Dehradun - The Pioneer

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Dehradun - The Pioneer
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head of Assembly polls in
A
five States, Prime Minister
Narendra Modi on Monday
utilised the Ambedkar
Memorial Lecture to take on
his opponents, especially the
Congress, by seeking to once
again set the records straight on
the issue of reservation policy
for Dalits and underprivileged.
Asserting “nobody can snatch
their right”, he pointed out
how the BJP Governments at
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the Centre and States never tinkered with it and accused his
opponents of “spreading
untruths” and doing only politics in the name of Ambedkar.
He also attacked the
Congress, without naming it,
by recalling how Ambedkar’s
progressive views by way of the
Hindu Code Bill arguing equal
rights for women had no takers then and he had to resign
as the Law Minister. He linked
his Government’s Waterways
Bill with Ambedkar’s views on
India’s maritime strength, and
outlined the slew of Ambedkarrelated initiatives taken by the
BJP Governments in the States
and the Centre. The Prime
Minister also compared
Constitution
architect
Ambedkar to Martin Luther
King, who had fought for the
rights of blacks.
Modi said, “Nothing has
ever happened to the reservation for Dalits, tribals, when we
are in power but still lies are
being spread to mislead people.
When Vajpayeeji became PM,
a campaign was run saying
reservation will be abolished.
He was the Prime Minister for
two terms and nothing of that
sort happened.”
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“The BJP has ruled in
Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat,
Maharashtra, Punjab, and
Haryana for many years and the
quota policy never suffered a
scratch. Yet untruths are being
spread. People, who are only
interested in doing politics, fail
to come out of it,” Modi said.
Asserting that quota is the
“right” of the Dalits and the
underprivileged that nobody
can snatch, the Prime Minister
noted, “As I had said earlier also
that even if Ambedkar appears
today, he cannot snatch this
very right of yours. What are
we before Baba Saheb?”
Laying the foundation stone
for Ambedkar National memorial, the Prime Minister targeted his political opponents accusing them of “spreading confusion
and lies” on the issue and rued
that while its “serves their poli-
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tics”, such things “weaken” the
social fabric of the nation. Modi
said it was for the first time that
the Prime Minister of the country was delivering the Ambedkar
Memorial lecture being organised for the sixth time.
“Our pledge is to complete
the memorial by March 2018
and I declare here that I will
inaugurate it on April 14, 2018,”
Modi said amid chants of Bharat
Mata ki jai from the audience.
He repeatedly questioned
“why it took 60 years” to do it
and reminded that Ambedkar as
Law Minister had to resign
from Jawaharlal Nehru’s Cabinet
owing to lack of backing on the
Hindu Code Bill that was a progressive move aimed to codify
and reform Hindu personal law
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blockade caused huge crises as
fuel and medicine supplies
dried up. Kathmandu blamed
New Delhi for supporting the
protestors but the allegation has
been denied. The blockade
halted for months Nepal’s
third-country trade, apparently prompting the Nepalese
Government to look for an
alternative to the Haldia port.
The transit agreement with
China gives Nepal an option to
use the next nearest Tianjin
port in China that is 3,000 km
from Nepal border. India’s
Haldia port is 1,000 km away.
During the talks, the two
Prime Ministers made a comprehensive review of bilateral
relations and expressed satisfaction over steadily growing
relations between the two
countries.
“The two sides exchanged
substantive views on further
strengthening and consolidating mutual trust and understanding as well as promoting
mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields,” according to a Press release issued by
Nepalese Foreign Ministry.
Trade diversification, cross
border connectivity and infrastructure development, cooperation on energy, tourism,
finance, education and culture
were among the matters that
figured prominently during
the talks, it said.
During his talks with Li,
Oli mooted extension of
China’s strategic railway link
with Tibet further to Nepal.
Briefing the media after Li-Oli
talks, Hou Yanqi, deputy head
of the Chinese Foreign
Ministry, said, “Nepal Prime
Minister wanted to explore
two rail lines.”
Continued on Page 4
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he trial court on Monday
T
fixed April 8 for a reluctant
Congress to produce its annual account books during the
scam period of 2010-2011 in
the National Herald case.
The court also asked the
Associated Journal Ltd (AJL),
publisher of National Herald, to
produce its accounts for the
said period.
Metropolitan Magistrate
Lovleen’s strict direction came
after the battery of lawyers
appearing for the Congress
informed the court that the
party needed time to follow the
March 11 order for producing
the accounts. Senior lawyers RS
Cheema, Ramesh Gupta and
Badar Mahmood argued saying, “Summons were not clear
as to whether it was for 2010,
2011 or for both.”
The Congress was supposed to produce the documents on Monday. At one
point, the lawyers even said
they received the summons
only on Saturday and that too,
it was a peon in the AICC office
who had received it.
Continued on Page 4
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rushing off decades of distrust,
B
President Barack Obama and
Cuban President Raul Castro
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shook hands Monday in Havana’s
Palace of the Revolution, opening a
meeting aimed at advancing the
diplomatic opening that both leaders
have pursued.
Obama and Castro stood together as a Cuban military band played the
national anthems of Cuba and the
United States — stunning sounds in a
country where resistance to the US has
been part of the Government’s national mission for decades. Obama and top
US officials warmly greeted their
Cuban counterparts before the two
Presidents sat down for their meeting.
For Obama, there’s no better place
with the BJP and the Congress
leading their respective delegations to Pranab Mukherjee to
apprise him of the developments in the State and seek
time to prove their majority in
the Assembly.
On his part, Uttarakhand
Chief Minister Harish Rawat at
a Press conference in Dehradun
on Monday accused the BJP of
murdering “both democracy
and
secularism
in
Uttarakhand,” while the
Congress expelled Saket
Bahuguna and State Congress
joint secretary Anil Gupta for
anti-party activities.
The five-member BJP delegation to the President comprised in-charge of party affairs
in Uttarakhand Shyam Jaju,
BJP general secretary Kailash
Vijayvargiya, State unit chief
Ajay Bhat, rebel Congress leaders Vijay Bahuguna and Harak
Singh Rawat. The delegation
said since the Rawat
labours laws which fixed eight
hours were creation of
Ambedkar. Taking jibes at
Nehru dynasty, the Prime
Minister said “somehow history did not give credits to
Ambedkar for what all he did
for the country.”
“Some people don’t like us.
They don’t even want to see us.
They get fever on seeing us and
in fever, one loses control of
mind. That is why they say all
kinds of lies and all absurd
things. Those who did not
work for 60 years have given us
a chance to do this and we take
pride in doing such works like
building a memorial at 26
Alipur Road,” he said, taking
swipes at Congress leadership
and Nehru dynasty.
86&XEDUHZULWHKLVWRU\DIWHU\UV
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he Uttarakhand political
T
crisis
reached
the
President’s door on Monday
in India by giving the women
equal rights in many spheres like
property. Terming it “injustice”
to call Ambedkar only a messiah of Dalits, the Prime Minister
said that he was the voice of all
marginalised sections and was a
“Vishwa Manav”.
Linking the Waterways Bill
brought by his Government in
Parliament with Ambedkar’s
views on India’s maritime
strength, Modi said no work
on it happened in last 60 years
and the difference is visible
“when some bhakta (devotee)
of Baba Saheb comes in
Government”.
Modi also said the electricity acts which created the
formation of boards in states
for distribution of power and
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tung by the bitter lessons
from Madhesi blockade of
India trade points that caused
acute fuel shortage, Nepal on
Monday signed a transit and
transportation treaty with
China for its third-country
commerce - a move that is likely to end New Delhi’s monopoly over the landlocked
Himalayan nation’s trade
through Haldia port in Kolkata.
The two countries signed
the agreement along with nine
other treaties in Beijing, a day
after Nepal Prime Minister KP
Sharma Oli began a week-long
trip to China. Oli’s maiden
visit as the Nepal Prime
Minister comes at the invitation
of his Chinese counterpart Li
Keqiang.
The visit is significant in
the light of Nepal’s efforts to
reduce its decades old dependence on India after Madhesi
protestors in southern plains,
agitated over the new
Constitution, blocked supply
trucks coming in from the
southern neighbour.
The five-month long
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than Havana to show that engagement
can do more than isolation to bring
about change on the communist island.
Yet for the Cubans, the glaring question
is whether their own Government is
ready to prove the ambitious diplomatic
opening is more than just talk.
Driving rain, deserted streets and
hordes of police — this was the
Havana greeting Barack Obama, who
arrived with his family, is the first US
President to touch down on the
island, barely an hour’s flight from
Florida, in 88 years.
The view from Obama’s armoured
Cadillac, nicknamed “the Beast,”
would have been a long way from the
postcard vision of sun-splashed
Cuban mansions and sparkling blue
seafront.
Continued on Page 4
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a significant development,
IKKnUttarakhand
Governor Dr
Paul on whom all eyes are
now riveted, has written a letter to the Centre in which he is
supposed to have mentioned
what had transpired in the
Uttarakhand Assembly on
March 18. He is said to have
cited the fact that 35 MLAs,
including those from the BJP
and the Congress, had visited
Rajbhawan late Friday night.
?=BQ 347A03D=
hile averring that he
W
enjoys majority support
in the Assembly on Monday,
Chief Minister Harish Rawat
launched a blistering attack
against his detractors in the
BJP, saying that many of the
saffron leaders had grabbed
Government lands. "I am ready
to face the floor test slated on
March 28. The conspiracy
hatched by the Centre and the
Congress rebels would go
waste," he said.
"I would like to mention
here that many of the State BJP
leaders, including their MLAs,
have grabbed Government
lands using their political muscles. I would release the list of
the land grabbers soon," he said.
"I have kept my cool despite the
Government had lost majority
after it failed to get the Finance
Bill passed, it had no moral
right to be in power.
Governor KK Paul had on
Saturday asked Harish Rawat to
prove majority on March 28.
However, the BJP delegation
requested the President to
direct the Governor to dismiss
the Rawat Government, claiming it had lost majority in the
Assembly.
“We have also asked the
President to direct the Governor
to give us time to prove our
majority on the floor of the
House,” Kailash Vijayvargiya said
after the meeting.While the BJP
urged the President to pre-pone
Rawat’s floor test from March 28
to March 22, it accused the
Uttarakhand Speaker of acting
like Rawat’s “agent.”
The Congress, on the other
hand, accused the BJP of destabilising its Government in the
State. Speaking after the meeting with the President, Leader
of Opposition in Rajya Sabha
Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “We
apprised the President of the
situation in Uttarakhand and
how the BJP, with the help of
the Centre, is trying to destabilize Congress Governments
across the county. We also
requested the President that as
per the Governor’s earlier decision, the CM should be allowed
to prove majority on March
28.”
Continued on Page 4
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saffron provocation, calling me
a land mafia. I do not get provoked. The list would be
released following meticulous
homework," he said.
Continued on Page 4
Meanwhile, Chief Minister
Harish Rawat continues with
his move to clip the wings of
the rebel Congress MLAs and
those close to them. He has his
focus pointed on former CM
Vijay Bahuguna and former
Cabinet Minister Harak Singh
Rawat.
Aside from dismissing
Harak Singh Rawat and advocate general UK Uniyal, who is
the elder brother of dissident
Continued on Page 4
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ubbishing the State Chief
R
Minister Harish Rawat's
allegation that Prime Minster
Narendra Modi is intent on
destabilizing the non-BJP State
Governments by taking
recourse to undemocratic
means, State BJP chief
spokesperson Munna Singh
Chouhan said on Monday that
the allegation was baseless and
politically motivated.
"In sync with the democratic norms, BJP MLAs have
given notice to the Secretary to
the Vidhan Sabha on a no-confidence motion against Speaker
Govind Singh Kunjwal," he said,
adding that both Harish Rawat
and the Speaker were to blame
for what had been happening.
"The Speaker was throttling the voice of the dissidents
within the ruling Congress
and it has precipitated the crisis. It all happened as the CM
is neck-deep in corruption.
His inflated ego is responsible
too. He considers others in the
party as fools. A crafty kind of
politician, he plays the emotional card. He is under the
illusion that he can take the
common people for a ride by
unleashing emotional blackmail," he said.
Chouhan alleged the CM
was acting as a king in utter
disregard of the Constitutional
norms and
Continued on Page 4
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Invoking the luminous
legacy of the late Hemwati
Nandan Bahuguna by an
embattled Chief Minister
Harish Rawat was wrong, said
State BJP's chief spokesperson
Munna Singh Chouhan on
Monday, adding that citing
the late stalwart's name and
spiting his son by all means
when he is the Chief Minister
of the State smacks of the
moral low the CM and his
party have stooped.
Continued on Page 4
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fter failing to secure bail
from the lower court in the
A
case of police horse Shaktiman
sustaining injury during a BJP
protest, Mussoorie MLA Ganesh
Joshi on Monday filed a bail plea
in the district sessions court on
Monday. The hearing of the
plea is expected to be held on
Tuesday.
The MLA filed the plea in
the wake of his earlier bail plea,
filed at the court of Additional
Chief Judicial magistrate,
Dehradun regarding the case
being rejected on Saturday.
Dehradun police had
arrested Joshi on Friday on the
charge of assaulting the horse
during BJP’s Vidhan Sabha
Gherao rally on March 14. He
was later sent to Suddhowala
Jail. Notably, Joshi was on
Friday produced in the court,
Vikasnagar (Dakrani) by the
police from where he was sent
to Suddhwoala jail for 14- day
judicial custody. In another
development, Nainital High
Court has ordered BJP leader
Jogender Pundir to surrender
before the lower court within
a week. Pundir may file a petition seeking bail from the
lower court after surrendering
in the lower court, it is learnt.
Earlier, police had raided the
house of Pundir but he was not
present. Police came back
empty hand
ed after BJP supporters
and leaders shouted slogans
against police administration
after gathering at his house.
