstances” which forced him to transfer Vijay Kumar, LG Secretariat said he acted on the basis of orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs.It said Home Ministry on October 9 had issued directions that five officers who were earlier transferred from Delhi to other Union Territories since should be relieved with immediate effect. It said Kumar’s name figured among these five officers. “Transfers of officers to be posted out of Delhi is the exclusive domain of the Ministry of Home Affairs and at times the LG’s Secretariat is asked to issue relieving orders when the transfer order issued by Ministry of Home Affairs are not implemented by the Government of Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is clarified there has never been any recommendation from the LG’s Secretariat to the Ministry of Home Affairs requesting for transfer of any of these officers, either now or before,” an official statement said.In a resolution, the Cabinet also decided to appoint a GoM to protect officers from “political victimisation” and authorised it to take all steps required to deal with such issues including providing legal support at government’s cost.To this, the LG office responded sharply saying it will reserve its comments in view of the background of “several episodes of poor treatment meted out by the elected Government to the Chief Secretary, the Principal Secretaries Home, Power, GAD, Services, Commissioner (Transport), Principal Secretary (Law) and others”.

BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha denies to be ‘sulking’; says will attend saffron meets when invited

Actor-turned BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, who is courting controversies due to his series of recent statements, has denied that he was “sulking” while stating that he would only attend those saffron meetings that he was invited to.

Actor-turned BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, who is courting controversies due to his series of recent statements, has denied that he was “sulking” while stating that he would only attend those saffron meetings that he was invited to.”With all my good wishes and warm feelings for the BJP, I decided not to create more controversy or make the situation more messy.”That is why I have skipped from my side and also I firmly believe that …I only attend when I am invited to,” he said when asked why he was not campaigning for the party in the ongoing politically significant Bihar polls.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>That, he said, was the reason why he kept away “from the scene” and work towards his parliamentary duties.”I have come over here. However, I have got no ill-feelings. And I feel that we could have still fared much better or as per our expectations if we had gone into the right direction…I am talking about local leaders….some of them have become over ambitious,” Sinha said.When asked who will win the Bihar polls, he said, “That…people will decide.””I hope, wish and pray we take Bihar…that is BJP take Bihar to the path of progress, peace, prosperity, further growth and of course glory. But ultimately, since I have not been an astrologer, I can’t say now,” the popular actor said.”I have even not seen the ground reality…but my good wishes are for my party and ultimately let the best person, let the best party win,” Sinha said.The Patna Sahib MP was in Kochi on Saturday in the capacity as a member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport Tourism and Culture, Civil Aviation and Shipping.When told that he had been a star campaigner for the party, Sinha merely said, “I am not sulking.” The ‘Bihari Babu’ had yesterday tweeted blaming BJP leaders in Bihar for “cancellation” of election rallies to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Sinha had tweeted, “A situation that led our star campaigner PM to cancel his Bihar rallies at the last minute sending a negative message???””This time reasons are best known to all of us and my people and my supporters and my well wishers. The way the things are being played in Bihar…certain handful of leaders with dictatorial attitude I feel pain. That is the reason I said ok…no demand, no command, no complaints and no expectations,” he said.Sinha said he might go to Patna, his constituency for campaigning, if he is required.”I might go there, if I am required. If not required… no problem… no demand, command and no complaints…I wish them all the best. I wish them luck,” he added.

Andhra Pradesh number plates in Telangana to be ‘TS’

The 74 lakh vehicles in the state will be issued temporary registration certificates.

Representational image
Salman Ansari
dna Research & Archives
A government order in Telangana had decreed that everyone who has a vehicle registration with ‘AP’ number plate has to now change them. The new number plates for Telangana will be ‘TS’ number plates.A report in a leading daily states that the guidelines and fees for this will be announced at a later date by the government. This government order (GO) came out on Thursday and is said to be done under rule 81-A of the Motor Vehicle (MV) Rules.The order states, “In place of group of letters (i.e. AP) and code of registering authority under whose jurisdiction already the vehicle was registered or assigned, the vehicle bearing number, shall be substituted by the new group of letters (TS) and new code allotted to the district code/registering authority, without disturbing the last four numerical digits and series.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All vehicle owners will reportedly have a time period of about four months to make this change. The time period may also be extended says the GO. Transport commissioner Sandeep Sultania has said they will issue the guidelines that need to be followed for this process soon, the report adds.The 74 lakh vehicles in the state will be issued temporary registration certificates (RC). These will be posted on their official website.

Truckers strike enters fifth day; deadlock continues

“We will be meeting Road Transport and Highways Minister this evening. We are hopeful of some positive solution. Based on the solution offered, we will call the meeting of our executive committee to decide on whether to continue the strike or not,” AIMTC President Bhim Wadhwa said.

Transporters’ nationwide strike entered its fifth day on Monday amid a continued deadlock between the agitating apex truckers body AIMTC and the government, affecting movement of goods in various parts of the country.Representatives of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), which is demanding scrapping of the present toll system, were to meet Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari later in the evening today to find a solution.”We will be meeting Road Transport and Highways Minister this evening. We are hopeful of some positive solution. Based on the solution offered, we will call the meeting of our executive committee to decide on whether to continue the strike or not,” AIMTC President Bhim Wadhwa said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As previous consultations with the government has failed to resolve the deadlock, AIMTC has also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the matter.The government has proposed electronic-toll collection system in the entire country by December, but the transporters claim this was not a practical solution as a pilot project in this regard was not successful.Apart from demanding scrapping of the present toll collection system, which AIMTC says is a tool of harassment for truckers, it is also seeking a one-time payment of taxes and simplification of the TDS procedure.”Government cannot scrap toll as half of about 325 toll booths pertain to private parties which may seek huge claims from the government which can run into Rs 2-3 lakh crore,” Gadkari had said earlier. AIMTC claims the cumulative loss to the truckers in five days would be about Rs 7,500 crore while the loss to the government could be more than Rs 50,000 crore.It boasts of having 87 lakh trucks and 20 lakh buses and tempos across the country under its fold.According to reports from states, movement of goods has been impacted in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, among other places.Supply of essential goods such as milk, vegetables and medicines has been kept out of the purview of the indefinite strike called by AIMTC.Another truckers body, All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) has decided to keep away from the strike.

Private bus operators likely to join truckers and transporters in nationwide strike

Private bus operators are also likely to join truckers and transporters in their nation-wide indefinite strike to press for their demands.

Trucks

dna
Private bus operators are also likely to join truckers and transporters in their nation-wide indefinite strike to press for their demands.”Our strike will enter Day 5 on Monday and there is a possibility of bus operators, too, joining us later this week. They may keep buses off roads starting from Tuesday or Wednesday, but we are not forcing them for it,” said Amrit Lal Madan from All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).In Mumbai, private bus operators going on strike would also mean school buses, too, staying off the road. The School Bus Owners Association is likely to hold a meeting on Monday with school authorities and parents to discuss about the issue. They may join the strike from Wednesday onwards.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, a meeting is scheduled on Monday with Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways to end the stalemate. Some of the demands of truckers and transporters are paying an annual amount for toll instead of paying it at every toll point, increasing the restriction of heavy vehicles from 10 years to 15 years to ply in Delhi, among others.As per the estimates of AIMTC in the initial three days of the strike there has been a loss of about Rs 3,700 crore and the government has lost to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore by way of various taxes and levies.Luckily, supply of essential commodities are being allowed. “Gradually and voluntarily even transporters of essential goods are joining our agitation and if this continues very soon the supply of essential commodities to the public would be affected,” added Madan.

Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari bats for electric buses to cut import bill, pollution

The government plans to convert about 1.5 lakh diesel buses run by state transport corporations into electric buses to cut on huge Rs 8 lakh crore crude import bill and check pollution, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.