As reported earlier, police
had taken a suo moto initiative
over the assault on the horse
and a case under sections
429/188/353/147/332/148 of
IPC, 7 Law Criminal
Amendment Act and under
section 11 (L) of Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals Act had
been registered against MLA
Joshi, Jogendra Pundir and
other BJP members in Nehru
Colony Police Station on
March 14.
ganeering by the BJP activists.
The protesters said that
they would continue their stir
until MLA joshi is released
from the jail. They said that
they would burn the State government again on the day slated for torching Holika. “The
Harish Rawat government represents the evil for us. This
year’s Holika Dahan would be
performed through torching
the Harish Rawat government
in its effigies,” said a BJP
activist.
The rally was led by
Ghanshyam Negi who accused
the CM of putting behind bars
BJP MLAs by way of a calculated move to finish off the
Opposition.
“Reduced to
minority, the CM and others
should quit promptly,” he said,
adding that they would continue to hit the roads to artic<;06P]TbW9^bWXbbd__^acTabcPZX]V^dcP\^RZUd]TaP[^UcWTBcPcT6^eTa]\T]cX]BPWPbcaPSWPaP^]<^]SPh
ulate the rage of the people over
?aPbWP]c1PS^]X8?X^]TTa the politically motivated arrest
of MLA Joshi under draconian
the Harish Rawat Government ing slogans against the Chief laws. Another party leader
?=BQ 347A03D=
over the arrest of Mussoorie Minister for allegedly framing Anuj Kaushal said the Rawat
rotest spree continuing in MLA Ganesh Joshi on Monday. Joshi and other BJP leaders on government’s fall would be a
The protesters assembled at false cases. The effigy of the good riddance for the State.
the State capital, hundreds
of BJP activists protested and Dobachchi, Sahastradhara and State government was torched “The days of the government
carried out a mock funeral of rallied to IT Park while shout- at the rally at IT Park amid slo- are numbered,” she said.
P
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?=BQ 347A03D=
ithin one month of the
successful commissioning
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of a 270 MW thermal generating unit in Punjab, BHEL has
commissioned another 270 MW
coal-based unit at the same site
in the State.
The unit has been commissioned at the 2x270 MW
Goindwal Sahib coal-fired
Thermal Power Project of GVK
Power & Infra Limited
(GVKPIL), located in the historic
city of Goindwal Sahib in Tarn
Taran district, near Amritsar in
Punjab. The first unit of the project was earlier commissioned by
the company in February, 2016.
BHEL’s scope of work in the
Goindwal Sahib project envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and
commissioning of Steam
Turbines, Generators, Boilers,
associated Auxiliaries and
Electricals, besides state-of-theart Controls & Instrumentation
(C&I) and Electrostatic
Precipitators (ESPs).
The equipment for the project were supplied by various
manufacturing units of BHEL
located at Trichy, Ranipet,
Hyderabad, Bengaluru &
Haridwar while the construction
work was carried out by BHEL’s
Power Sector - Northern Region.
Thermal sets of 270 MW
rating are an in-house improvisation of 210/250 MW sets supplied earlier by BHEL, which
today form the backbone of the
Indian power sector and have
been performing much above
the national average as well as
international benchmarks.
BHEL has so far contracted 35
sets of 270 MW rating, out of
which 13 sets have now been
commissioned.
Notably, all the operational
sets of 210-270 MW class in the
state of Punjab have been supplied, erected and commissioned
by BHEL.
G_b[cX_`_^Y^S\ecY_^_V9D
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6?=B4<F0; Q ?0DA8
imalaya Environment and
H
Employment Cooperative
Society Ltd president Ashok
?=BQ 347A03D=
wo members of Jewellers’
Association of Uttarakhand
T
(JAU) were arrested by the
police when they were protesting in the city on Monday
against the Centre slapping 1
per cent excise duty on the nonsilver ornaments. The protest
entered its 20th day on Monday
with no possibility of Centre
meeting the jewellers’ demand
of withdrawing the excise duty.
The protesters assembled
at Dhamawala and rallied to
Clock Tower while shouting
slogans against the Central
Government. Two protestersPraveen Jain and Praveen
Verma- were arrested by police
when the protesters were
about to block the road at
Clock Tower.
Police faced verbal arguments and altercation with the
protesters. The arrested duo
were brought to Kotwali police
station. Stepping up the stir further, the protesters gheraoed
Kotwali police station and
shouted slogans against the
district police administration.
The protesters alleged that
police had acted unjustly by
arresting two of the association
members, saying that the agitation was peaceful. Later,
they were released.
Meanwhile, five protest-
ers- Anil Sharma, Pramod
Kumar Maison, Bhudev
Verma, Santanu Sahani and
Anil Kumar- sat on the rely stir
going on for the past 12 days
at Dhamawala.
JAU vice -president Sunil
Masson said that they have
been protesting for the past 20
days with the Centre remaining unmoved. The Centre
should immediately roll back
the decision and raise the limit
of requirement of PAN card for
jewellery transaction from C2
lakhs to C10 lakh. “They would
continue their stir till the
Centre withdraws excise duty
on gold and diamond-studded
gold ornaments,” he warned.
Thapliyal has submitted a
memorandum to Garhwal
Commissioner on Monday,
saying that Pauri Nagar Palika
Parishad has been misleading
the National Green Tribunal,
New Delhi regarding the disposal of the garbage and waste
products.
In the memorandum,
Thapliyal stated that the district administration has failed
to comply with the order of the
National Green Tribunal. It
stated that land Khasra no.
3681 of lower chopra to Nagar
Palika Parishad had been
made available for the disposal of garbage by installing the
recycling plant on August 27
2014.
A copy of that was produced in the main bench of
National Green Tribunal ,
claiming that the land was
suitable for the disposal of
garbage during the final hearing of the case, the memorandum stated.
Acting on it, NGT’s principal bench, New Delhi had
permitted Pauri Nagar Palika
to use a particular site as proposed in the tribunal by
Uttarakhand State as a tem-
porar y dumping site on
September 2 2014. NGT had
also directed that in case of
failure, the applicant Himalaya
Environment
and
Employment Cooperative
Society Ltd would be free to
move the Tribunal either by
filling fresh petition or reviving the old petition.
Thapliyal said that
despite the order of the
National Green Tribunal
regarding the disposal of the
garbage and waste products as
per MSW Act , the Pauri
Nagar Palika has failed to
comply with the order with
one and half years having
passed since the order was
issued.
He further alleged that
Pauri Nagar Palika has not
done anything to construct the
dumping ground on the earmarked site. Consequently,
garbage and waste products
are being indiscriminately
dumped and burnt in the forest areas surrounding the district headquarters Pauri, he
alleged.
Thapliyal warned to take
the matter again to National
Green Tribunal in case Nagar
Palika Parishad and administration fail to dispose garbage
and waste products under
MSW rule by the end of
March.
hairman of the fourth
State
Finance
C
Commission, BK Joshi has
asked the State’s information technology additional secretary to facilitate the
assistance required by
urban local bodies and
Panchayats to redress hurdles being faced in the digitalisation of these bodies.
The commission
chairman said this while
addressing a workshop held at
the cyber treasury meeting
hall at Lakshmi Road to review
the status of the progress
achieved in the task of inclusion of information technology in the functioning of
Panchayat and urban local
bodies here on Monday.
During the workshop, the
fourth
State
Finance
Commission chairman sought
relevant information from officials of Panchayats and urban
local bodies regarding progress
achieved in the online process.
Addressing those attending
the workshop, the commission chairman said that the
purpose of organising the
workshop was to review the
extent and the manner in
which the utilisation of information technology is being
made in order to bring about
the desired transparency, pace
of work and ascertaining
answerability in the local bodies and Panchayats.
Speaking on the occasion,
member secretary of the fourth
state finance commission, LM
Pant expressed dissatisfaction at
the urban local bodies not being
able to implement the software
at the departmental level and at
the house tax/commercial tax
system procedure not being
put to use for a long time now.
He also assured that the
commission will provide the
assistance that is required in the
development process of establishing the software process for
swift utilisation of information
technology in the urban local
bodies and Panchayats.
The commission will also
help the Panchayats and urban
local bodies make necessary
amendments and action for
residential tax process and full
collection of the tax. Assistance
required will also be provided
by the state finance commission towards facilitation of 100
per cent implementation of
online procedure in the bodies,
said Pant, while also directing
officials of the Urban
Development department to
present a proposal for this.
Pant further directed the
officials concerned to ensure
that the necessary human
resource is made available for
the online procedure along
with which the process for
according necessary training to
its personnel should also be
completed.
The fourth State finance
commission member secretary Avikal Thapliyal, CMS
Bisht and information technology additional secretary
Amarendra Chauhan along
with other departmental officials concerned were also
among those who were present
in the workshop.
Eh`URjh`c\dY`a`_YZXYR]eZefUV^VUZTZ_R]a]R_edRe7C: 3U]U^d\QTU^
?=BQ 347A03D=
he use of medicinal plants
has been documented since
T
ancient times in the Indian civilization though at present
appropriate and sustainable
techniques need to be standardized to conserve the
species of medicinal plants.
The Indian Council of Forestry
Research and Education
(ICFRE) director general
Ashwani Kumar said this at the
inaugural session of a two-day
workshop on high altitude
medicinal plants at the Forest
Research Institute (FRI) here
on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion,
the ICFRE DG said that there
is great potential in India for
medicinal plants, especially the
medicinal herbs found in the
high altitude areas. Modern
research and development
efforts has been inadequate in
so far as high altitude medicinal plants are concerned, said
Kumar.
He said, “The use of medicinal plants has ancient roots
in Indian civilization’s history
and culture and has also been
documented in old sculptures
and literature. Presently, appropriate and sustainable harvesting techniques need to be standardised in order to conserve
the species of medicinal plants,”
stressed the council DG.
Later, in the first technical
session, NS Chauhan from the
university of Horticulture and
Forestry, Solan (Himachal
Pradesh) spoke on the diversity, utilisation and availability of
high altitude medicinal plants
in Himachal Pradesh.
Former advisor to
Uttarakhand medicinal and
aromatic plants board, MR
Uniyal presented a brief
overview of the utilisation of
high altitude medicinal plants
by the pharmaceutical industry
in India. He stressed on the
importance of correct identification of high altitude medicnal plants. From the Himalayan
Forest Research Institute at
Shimla in Himachal Pradesh,
Dr Vaneet Jishtu addressed the
gathering regarding the redlisted medicinal plants and
their conservation status.
According to the council
officials, the two day workshop
on high altitude medicinal
plants is aimed at providing a
forum for facilitating interaction among policy makers,
State forest departments,
research organisations, non
governmental organisations,
law enforcing agencies, high
altitude medicinal plant growers, traders and various stakeholders.
By facilitating better understanding of the technicalities of
the medicinal plant sector, the
workshop is focused on achieving further improvement in
efforts towards harnessing the
considerable scope presented
by the high altitude medicinal
plant wealth.
The ICFRE ADG Dr TP
Singh, DDG (research) Dr
Vimal Kothiyal, scientist Shilpa
Gautam and VRS Rawat
among others also addressed
the gathering in the inaugural
session.
The additional principal
chief conservator of forests,
Government of Himachal
Pradesh, Arvind Alipuria,
ICFRE
DD G
(Administration) AS Rawat
and scientists were also among
those who attended the inaugural session of the workshop
sponsored by the National
Medicinal Plants B oard
(NMPB) of the Department of
Ayur veda,
Yoga
and
Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha
and Homoeopathy (AYUSH)
of the Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare.
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?=BQ 347A03D=
Vikram driver, Roshan Lal,
Brahamraj, resident of Rishikesh
hree died and eight others and Abhishek, resident of Majra.
were injured when a truck The injured are Anchal, resident
loaded with cement fell on a of Majra, Abhishek, resident of
running Vikram coming from Dudhilwala, Shikha and Gaurav,
opposite direction at Kali tem- residents of Rani Pokhri, Deeraj,
ple (Rishikesh), on Rishikesh- resident of Chidduwala,
Dehradun motor road on Roshani, resident of Dandi,
Sunita Devi and
Monday.
Yashoda, residents of
Rishikesh
EXZaP\fPb
Rani Pokhri. The
police station inR^\X]VUa^\
charge sub- ^__^bXcTSXaTRcX^] truck was seized.
However, the driver
inspector Pankaj
Pc:P[XcT\_[T
Pokhriyal said AXbWXZTbW^] escaped from the spot.
No FIR has been
that the accident
AXbWXZTbW
reported so far.
had occurred
around 12.45 3TWaPSd]\^c^a However, a team has
a^PS
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pm at Kali temthe driver.
ple, around five
In another incident in
kilo metres away from
Rishikesh town when the dri- Rishikesh, three women were
ver lost the control over the injured when they were
truck and fell on the Vikram knocked by a four wheeler
while negotiating a sharp bend which was coming backward.
on the road. Among eight per- The driver had lost the control
sons, two were injured seriously over the vehicle when he was
and they were referred to Jolly climbing up the road. Later, the
Grant Hospital from local vehicle fell into gorge and was
Government hospital, he added. stuck in the tree, but the driPokhriyal said that the ver somehow managed to save
injured persons had been his life. The injured were
admitted at Government admitted in the local hospital
Hospital, Rishikesh. The and they are reported to be out
deceased have been identified as of danger.
5hXYRYdY_^XU\TQd6B9d_]Qb[G_b\T6_bUcdbi4Qi T
?=BQ 347A03D=
n exhibition of various
aspects of forestry was
A
held at the Forest Research
Institute here to mark the
occasion of World Forestry
Day on Monday. Various divisions of the institute set up
posters and models to display
their forestry research activities.
The various varieties of
bamboo, plantation, utilisation and varied technical
aspects were presented by
exhibits. The displays also
included information on
medicinal plants and their use
in treatment of various ailments, saplings and seeds of
various ornamental and other
tree species and the technologies developed for making natural colours, manure,
incense sticks, herbal gulal,
technique for drying wood
using solar power and scientific method for testing bamboo among other aspects.