Nitin Gadkari

PTI
The government plans to convert about 1.5 lakh diesel buses run by state transport corporations into electric buses to cut on huge Rs 8 lakh crore crude import bill and check pollution, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.”We have 1.5 lakh buses of state road transport corporations. It is our effort to convert 1.5 lakh diesel buses into electric battery-operated buses which will reduce Rs 8 lakh crore bill on import of crude and petroleum and would also help in making India pollution free,” the Road Transport and Highways Minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To make India pollution free, the country needs to encourage electric vehicles besides vehicles run on environment-friendly fuel like bio-diesel and ethanol, the minister said while addressing a convention on ‘Green Highways.’Stressing on the need to check petrol and diesel vehicles, he said ISRO in collaboration with Highways Ministry would soon come up with indigenous lithium-ion batteries to power public transport vehicles.”If we want to make the country pollution free then diesel and petrol vehicles should be converted into electric vehicles. Our department has taken a decision that lithium ion battery would be patented and its price will come down to about Rs 6 lakh,” he said.He said at present such batteries are imported at a cost of about Rs 55 lakh but ISRO in collaboration of Highways bodies and ARAI (Automative Research Association of India) was developing indigenous batteries.”In two years time electric bike, scooter, buses, cars would be made available” to the public, he said.Gadkari added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is very keen to promote clean fuel and “during his US programme seen Tesla vehicle which can be charged in 40 minutes and can run 400 km”.Gadkari also said that the government was promoting use of bio-diesel and its Haldia port was already running railway engine on bio-diesel.He said bio-CNG and methane could be generated through waste waters discharged and can be harnessed to run vehicles or sewage water could be treated and used for industrial and other use.”I have had a talk with Power Minister Piyush Goyal and has requested him to ask NTPC to use such water in all its plants which in turn would results in crores of litres of clean water left for drinking and agricultural purposes,” he said.The Minister said he had introduced a bus in Nagpur which was running on ethanol for six months now. “We plan to run 100 such buses on ethanol,” he said adding farmers could gain much by producing ethanol.

Government keen to avert transport strike on October 1: Nitin Gadkari

The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) maintained that it’s ready to pay a higher toll, but that should be collected as indirect tax because of harassment by different agencies.

Keen to avert a proposed transport strike from October 1, the government on Sunday said it’s serious about resolving the issues, and asked transporters to join for talks instead of “hampering their as well as nation’s interest”.”We also want they do not face any problems at toll plazas… My appeal is to them that instead of a strike, they furnish me with suggestions (on what can be done) and hold discussions,” Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told PTI.”Our doors are open to them for discussions. They should talk to us and withdraw the decision of strike.” Transporters’ body AIMTC, which claims to represent 93 lakh truckers and 50 lakh bus operators, has announced an indefinite nation-wide strike from October 1 against the toll collection system, saying it has become a tool for corruption and harassment.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) maintained that it’s ready to pay a higher toll, but that should be collected as indirect tax because of harassment by different agencies.Gadkari said, “The government is positive. If they proceed on strike, not just them, but the country will suffer losses… We will hold talks with them.”Earlier, Road Transport and Highways Secretary Vijay Chhibber too had appealed AIMTC to call off the decision to go on strike.”They are not wrong in terms of issues, the issue is not the toll amount. This is not against toll payment. There are police and other agencies in states. Even if we remove the toll plazas, the agencies harassing them will harass them. It is a governance issue, corruption issue which can only be solved at the level of state governments,” Chhibber has said.Seeking Prime Minister’s intervention, AIMTC has said that despite being the highest taxpayers, the transport sector is “on the verge of collapse due to a plethora of taxes, regressive policies and laws that only strengthened the web of corruption, harassment, and extortion”.”Toll barriers are indeed symbols of colonial attitude and have become dens of harassment and corruption. The transport fraternity of India cannot sustain operations in light of burgeoning corruption, harassment, and time delays and therefore, wants that the revenue may be collected as indirect taxation,” AIMTC asserted.It alleged that the toll collection is not transparent and prone to malpractices, and frequent stoppages at toll barriers result in a loss of Rs 87,000 crore on account of manhours and fuel as per an IIM study.CAG too, it said, has pointed to mismanagement of funds on administrative and financial matters in this regard.The body has cautioned that in the case of a nation-wide strike, the country would suffer losses to the tune of Rs 1,500-1,700 crore per day on account of a total halt of essential supplies.

Give two helmets with every new two-wheeler: Madras High Court to Centre

“If helmet is provided by the manufacturer, it will prevent the use of sub-standard headgears”, he added.

Madras High Court has directed the Central Government to issue suitable direction to helmet manufacturers for two-wheelers to provide helmet lock as a component and not as an accessory, adding two helmets should be given to people at the time of purchase of a vehicle.”Centre should ensure two-wheeler manufacturers provide helmets confirming to the Bureau of Indian Standards”, said Justice N Kirubakaran emphasizing the relevant sections of Motor Vehicle Act, which mandated providing helmets to two wheeler riders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If helmet is provided by the manufacturer, it will prevent the use of sub-standard headgears”, he added.Justice Kirubakaran also said that the celebrities too could also be roped in to popularise the mandatory helmet rule.Union Ministry of Surface Transport had earlier submitted details regarding standard designs and details of helmets.

NGT questions Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland about noise pollution caused by their buses

“All these buses which you have designed, why are they so noisy? DTC is planning to procure 10,000 buses. Why don’t you design such buses where the seat of the driver is at a lower level so that he has greater vision on the roads. This would help in minimising the accidents,” a bench headed by NGT Chaiperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

Delhi Transport Corporation buses

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday asked Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, which supply buses to Delhi Transport Corporation, why these vehicles caused noise pollution on roads and directed them to submit details, including their designs.”All these buses which you have designed, why are they so noisy? DTC is planning to procure 10,000 buses. Why don’t you design such buses where the seat of the driver is at a lower level so that he has greater vision on the roads. This would help in minimising the accidents,” a bench headed by NGT Chaiperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said. The green panel also directed both bus manufacturers to inform it about whether they were capable of running high- powered CNG buses which can even ply on hill stations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The buses which you supply should be smaller in size. Can you supply buses which would be (used as) link buses,” the bench said favouring smaller buses during lean traffic period. The Tribunal had issued notices to Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland companies through their Managing Directors and directed their senior-most officials to appear before it.Earlier, the Tribunal had flayed Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) for running its air-conditioned buses without passengers for a major part of the day. “Unfortunately, we also live in Delhi. Your huge buses ply empty for at least five hours a day. Have you rationalised this aspect? It is shocking that nobody listens in DTC. Your buses are more than overcrowded.”We are thinking about afternoon when most of your AC buses, which have a capacity of 60, are empty. After 9:30 PM, most of your buses which go to airport have only one or two passengers. You are wasting government revenue, creating traffic chaos and causing environmental pollution,” the bench had said.

Bandh called by farmers in Karnataka has no effect on Bengaluru

Sugarcane growers had called for a state-wide bandh on September 5 in support of their long-pending demands, including early implementation of the Kalasa-Banduri canal project.
Y Maheswara Reddy
Team iamin
The bandh call given by certain farmers’ associations in Karnataka had no effect on people of Bengaluru on Saturday. With no organisation, including pro-Kannada associations, insisting on observing bandh, the life was normal in Bengaluru on Saturday morning.The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus services were normal on Saturday. Auto rickshaws were seen plying on the roads and most of the schools were open and government offices and banks were functioning normally in the city.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In fact many people are not aware of the bandh call given by sugarcane growers. “I am not aware of the bandh. Why should one more bandh within a few days of observing Bharath Bandh?’’ said Nagesh Kumar, a commuter.Sugarcane growers had called for a state-wide bandh on September 5 in support of their long-pending demands, including early implementation of the Kalasa-Banduri canal project.
For more such hyperlocal stories, visit the iamin.in.

Chennai: Banking services take a major hit due to strike

Most banks were not be functional forcing people to do their banking transactions on Thursday.

Representational image.
Salman Ansari
dna
Staff of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) in Chennai is supporting the nation-wide strike today so bus services are fewer than normal. Protest meetings have been organised at six places in the city and MTC staff would likely be taking part in these meetings.However, it’s banking services that have taken a major hit due to the strike. More than 15,000 employees from nationalised and private banks were expected to take part in the strike today. Thus, most banks were not be functional forcing people to do their banking transactions on Thursday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Suburban train services are expected to be normal in the city.

Mixed response in Goa; strike hits markets, transport

“The strike was successful. We are happy with the response of the people. It was a voluntary response,” Suhas Naik, Convenor, Goa Convention of Workers and All Goa Transport Operators Associations told PTI.