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any damage or loss to any person, a purchaser of this publication or not for the result of any action taken on the basis of this work. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent court and forums in Delhi/New Delhi only.
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continuation of official
against its nine turnIcoatnaction
MLAs and their followers,
the Pradesh Congress
Committee expelled MLA and
former Chief Minister Vijay
Bahuguna’s son and PCC executive member Saket Bahuguna
and organisation secretary Anil
Gupta for a period of six years.
PCC president Kishore
Upadhyay expelled the two for
indulging in anti-party activities. In the meantime, party
workers holding varied views
on the recent political developments have largely remained
with the organisational leadership of the Congress.
According to the PCC chief
spokesman Mathuradatt Joshi,
the disciplinary committee of
PCC had declared Bahuguna
and Gupta guilty of supporting
the turncoat MLAs in carrying
out anti-party activities. The
disciplinary committee had recommended suspension of the
two party office bearers, acting
on which the PCC chief had
ordered their suspension from
the Congress for a period of six
years. Meanwhile, the PCC has
maintained that six of the nine
turncoat MLAs were in touch
with the party leadership and
repenting their actions.
Observers point out that
while the Congress leadership
at the Central and State levels
considers varied scenarios and
options, office bearers of the
PCC are trying to capitalise on
the opportunity to display their
‘loyalty’ towards the party.
While the BJP held protest
against the Congress-led State
Government for allegedly
framing Mussoorie MLA
Ganesh Joshi, Congress office
bearers in Dehradun and elsewhere in the State staged
protests against the turncoat
MLAs and BJP on Monday.
The Dehradun Mahanagar
Mahila Congress head Kamlesh
Raman led party members
holding public meets in Raipur
assembly constituency to publicise the party’s stance regarding the turncoat MLAs. The
PCC Dehradun district head
Yamin Ansari led supporters
who burnt the rebel MLAs and
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he fate of Harish Rawat
Government hanging fire,
T
Pradesh Congress chief Kishore
BJP in effigy. With similar
demonstrations being held in
different parts of the state at
city, block and district levels,
observers point out that office
bearers trying to consolidate
their position in the party are
making the most of the opportunity to display their continued loyalty to the party leadership and chief minister
Harish Rawat. The bulk of
PCC office bearers and party
supporters discussing politics at
Congress Bhawan in Dehradun
expressed varied views while
also maintaining their loyalty to
the party. The party workers
here are of the view that most
of the turncoats have already
started ruing their decision of
going against the chief minister. An office bearer wanting to
remain anonymous opined that
the Congress-led State
Government is under no threat
now but may suffer the consequences of dissidence later in
the 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections. “During its term in office,
the BJP led State Government
had replaced the then chief
minister Ramesh Pokhriyal
Nishank with Bhuwan
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Chandra Khanduri expecting
electoral gains but the decision
had not achieved its target
with the BJP suffering defeat in
the 2012 assembly elections.
There are varied possible scenarios like the turncoats severely damaging their own politi-
cal standing or making amends
by coming back to the party’s
fold but at present, our party
workers remain loyal to the
organisation even though they
may favour one leader over the
other,” said the PCC office
bearer.
Upadhyay has fired a fresh
salvo, alleging that the Chief
Minister’s and his phones were
being tapped at the behest of
the
Narendra
Modi
Government.
“Hell-bent on destabilising
the democratically elected government in the State, BJP is out
to unleash riots before 28
March-the day the Assembly is
slated to see the floor test of the
State Government. I also apprehend that the saffron camp
would instigate large-scale violence on the day in and outside
the Assembly to fulfill its sinister design,” he said while
addressing a press conference in
Haridwar on Monday.
Slamming Congress rebels
Vijay Bahuguna and exCabinet Minister Harak Singh
Rawat for what he dubbed as
back-stabbing, the PCC chief
said, “The party high command made Bahuguna MP
twice. He was made the CM
too despite the fact that he
lacked experiences to adorn the
chair,” he said.
Tearing further into him,
he said he had let down the
legacy of secularism personified by his father for a handful of silvers. “He has done a
great disservice to the memory of his father by allowing
himself to be used as a pawn
in the saffron brigade’s sweepstakes,” he said, adding that
Bahuguna was intent on triggering division of the State on
the Garhwal—Kumaon lines.
However,
Upadhyay
sounded a bit wary while criticising Harak Singh Rawat.
“Despite what has happened,
we are still ready to take the
rebels into the Congress folds
if they snap ties with the saffronites,” he said. Exuding confidence of the survival of the
CM’s Government, he said
that the CM would surely win
the floor test on March 28.
6SHDNHUQHHGVWRDFWLPSDUWLDOO\QRWWRGLVSOD\OR\DOW\WR&0%-3OHDGHU
?=BQ 347A03D=
tepping up moral pressure
on the Speaker Govind
Singh Kunjwal, knowing well
that on his role hinges the fate
of the embattled Harish Rawat
Government, the State BJP’s
principal spokesperson Munna
Singh Chouhan said on
Monday that they expected
him to act impartially.
“We hope that he would
abide by the constitutional
principles of impartiality
unlike the previous occasion
when he threw the norms to
the winds to flaunt his loyalty
to the CM,” he said.
“It is not for nothing that
the Speaker and the Deputy
Speaker have been debarred
from casting votes on no-confidence motions. It is meant to
keep the dignity of the exalted
chairs unblemished. However,
the Speaker has been enabled
to vote if things end in a tie
between the ruling dispensation and the Opposition. The
Constitution warrants that the
Speaker acts with utmost dis-
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cretion and not as an
appendage of the ruling dispensation,” he said.
Observers say that the
Speaker bent on invoking the
Anti—Defection Law against
the rebel Congress MLAs has
somehow unner ved the
Opposition. Hence the tactic of
putting moral pressure on him
to refrain him from siding
with the ruling dispensation,
they say.
Sharpening his arsenal
against the Speaker, Chouhan
said that Kunjwal had been
given chair by then Chief
Minister Vijay Bahuguna
under the pressure of then
Cabinet Minister of the Centre
Harish Rawat. “This can
account for his eagerness to
return the favour at the cost of
the Constitutional norms. Now
the Speaker is slamming the
Centre. He is giving suggestions on whether Gairsain
should be make capital of the
State. This smacks of arrant
politicking. If there is an iota
of self-respect left in him he
should immediately quit his
post much before the BJPtabled no-confidence is taken
up by the House. He would be
then free to wander about, tied
to the coattails of his mentor,
the CM” he said.
Referring to the recent
JNU row without citing it, the
State BJP leader said that the
Congress Government gagging the voice of the MLAs has
made the party’s claim to fight
for the freedom of expression
ring hollow. “Things happening here are reminding us of
the Emergency days when the
Opposition was sought to be
bulldozed into submission.
The BJP activists are being
arrested for a trifle like burning the CM in his effigy,
Chouhan commented, adding
that retributive justice was
what is presently taking on the
Harish Rawat dispensation.”
JNU incident, Chouhan
said that as you are projecting
themselves as patron of freedom of speech but when BJP
brought division of vote on
appropriation bill then you
did not hesitate while suppressing the voice of opposition.
These days CM is trying to
give us reminder about emergency, which congress had
imposed in 1975 because CM
has pressed their police to
stop BJP workers in while litting the dummy of Chief
Minister.
7>;854E4A6A8?B28CH
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?=BQ 347A03D=
he State BJP’s principal
spokesperson Munna
T
Singh Chouhan invoked the
legacy of the legendar y
Purushottam Das Tandon to
remind the present Speaker of
Uttarakhand Assembly the
exalted stature the chair of the
Speaker embodies.
“Tandon once famously
said that if a single member of
the House dissented against
him, it amounted to no-confidence motion against him.
This is what constitutes the
benchmark of what the Speaker
³2^]VaTbbbW^d[SWPeT
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hough the recent dissidence
of nine Congress MLAs in
Uttarakhand is an internal matter of the Congress, the party
would have done better by
considering the issues that were
being raised by the turncoat
MLAs. Now that the MLAs
have stepped out of the party,
they should maintain their
stance and stay out of the
Congress, opined Republican
Party of India (A) president and
Rajya Sabha member Ramdas
Athawale after his arrival as part
of Bharat Bheem Yatra being
undertaken by the RPI.
Addressing the media at
the Press club, Athawale said
that to mark the 125 birth
anniversary year the party
launched its Bharat Bheem
Yatra from the southern tip of
India—Kanyakumari on
January 26.
He said, “At a time when
we are seeing incidents of Dalit
oppression and attempts to
divide the people on religious
and other grounds, we
launched this Yatra with the
aim of breaking the caste system and uniting society. Having
covered about 18,000 kilometres through various States in
the drive, I have observed
some of the desired changes
since the Central Government
with Narendra Modi as Prime
Minister began its term in
office but more of the positive
change is still required. Though
the RPI has maintained its differences with BJP on various
issues, we hope that Modi will
not do anything that will betray
the spirit of the constitution of
T
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he holy city being already
soaked in the Holi spirit,
the people, particularly the
youngsters, are gearing up to
celebrate the festival of colours
by singing and dancing aside
from smearing one another
with gulal. The socio-culturalspiritual organisation based in
Haridwar, Shantikunj, has
decided to send a different
message altogether -‘banishing
vulgarity and inculcating
Indian cultural values in the
youths’.
Expressing the need of celebrating the festival in a meaningful spirit and not just with
music bash and colours, the
coordinator of the programme
Kedar Dubey said, “The poison
of vulgarity has deeply eaten its
way into our day-to-day life,
T
reducing every festival to
‘hulla gulla’. The youths play
music and dance to celebrate
without trying to realise the
significant message lurking
behind these festivals that
embody the Indian tradition.
We are launching a campaign
against vulgarity this Holi
which shall be observed at
1,459 places across the country.”
The supporters of the
movement would make a bonfire of obscene pictures and literature this Holi all over the
country.
Speaking to The Pioneer,
the international Gayatri
Parivar head Dr Pranav Pandya
said, “Holi would be celebrated as anti-vulgarity day this
year. Our youths would stage
rallies to awaken the people to
the deeper significance lying
behind this festival. Most of the
youngsters today have forgotten the mythological and Vedic
significance of the festival and
think it is all about merrymaking. On March 22 and 23
when Holika Dahan is
observed our youths would
organise a community bonfire
at different places and burn the
vulgar posters, pictures and
books collected from households.”
Besides burning the ‘evil’,
the positivity of the festival
would also be highlighted, he
said, adding that their mission
is threefold- eradicating the disparity on the basis of gender,
castes and economic status.
The importance of making
sacrifices in life by performing
symbolic yajna would also be
enunciated to the people at
large, said Pandya.
<0=>9:D<0AQ 34703D=
ith the Holi festival
approaching nearer, the
W
market places in Dehradun
remained crowded with shoppers on a buying spree on
Monday. Some were seen busy
purchasing sweets for their
family or those near to them
while the teen-agers and the
children were found purchasing pitchkari, gulal and the
like with a gusto.
Holi being two days away,
many children and youngsters were seen with their
faces smeared with gulal and
colours. Students were seen
this way outside the educational institutions on Monday.
Shimran, BA first year
student of DBS (PG) College,
said,” I enjoyed a lot while
playing Holi with my friends
ahead of the festival. I had
stands for,” he said.
Continuing, he said that
Tandon had tendered his resignation after a member made
a statement against one of his
rulings. “Despite appeal from
all quarters to withdraw his resignation, he stuck to his guns.
He was morality incarnate,”
Chouhan said.
Contrasting his legacy
with the role of the present
Speaker of the State Assembly,
the BJP leader said that the latter should emulate the towering giant and act accordingly.
“However, what he did on
March 18 stands in absolute
opposition to the exalted
example Late Tandon had set
before the people of the
country,” he said.
purchased colour from the
markets on Sunday. This
would continue till Thursday
–the day of official Holi,” she
said.
Moreover, to attract the
customers, the shopkeepers in
the markets were seen displaying different types of
Pitchkari, including one having photo of politicians.
Colours and gulals were found
in abundance too at the shops
at Paltan Bazaar and other
markets in the city.
The prices of Pitchkari
varies from C20 to C750.
However, the big retailers are
selling them for prices that
vary from C50 to C2500.
Plenty of Chinese made festive
items like Pitchkari, and
colour were also seen flooding
the markets.
A shopkeeper in Paltan
Bazaar said that the sale of
Pitchkari is not satisfactory so
far. People come at the shop
and ask for various types of
Pitchkari but few of them
purchase, he said, adding that
there was no taker for
pitchkari priced at C750 or
more. “They have brought
Holi items from Delhi
instead,” he said despairingly.
Ashok, another shopkeeper, said, “We are happy
that large number of customers has turned up for purchasing festive items in the
market. Keeping in mind of
low and high income customers, we have kept various
types of Pitchkari whose
prices vary from C20 to C750.”
Sohan Bisht, resident of
Salawala said that he had
found the prices of the Holi
items like Pitchkari having
gone up by five to 10 per cent
as compared to last year.
AT_dQ[XRP]?Pach^U
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India. The Union Government
appears to be moving the right
direction so far. Passing
through various places including Himachal Pradesh,
Chandigarh, Jammu, Gujarat,
Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh,
our Bharat Bheem Yatra will
conclude on May 1 at
Ambedkar’s birthplace Mhow
in Madhya Pradesh ,” he said.
Referring to the dissidence
of Congress MLAs in
Uttarakhand, he opined that
the party should have paid
heed to the issues that were
being raised by these MLAs
earlier. “Though it is an internal matter of the Congress, I
feel that autocracy of the
Congress cannot be tolerated.
I would suggest to the turncoat
MLAs that they maintain their
stance strongly and stay out of
the party. Even the Congress
has in the past taken support of
MLAs from the opposition to
form its Government.”
The RPI (A) head also
spoke on issues including his
emphasis on encouraging intercaste marriages, monetary
incentives to abet the same and
the idea of providing 25 per
cent reservation to members of
castes not getting reservation
presently excluding the ‘creamy
layer’.
]PcX^]#
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?=BQ 347A03D=
mid the ongoing political
turmoil, the administration
has strengthened security of the
elected MLAs in the State. A
senior police officer said that
MLAs are already secure with
a gunner for each. Besides,
police have deployed around
half a section of PAC jawans to
provide security for the MLAs
of the State.
He, however, said that all
residents being equal before the
law, those who require extra
security beyond what they
were being provided with must
apply for the same.
However,
SSP
Dr
Sadanand Date refused to say
A
anything over the matter.
Sources said that some MLAs
from BJP and Congress have
sought extra security from
police, citing the threat perception they are smarting
under. They are said to have
told the cops that they are
receiving threat phone calls
over phone.
Notably, some of the MLAs
from both the parties refused
to have police forces deployed
at their residences. However,
additional police forces have
been deputed at MLA Transit
hostel, Race Course by the
administration.
Rajpur Road MLA
Rajkumar said, “Some policemen had come to my house on
Monday. They overviewed the
security. However, I have not
sought police security.”
With things charging up
with the Governor having fixed
March 28 for the floor test of
the Harish Rawat government,
police are not ruling out possibility of the MLAs being
threatened.
Intelligence and income
tax department officers are
vigilant too to stop any bid of
horse-trading. It is learnt that
the income tax department
officers from Delhi and Kanpur
keep roaming around the State.
Offices of some businessmen
dealing with liquor, mining
and others have been raided
too.
/LJKWUDLQVQRZ
OLNHO\LQDIHZ
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?=BQ 347A03D=
ttarakhand Meteorological
Centre has forecast light
rain/thunderstorm/snow at a
few places on Tuesday. Snowfall
is likely to occur at places with
height around 3500 m and
above on March 25. However,
generally dry weather has been
forecast till March 24 across the
State.
Dehradun residents woke
up to a cloudy sky and later, the
sky cleared and remained so.
However, winds kept blowing
throughout the day.
State meteorological centre
director Bikram Singh said
that over the past 24 hours,
very light to light rainfall was
reported in various parts of the
State. By 8.30 am on Monday,
1 mm was reported in
U
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district police on
Monday picked up a suspect
Safterouth
getting a tip-off from an
;X`d^abW^_bQTX]VP[[^cTScW^adVW[^ccTahbhbcT\X]cWT_aTbT]RT^U7PaXSfPa3<7PaQP]bBX]VW2WdVWP]SBT]cWX[
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eyewitness who saw a man
repeatedly stabbing and killing
pups and dogs at Hauz Khas
Metro Station. Sources said
police are questioning the man
about his involvement in the
sickening incident captured by
CCTV cameras installed at the
metro station. Delhi Police on
Monday refined the video grab
of the man who was caught on
camera stabbing three stray dogs
and a puppy for around 18 min,
near Green Park Metro Station.
Uttarkashi, 0.7 mm in
Dehradun, 0.1 mm in Tehri, 1
mm in Ranichauri, 0.6 mm in
Joshimath, 1 mm in Dhanauri,
1 mm in Munsiyari, 3.4 mm in
Mukteshwar, 2.8 mm in
Nainital and 1 mm in
Champawat.
The weather forecast for
Dehradun on Tuesday is clear
sky. The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to
be around 30ºC and 12ºC,
respectively in Dehradun on
Tuesday, he added.
Singh informed that the
maximum and minimum temperatures were recorded at
28.8ºC and 11.2ºC in Dehradun
while it was 19.3ºC and 6.6ºC
in Tehri, 19.0ºC and 5.0ºC in
Mukteshwar and 31.8ºC and
11.0ºC in Pantnagar on
Monday.
aharashtra’s incarcerated
former Deputy Chief
M
Minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s
troubles mounted on Monday as
the Enforcement Directorate
(ED) attached a sugar mill and
290 acres of prime land worth
C55 crore in Nashik district in
connection with the ongoing
investigations into a money
laundering case involving
him, his family members and
associates.
In fourth of the attachment
orders that it issued under the
Prevention
of
Money
Laundering Act (PMLA) against
the properties of Bhujbals ever
since it registered two money
laundering cases against them
and others in June this year, the
ED acted against the two assets
owned by Bhujbal’s firm
Armstrong Infrastructure. The
agency pegged the worth of the
two assets at C55 crore.
Sources in the ED said that
the agency had imposed orders
on the management of the
attached Gima Sugar Mill against
the “running the factory” and
carrying out any activities on the
attached land adjacent to it.
The investigations have
revealed that the Bhujbals’ firm
had purchased the sugar mill at
an auction conducted by the
Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT)
in 2010 after “gross under-valuation” at Rs 27 crore and was purchased as party. The sources also
said that Bhujbals had invested
the “proceeds of crime” of money
laundering funds which they
generated when Sr Bhujbal was
the PWD Minister in the previous DF Government. Through
earlier three attachment orders,
the ED has already attached
properties worth C280 crore
belonging to Bhujbals.
An attachment order under
PMLA laws is aimed to deprive
the accused from obtaining ben-
efits of their alleged ill-gotten
wealth and the accused parties
can appeal against the order
before the Adjudicating
Authority of the said Act within 180 days.
Bhujbal, was arrested on
March 14 by the ED after it questioned him for more than 10
hours, in connection with two
money laundering cases registered against him, his family
members and associates. After
being in the custody of ED for
two days, Bhujbal was on March
17 remanded in judicial custody
till March 31.
Bhujbal is the second member of his family to have been
arrested in connection with the
money laundering cases registered against him, his son Pankaj,
nephew Sameer and others in
connection with the two
Economic Case Information
Reports (ECIRs) registered on
June 17 against him, his son
Pankaj and nephew Sameer oth-
ers under the provisions of
PMLA. Earlier, his nephew had
been arrested on February 1 and
is still in judicial custody.
The two ECIRs, registered
against Chhagan Bhujbal, his son
Pankaj, nephew Samir and 19
others, relate to the alleged illegal transactions to the tune of
several hundred crores, under
the provisions of PMLA.
Between 2007 and 2011, Pankaj
and Samir were directors of
Parvesh Construction, a firm
which executes redevelopment
projects in Mumbai.
Chhagan Bhujbal, his son
Pankaj and nephew Samir had
come under the State ACB’s
scanner for the alleged irregularities in handing over the contracts to a developer close to
Bhujbals, KS Chamankar for
three projects that the PWD had
handed to the latter while he was
heading the ministry in the previous Democratic Front (DF)
Government.
EC3eRQbUgbYdUXYcd_bi
From Page 1
As Air Force One landed in
Havana, Obama cheerfully
began the landmark trip by
tweeting in local slang, “Que bola
Cuba?” — or “What’s up?”
Later, he noted that the last
US President to come, Calvin
Coolidge in 1928, needed three
days to make the trip by train
and navy ship.
“This is a historic visit,” he
remarked to staff at the freshly
reopened US embassy in
Havana. Obama opened his first
full day in Cuba by adjusting a
wreath at the memorial to Jose
Marti, where a 59-foot statue
pays tribute to the Cuban independence hero and writer. He
then entered the Palace of the
Revolution and where he was
met by Castro before the two
inspected a military Guard of
Honour. The trip has been touted mostly for its huge symbolic
value, and comes more than a
year after Obama and Castro
surprised the world in December
2014 by announcing that their
countries would begin normalising relations.
“The presence of a US
President on the island for the
first time since the 1959 revolution marks a transcendental
change in relations between the
US and Cuba,” said Michael
Shifter, head of the InterAmerican Dialogue thinktank.
But some tough issues are up
for discussion. Although the
embargo can only be lifted by
Congress, where Republicans
are far less keen on rapprochement, the Obama administration
is chipping away at the edges of
the sanctions. For example, a
trickle of US visitors over recent
years is soon expected to turn
into a flood with the lifting of an
onerous requirement that they
go to Cuba as part of preapproved groups.
From Page 1
"Besides, it is history how
the late leader was subjected
to strong-arm tactics by the
Congress in the yesteryear.
Things came to such a pass
that he was forced to quit the
Congress," Chouhan said.
"Shedding crocodile tears
on the towering leader's legacy being maligned by his son
would not let him overcome
the crisis he is in. It would
rather expose him and his
hypocrisy all the more before
the history-conscious people
of the State," he said.
"The CM had better listen to his
pricking conscience instead of taking
recourse to emotional blackmailing," the State BJP leader
said.
8cbaXSXRd[^db]^<^SX
From Page 1
let him and his party down.
"His gigantic ego is manifest in
what he said that irrespective of
everything, Harish Rawat is
infallible (Na Khata Na Bahi jo
Harish Rawat bole wahi sahi)"
the State BJP leader said. He
threw a dare to the CM to prove
that the BJP was responsible for
the crisis in the Congress
Legislature Party. "Now going
hammer and tongs against Modi
would not exonerate him of the
ills of his dictatorial style of functioning that had triggered the
ongoing crisis," he said. Dwelling
on the BJP's role in the crisis, he
said his party being a national
party could hardly take its eyes
off it."As the Opp, BJP is
accountable to ensure that the
House is run as per the
Constitution. It is well within its
rights to raise voice against corruption, gnawing at the House
from within and without. We are
justified in demanding division
of vote on the appropriation Bill.
The Speaker spawned the crisis
by rejecting our demand. We
2:@3_^WdQ[UEµ[XQ^T
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From Page 1
Apart from Azad, the
Congress delegation comprised
of senior party leaders AK
Antony, Motilal Vora, Ambika
Soni, Ahmed Patel and Kapil
Sibal. Earlier in the day, toughening its stand on rebel leaders,
the Congress expelled from the
party for six years Saket
Bahuguna, son of former
Uttarakhand CM Vijay
Bahuguna and Anil Gupta. The
party accused Saket of “masterminding” the rebellion by nine
of its MLAs. Saket Bahuguna had
contested the last Lok Sabha elections from Uttarakhand on the
Congress ticket. Sources said the
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From Page 1
There was no senior leader
at that point to consult, the
lawyers said even as they presented the peon in court to justify their claim.
Hearing this argument,
petitioner Subramanian Swamy
quipped that the AICC office
was like a “haunted house” and
these were all clever arguments
to delay the process. He urged
the magistrate to give stern
directions. The Congress
lawyers sought to adjourn the
case to May, which Swamy
vehemently objected.
The lawyers also contended that Swamy had already produced AJL’s balance sheets and
there was no need to produce
the same again. Lawyers even
showed printouts of some
Tweets of Swamy about the
National Herald case to the
magistrate.
“We are taken for a ride.
The documents summoned
are already on the record of the
court. It’s only for the purpose
of publicity that the complainant has filed this complaint as he has been ‘tweeting’
about this case from his social
networking account Twitter,”
said advocate RS Cheema.
Swamy countered that the
magistrate has asked for the
account books of AJL during
the scam period and not the
balance sheets available in public domain. He said that
Registrar of Company officials
were summoned earlier just to
verify who the directors in
AJL were during the relevant
period and not for the purpose
of verifying the balance sheets.
Cong High Command has asked
Rawat to go ahead and tackle the
rebellion with an iron hand. The
action indicated that the Cong
leadership was not in a mood to
initiate dialogue with the rebels
and that it was even willing to
sacrifice the Govt if need be. The
State goes to polls to elect its new
Assembly early next year.
Harish Rawat, meanwhile,
accused BJP of “using money
power to overthrow CMs, dispensing them like dirty handkerchiefs.” Speaking at a Press
conference in Dehradun, Rawat
said, “Both democracy and secularism are being murdered in
Uttarakhand. The Centre’s extra-
powerful Govt is out to shatter
the dreams of a small State like
ours. If CMs are changed like
used hankies with the power of
money and muscles, it will perpetuate instability.” Responding
to allegations leveled by the
State BJP on the Rawat Govt
regarding corruption in Smart
City and mining cases, Rawat
counter-attacked saying charges
were being hurled to vitiate the
atmosphere. Rawat claimed a
transparent process has been
adopted for the Smart City project in Dehradun by seeking people’s views directly online. He
accused previous BJP Govts of
giving 400-500 mining leases.
have submitted notice of noconfidence motion against the
Speaker and the sooner he is
shown the way the better for the
State and democracy," Chouhan
said. Referring to the whip issued
to the members regarding voting
inside the House, the BJP leader
said that it could hardly be used
to bulldoze dissent. Speaking of
the importance of the passage of
the appropriation Bill in the
House, he said neither
Parliament nor the Assembly
could spend money without
seeking approval of their respective members. "The President
and the Guv can spend money
through contingency fund, but
they will have to have things
approved by the House later.
The norm was done away with
as the Speaker announced the
passage of the budget without
seeking the majority approval,"
he alleged. Talking about the BJP
march to Rajbhawan, Chouhan
said that the Guv has the
authority to dismiss a Govt as
the constitutional head of the
State.
8³\aTPShc^UPRT
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From Page 1
Speaking of the so-called
mining scam, the CM said the
BJP during its regime had allocated 400-500 mining leases.
"We are now examining all of
them. However, right now, I am
not in a position to say
whether they are illegal or
legal," he said.
Observers say that both the
warring groups flying on one
another's throats bode ill for
the State. "For instance, while
Income Tax is conducting raids
at random the CM, on the
other hand, is shoving out
those of the dissident camp
who have been made chairmen, deputy chairmen or
members of some State
Government appointed committees. Political vendetta is
what is running unhindered.
This augurs ill as far as the
long-term developmental
interests of the State are concerned," said one of the
observers.
%-3UDSV7KDURRU
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he BJP on Monday took
strong exception to Shashi
Tharoor’s remarks comparing
JNUSU president Kanhaiya
Kumar with freedom fighter
Bhagat Singh even as the
Congress distanced itself from
its MP’s statement.
While senior party leader
Ghulam Nabi Azad said
“nobody can be compared to
Bhagat Singh,” his party colleague Manish Tewari dismissed Tharoor’s remarks saying, “There has been only one
Bhagat Singh. There is only one
Bhagat Singh.”