Representational image: Commuters wait for transportC

AFP
The strike call given by ten central trade unions on Wednesday evoked a mixed response in Goa disrupting markets and transport services in several parts of the state, while many cities remained completely shut.The day began with public transport remaining completely off the roads, but later government managed to convince state-run Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited (KTCL) to ply buses on main routes, trying to bring back normalcy.Schools, banks, insurance firms and markets remained closed in towns like Mapusa, Vasco, Ponda, Valpoi, Sanguem, Sanvordem, Bicholim, Mercel and others.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The strike was successful. We are happy with the response of the people. It was a voluntary response,” Suhas Naik, Convenor, Goa Convention of Workers and All Goa Transport Operators Associations told PTI.Fish and vegetable markets across the state also remained closed due to scarcity of supply.”Trucks laden with vegetables which arrive from neighbouring states did not come today. Since there was no fresh stock, we preferred to close the shops,” said Sohan Bepari, a vegetable vendor in Panaji market.Similar was the situation with fish vendors, who did not turn out this morning.”Of the total 354 buses in the fleet, around 300 were on the roads. We serviced all the nationalised routes and important links,” KTCL Managing Director Derrik Nato said.He said couple of KTCL buses were also stoned by protestors, but actual details were awaited.As industrial estates remained closed, protestors were seen demonstrating across the national highways today.Police managed to break open the barricade at highway near Margao town, while several agitators were arrested on the highway near Verna village.”The situation is now much peaceful. We have made some arrests in the industrial estate,” said Superintendent of Police (South) Shekhar Prabhudesai.Taxi services in the state was also affected as vehicles were withdrawn since midnight.”Taxis from airport and railway stations were withdrawn since last night. Not a single taxi was plying from morning,” Secretary, North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association, Vinayak Nanoskar said.However, BJP workers were on the road to ensure that the strike is not successful. Several workers in the towns like Sankhalim, 45 kms away from here, managed to convice the shopkeepers not to join the strike.”The strike is not successful. The life is normal in places like Sankhalim and neighbouring areas,” claimed BJP leader and Sankhalim MLA Pramod Sawant.

AAP promises 1 lakh jobs, free wi-fi in colleges ahead of students election in Delhi University

Apart from Kejriwal, the event at Talkatora Stadium here also saw the presence of his deputy Manish Sisodia, Transport Minister Gopal Rai, and a number of popular Bollywood artistes, including singers Vishal Dadlani and Shilpa Rao

Higher education loan scheme, one lakh jobs within a year and free wi-fi in colleges were among the promises made by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to students of poll-bound Delhi University on a star-studded event organised by AAP’s students’ wing on Tuesday.Apart from Kejriwal, the event at Talkatora Stadium here also saw the presence of his deputy Manish Sisodia, Transport Minister Gopal Rai, and a number of popular Bollywood artistes, including singers Vishal Dadlani and Shilpa Rao. AAP’s students’ wing Chhatra-Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) has entered the fray for the first time turning the DUSU elections into a triangular contest. NSUI and ABVP have traditionally dominated the political scene of DU.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his speech, Kejriwal also pitched for “clean student politics” saying that Delhi University was besetted with corruption. The AAP government has reduced corruption in Delhi by over 70 per cent in six months, he said.”We will make Delhi the first free-wifi state and our team is working hard to turn it into a reality soon. The start would be made at colleges across the state. We will also create around 1 lakh jobs within a year,” Kejriwal said.Speaking before Kejriwal, Sisodia announced the government’s decision to launch the higher education loan scheme, named after late former President A P J Abdul Kalam, on September 8, three days ahead of the polls.Kejriwal said the scheme was meant to ensure that no student has to abandon higher education for lack of money.”There are students who cannot afford higher education for lack of financial strength. We will ensure guarantee loan for them.” The event, anchored by popular video jockey Raghu Ram, saw hundreds of students grooving to popular foot stomping numbers belted out by Dadlani and Rao. City-based band Astitva, singer Jasleen were the other performers. In a bid to offset criticism over expenditure incurred for the marquee event, Sisodia emphasised that the artistes had not taken money for performing. “No one has been paid. Who can dare take money in front of Arvind Kejriwal in any case?” he quipped.”Some people may ask why are we encouraging students for politics? I want to ask them who else will do politics if not students. Ambani or Adani? Students will usher in clean politics and change the country,” Sisodia said. The ambiance was electric at Talkatora, packed to the brim, with students waving flashes of mobile torches, screaming at the top of their voice, dancing in abandon while not forgetting to take selfies in between.”Of course I am here to see Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Moreover, it is a great opportunity to enjoy so many bollywood singers under the same roof,” Ankush from Shyam Lal college said Kejriwal said bringing DU among the top 100 universities of the world was an imperative and stressed that an AAP-backed students’ body would ensure that. “We are a party of the youth.”However, the crowd had considerably thinned by the time Kejriwal rose to speak at the fag end of the event, officially publicised as freshers’ rock concert ‘DU rocks’. In his address, Transport Minister Gopal Rai urged the students to repeat the mandate of Delhi Assembly polls at DUSU elections and defeat money and muscle power.

AAP promises 1 lakh jobs, free wi-fi in colleges ahead of DU Students Union elections

In his speech, Kejriwal also pitched for “clean student politics” saying that Delhi University was besetted with corruption. The AAP government has reduced corruption in Delhi by over 70 per cent in six months, he said.

Arvind Kejriwal addressed the AAP’s student wing on Tuesday ahead of the DUSU elections.

PTI photo
Higher education loan scheme, one lakh jobs within a year and free wi-fi in colleges were among the promises made by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to students of poll-bound Delhi University on a star-studded event organised by AAP’s students’ wing on Tuesday.Apart from Kejriwal, the event at Talkatora Stadium in the national capital also saw the presence of his deputy Manish Sisodia, Transport Minister Gopal Rai, and a number of popular Bollywood artistes, including singers Vishal Dadlani and Shilpa Rao. AAP’s students’ wing Chhatra-Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) has entered the fray for the first time turning the DUSU elections into a triangular contest. NSUI and ABVP have traditionally dominated the political scene of DU.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his speech, Kejriwal also pitched for “clean student politics” saying that Delhi University was besetted with corruption. The AAP government has reduced corruption in Delhi by over 70 per cent in six months, he said.”We will make Delhi the first free-wifi state and our team is working hard to turn it into a reality soon. The start would be made at colleges across the state. We will also create around 1 lakh jobs within a year,” Kejriwal said.Speaking before Kejriwal, Sisodia announced the government’s decision to launch the higher education loan scheme, named after late former President A P J Abdul Kalam, on September 8, three days ahead of the polls. Kejriwal said the scheme was meant to ensure that no student has to abandon higher education for lack of money.”There are students who cannot afford higher education for lack of financial strength. We will ensure guarantee loan for them.”The event, anchored by popular video jockey Raghu Ram, saw hundreds of students grooving to popular foot stomping numbers belted out by Dadlani and Rao. City-based band Astitva, singer Jasleen were the other performers.In a bid to offset criticism over expenditure incurred for the marquee event, Sisodia emphasised that the artistes had not taken money for performing.”No one has been paid. Who can dare take money in front of Arvind Kejriwal in any case?” he quipped.”Some people may ask why are we encouraging students for politics? I want to ask them who else will do politics if not students. Ambani or Adani? Students will usher in clean politics and change the country,” Sisodia said.The ambiance was electric at Talkatora, packed to the brim, with students waving flashes of mobile torches, screaming at the top of their voice, dancing in abandon while not forgetting to take selfies in between.”Of course I am here to see Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Moreover, it is a great opportunity to enjoy so many bollywood singers under the same roof,” Ankush from Shyam Lal college said.Kejriwal said bringing DU among the top 100 universities of the world was an imperative and stressed that an AAP-backed students’ body would ensure that. “We are a party of the youth.” However, the crowd had considerably thinned by the time Kejriwal rose to speak at the fag end of the event, officially publicised as freshers’ rock concert ‘DU rocks’.In his address, Transport Minister Gopal Rai urged the students to repeat the mandate of Delhi Assembly polls at DUSU elections and defeat money and muscle power.

Patel Quota row: Situation crawling back to normalcy in Gujarat, curfew lifted in three areas of Ahmedabad

The situation in Gujarat, bearing the brunt of the agitation by Patel community seeking reservation under OBC category, is gradually returning to normal, officials said

Tension eased across Gujarat as no incident of violence, sparked by Patel community’s quota agitation, was reported overnight, while curfew was lifted on Friday in three out of the nine areas of Ahmedabad even as Army continued flag march in some sensitive areas.The situation in Gujarat, bearing the brunt of the agitation by Patel community seeking reservation under OBC category, is gradually returning to normal, officials said. “Curfew has been lifted in Naranpura, Ghatlodia and Vadaj police stations areas of Ahmedabad today. The decision was taken after no incident of violence was reported in these areas,” a city control room police official said. “The situation in other areas of the city is normal and we are likely to lift curfew there also if tension eases,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Curfew was clamped in nine areas of the city – Nikol, Odhav, Ramol, Bapunagar, Ghatlodia, Naranpura, Naroda, Krishnanagar and Vadaj – on August 26 after widespread violence, incidents of arson and stone-pelting were reported there. Ahmedabad District Collector Rajkumar Beniwal said the Army continued flag march on roads in some city areas today.”Army’s flag march continued today in sensitive areas where violence was reported,” Beniwal told PTI. The situation is completely peaceful and under control in Ahmedabad as no reports of violence have come in last 24 hours, he said. The traffic movement was normal in the city and BRTS (Bus Rapid Transport System) buses started running today. The AMTS (Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Services) buses are likely to start operations in the afternoon.Business establishments, markets and shops are open in the city. However, schools and colleges in six areas of the city, where curfew is still on, are closed today. The other parts of Gujarat like Rajkot, Surat, Banaskantha and Mehsana have also not reported any major incident of violence, a control room official said. The diamond and textile industries in Surat city opened today, after being shut for two days.Notwithstanding appeals for peace by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, Patel community’s 22-year-old leader Hardik Patel, who is spearheading the agitation, had yesterday upped the ante asking farmers of his community not to supply essential commodities like vegetables and milk to cities and support the demand for reservation in jobs and education under OBC quota. He also demanded compensation of Rs 35 lakh each for the families of his community members who died in violence.

Delhi govt rejects Ola Cabs’ license application again

New Delhi: The Delhi government has rejected gain an application by Ola Cabs for license to run its taxi service in the national capital.

According to government, the application of app-based taxi operator was rejected for not filing undertakings stating they were complying with a government’s ban imposed on it and other laid-down rules.

On 3 June 2015, the Transport department had rejected applications by US-based taxi booking firm Uber and two other such service providers — Ola and TaxiForSure.

Ola cabs. Agency

Ola cabs. Agency

Thereafter, on the direction of High Court, the Transport department had given a last chance to hear the views of Ola on the existing ban.

“Government heard views of Ola Cabs during a hearing, but it is not satisfied. The app-based taxi booking firm is claiming that it will bring all its cabs on CNG, but it is not the single rule to follow.

“To run taxis in Delhi, there are several rules like installation of digital fare meters, operation through government-approved fare structure, GPS and PSV badge,” a top government official said.

According to the government, M/s ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd on the banner of Ola Cabs had applied for the application.

“The Transport department has asked the company that if it wants to apply afresh for getting license, it can again apply under newly-introduced ‘City Taxi Scheme’ 2015.

“Government will only entertain the Ola’s fresh application under new taxi scheme if it submits the certified copy of undertaking to be deposited in the High Court along with their application,” the official said.

All app-based cab service were banned in the national capital after a driver of Uber, the US-based online cab service provider, was accused of raping a 27-year-old financial consultant woman passenger in December 2014.

Saradha scam: West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra shifted to Intensive Treatment Unit

Describing the deterioration of oxygen saturation as “critical”, the doctor said the minister’s condition has “improved a bit” this morning after high-end antibiotics were administered to him.

Madan Mitra
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, incarcerated in connection with the Saradha scam, was shifted to Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) of a state-run hospital after he complained of chest pain and respiratory distress.”The minister was moved to the ITU last night after he complained of chest pain. The oxygen saturation of his body was found to have deteriorated after diagnosis so he was taken to the ITU immediately,” SSKM Hospital Director Prof(Dr) Manju Banerjee told PTI on Saturday.Describing the deterioration of oxygen saturation as “critical”, Banerjee said the minister’s condition has “improved a bit” this morning after high-end antibiotics were administered to him.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It’s critical because chances of catching cold for such patients are higher. In fact Mitra has lungs problems. Docotors have prescribed him high-end antibiotics. His condition after today’s check-ups was found to have improved a bit but he will continue to remain in the ITU.” Mitra’s health condition would be reviewed twice daily, she said adding and senior doctors are keeping a close watch on him.Mitra, arrested in December last year in the multi-crore Saradha scam have been charge sheeted by CBI for several offences including criminal conspiracy. He has been spending most of his time in the hospital citing illness. On CBI’s plea, a city court had directed Alipore jail authorities to furnish details of Mitra’s stay in hospital and prison.

Chennai: Major beef over rescuing cattle

Traders are currently fighting a battle with the cattle stealers in Tamil Nadu, who force the Kerala merchants to shell out large sums for releasing their trucks.

dna Research & Archives
Trucks from Tamil Nadu packed with more than 30-40 buffaloes each regularly make their way to slaughterhouses in Kerala. Activist Arun Prasanna has now put a spoke in their wheel. Prasanna and The People for Cattle in India have been rescuing cattle from ending up in slaughterhouses and irking the cattle mafia in the process. Prasanna and his volunteers have to constantly deal with the local cattle mafia, who have been harassing and threatening them. However, Prasanna says a major issue has been getting shelter for the rescued cattle. “All the shelters in Tamil Nadu are full. We are desperately looking for a place in Chennai where we can house the cattle. We can’t have it too far from the city because the cattle mafia will ransack the place and take the cattle,” he rues. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala sees about 2.3 lakh tonnes of beef sale a year. Traders are currently fighting a battle with the cattle stealers in Tamil Nadu, who force the Kerala merchants to shell out large sums for releasing their trucks. “There are hundreds of trucks of cattle that go through Tamil Nadu to Kerala to the slaughterhouses. In 2012, my mom and I stopped our first truck in Ambur and rescued 23 buffaloes. So far, we have 1300 cattle from the slaughterhouses,” explained Prasanna. Once these cattle are rescued, the truck and the cattle (which are sent to the goshala) belong to the court, post which cases are filed and they wait for the judgement.So far, no landmark judgement has been passed. “The cattle owners come and say that they are poor and they’ve spent their life savings on the cattle and the court hands them back the animals. Here, courts are more concerned about human welfare than animal welfare. As compared to other countries, India has so many animal laws, but enforcing and implementing laws is a big concern,” adds Prasanna.The People for Cattle in India sent a petition to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari to strengthen the Central Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Rules 2014, with regard to animals and was successful. The government order passed will come into effect in January 2016.

Radhe Maa granted two-weeks interim bail by Bombay High Court

Controversial godwoman Radhe Maa has been granted interim anticipatory bail for two weeks by Bombay High Court.

Controversial godwoman Radhe Maa has been granted interim anticipatory bail for two weeks by Bombay High Court. Self-styled godwoman Radhe Maa on Friday turned up at the Kandivali Police Station in response to the summons issued by the Mumbai Police for questioning with regard to a dowry harassment case.Senior inspector Mukund Pawar said, “Presently I will not be able to tell anything with regard to the case and the statement of the accused as well as of Radhe Maa.”Her statement will be recorded today by police in response to allegations levelled by a 32-year-old woman that Radhe Maa instigated her in-laws, who are her followers, to demand dowry from her, police said.The Kandivali police had last week issued summons to Radhe Maa and other six others in connection with the case filed on August 5 in which the woman alleged that she was physically and mentally harassed by her in-laws for dowry.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A local court had yesterday denied pre-arrest bail to Sukhvinder Kaur alias Radhe Maa in connection with the case. Also, BJP MLA in Gujarat Vasan Ahir on Thursday said he had written to the state Home department and demanded probe against the controversial godwoman in connection with a case where seven members of a family committed suicide in Anjar tehsil (Ahir’s constituency) of Kutch district in March 2014. Ahir alleged that the family had sold its entire land and given the godwoman Rs 1.35 crores because Radhe Maa had promised them place in heaven if they paid her the money and became her life-time disciples.After realising that they had been duped, they committed suicide, he alleged. Further in Mumbai, advocate Rajkumar Rajhans yesterday filed a complaint with the Airport police station, alleging that Radhe Maa had carried a trishul (trident) with her at an airport and on a flight during her recent travels. Police had not registered any case yet, however.In Thane, near Mumbai, an NGO called ‘Support’ claimed that the high-end car used by Radhe Maa during her recent visit to Aurangabad was purchased using fake documents. It demanded probe by the police and the Thane Regional Transport Office.

Chennai: Death toll down after mandatory wearing of helmets, says govt

On June 8, the Madras High court had directed that two-wheeler riders in Tamil Nadu compulsorily wear helmets from July 1 or risk impounding of their driving license.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
The Madras High Court was on Monday told by the state government that the death toll in mishaps has come down after implementation of its ruling making wearing of helmets mandatory.When the matter came up before Justice N Kirubakaran, to which Madras High Court Advocates Association prayed for some relaxation, government pleader submitted that the death toll has come down after helmet wearing was made compulsory.The Government Pleader submitted that out of 2,784 accidents in January 2015, the death toll was 599, in February out of 2476 it was 481,in March out of 2542 it was 572,in April out of 2362 it was 543, in May out of 2460 it was 599, in June out of 2510 it was 582 and in July out of 2313, it was 498. The Judge who recorded the submissions said he would deliver his order on the objections raised by the association and the relaxation sought for on August 19.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On June 8, the Madras High court had directed that two-wheeler riders in Tamil Nadu compulsorily wear helmets from July 1 or risk impounding of their driving license. The court had observed that it was disheartening to note that a number of precious lives are lost due to non-wearing of protective headgear and made it clear that wearing of helmets by two-wheeler riders is a must and documents, including driving license must be impounded in case of failure to do so. The court had directed the central government, besides the Secretary, Surface Transport Ministry, to direct all states to monitor the compulsory wearing of helmets and take action.