“There was only one
Bhagat Singh and he cannot be
compared with any of these
boys of these days. Another
Bhagat Singh cannot be born
again,” Azad said.
Tharoor, while addressing
a group of students in JNU on
Sunday night, listed the names
of victims of sedition law under
British rule. “The biggest victims of sedition law under the
British rule were Jawaharlal
Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Bal
Gangadhar Tilak, Annie
Besant,” he said. When a girl
mentioned the name of Bhagat
Singh, Tharoor lost no time in
remarking that “Bhagat Singh
was the Kanhaiya Kumar of his
time.” Tharoor later sought to
clarify that he did not intend to
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equate Kanhaiya with Bhagat
Singh.
However, the BJP termed
Tharoor’s comment as an insult
to the “great freedom fighter”
as well as all patriots of the
country. BJP leader and actor
Paresh Rawal also criticised
Tharoor’s IQ for such a statement. Rawal tweeted: “At the
cost of repeating myself I must
say @shashiTharoor IQ is lower
than his shoe size!”
“Bhagat Singh went to the
gallows chanting Bharat Mata
ki jai while fighting for the
countr y’s Independence.
Comparing Kanhaiya Kumar
with Bhagat Singh is an insult
to the freedom fighter and all
the patriots. Shashi Tharoor
should tell if Kanhaiya is
Bhagat Singh, then what are
Rahul and Sonia Gandhi,” BJP’s
Shahnawaz Hussain said.
“Nowadays Congress leaders have begun insulting our
martyrs for cheap popularity.
Bhagat Singh went to gallows
hailing Mother India while we
all know what Kanhaiya is
accused of. You can praise
anybody you wish but you
should not insult martyrs,” said
BJP leader Shrikant Sharma,
noting that even High Court’s
conditional bail order for the
JNUSU student spoke about
“infection” of anti-nationalism.
From Page 1
MLA Subodh Uniyal, he
has terminated terms of a few
Daayitvadharis, including
Ravindra Anand, who had
been given political posts in a
bid to appease their political
mentor, Bahuguna. The same
has happened to
Saket
Bahuguna, the son of
Bahuguna.
Political observers say that
the embattled Chief Minister is
out to wreak vengeance on the
dissidents. He is not trusting
anybody after what has happened to him on March 18.
Surprisingly, the enraged Chief
Minister himself had raided
the office of former Cabinet
Minister Harak Singh Rawat
and asked the officials to seal
the room in his presence.
Things, going to absurdity with rage getting the better
of discretion, might cost the
ruling party dearly in the
upcoming Assembly election
whenever it is held, say
observers.
"The Chief Minister himself seems to be presiding over
the destruction of the party he
is leading in the State. Instead
of remaining dignified in the
face of the worst crisis that has
befallen his Government, he is
going unabashedly for vendetta politics. It means a defeatist
mindset, as if he has acknowledged defeat days before the
crucial floor test is held. The
party High Command should
step in before the damage
turns irreparable," said a State
watcher.
%LWWHUWUXWK1HSDOJHWVWUDGHSRLQW
From Page 1
Hou said the Government
would encourage Chinese firms
to look at the internal rail plan
and that China was already
planning to extend the railway
from the Tibetan city of
Shigatse to Gyirong on the
Nepal border.
“Of course, a further extension from Gyirong is an even
long-term plan. It’s up to geographic and technical conditions, financing ability. We
believe that far in the future the
two countries will be connected by rail,” she said.
The two countries sealed
ten agreements, including the
much-publicised transit trade
treaty which will end Nepal’s
total dependency on Indian sea
ports for third-country trade.
The other agreements
included a feasibility study on
the establishment of a Free
Trade Agreement (FTA),
China’s assistance to build a
new airport and a border
bridge over the Simikot-Hilsa
road section that will connect
Humla district with Tibet.
The other agreements
included a treaty on economic and technical cooperation to
build a Regional International
Airport Project at Pokhara,
Nepal’s famous tourist site.
However, there are concerns that Nepal cannot immediately use the Chinese port as
infrastructure in the tiny coun-
try is poor and the Chinese side
is located at a higher altitude.
One of the commercial
banks in China has also agreed
to open its office in Nepal.
Similarly, Nepalese banks can
also open their branches in
China. China has also agreed to
help in installation of solar panels in 32,000 Nepalese households.
Agreements in the fields of
science and technology, sistercity relations between various
Nepalese and Chinese cities,
and establishment of Nepal’s
Consular General Office in
Chengdu, China, were also
signed, said Gopal Khanal, foreign relations expert to Prime
Minister Oli.
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he fire raging for the last three days at the
Deonar dumping ground in Eastern Mumbai
T
and emitting toxic fumes was doused on Monday
even as Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar
said that a two-member special team will be sent
to investigate the incident, which he termed as “serious”. The civic authorities haven’t ruled out the possibility of the fire being an act of “sabotage”.
“The team will give full report within a week.
I have discussed it with Commissioner of
Mumbai and will discuss with Chief Minister
Devendra Fadnavis as soon as the report is
ready,” he said. He alleged that the incident indicates the carelessness on the part of the contractors and those involved in the operation of
managing the dumping waste.
Asserting that appropriate advice and direction would be given to the state government in
this regard, Javadekar said that the former would
be asked to initiate stern action against the violators. “We are issuing a new solid waste management rule in this fortnight. And that will actually give solution for all such waste problems.
Decentralized waste collection and utalisation,
segregation and its recycling,” he added.
While the ministers and civic authorities in
Maharashtra state government alleged, that the
incident was an act of sabotage, Javadekar
declined to comment on these lines, saying the
report of the special team will bring out the details.
Meanwhile, the fire which broke out on in the
evening of March 19, was extinguished after much
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efforts on Monday morning and cooling operations are on at the site. This being the third incident of its kind at the site at Deonar facility,
Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, expressed
concern over their frequency. He did not rule out
the possibilities of a sabotage in this regard.
As preventive measures against the recurrence of such incidents, the municipal commissioner declared that the entire area of 132 hectares
of the dumping ground would be declared as
“prohibited zone”, allowing only restricted and disciplined entry within its premises.
Fences are being constructed around the
premises and security beefed up. The number
of personnel have gone up from the earlier 102
to 150, which would be deputed in three
batches. Further, 10 fire engines would remain
stationed at the ground in a standby mode.
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nion Information &
U
Broadcasting Minister Arun
Jaitley on Monday lauded photographers for doing “not an
easy” job and capturing
“moments of history” as he
referred to Dandi March saying
many have forgotten the yatra,
but it is the images of Mahatma
Gandhi walking with stick which
reminds all of the event. He was
speaking at the fifth national
photography awards.
“There are indeed several
visuals which we remember
really by the photographic visual and not by deep content of
what the event was. Have we
not repeatedly seen Gandhiji
with a stick in his hand walking? asked Jaitley.
Jaitley termed the job of
lensmen as “complicated art,”
especially of those working in the
media, who are “always on their
feet”. During his speech, he also
joked that photographers are
“humorously” referred to as
“dictators” for they can ask the
President or Prime Minister to
“stand up or sit down” until they
get the “right shot”.
Delhi-based senior photo
journalist Bhawan Singh was
honoured with ‘Life-time
Achievement Award’ during the
event for his contribution in the
field. Jaitley recalled his excellence in capturing the visual journey of India from late 70s.
?=BQ =4F34;78
he final draft of the
T
Memorandum
of
Procedure for selection of
Supreme Court and High
Court judges has reached the
Prime Minister Office for
approval, following which
the Government will send it to
the Chief Justice of India
for clearance.
The existing MoP was
amended following the
Supreme Court decision
allowing Centre to make suitable changes after it received
representations from across
the country seeking more
transparenc y in judicial
appointments, fixing eligibility criteria for selection of
judges, having a complaints
mechanism to deal with errant
judges, and the need for setting of a permanent secretariat
to assist Supreme Court on
judicial appointments.
According to sources, the
draft MoP stresses on a more
constructive role played by
Centre and state governments
in recommending candidates
for both the Supreme Court
and High Courts, respectively.
The practice so far had been for
the Scollegium of Supreme
Court judges (Chief Justice of
India and four senior most
D]X^]<X]XbcTaU^a5X]P]RT2^a_^aPcT0UUPXabP]S8]U^a\PcX^]1a^PSRPbcX]V
judges) to recommend names
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assessment or the assessment
made by HC collegium.
The draft of the new MoP
allows Attorney General at the
Centre and Advocate Generals
in states to have a say in recommending suitable names
for judgeship. The revised MoP,
was recently approved by an
inter-ministerial group headed
by External Affairs Minister
Sushma Swaraj, following
which the Law Ministry made
changes and has forwarded it to
PMO for approval. Once all
changes have been incorporated, the final copy of the revised
draft will be sent to CJI, whose
consultation is also necessary
before finalizing the draft.
As a measure of transparency, the draft MoP has recommended that the collegium
while recommending a name
for HC or SC judge will be
required to share with the
Executive even the dissent note
of any collegium member
against the candidate. However,
on the question of bringing the
collegium proceedings under
RTI ambit, the draft MoP shies
away on the apprehension that
“interested parties” could seek
file notings and other details of
candidates jeopardizing their
right to privacy.
As a measure of eligibility criteria, the draft, for the
first time, introduces a quota
for elevation of deserving
senior advocates from the Bar
to the Supreme Court, of up
to three judges. In recent
times, two lawyers were
appointed directly as Supreme
Court judges, which otherwise
has only occurred once in the
history of the Supreme Court.
For elevating HC judges to
Supreme Court, the revised
MoP fixes certain yardsticks
such as evaluation of judgments delivered by the said
judge in the preceding five
years and initiatives, if any,
undertaken by the said judge
to improve judicial administration. Besides, seniority will
be an added criterion and will
take a backseat to merit.
The need for permanent
secretariat will also reflect in
the draft MoP while a
final decision is pending on
how to deal with complaints
against judges.
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he National Investigation
Agency (NIA) on Monday
released the photographs of bodies of four terrorists killed in the
Pathankot airbase attack in
which apart from the other
details the agency has also mentioned about their circumcision
as an identification mark for
seeking information from the
public about their identities.
The agency has released
two photographs each of the four
liquidated terrorists. Apart from
mentioning their sex, height
and build, the agency has interestingly mentioned “circumcision present” in case of all the
four killed terrorists.
“Mention of circumcision as
an identification mark to identify the bodies of slain terrorists
is unprecedented as the NIA had
not released such details even in
the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks
case. In any case, how does circumcision of a person help anyone in identifying an unclaimed
body? Normally, marks on the
face or limbs or absence, if any,
of limbs are mentioned besides
the height and weight of the person whose details are sought
through such notices,” a senior
official of a security agency said.
While the photographs of
the Body No 1 put up by the
agency mention his sex as male,
height as 5’ 6’’ and build as thin,
the photographs of Body No 2
point out his sex as male, height
as 5’7’’but build as medium.
Likewise, the Body No 3 is
also of a male with height being
5’8’’, healthy build and no toes in
both feet. The Body No 4 is that
A2E92?<@[email protected]<
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of another male with 5’7’’ height
having medium build.
“In case anybody can identify any of the above or has any
information regarding any of the
above, he/she may contact on the
following address : Address :
Superintendent of Police,
National Investigation Agency,
6th & 7th Floor, NDCC-II
Building, Jai Singh Marg, Palika
Kendra, New Delhi 110001,”
the agency said in the notice
issued to seek information from
the public.
The notice also mentions a
landline number 011-23438236
and mobile number 9654447345
besides e-mail address [email protected] for contacting
the agency to provide information of these terrorists.
These terrorists were killed
inside Air Force Station
Pathankot while they were carrying out terrorist attack on
January 2 this year.
The picture has been circulated and public asked to
share information about them.
Anybody giving “relevant and
correct” information would
be rewarded up to Rs 1 lakh,
NIA said.
The agency has already
approached the Interpol for
issuance of Black Notice for
the four. The international
notice is issued for identification of unidentified bodies
found in a country.
The NIA move comes
ahead of the visit by a
Pakistani probe team in connection with the Pathankot
terror attack on an IAF base.
he much-awaited Defence
Procurement Procedure
for year 2016 was approved by
the Defence Acquisition
Council (DAC) chaired by
Defence Minister Manohar
Parrikar on Monday. The new
DPP will be uploaded on the
official website on March 28
and applicable from April 2
with stress on ‘Make in India’
policy of NDA Government.
Announcing this here after
the nearly three-hour long
DAC meeting, Parrikar said
decision on issues like doing
business with blacklisted companies and forging strategic
partnership for big projects like
building submarines and fighter aircraft will be taken in the
next few weeks.
As regards the new DPP,
he said the DAC approved
chapters one, two, three, four,
five and seven while consultations for chapter sic pertaining to strategic partnership
were on. He said this chapter
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Efforts were also on to give
a big boost to small scale
industries engaged in defence
manufacturing as till now
these units were working in a
“stifling and choking” environment, Parrikar said adding
priority will be given to indigenously designed and manufactured weapons by Indian
industry. These industries
will have to have more than 40
per cent indigenous content to
bag contracts, he added.
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he nationalism debate
escalated on Monday with
T
Opposition parties slamming
BJP’s “insistence” on ‘Bharat
Mata ki jai’ as the only way to
express this as an “unfortunate
replay” of Hitler’s tactics,
prompting the ruling party to
assert that opposing the slogan amounted to treason.
The Opposition parties
also accused BJP of stoking
the nationalism issue to
EaX]SPeP]fXS^fbVTcSaT]RWTSX]7^[XUTae^da
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s the sun sets, a group of
women, young and aged,
A
draped in white sarees march
hurriedly towards a temple
where they will sing hymns in
praise of Lord Krishna and in
turn get C10 each. Majority of
them are abandoned by their
families after death of their husbands and live in deprivation
with a belief that they will get
salvation if they die in this city.