PM Modi talks about Kargil, road accidents; sidesteps politics on ‘Mann Ki Baat’

New Delhi: Concerned over the high rate of casualties in accidents, the government will soon bring a Road Transport and Safety Bill and launch cashless treatment for mishap victims, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday in his monthly radio programme while avoiding any mention of politics or the logjam in Parliament.

In his 15-minute programme, he also hailed the armed forces in the context of Kargil Vijay Divas, paid tributes to the farming community and praised scientists, besides saying that a team of officials will pay a week-long visit to the Northeastern states to understand the problems of the region and address them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ReutersPrime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

He also invited suggestions from the public which could form part of his this year’s Independence Day speech.

While talking about various social issues, he avoided politics at a time when Parliament is unable to function because of a deadlock with opposition demanding resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over various controversies.

Talking about road accidents, he mentioned the case of a scooter rider lying bleeding on a road in Delhi with nobody helping him.

“Several people have been writing to me that I should speak on road safety to create awareness about it. When we see the figures, we notice that in India, an accident takes place every minute and a death due to these takes place every four minutes. Among the victims, one-third are in the age group of 15-25 years,” the Prime Minister noted.

Keeping this in mind, the government will soon bring a Road Transport and Safety Bill, he said.

The government is also planning other important measures like putting in place a National Road Safety Policy and Road Safety Action Plan, he said.

A project under which cashless treatment will be given to accident victims, wherein the victim does not have to worry for the first 50 hours as to who pays the money for treatment, will also be launched soon, he said.

The project will be launched in Gurgaon, Jaipur and Vadodara and then to Mumbai, Ranchi, Rungaon and Maurya national highways.

The Prime Minister also promised to ensure that all villages in the country get 24-hour electricity under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, which was launched by him in Patna on Saturday.

“It is a difficult task but we have started work on this… India is such a big country and villages are so far-off but we will do it,” he said, while underlining that electricity is a key requirement for progress and a necessity in everyday life for everyone.

Talking about the North East, Modi said that under the ‘Act East’ policy of his government, officials of the Ministry of Development of North East Region (DONER) will go to the states of the region. “They will hold seven-day camps, talk to people and address their problems,” he said.

With regard to the farm sector, he expressed happiness that the Monsoon rainfall has been good so far and production of pulses and oilseeds has shown an increase of 50 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.

After talking about ‘kisan’ (farmer), he spoke about the ‘jawan’ (soldier) on the Kargil Vijay Divas, celebrated on Sunday as a day of victory against Pakistan in the three-month conflict in Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir in 1999. He paid tributes to the armed forces and hailed their valour and sacrifices for the nation.

“In Kargil, each of our soldier proved more than a 100 of the enemy. I salute to the brave soldiers who thwarted the evil designs of the enemy without caring for their own lives. The Kargil war was not fought only on the border but every village, every city contributed to it.

“This war was fought by those mothers and sisters whose sons and brothers were in the battlefield. It was fought by those girls, who had just been married, those fathers who gave their sons and felt young themselves, and those sons who had not even learnt to walk properly holding the finger of their father. It is because of their sacrifices that India can move in the world holding its head high,” he said.

While talking about ‘vigyan’ (science), he referred to the recent accomplishment of ISRO which launched five satellites of the United Kingdom, in first such feat.

At the same time, he regretted that interest in science and technology was on the decline among the youth of today. To generate interest in research and development, he suggested holding of competitions in innovations nationally.

In the context of the ‘Swacchh Bharat’ programme, Modi highlighted a case of a Madhya Pradesh village where locals have launched ‘Operation Mal Yudh’ (war against dirt).

He said the locals had started a competition of ‘Brother No.1’, in which brothers would have to gift a toilet to his sister on the upcoming Raksha Bandhan festival and the best among them will be chosen for awards.

Regarding the ‘mygov’ portal launched on this day a year ago, Modi said he had received almost 2 crore hits and several important suggestions were being made by the people.

“We had committed to enhance people’s participation in democracy and make the people partners in developmental activities,” he said, while referring to a suggestion by a person from Kanpur that IRCTC portal should have facility to provide bookings for the disabled.

“This suggestion was taken seriously by the government and now we have put this facility in place,” he said, adding that all major suggestions would be taken to their ends.

He also urged the people to make their suggestions on the ‘mygov’ site on what issues he should speak on the upcoming Independence Day, while referring to a person from Chennai who suggested that he should raise issues like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’, ‘Swachch Bharat’ and ‘Clean Ganga’.

PTI

PM Modi says government to soon launch cashless treatment for victims of road mishaps

Concerned over the high rate of casualties in accidents, the government will soon bring a Road Transport and Safety Bill and launch cashless treatment for mishap victims, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday in his monthly radio programme while avoiding any mention of politics or the logjam in Parliament.

PM Narendra Modi

PTI photo
Concerned over the high rate of casualties in accidents, the government will soon bring a Road Transport and Safety Bill and launch cashless treatment for mishap victims, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday in his monthly radio programme while avoiding any mention of politics or the logjam in Parliament.In his 15-minute programme, he also hailed the armed forces in the context of Kargil Vijay Divas, paid tributes to the farming community and praised scientists, besides saying that a team of officials will pay a week-long visit to the Northeastern states to understand the problems of the region and address them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also invited suggestions from the public which could form part of his this year’s Independence Day speech.While talking about various social issues, he avoided politics at a time when Parliament is unable to function because of a deadlock with opposition demanding resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj,Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over various controversies. Talking about road accidents, he mentioned the case of a scooter rider lying bleeding on a road in Delhi with nobody helping him.”Several people have been writing to me that I should speak on road safety to create awareness about it. When we see the figures, we notice that in India, an accident takes place every minute and a death due to these takes place every four minutes. Among the victims, one-third are in the age group of 15-25 years,” the Prime Minister noted.Keeping this in mind, the government will soon bring a Road Transport and Safety Bill, he said. The government is also planning other important measures like putting in place a National Road Safety Policy and Road Safety Action Plan, he said.A project under which cashless treatment will be given to accident victims, wherein the victim does not have to worry for the first 50 hours as to who pays the money for treatment, will also be launched soon, he said. The project will be launched in Gurgaon, Jaipur and Vadodara and then to Mumbai, Ranchi, Rungaon and Maurya national highways.

CBI extends probe to Madhya Pradesh transport department

The total number of seats in the department were increased from 198 to 332 by a government notification number 198 in 2012 and RTI activist Ajay Dubey alleges that the motive behind the increase was to get candidates who had bribed the officials, jobs in the transport department.

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday took over the investigation into the alleged alteration in optical mark recognition (OMR) sheets by employees of Vyapam in connection with Transport Constable Recruitment Test 2012. The development was, perhaps, the most awaited one for the petitioners in Vyapam scam case who believe that while frauds committed in the fields of medicine, engineering and police training can only drag in middle-rung culprits, the job scam involving the Madhya Pradesh transport department holds the key to implicate the chief minister Shivraj Singh as well as his wife Sadhna Singh.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The total number of seats in the department were increased from 198 to 332 by a government notification number 198 in 2012 and RTI activist Ajay Dubey alleges that the motive behind the increase was to get candidates who had bribed the officials, jobs in the transport department.A week before the CBI took over the probe into the massive admission and recruitment scam, the transport department situated in Gwalior was gutted in fire allegedly caused due to a short circuit. Whistleblowers as well as opposition parties had suspected foul play and claimed that filed related to Vyapam were deliberately destroyed. “Jobs in transport department are more lucrative than other fields like medicine or engineering,” Dubey told dna.In June last year, an RTI query was filed by Kamal Maurya, additional IG, STF, seeking information on the transport scam. Two months later when an RTI query was filed by Dubey seeking details provided to STF official, the asked information was not provided.According to him, chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh, Antony Disa (who then was additional secretary in transport department, Manish Shrivastav, transport secretary and Jagdish Devda should have been questioned by the STF. “We will request the honorable court to direct the agency to question all the accused,” said Dubey who would be present in the next Vyapam hearing set to take place on July 24.Sources in the CBI said that the probe agency is taking up every single complaint related to the Vyapam scam and it was a matter of time that all the cases would be taken over. Yet it remains to be seen whether the CBI will question the names mentioned by Dubey. In its cases registered in the transport scam it has only named ex-education minister Laxmikant Sharma and his OSD OP Shukla.”There are 39 FIRs registered in the transport department alone. 35 people joined in as constables and four others as other officials. More importantly 17 people were selected during recruitment didn’t even join after the STF probe,” said KK Mishra, Congress spokesperson in MP, He claimed the 17 candidates got through the transport constable recruitment test by forging documents and they are all suspected to be from Sadhna’s home district of Gondia in Maharashtra. “The STF was pressurised into neglecting the transport department because it leads to the doors of MP’s chief minister,” Mishra alleged.The CBI officials, however, did add that no amount of political pressure will deter the agency from taking action. “CBI action will not discriminate,” said Kanchan Prasad, spokesperson of the probe agency.

NGT questions Delhi govt’s plan to procure 10,000 new buses

“Do you know how much noise your buses make? Have you checked any of your vehicles of noise pollution?” the bench said.

The National Green Tribunal on Monday questioned the Delhi government’s proposal to deploy 10,000 new DTC buses in the wake of alarming proportions of air pollution in the capital and directed it to come out with a proper study to support its contention.”Strengthening public transport system is a healthy thing but that needs to be corroborated by some kind of study. Where is the space to park these buses? Have you carried out any study or you are just saying like this only without any research,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi government had approached the NGT seeking a direction to DDA to provide 500 acres of land for parking of 10,000 buses in the national capital.”Do you know how much noise your buses make? Have you checked any of your vehicles of noise pollution? Just because you are a government body, does not mean that you can do this. Nobody gives you a right to turn people of Delhi deaf. Show us one survey done by DTC in last three months,” the bench said.The green bench also slammed DTC for not submitting status report on inspection of its buses by a team set up by Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Committee and said there has to be a limit to even CNG emissions.”You have not carried out inspection and not filed report. We had asked you to conduct mechanical inspection, emission tests and conduct surprise inspections. What have you done on that aspect? There is not a single report filed by you till date. One year is not enough for you to conduct the inspections. Your buses were impounded, yet you have not done anything,” the bench said.The observations came while hearing various applications filed by Delhi Transport Corporation in an air pollution case in which it has sought modification of the NGT”s ban order on diesel and petrol vehicles.Delhi government had approached the Tribunal seeking a direction to DDA to provide land for parking 10,000 buses in the national capital.There are at present 42 DTC bus depots in the national capital, some of which also cater to cluster buses (orange buses).Earlier, CPCB had informed NGT that it had inspected 15 old and 12 new buses plying on the roads of Delhi.While 12 new buses were found to be compliant with the prescribed emissions norms, six old ones were found to be not conforming to the standards, CPCB had said.Last year, a report submitted by the Joint Commissioner of Transport had stated that 186 DTC buses were found without valid pollution under control certificate on December 28, 2014.

‘Won’t compromise on Delhi air’: AAP to move court if Ola, Uber don’t run on CNG

Tightening its noose on app-based taxi aggregators including Uber and Ola , the AAP government has decided not to compromise with Delhi’s air quality and women safety by directing the companies to only run CNG -based taxis which also have GPS and license, to operate in capital.

The Arvind Kejriwal government has also decided to move court against app-based taxi aggregators if they do not follow its directives. The government has given a last chance to give a hearing to Ola and Uber to present their views on laid down norms.

Representtational Image. Reuters.Representtational Image. Reuters.

Representtational Image. Reuters.

Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said, “We verified the data provided by Uber, Ola Cabs and found that over 80 per cent of their taxis are diesel-run which contribute to polluting of Delhi’s air extensively. We will not allow to run their such taxis in Delhi at any cost. Uber and Ola have to bring all their taxis on CNG. Government cannot compromise over pollution issue.”He also said that Uber, Ola have to install GPS in their taxis and get them registered with the transport department.

“In view of women safety, we have asked them to install GPS in their all taxis besides registering them with the government. As per court’s order, we are giving a chance to Uber and Ola to hear them, but if they do not follow government’s these directives, we will approach court against them and apprised the respected court about their their wrongdoings as to how they are flouting laid down rules,” Rai said.

In order to reduce increasing air pollution, Delhi government recently imposed congestion fee on goods vehicles entering in Delhi.

All app-based cab services were banned in the national capital after a driver of Uber was accused of raping a woman passenger in December last year. A senior government official said that the ban still continues to be in force in the national capital, however, the aggregators are allegedly flouting the norms.

PTI

Punjab CM Badal assures help to those stranded in Uttarakhand due to heavy rain

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday assured immediate help to those affected by heavy rains in Uttarakhand as the state government dispatched a rescue team to oversee evacuation of pilgrims stranded at Hemkunt Sahib.

As per the orders issued by Punjab Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Arunjit Singh Miglani has been asked to head the team to oversee the evacuation of stranded pilgrims, an official spokesperson said.

Miglani would obtain security personnel from ADGP (Security), a medical team from Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare and required number of buses from Principal Secretary Transport, he said.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. AFPPunjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. AFP

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. AFP

He has been directed to station himself at Joshimath in Chamoli district, liaise with Uttarakhand government and report the progress of evacuation to Punjab Civil Control Room daily, the spokesperson said.

Sub Divisional Magistrate, SAS Nagar (Mohali) Lakhmir Singh has also been asked to accompany him, the spokesperson said.

Terming the situation in Uttarakhand as a national tragedy, Badal assured full and immediate help to all those affected regardless of their respective states or their destination of pilgrimage, an official spokesperson said.

Several residents of Punjab who had gone on a pilgrimage to Sri Hemkunt Sahib in Uttarakhand are stranded due to heavy rains and reported damage of bridges and roads.

Stating the main objective of Punjab government was to expedite the rescue operation so that all the pilgrims stuck at Gobind Dham and other nearby places are evacuated, Badal hoped that all those stranded would soon be brought back home safe and sound.

He prayed to the Almighty for safety of all people stranded in Uttarakhand.

PTI

Draft Bill proposes grading system for driving schools

The Bill reads, “No person shall work as instructor for imparting driving training unless he holds an ‘instructor license’ as prescribed under the rules.”

The state government’s draft Bill on transport has grading for driving schools and a provision making it mandatory to have instructor licence before impart driving lessons.As per the draft of Maharashtra Mechanically Propelled Vehicles and Road Safety Bill, 2015, which may be called as Maharashtra Transport Bill, 2015, that has been put up for suggestions and objections from public, any individual who is working as an instructor will need to posses an ‘instructor licence’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bill reads, “No person shall work as instructor for imparting driving training unless he holds an ‘instructor license’ as prescribed under the rules.”Usually, instructors are associated with motor driving schools to assist citizens in practising driving as well as getting their driving licence done.”An institute authorised by the state government shall conduct an independent inspection of driving training schools in a manner to be prescribed in this regard by the government for the purpose of grading of driver training schools,” mentions the draft Bill.For the last five to six years, the government had been planning to grade driving schools. However, it is only now that there has been a formal mention to this effect in the proposed Bill. There will be four grades – A, B, C, and D – which will be given to driving schools across the state based on the quality of education they impart to their students.The state is in the process of enacting its own regulation as certain areas and rules of transport have not been covered under the Union Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2014.

Where is Rs. 2000 cr Nirbhaya Fund, AAP questions BJP over women’s safety

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday targeted Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre over women’s safety, questioning about allocation of Rs.2,000 crore Nirbhaya Fund for that purpose.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

AAP leader Dilip Pandey in a press conference alleged: “BJP is taking revenge of its failure in elections by compromising with safety of women in Delhi.”

“Rs.2,000 crore fund was allocated for women’s safety after Nirbhaya case but nobody knows where that money has gone,” he said, adding that the Centre had promised to open 660 rape crisis centres across the country but only 36 were operational.

The party targeted Governor Najeeb Jung over deployment of 4,000 Home Guards in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses.

Pandey said a file regarding deployment of around 4,000 marshals in DTC buses to ensure security for women in public transport, was lying pending with Jung’s office.

“The AAP has given one week’s time to the Lieutenant Governor to release it and if he failed to do so, the women wing of the party will meet him,” Pandey said.

IANS

India inks landmark cross border pact; more Saarc nations to join

Thimpu: India on Monday achieved a milestone with the signing of a motor vehicles pact with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh enabling seamless transit of passenger, cargo and vehicles with the first stage of the $8 billion road connectivity project set to begin in October.