The holy city of Vrindavan,
also known as City of widows,
for the sheer number of women
who find shelter here after
being shunned by their families. There is also belief that
God will not allow anyone to
starve here so the widows
swarm this city.
All these widows have different stories to tell. Asha Devi
Mandal, 62, recounts how elder
brother her husband tried to
rape her. When she complained
it to her mother in law she was
branded inauspicious and was
packed off to Vrindavan
She recalls how in her
youth she was loved and
admired by her in laws. “I was
my mother- in law’s darling.
But equation changed after
was an extensive exercise as
the ministry has to take the
approval of the finance ministr y and the Cabinet
Committee on Security(CCS).
Highlighting the point that
focus was on ease of doing
business, the minister admitted change of mindsets of officials was the need of the hour
as they were scared of taking
decisions due to allegations at
a later stage. Parrikar claimed
the DPP aimed at injection
positivity and the mindsets
were now changing adding
there was too much secrecy
attached to defence deals
which was not needed.
Elaborating upon some of
the salient features of the new
DPP, he said DAC was
empowered to put certain
weapon systems if operationally required on fast track.
However, it will not be norm,
the minister said adding a
committed chaired by the
Defence Secretary will take the
final call on clearing fast track
projects.
shroud its “failure” in keeping
promises.
The BJP on its part maintained that “opposing” Bharat
Mata “for sure” falls in the category of treason and made a
strong pitch for “instilling”
feeling of nationalism as
“some people” have habit of
“eulogising” anti-nationalists
like Afzal Guru.
“Hindusthan Zindabad,
Jai Hind and Inquilab
Zindabad are nationalism. So,
nationalism can be expressed
in various forms. Now to
insist nationalism means only
the slogan (Bharat Mata ki jai)
that they want people to give
is very clearly an unfortunate
replay of how (Adolf) Hitler
used nationalism for the rise
of fascism in Germany,” CPI
(M) general secretary Sitaram
Yechury said.
Rajya Sabha Opposition
Leader Ghulam Nabi Azad
said people of the country are
“clever” and understand that
the debate is allegedly being
stoked to divert their attention
from BJP’s “failure” in keeping
poll promises of employment,
development and price rise
among others.
Concurring with Azad,
JD(U) leader Pawan Verma
said the issue is being escalated also in view of forthcoming
Assembly polls in five States.
C ountering
the
Opposition,
Union
Parliamentar y
Af fairs
Minister M Venkaiah Naidu
said there is a need to instill
feeling of nationalism as
“some people” have objections to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki
jai’ and have the “habit of
eulogising” anti-nationalist
like Afzal Gur u and
Yakub Memon.
Union Minister of State for
Minority Affairs Mukhtar
Abbas Naqvi said chanting
‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ is not a
“certificate of nationalism”, but
“opposing, abusing and criticising ‘Bharat Mata’ does fall
under category of “treason”.
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erming India an “affordable
destination” for quality eduT
cation, HRD minister Smriti
FXS^fbP__[hR^[^dac^TPRW^cWTaSdaX]V7^[XRT[TQaPcX^]bPccWT6^_X]PcWcT\_[T^]<^]SPh
death of my husband. I was not
invited in marriages or any auspicious occasions because people in my village believed that
even my shadow could bring
bad fortune,” she said.
The plight of widow came
to light after National Legal
Service Authority sought protection of these women from
Supreme Court after death of
a widow on the streets of
Vrindavan in 2012. The court
asked Government to take pro-
active step and asked Sulabh
International, an NGO, to
extend financial help to widows. Sulabh adopted 1500 widows and gave them basic needs
besides Rs 2000 to purchase
essential commodities of life.
These women are now learning
the art of making agarbattis and
garlands. These small steps
have instilled a sense of security among these women.
Sulabh has also tried to add
colour to the lives of these wid-
ows. Breaking tradition thousand of these widows played
Holi – the festival of colour on Monday in one of the oldest temples of the region constructed in 1559. This is the
temple of Krishna. Priests
chanted religious shlokas as
these women who wear only
white sarees splashed colours
on each other to celebrate the
festival unmindful of social
stigma attached to women who
have lost their husbands.
Irani on Monday said the release
of rankings of educational institutions and decision by IITs to
hold entrance tests abroad will
draw more foreign students to
the country.
Speaking at an event organised by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Irani spoke of the importance of educational and cultural diplomacy.
“The challenge before the country’s educational institutions is
whether the engagement with
foreign students is to be limited
only on the basis of scholarships
or can they be invited because of
excellence in various fields,” she
said. “India is an affordable destination for high quality education,” she said. Irani said the
rankings of Indian institutes under the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) will be
out on April 4 and asked MEA
officials to leverage this data to
reach out to foreign students.
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ndeterred by a huge debt
U
burden adding to the
financial woes of Telangana, the
:7DAB7443F0=8<>78C
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eoples Democratic Party
(PDP) chief Mehbooba
Mufti on Monday afternoon
air-dashed to New Delhi, rekindling hopes for the renewal of
PDP-BJP alliance in Jammu &
Kashmir to form the next coalition Government.
In Mumbai, in a television
programme, Off the Cuff,
Union Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley said that the Central
Government stands by its package to J&K announced by the
Prime Minister “in toto”.
“If we stick to agenda for
governance in J&K, there
should be no problem.
Mehbooba Mufti has to make
up her mind,” Jaitley said.
Interestingly, Mufti left for
Delhi a day after Jaitley had
thrown notions that the BJP
was eager to continue working
on the agenda of alliance, a
roadmap set by PDP founder
Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and
Prime Minister Modi.
Mufti is expected to meet
the Prime Minister during her
stay in Delhi but only after
receiving the nod from the top
brass of the BJP. Jaitley appeared
to be praising late Mufti and
counselling his daughter to
shun stubbornness. “Mufti
Sahib had evolved into a statesman; he was moderate in his
tone. We lost him when State
needed him the most”, he said.
P
A group of PDP leaders —
including former Finance
Minister Haseeb Drabu and
young PDP leader Waheed
Parra — have also reached New
Delhi to work in the backchannel before the possible meeting
between Modi and Mufti.
However, there was no indication from the PDP camp that
they have received any formal
invitation from the PMO for the
meeting that is likely to clear the
air on the Government formation in the embattled State.
Mehbooba’s departure to
New Delhi assumes significance in the wake of her failed
attempt last week when she met
with BJP president Amit Shah
but no deal was clinched on
Government formation.
Mehbooba had earlier went
back empty handed last week
after BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav had made
it clear that the BJP was not
ready to accept new demands
listed by the PDP chief during
her crucial meeting with the
BJP chief Amit Shah.
The alliance partners had
almost come on the verge of
splitting but while the PDP
chief chose to stay mum after
reaching Srinagar and went in
to self-imposed hibernation for
two days, the BJP leaders
dropped tacit hints during their
two-day long National
Executive to go-ahead for
another round of parleys to
renegotiate the terms and conditions of the alliance.
Meanwhile, National
Conference Working president
and former Chief Minister
Omar Abdullah on Monday
called on Governor NN Vohra
in Jammu to discuss the current
political situation in the State
in the wake of undue delay over
Government formation.
Emerging out of the meeting Omar favoured mid-term
polls in the State to end the
cycle of political uncertainty
amid continuous flip-flop by
the PDP chief.
“If as party president she is
so indecisive how can she take
tough decisions sitting on the
hot seat. It is high time the PDP
chief should decide and say
either Yes or No to the question
of Government formation in
alliance with the BJP,” Omar
responded while answering
media queries. Omar also cautioned New Delhi against toying with the idea of splitting any
political party to regain power.
State legislators are in for a
whopping 400% hike in their
salaries.
The amenities committee of
Telangana Legislature headed
by the Speaker Madhusudhan
Chary has recommended the
monthly salary of MLAS and
MLCs from C1.25 lakh to C3.5
lakhs.
The committee meeting on
Monday, attended by Legislative
Council Chairman Swami
Goud, Finance Minister Etala
Rajender, Irrigation Minister T
Harish Rao and the floor leaders of different parties, also recommended many other sops for
the members and the Ministers.
They include increasing the
vehicle loan for each member
from C15 lakh to C40 lakhs, hiking the monthly salary of member’s PA to C25,000, and monthly pension for the ex-MLAs and
ex-MLCs from C50,000 to
C65,000. Even after the death of
the former member his or her
spouse will continue to benefit
from the pension if the recommendations of the committee
were accepted.
Committee also recommended unlimited medical
assistance to the former members of both the Houses.
If all these decisions were
implemented they will put additional burden of C100 crore on
the ex-chequer, officials said.
This was coming at a time
2^]V[TPSTabSXeXSTS^eTaRaTPcX^]:´cPZP021
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harp differences have
emerged in the Karnataka
SCongress
over the creation of
an Anti-Corruption Bureau
(ACB) as a section of the leaders have questioned why the
party was not consulted and
accused Chief Minister
Siddaramaiah of taking a “unilateral decision”.
Senior Congress leader and
former Chief Minister SM
Krishna openly questioned the
decision of Chief Minister to
form ACB and said it would
weaken the Lokayukta institution. Krishna termed it a ‘bad
development’ and said the
Karnataka Lokayukta is a
model institution which earned
good reputation under some
able Lokayuktas. “The decision
is certainly not in the state’s
interest,” he added.
Another senior Congress
leader and former Union
Minister B Janardhan Poojary
dubbed the Government’s
move illegal and demanded
that it be revoked immediately. He said “It will definitely
send a wrong message and
damage the party’s reputation.”
BK Hariprasad, a senior
leader, also criticised the
Government decision to create
ACB. He said “Instead of giving more powers to the
Lokayukta to crackdown corruption, the Government has
diluted its powers by creating
the ACB.”
A senior Congress leader
told The Pioneer Congress
High command is not happy
with the decision of
Siddaramaiah to create ACB at
this juncture paving way for the
Opposition to attack the party.
It is also learnt that many leaders have complained to
Karnataka Congress in-charge
Digvijay Singh on the issue.
The Opposition parties —
both BJP and the JDs — have
started spitting fire and would
raise the issue in the ongoing
Budget Session of the
Assembly. BJP leader Jagadish
Shettar came down heavily on
the Government and criticised
the intention of the
Government to create the ACB
on the floor of the House. The
civil society finds this as a decision to weaken the Lokayukta
institution. Siddaramaiah has
come under fire for not consulting the party to form ACB
in a hurry. It is learnt Chief
Minister has to make a trip to
Delhi after the Budget Session
to explain to the party high
command.
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when the state debt burden has
reached a mammoth C1.3 lakh
crore, equivalent to the annual
budget of the State and the TRS
government was still exploring
the avenue for raising more
loans for its welfare programs
including free two-bed room
housing scheme for the poor. As
budget has not provided a single rupee for housing and other
schemes, the government need
to raise C52,000 crore loans to
implements the.
While the proposed hike in
the pay of the legislators was
coming under criticism from
various quarters, the State
Government has defended it.
Deputy Chief Minister
Mahmood Ali said that the
demand was pending for a long
time and it can not be ignored.
Interestingly the Chief
Minister K Chandrsekhar Rao
has equipped himself with a
special development fund of
C4,765 crore and each of his 18
Ministers has also got another
C25 crore as special fund.
Speculations were rife that
the Government will have dip
into the fresh borrowings to
meet the additional burden of
C100 crore towards the hike in
the salary and other sops of the
legislators.
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n a shocking incident, a
lawyer set himself on fire
inside the premises of Gujarat
High Court and rushed towards
the court of the Chief Justice on
Monday.
Witnesses of the incident
said that there were chaotic
scenes as lawyer Kishore
Agrawal from Surat was seen
rushing towards Chief Justice’s
court. The other lawyers present
immediately doused the fire
and rushed Agrawal to nearby
Sola civil hospital for treatment. He is learnt to have sustained 15 per cent burns and
though critical, is believed to be
in stable condition.
This is not the first time that
courts have witnessed an incident of attempted suicide. In
2013, a rape victim had attempted suicide within the courtroom
in Gujarat High Court by consuming a poisonous substance.
Agrawal was to appear in
Gujarat High Court in a case
involving financial embezzlement and cheating of women.
According to the complainant
women, Agrawal had cheated
them of funds in the name of
getting them benefits of several State Government schemes.
I
508I0=07<03 Q ?0C=0
s fallout of the controversy over the distribution of
A
expensive gifts to the legislators
during the Budget session of
the Bihar legislative Houses, the
Government decided not to
allow any department to distribute gifts in 2017. But the
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi
who had raised hue and cry
over the gift policy failed to
return the goodies due to technical snags on Monday.
Chief Minister Nitish
Kumar, who neither took any
gift during his membership
nor supported the practice,
has expressed his unhappiness
over the display of the goodies
being handed out to the lawmakers and said, “The recent
controversy will give me a
strong excuse to ban this practice from next year.”
On Monday, the day before
the closure of the House for
Holi and other leaves, senior
BJP leader and Leader of
Opposition in the Upper House
Modi came loaded with suitcases, mobile phone and
microwave oven — which he
received during the ongoing
session courtesy various
departments — to return them.
He put up about half a dozen
trolley bags, one oven and one
mobile phone but no official of
the legislative council was ready
to take them back. “We are only
supposed to handover the gift
coming from various departments but not authorised to
take them back if any member
want to return it after accepting,” one staff said.
Modi said he wrote a letter
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to the CM asking him to discontinue the gift tradition and
also instruct the officials to take
back the gifts he wants to return.
Nitish said the gift policy
was very old and he saw it in
1985 when he came as MLA
first time. He remembered that
the Education Department
then had given a good brief
case to the legislators. “But I
never appreciated the practice
of putting up the cartons of the
gifts inside the A.ssembly with
members being distributed in
full view of media and others.
A better practice would have
been if these gifts were delivered at the legislators’ houses,”
he said.