Besides, Myanmar and Thailand have agreed to develop a motor vehicle pact on lines of the draft Saarc Motor vehicle agreement, which will pave the way for greater economic cooperation in the ASEAN region.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. PTIUnion Minister Nitin Gadkari. PTI

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. PTI

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday signed the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) for Regulation of Passenger, Personal and Cargo Vehicular Traffic along with transport ministers of the other three nations here.

The BBIN MVA will not only reduce transport costs, but also foster development of multi-modal transport and transit facilities, enabling increased connectivity and promotion of greater trade between the four countries.

Transport Minister Gadkari addressing the conference at Thimpu said: “This MVA, which would eventually allow motor vehicles of all categories registered in our countries to move freely in the region, is a first and small but substantial step endorsing the commitment of our national leaders to deepen regional integration for peace, stability and prosperity.”

As per the agreement, the four countries will carry out a six-month work plan from July for the implementation of the BBIN MVA in accordance with the preparation of bilateral, perhaps trilateral or quadrilateral agreements and protocols, installation of the prerequisites for implementing the approved agreements, among others.

The staged implementation of the historic pact will begin in October this year.

In order to promote development of land transport that will connect supply and demand centres in the BBIN countries, a meeting of the Transport Secretaries of the four countries identified 30 priority transport connectivity projects with a total estimated cost of over $8 billion.

Gadkari said that India will work on signing a similar motor agreement with Myanmar and Thailand.

“I am happy to share with you all a significant initiative to strengthen connectivity of our sub-region to ASEAN. In this regard, a major breakthrough has been achieved between India, Myanmar and Thailand.

“Three nations have agreed to develop a similar framework MVA on the lines of draft SAARC Motor vehicle agreement,” he said.

Secretary level discussions were successfully concluded in Bengaluru this month and consensus has been reached on the text of the agreement, he added.

“On conclusion of this agreement, our sub-region will get access to the larger ASEAN market through seamless passenger and cargo movement,” the Minister said.

Transforming transport corridors into economic corridors could potentially increase intra-regional trade within South Asia by almost 60 percent and with the rest of the world by over 30 percent.

The corridors and their related routes were determined as per an analysis of regional and international trade patterns.

Gadkari said the MVA is the “over-arching” framework to fulfil the commitment to enhance regional connectivity. This will need to be followed through with formulation of required protocols and procedures in the shortest time possible to realise free movement of people and goods in the region.

This would need to be supplemented through building and upgrading roads, railways and waterways infrastructure, energy grids, communications and air links to ensure smooth cross-border flow of goods, services, capital, technology and people, he added.

“The agreement that we have drawn up gives ample flexibility to each country to take steps to operationalise the agreement as per the need and comfort of each nation.

“This endeavour was also actively supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which functioned as the interim secretariat for the four-countries,” Gadkari said in his speech.

He further said: “I am informed that ADB is also ready to invest in road infrastructure projects…”

Progress and economic development of the countries in the region are inter-linked and an enhanced regional activity will give a boost to trade and commerce among the nations and with other regions through intra-regional and inter-regional trade.

Besides Gadkari, Bangladesh Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader, Bhutan’s Minister of Information and Communications Lyonpo D N Dhungyel and Nepal’s Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bimalendra Nidhi represented their respective countries.

All the four countries agreed on a six-month work plan for the BBIN MVA, from July to December.

It includes formulation, negotiation, and finalisation of the necessary legal instruments and operating procedures for implementing the agreement.

It also includes installation of the pre-requisite systems and infrastructure for carrying out the approved arrangements, such as information technology systems, and tracking and regulatory systems.

The Saarc MVA was expected to be signed during the Saarc Summit in Kathmandu in November 2014, but it could not be signed due to Pakistan’s reservations.

The declaration at the then Kathmandu Summit encouraged member states to initiate regional and sub-regional measures for connectivity. Hence, a sub-regional MVA among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal was considered.

PTI

CCTV in 5,000 Delhi buses in first phase, Rs 100 crore to be spent

“Government has decided to install CCTV cameras in 5,000 DTC and cluster buses. As per plan, three CCTV camears will be installed in each bus to keep a close vigil on every passenger,” Transport Minister Gopal Rai told PTI.

In an effort to enhance security in city buses, particularly for women commuters, Aam Aadmi Party government has decided to install close circuit television (CCTV) cameras in 5,000 buses in the first phase, besides deploying trained marshals.The government will make a provision of around Rs 100 crore in the upcoming Budget to execute the flagship project for CCTV installation that will cover DTC and Orange-colour Cluster buses.At present, there are around 4,700 DTC buses out of which 924 standard-floor buses (yellow) are all set to be scrapped as they have completed their age.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apart from that, 1,300 cluster buses, run by Delhi Integrated Multi-Model Transit System (DIMTS), are also plying in the capital.”Government has decided to install CCTV cameras in 5,000 DTC and cluster buses. As per plan, three CCTV camears will be installed in each bus to keep a close vigil on every passenger,” Transport Minister Gopal Rai told PTI.According to the government, installation of CCTVs will help to check any attempt of violence against women or eve-teasing in buses.”CCTVs will be installed in all DTC low-floor buses, including air conditioned buses. All the 1300 cluster buses (orange) will also come under this project,” the minister said.A senior official said that government will make a provision of Rs 100 crore in the upcoming Budget to execute the project.Apart from CCTV project, around five thousand trained marshals will also soon be deployed in all buses to put a check on incidents of eve-teasing and violence against women.”At present, the government is currently providing training to personnel of Home Guard and Civil Defence as marshals to prevent and deter crime, especially against women.”Government will also make a provision of some funds for them separately in the Budget.”These marshals will soon be deployed in the city’s buses plying in the national capital,” the official also said.

India’s auto safety crisis: Why Janhavi Gadkar in the Audi survived and those in the taxi didn’t

It took yet another high-profile case – last week’s Mumbai accident involving an Audi and a taxi – to once again highlight that a large section of India-manufactured vehicles are from safe.

A look at the two vehicles (pic below) involved in the accident shows the disparity in Indian car safety standards. The Audi, which is a luxury vehicle, ensured the injury to its passenger in the case of a head-on collision, was minimum; the crumple zone did its job. For the budget taxi vehicle (which was a Maruti Eeco), the only safety the passenger had was his seat-belt.

Image: GNCAPImage: GNCAP

Image: GNCAP

Both the cars could have had its occupants relatively safe if India had adhered to safety norms prescribed by various bodies including the United Nations. Unfortunately, for those travelling in the taxi, the car came with no air bags or a safe crumple zone that could have reduced the impact on at least its front-seat occupants.

It’s as simple as this – if you have the money in India, you can ensure your safety by buying a luxury car. The government isn’t interested in stepping in and tightening regulations to ensure car manufacturers adhere to basic safety measures which are implemented globally, irrespective of what model a consumer chooses to purchase – basic or high-end.

audi-tax-newaudi-tax-new

And manufacturers find an easy loophole to wriggle out of safety demands. While global safety agencies may question a car company’s safety measures, the standard response, until now, has been that the cars produced for the Indian market meet the country’s safety standards. This, despite India emerging as the fifth largest producer in the world of passenger cars.

Take the example of Nissan’s Datsun GO. When Global NCAP, a UK-based organisation that carries out consumer safety tests, conducted a crash test of the car that is sold in India, it failed to score on the safety chart and was heavily criticised for its sub-standard structure. The same model, was banned in North America and Europe.

Nissan’s response, according to MotorBeam, is that its car meets safety standards prescribed by the Indian government. “The Datsun GO meets Indian safety standards and was developed with an intention to meet the demands of local conditions.”

And it’s not as if Nissan engineers don’t know how to build safe cars. Three of their 2014 models sold in the US earned the 2014 IIHS top safety pick+ award and another is a top safety pick.

Simply put, it is the government and the automobile manufacturing bodies in the country that need to step up and rethink safety measures in vehicles.

But nothing has changed despite the high number of accidents in the country. The government’s own data reveals that a serious road accident occurs every minute, 16 deaths occur on Indian roads every hour, and over 20,000 deaths are due to drunk driving every year. For some reason, it appears that the government is hesitant to take the initial step of introducing tougher safety norms for manufacturers to comply with. Much like in the case of Maggi, where after one major expose the FSSAI decided to test all variants of instant noodles and put in place better testing norms, perhaps the government is waiting for a catastrophe to wake up and fix what could well be one of the main reasons behind India’s high road deaths.

Data released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, reveals that over the last three years, Light Motor Vehicles have been accounting for about 20 percent of the accidents in India.