Most of the departments
maintaining the decades old
tradition distribute trolley bags
the day of the presentation of
the budgetary demands of the
department. However, some
departments have started gifting mobile phones and tablets
and education department this
time gave microwave oven to
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n Monday when air qualiO
ty in several parts of
Mumbai dropped to “poor’ and
“very poor” levels owing to the
smoke emanating from a massive fire at Deonar dumping
ground, people living in northeastern suburbs of the metropolis complained of breathlessness and extreme discomfort,
even hours after the civic fire
brigade personnel brought the
raging blaze under control.
Given that the fire that
broke out at 10 am on Sunday
is the second such massive blaze
that erupted at the Deonar
dumping ground since January
this year, Mumbai Municipal
Commissioner Ajay Mehta said
that he suspected sabotage
behind the latest fire.
Talking to media persons in
the evening, Mehta said that the
BMC had registered an FIR
with the Shivaji Nagar police station. “We suspect sabotage
behind the latest fire at the
Deonar dumping ground. We
have registered an FIR with the
local police station. I have also
spoken to Mumbai Police
Commissi Datta Padsalgikar in
this regard. The police are looking into the matter,” Mehta said.
Though the civic fire
brigade officials battled with fire
all through Sunday night and
brought the blaze under control
at around 4 am, one could still
get to see bouts fresh minor
break-outs of fire and huge
clouds of thick smoke emanating from the Deonar dumping
ground, which is spread over 132
hectares of area.
With no let up in the toxic
smog that had enveloped the
skies of north-eastern Mumbai
and the continued low-visibility, normal life in north-eastern
suburbs like Deonar, Chembur,
Tilak Nagar, Pestom Sagar,
Shivaji Nagar, Mankhurd and
Baiganwadi was badly affected
for the second consecutive day.
While most people in the area
had closed their flat doors and
windows, there were complaints
of breathlessness and extreme
discomfort from the local residents. Scores of people rushed
to local hospitals for treatment
of their breathing and bronchial
problems.
Under flak from various
quarters for the recurring fires
and lack of security around the
vast Deonar dumping ground
which has been in existence
since 1927, the BMC has now
begun to secure the place by
repairing and rebuilding the
fence around the dumping area.
all the members. The recipients
of these goodies are 243 members of the Assembly and 75
members of the Legislative
Council or the Upper House.
“I was against this practice
from the very beginning but
could not implement the ban
in view of the overwhelming
view of the legislators of all the
parties. But now this practice
will be banned,” he said. He
also recalled that two years
back he had ordered for distribution of the packets of
organic potato grown in his
home district Nalanda to all
the legislators to promote this
variety of potato.
A couple of days back
Modi had decided to return the
gifts and leader of opposition
in Assembly Prem Kumar and
State BJP president Mangal
Pandey, a member of the
Council, had also toes his line.
Modi on Monday said some
MLAs of his party have also
conveyed their decision to
return the gifts.
CT[P]VP]P
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he Telangana Government is
all set to go all out to retain
T
its image of the “Tollywood
hub” and prevent any possible
exodus of the Telugu film industry to neighbouring Andhra
Pradesh.
A Cabinet sub-committee,
which met in Hyderabad on
Monday, decided to introduce a
single window system to give
clearance to every film in 48
hours. If no reason was shown
for any delay, the approval will
be deemed to have been granted. This solves one of the biggest
grievances of the film industry
in the State as clearance of a film
depended on the whims and
fancies of the officials causing
huge financial losses to the filmmakers. The panel also recommended forming a panel of
prominent leaders of film industry to identify suitable land for
film institute in Hyderabad. It
finalised several sops to promote
small films by introducing a fifth
show in all the cinema theatres
for them. Any film which is
released in less than 50 theatres
will be recognised as small film,
officials said.
ARdhR_W`cD4 DEbf`eR
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ven as the issue of reservation in education and
E
Government jobs is becoming
headache for couple of BJPruled State Governments,
including Gujarat, Union
Minister for Consumer Affairs,
Food and Public Distribution
Ram Vilas Paswan advocated
reservation in private sector too
and linked it with the rising
Naxalite movements.
Addressing a Press conference in Ahmedabad on
Monday, Paswan went on to say
that the Union Government
should think in the direction of
reservation in the private sector for the candidates coming
under Schedule Caste (SC)
and Schedule Tribe (ST) categories. Lands of backward class
people are being taken away
and their youth force to take
wrong path in search of livelihood, he said, adding that
hence it is essential to keep special quota for SC/ST in private
sector jobs apart from the
Government sector.
“Government jobs cannot
be provided for everybody.
The Government can only create an environment for job creation,” said Paswan, adding
that in case a private sector firm
or company takes funds from
the Government, they should
adopt reservation policy of the
Government. He further said
that his political outfit Lok
Janshakti Party (LJP), which is
part of the BJP-led NDA
Government, had demanded
this provision earlier too. He
however praised efforts of
Modi Government saying that
the Central Government gives
priority to Babasaheb
Ambedkar and developing his
memorial at his birthplace
Mhow in Madhya Pradesh.
Taking a dig at his own
State’s Chief Minister Nitish
Kumar and his Government,
the LJP chief claimed that
reservation should be for the
upliftment of the backward
class people but caste shouldn’t be used for political gains.
The Government in Bihar is
the result of caste based politics, added the Member of
Parliament from Hajipur constituency in Bihar.
]PcX^]&
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he Election Commission
has questioned the proposed
T
distribution of free rice to about
20 lakh families in poll-bound
Kerala from April 1 and has
formed a Committee to examine whether the move violates
the Model Code of Conduct and
disturbs free and fair elections in
the State on May 16.
In a late evening development, the Kerala Government
said it would not hesitate to take
legal recourse if permission
was denied for the schemes.
Speaking to reporters here,
after a special cabinet meeting
discussed the issue, Chief
Minister Oommen Chandy said
Chief Secretary P K Mohanty
would write a letter to the
Election Commission seeking
permission for the schemes.
"The cabinet decided to take
legal recourse, if EC refuses to
give permission," Chandy said.
Model Code is in place in
Kerala since March 4, when elections to the Kerala Legislative
Assembly were announced by
the EC. Although the decision
to distribute free rice to below
poverty line (BPL) families was
approved last month as part of
Budget speech, its distribution
will begin on April 1, which has
been challenged by rival political parties as a move by the
Oommen Chandy Government
to garner votes. As per the
Government decision, each BPL
family will get 25 kilo rice.
The Chief Electoral Officer
(CEO) of Kerala EK Majhi has
taken cognisance of the scheme
and has constituted a committee headed by State Chief
Secretary PK Mohanty to
examine whether the move is
a Model Code violation.
Office of the Kerala CEO
said the State Government has
not been asked to defer the
implementation till elections
are over but the issue has only
been referred to the Committee
headed by the Chief Secretary
for further consideration.
State Food Minister Anoop
Jacob has said that any decision
to block the distribution of free
rice scheme will be challenged
by the State Government before
the Election Commission.
He cited a precedent in
2011 when the Kerala High
Court had set aside a similar
restriction issued by the then
CEO on the distribution of rice
at C2 per kilo to families of
Above Poverty Line (APL) category subject to certain conditions. Jacob stated that he was
confident that EC will consider the fact that the present
scheme was a “policy decision”
taken by the Government
“much before” the elections got
announced.
n a huge setback for the
Kerala CPI(M)’s move to
field film stars and other
celebrities as candidates for
the crucial May 16 Assembly
polls by neglecting grassroots
sentiments, actress KPAC
Lalitha on Monday turned
down the leadership’s offer to
make her the Left’s
Independent candidate in
Wadakancher y following
protests from within the party.
Though the 69-year-old
actress has cited health problems and commitments already
made in the film industry as
reasons for her withdrawal,
indications are that her decision is connected to the
protests in the constituency
against the proposal to field her.
The protests had appeared in
the form of poster campaigns
and demonstrations.
Lalitha has already
informed the CPI(M) leadership about her decision.
Denying that she had withdrawn from candidature due to
the protests, she said, “Nobody
had forced me to take this decision. There is no other reason
than my health problems.
Please don’t think otherwise,”
the actress, who had initially
refused to take the protests seriously, said.
“When I told the party
leaders about my decision,
they were sad. But I am sure
that I won’t be able to go
through the work the candidature would demand. I just
can’t…” she told newsmen.
Lalitha’s withdrawal is a huge
setback for the CPI(M) leadership as hers was one of the
first names the State party sec-
retariat itself had proposed for
candidature.
Moreover, the development
is sure to act as an inspiration
and give confidence to partymen and sympathizers who are
opposing the candidates proposed by the State and district
leaderships. “Wadakanchery
has shown the way. Now protesters in other places are sure
to get a new confidence,”
admitted a party leader in
Kollam where such issues have
already come up.
Objections have come up
to the leadership’s decision to
‘parachute’ candidates of its
choice in several constituencies.
Protests are said to be raging
within the party against the
leadership’s reported choice of
film star Mukesh as the Left’s
candidate in Kollam and its
proposal to field TV personality Veena George in Aranmula.
Though Lalitha had at first
refused to take the first protests
that appeared in the form of a
poster campaign three days
back seriously, she informed
the party leadership about her
decision to withdraw after open
demonstrations by partymen
and fellow-travelers were held
in Wadakanchery on Sunday.
Following this, a CPI(M)
team led by district secretary
AC
Moideen,
former
Wadakanchery MLA, had
called on her on Sunday night
to ask her not to give in to the
protests. In order to reassure
her, Moideen had taken Xavier
Chittilappilly, whom the protesters wanted as the party
candidate in Wadakanchery,
along with him on the visit.
“The development is
indeed a big reminder for the
party - that it should not field
candidates without taking into
account local sentiments.
CPI(M) may still have a centralized power structure but it
should understand that times
are changing,” said a former
CPI(M) theorist in Kochi.
“We have nothing against
Lalitha Chechi (Sister Lalitha).
She is a great actor and has
been a Leftist throughout her
life. But that is not the issue
here. When there are able,
energetic, committed and popular comrades who can work
effectively for the constituency,
why should the leadership
parachute candidates?” asked a
CPI(M) member who took
part in Sunday’s protests.
However, sources close to
the State CPI(M) leadership say
that the party is determined to
deal strictly with the partymen
who had forced Lalitha to
withdraw from the poll scene
with their protests and also
with those who have been
protesting against candidates
proposed by it in other constituencies.
.HUDOD%-3VHDOV
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fter Murshidabad, it was
the turn of Birbhum Special
A
Observer sent by the Election
Commission to go on a tourism
spree instead of concentrating
on the task assigned to one.
A Special Observer for
Birbhum was on Monday seen
taking a detour to see the
Ilambazar Fossil Park a popular tourist destination at the
head of an 11-car convoy, local
political leaders said wondering whether the senior officer
who was accepting the warmth
of the officers on whom he was
supposed to keep a tab would
be able to maintain the impartiality expected from him.
The Observer was scheduled to visit some villages on
Monday. “One wonders how a
top official will be able to maintain his objectivity after accepting hospitality of the subordinate officers on whom one is
supposed to keep a vigil” said
Congress’ Abdul Mannan.
A team of five Special
Observers had been sent by the
EC to take stock of the law and
order situation and report
against biased bureaucrats
before the coming elections.
Earlier a Special Observer
for Murshidabad was on
Sunday went around shopping
Murshidabad Silk sarees as the
“guest of the DM” on whom he
was supposed to keep a tab.
“We have both the information
and are sending it to the
Election Commission of India”
said Rabin Deb CPI(M) leader.
Birbhum is the most
volatile district which had in
the past couple of years seen
maximum amount of bloodshed. According to a report
filed by the local administration to the EC, 2665 bombs
and 87 fire arms had been
recovered from various spots
in the district until March.
?=BQ :>278
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fter standing firmly with the
tainted Ministers by the
Narada expose, Bengal Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee on
Monday led an election rally in
the State with the latters walking
beside her.
Two senior Ministers and
the Kolkata Mayor, all stung by
the Narada expose, walked
alongside Mamata in a huge election rally that the critics termed
the CM’s own way of neutralising the hitherto most potent
arsenal in the State Opposition’s
hand. Used to hitting the streets
whenever facing a popularity crisis Banerjee walked a couple of
miles leading a huge crowd covering three-four South Kolkata
Assembly constituencies including her own Bhawanipore seat.
The two senior Ministers
who walked along with the
Chief Minister were Subroto
Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim
and were joined by Kolkata
Mayor Sobhan Chatterjee —
also an MLA. All of them were
caught on camera accepting
bribes from a journalist of a
news portal who presented
he Kerala BJP, determined
not just to open account in
T
the Assembly but also to
A
FTbc1T]VP[2WXTU<X]XbcTa<P\PcP1P]TaYTTPcP]T[TRcX^]RP\_PXV]aP[[hPWTPS^U0bbT\Q[h_^[[bX]:^[ZPcP^]<^]SPh ?C8
himself as a make believe businessman.
Apart from these leaders
there were 5-6 other MPs and
MLAs who were seen striking a
deal for money with the ‘businessman’ apparently hitting the
ruling TMC even harder than
the Saradha and other chit fund
scam worth several thousand
crores and affecting more than
18 lakh people.
Reacting on the Monday’s
march Bengal Deputy Speaker
and close Mamata confidante
3_^WbUdQY^cdg_1ccQ]BCcUQdc
0=D?B70A<0Q 6DF070C8
he two candidates nominated by the ruling Congress —
former State Education Minister
Ripun Bora and former Union
Minister Ranee Narah — won
both the Rajya Sabha seats in
Assam on Monday; cross voting
by BJP and BPF members
helped Congress’ cause.
There were three candidates in the fray for the two
Rajya Sabha seats, currently
held by Congress’ Pankaj Bora
and Naznin Faruque. Both the
seats will fall vacant on April 2
this year.
While the Congress nominated Bora and Narah for the
two seats, city-based businessman Mahavir Jain had also filed
nomination as an Independent
candidate. Jain was backed by
Bodoland People’s Front (BPF),
the ruling party in the Bodoland
Territorial Council (BTC).