In 2011, cars/jeeps/taxis accounted for 21.3 percent of all road accidents in the country. In 2012, it was 21.6 percent. In 2013, the latest data that is available in the government domain, the percentage of accidents involving light motor vehicles accounted for 22.2 percent.

And the demand for better safety measures in India has seen a tremendous increase. According to KPMG’s Global Automotive Executive Survey 2015, safety innovation as a purchasing criteria for the next five years saw a rise among India and ASEAN consumers. From 42 percent in 2013 to 50 percent in 2014 to a massive 74 percent in 2015.

Globally, safety innovation as a priority stood at 52 percent in 2015, as opposed to 48 percent in 2014 and 46 percent in 2013.

Crash test failure

In early 2014, Global NCAP crash tested five of India’s popular cars – Maruti-Suzuki Alto 800, which is India’s best-selling car, Tata Nano, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Polo.

The organisation chose the entry-level versions of each model, which form a fifth of the total passenger vehicle sales in India. Not surprisingly, all the cars failed in a frontal impact test at 64 kmph, and received zero-star adult protection rating. None of these models come fitted with airbags, a security feature that’s mandatory almost globally.

Furthermore, the test revealed that in the case of the Alto 800, the Tata Nano and the Hyundai i10, even if the car had been fitted with airbags, the extent of the structural weakness was such that even the airbags would not be effective in reducing the risk of serious injury. Soon after the test, Volkswagen Polo made front-seat airbags compulsory across its models following which it got a four-star rating for safety.

But here’s what matters: A consumer who has the budget to buy a Polo or any other high-end hatchback will not hesitate to throw in a few thousands and get airbags fitted in his vehicle. For a low-budget user, the aspiring middle class who wants to upgrade from a two-wheeler to a budget four-wheel vehicle, cost cutting is an important factor. The user is bound to think that moving from a bike to a car is a jump in terms of safety in itself, and therefore comprising on airbags would not matter much. And it is these cars that constitute most of the vehicles on Indian roads.

Proposed regulations for car safety

In 2014, the government, in its draft Road Transport and Safety Bill – proposed the setting up of the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme, under which cars will be tested for their safety through front-on and side-on crash tests and cars being sold in India will adhere to at least basic global safety measures.

Among other safety measures, cars will have to come with compulsory seat-belt alerts, anti-lock braking system and child lock.

However, the new safety norms, which will unfold in phases, will come into complete effect only five years from the date of notification, as manufacturers need time to redesign their assembly line and also develop new products that adhere to the new safety norms.

According to The Times of India, cars will also be allotted star rating in terms of their safety. “There will also be an administrative body of BNVSAP, which will have the authority to choose the new vehicle models to be taken up for assessment to verify compliance. In parallel to mandatory star rating for new models, the voluntary star rating for both new and old model shall also be allowed.”

Moreover, beyond setting-up its own New Car Assessment Programme, the government should also conform to the United Nation’s minimum crash tests standards. As of now, India doesn’t require vehicles to meet UN regulations for occupant protection in frontal crashes and side impacts. The UN frontal impact test is carried out at 56 km/h while NCAP carries out its test at a speed of 64 kmph.

Oil tanker catches fire, sparks blaze in Punjabi Bagh

Fire breaks out in the Transport Nagar area near the Punjabi Bagh Metro station when an oil tanker parked there somehow caught fire.

Oil tanker catches fire in Transport Nagar, Punjabi Bagh (Delhi)

ANI
A major blaze broke out in west Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh area on Wednesday afternoon after an oil tanker caught fire and the flames spread to a nearby warehouse.The incident took place in the Transport Nagar area near the Punjabi Bagh Metro station when an oil tanker parked there somehow caught fire, police said.There was no immediate report of any casualty in the incident, which has caused traffic to be diverted away from the area.A call was made to fire officials and Delhi Police following which eight fire tenders were rushed to the spot.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Efforts to douse the flames were still on with police having cordoned off the area.

Delhi government issues warning to Uber, Ola Cabs on licence issue

The AAP government has decided to again write to the Centre to block the apps of these two taxi aggregators.

Uber logo
File Photo

In a stern warning, Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday said the government will not consider applications for licence from app-based taxi operators Uber and Ola Cabs unless they comply with the existing ban imposed on them. The AAP government has decided to again write to the Centre to block the apps of these two taxi aggregators and take strict action against them for not complying with the ban order. The government on May 28 had directed Uber and Ola Cabs to submit details of their drivers and vehicles if they wanted to “regularise” their services in the city, but according to the minister, they have “not turned up” so far.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “We will not issue licences to Uber and Ola Cabs to operate their taxis in the capital unless they follow existing ban imposed by the city’s government. “They have been asked to first give an undertaking in this regard, but they are avoiding. Out stand is clear that both Uber and Ola Cabs have to comply with the ban order if they want their applications for a licence to be considered by the government,” Rai here. All app-based cab service were banned in the national capital after a driver of Uber, the US-based online cab service provider, was accused of raping a woman passenger in December last. The Delhi government in March had approached the Centre to block web-based apps of taxi operators Uber, Ola Cabs and TaxiForSure alleging that these companies were not complying with its ban order imposed on them. “We will soon send a reminder to the central government to take action against Uber and Ola Cabs for not complying with the ban order. As city government can not block the app of these companies, we will again approach the Centre to do the same,” he also said.The transport minister added that these taxi aggregators have to take responsibility of safety of passengers travelling in their vehicles. “We are working on a special plan to take action against banned taxi services in the capital. Several teams will be formed to seize the taxis of such companies,” Rai added. Incidentally, Uber has landed in another controversy with one of its drivers being accused of molesting a woman passenger on May 31 during a ride to Gurgaon.Also Read: Another Uber driver accused of molesting female passenger

Bombay High Court upholds MSRTC chief’s termination of service

A division bench of justices AS Oka and CV Bhadang in their order passed early this month refused to order reinstatement of Jeevanrao Gore as chairman of the Board of Directors of MSRTC.

The Bombay high court recently quashed and set aside the termination order passed against chairman of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and its three directors by the state government. However, due to the amendment in the Act governing the corporation, it allowed the transport minister to act as the ex-officio chairman.A division bench of justices AS Oka and CV Bhadang in their order passed early this month refused to order reinstatement of Jeevanrao Gore as chairman of the Board of Directors of MSRTC.The bench was hearing petitions filed by Gore and the directors namely Babasaheb Mulik, Manohar Pashilkar and Anandrao Patil who challenged termination of their service from the MSRTC board of directors.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gore and others were appointed on August 6, 2012 to the board. On December 23, 2014 the government issued an order terminating their services with effect from January 22, 2015 in pursuance to amendment in rules.Gore had argued in court that if the minister of the transport department is appointed to head such a corporation then the state government would lose its power over the corporation. Advocate General Sunil Manohar, however, pointed out that a large number of statutory corporations or authorities are headed either by chief minister or state ministers.Conceding with him, the high court observed that the state government has been conferred wide powers to control the functioning of MSRTC. “Merely because a minister is the chairman of the said corporation we fail to see as to how the plenary powers of the state government conferred under the Act to control MSRTC are affected in any manner.”The court however stayed its order for six weeks after the government sought time to challenge it in the higher court.

Women safety: Delhi government to deploy marshals in city buses

“As per our plan, 2,500 personnel of civil defence and home guards are now being trained as marshals in first phase.

In order to ensure security of women in public transport, Delhi Government has decided to deploy 2,500 marshals in buses plying in the city.The government is currently providing training to personnel of Home Guard and Civil Defence as marshals to prevent and deter crime, especially against women passengers, in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and orange colour cluster buses.”As per our plan, 2,500 personnel of civil defence and home guards are now being trained as marshals in first phase.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They will patrol in buses in groups. Each group will have 3-4 marshals. They will soon start patrolling buses,” Transport Minister Gopal Rai said.According to the government, the marshals will be given walkie-talkies so that they can contact each other.”The idea behind deploying these marshals in groups is that they can prevent and deal with crime completely in buses.If one marshal is deployed in buses, so he may not be able to prevent two or three persons involved in crime and in view of this, we have decided to deploy marshals in groups. They will also be given walkie-talkies by the government,” he said.The government also has plans to install CCTV cameras in all DTC buses. So far, DTC has managed to install CCTV cameras in 200 buses in first phase.”The government will also install CCTV cameras in a phased manner. We are now working on this project,” the minister said.In its pre-poll manifesto, the Aam Aadmi Party promised to set up Women’s Security Force made up of a 10,000-strong Home Guard.