Although Bora polled 39
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votes, one of the votes cast by
Congress legislator Robin
Bordoloi got canceled due to
technical reasons. Narah, however, got 47 votes.
Surprisingly, the BPF, who
backed Jain, decided to abstain
from voting alleging that the
Independent candidate has
entered into some understanding with the Congress.
Apart from 68 Congress
legislators, 16 All India United
Democratic Front (AIUDF) legislators voted for the Congress
candidates. Although the BJP
had decided to abstain from voting, BJP legislator from
Patacharkuchi, Manoranjan
Das-who was denied party ticket for the forthcoming Assembly
polls-cast his vote for the
Congress candidate.
Addressing the media later
C=fXc]TbbX]V\d[cXR^a]TaTS
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:D<0A274;;0??0=Q
274==08
Jayalalithaa, the general secretary of the AIADMK, got a
Jcompliment
on Monday from
an unexpected source, M K
Stalin, the DMK treasurer. The
DMK scion told a local newspaper that the poll-bound
Tamil Nadu is witnessing a
multi-cornered contest because
of Jayalalithaa. “The AIADMK
has meticulously created a
multi-cornered contest. But
the actual contest is between
the DMK and the AIADMK,”
Stalin told the newspaper.
As on Monday, there are
five political fronts vying for
power in the May 16 Assembly
election. The DMDK led by
Vijayakanth is yet to reveal its
strategy though Tamil Nadu’s
Grand Old Man is confident
that Captain would cast his lot
with the DMK.
The major development on
Monday was the declaration by
S Ramadoss, founder of the
Vanniyar dominated PMK, that
his party would not have any
kind of alliance with the BJP.”I
am not interested in having any
kind of relation with the BJP,”
said Ramadoss, who is also the
father of Anbumani, the party’s
Chief Ministerial candidate.
The PMK was a constituent of
the
BJP-led
National
Democratic Alliance during the
2014 Lok Sabha election. But
after the Lok Sabha election,
papa Ramadoss got upset when
his son Anbumani was not
included in the Union Cabinet.
The BJP retorted by Monday
with Tamilissai Sounderarajan,
the gynaecologist-turned-party
president making it known that
the saffron party too was not
interested in having alliance
with the PMK. Interestingly,
Ramadoss is a general physician
who gave up his medical practice long time back in order to
help Tamil Nadu.
“There is no possibility of
a tie-up with the BJP. Centre’s
policies are worse than what it
was right after the Lok Sabha
election. I don’t want any kind
of ties with the BJP,” said
Ramadoss while speaking to a
Tamil
news
channel.
Sonderarajan said the BJP
would soon come out with a
“unique alliance”. But she
declined to elaborate further.
Another development of
the day was Karunanidhi’s voice
bite to news reporters who
approached him at the DMK
headquarters on Monday. Dr
Kalaignar, as Karunanidhi
prefers to be addressed, told the
channel reporters that he was
confident of DMDK leader
Vijayakanth joining the DMK
front. “I am hopeful of a tie up
between the DMK and the
DMDK. However I cannot tell
you when. But an announcement may come soon,” said
Karunanidhi (93), the oldest
“player” in the country’s electoral politics.
Agartala: CPI-M candidate
for the lone Rajya Sabha seat
from Tripura Jharna Das
Baidya, the sitting MP, was on
Monday elected for the second term Baidya received 49
votes out of 60 votes and her
rival got 10. One voter, minister without portfolio Bhanu
Lal Saha, did not cast his vote.
in the evening, Chief Minister
Tarun Gogoi said “now, people
of the State will realise that I have
support from across the parties,”
he added.
PCC president Anjan Dutta
said “this is a signal before the
Assembly polls. We will show
the same performance there
too”. “Earlier I was sure of winning 70 seats but now I am confident of winning at least 78 seats
in the Assembly polls,” he said.
0[TacX]9P\]PVPa
PUcTa6dYPaPc?^[XRT
b_^cbbdb_XRX^db
cTaa^aXbc\^eT\T]c
?=BQ 60=378=060A
he Gujarat Police tracked
suspicious terrorist moveT
ment near oil refineries of
Reliance Industries Ltd and
Essar Oil Ltd near coastal town
Jamnagar. According to
sources, four suspects sitting in
a black colour scorpio vehicle
near Sikka area did not stop at
police check point even after
police tried to stop it.
The police has learnt to
have issued red alert across the
district and Vadinar development area to nab the suspects.
The area (Sikka-Vadinar)
from where the incident is
reported has port logistics
infrastructure, marine operations and single buoy moorings
installed for oil refineries.
Oil refineries located near
Jamnagar district are on terror
hit list and so the vigil has been
increased in the area following
the report, said the police.
Sonali Guha said “no crime is a
crime unless proven” adding
“The Trinamool will withstand
the Narada storm much like it
did in the case of Saradha.
When Saradha could do nothing
what will Narada do? Let him be
in heaven and we will rule in
Bengal under the leadership of
Mamata Banerjee as the people
will vote for her and none else.”
Incidentally, Banerjee and
her nephew Abhishek also a Lok
Sabha MP kept asking the voters not to look at who was con-
testing from a given constituency but to look at Mamata
Banerjee who nominated them.
“Consider my face when
you go for vote and not the candidate because it is Mamata
Banerjee who is contesting from
all the 294 seats and not the person who is filing the nomination.
So vote for me and not anyone
else and do not lend your ears to
any disinformation campaign
of the Opposition,” Banerjee
had been telling rallies in North
and South Bengal.
become a decisive force in the
legislature with the May 16
election, on Monday reached
an understanding on sharing of
seats with its major ally in the
State, the Bharat Dharma Jana
Sena (BDJS), a party of majority communities.
As per the understanding
reached at talks between the two
parties at Thiruvananthapuram,
the BDJS will contest 37 of the
total 140 Assembly seats. The
BDJS was floated on December
5 under the leadership of the
SNDP Yogam, outfit of Hindu
lower caste Ezhavas who constitute over 21 percent of the
State’s population.
After the talks with BDJS,
State
BJP
president
Kummanam Rajasekharan said
the seat-sharing discussions in
the Kerala unit of the party-led
NDA would be complete before
the close of the week while
Thushar Vellappally, president
of the new party, said the BDJS
would conclude selection of its
candidates for all the 37 seats
within two days.
Thushar also said reports
that the BDJS had complained
about the declaration of the
BJP’s candidates for 22 seats
before the seat-sharing talks
were mere media speculation.
The State BJP had on March 16
presented to the central leadership a preliminary list of
probable candidates for 22
seats in which names of all
senior leaders including the
State chief had figured.
As per the understanding
reached between the BJP and
BDJS on Monday, there will be
no change in the list of candidates already drawn up by the
former. However, the BJP
agreed to allocate to the BDJS
several crucial seats including
Kovalam that had not figured
in the list already drawn up.
A recent survey had predicted that the BJP might win
five or six seats in the upcoming election.
As per the first list drawn
up by the BJP, Rajasekharan
will contest in Vattiyoorkavu
while senior leader O Rajagopal
will be the party candidate in
Nemom, both in Thiruvananthapuram district.
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he sheer scale of The Art
of Living’s World
Cultural Festival on the
floodplains of the
Yamuna in Delhi evokes
comparisons with New York’s
Woodstock (1969) that drew nearly four lakh people for an exposition of ‘Three Days of Peace &
Music’. Woodstock is revered as the
most iconic moment in the history of Western popular music, the
high noon of Rock and Roll and the
counter-culture generation that has
been commemorated in films,
music and songs.
It was an epoch-making
event. The artists and bands who
performed included the legendary Jimi Hendrix; Johnny
Winter; Carlos Santana; Credence
Clearwater Revival; Joe Cocker;
The Grateful Dead; The Jefferson
Airplane; Arlo Guthrie; Joan
Baez; Janis Joplin; Crosby, Stills,
Nash & Young; Ten Years After;
The Who — the cream of the
1960s music world. Sitar maestro
Ravi Shankar was there; he called
it a “terrifying experience”.
Swami Satchidananda delivered an invocation extolling the
concert as a holy gathering. Glenn
Weiser (Woodstock 1969
Remembered) recalls, “I listened to
him and thought that it was bullshit. This was going to be a huge
drug party, pure and simple, and to
masquerade it as a spiritual gathering seemed phony to me. I had been
reading up on Yoga and Zen, and
I knew the difference between the
austere contemplative traditions of
the East and what Woodstock was
shaping up to be.”
Drugs and alcohol flowed
throughout; brotherhood and love
enveloped the gathering; many
became medical cases. Though the
participants arrived pre-loaded
with drugs (which takes some
planning), much of the ‘grass’,
hashish and alcohol was free.
Some couples reportedly had sex
in the open.
Since then, Woodstock is associated in public memory with
drugs, sex, and music. Ryan Kent
(Lehigh University, Class of 2003)
admits that ‘acid tents’ had to be set
up for the thousands needing medical treatment for tripping on acid,
smoking opium, snorting cocaine,
using psychedelic mushrooms, and
much more. Drugs united the
young wanting to change a culture
viewed as too conservative and corrupt; they opposed the Vietnam
War and racial inequality.
In the end, it achieved nothing. The Vietnam War was ended
by President Richard Nixon for
pragmatic reasons. Drugs remain
T
an American social evil, like
guns, and racial tensions today
are at an all-time high. The US
Army had to airlift food, medical
teams and performers to keep
Woodstock going and there is no
saying how much ‘official’ patronage it actually enjoyed.
Woodstock received undeserved (and questionable) adulation
from the American media, which
highlighted the peaceful nature of
the event and concealed the sex,
drugs and alcohol orgies. Even the
film, Woodstock, glossed over this
aspect, thus misleading youth to
join the so-called revolution whose
deleterious legacy blights American
society to this day.
Contrast this with the Indian
extravaganza. A similar number of
people (four lakhs), including guests
from 155 countries, attended Sri Sri
Ravi Shankar’s ‘Kumbh Mela of culture’ to commemorate the 35th
anniversary of The Art of Living
(AoL). Around 36,000 artistes from
around the world performed before
an enchanted audience on possibly
the world’s largest stage, even as the
event was beamed live to millions
across the nation and the world.
There was chanting of Vedic
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mantras and some contemplation,
but mostly it was brilliant theatre as
musicians played in perfect harmony and hundreds of dancers pirouetted in perfect unison. It was an
impeccable choreography of spiritual exuberance. No one took ‘time
out’ for drugs, alcohol, sex.
Yet the event was dogged by
media hostility and killjoy activists
determined to scuttle it till almost
the last moment when the National
Green Tribunal finally stopped
supporting what increasingly stank
of anti-Hindu prejudice. The AoL
had planned the programme for
months and secured permissions
from different agencies. Yet, when
physical preparations were in full
swing, and foreign dignitaries had
confirmed participation, activists
began urging the NGT to cancel
the function on grounds that it was
being held in an ecologically-sensitive zone, ignoring the
Akshardham
temple,
Commonwealth Games Village, a
DTC bus depot and a Delhi Metro
station on the floodplains.
The NGT could have waited for
the function to be over before
assessing the real (irreparable)
damage, if any. Instead, it stoked the
B>D=318C4
controversy by imposing arbitrary
fines with unrealistic deadlines,
until someone doubtless intervened and made it see reason. The
hue and cry failed to deter most dignitaries, though Zimbabwe’s
President Robert Mugabe left, feeling security was inadequate.
Unfortunately, President Pranab
Mukherjee succumbed to the raised
decibels and declined to attend,
making the Cassandras optimistic
that they could abort the event.
Yet, there was deafening
silence in 2006 when Greek composer and musician, Yanni, performed on the drying riverbed at
Agra, with the Taj Mahal as backdrop. The dignitaries who attended were mainly from the Congress
and then, too, the Army was
roped in to build pontoon bridges
for the safety of the crowds.
Prime Minister Narendra
Modi, possibly a key factor behind
this grand showcasing of India’s cultural-spiritual continuum, rightly
chastised the negationists, “If we
keep criticising ourselves, why
would the world look at us?”
Certainly the event matched Modi's
style of wearing India’s ‘Hindu culture’ lightly on his sleeve, in contrast
to the secular appropriation of culture as mere performing arts without spiritual content.
In the week since the festival
ended, AoL volunteers and contractors have been busy cleaning the
venue and disposing the garbage in
designated landfills or sewage treatment plants. One does not know
who is assessing the ecological
damage, but no rational explanation
been offered for the five-crore-rupee
penalty. Since AoL is cleaning up,
does it still have to pay the fine?
Must it create a biodiversity park on
the floodplains, and is that ecologically desirable? How will farmers
who have traditionally been growing crops on this land, react?
Clearly the NGT has not thought
these issues through.
There remains the larger
question of the Yamuna. Three
Yamuna Action Plans have come
and gone with nothing to show
and zero accountability regarding
fund utilisation. The AoL asked
its volunteers to prepare an
enzyme (kitchen waste and jiggery fermented for three months)
in huge quantities and pour this
into the river at one spot, to
reduce its alkalinity and improve
its oxygen levels. Strangely, the
NGT told the organisers not to
pour the enzyme, but they had
probably already done so. This
raises the question: Is the NGT
equipped to serve the cause
of the environment?
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;4CC4ABC>C74438C>A
@_fUbdiTbYfU^
Sir — This refers to the article, “The
many dangers of reservation politics” (March 21) by Joginder Singh.
The writer has aptly exposed the
hollowness of the caste-based reservation system in our country.
Poverty is a universal phenomenon
that exists in every human race, irrespective of religion, caste etc, and,
therefore, authorising constitutional benefits solely based on the
caste or religion of a citizen is illogical. Besides, it also violates the fundamental ethics of democracy.
Poverty should be the cardinal
reason for reservation, as poverty is
not confined to any particular
caste or religion. Our political leaders are aware of this inconsistency
and yet feign ignorance or deliberately neglect the issue, for clandestine reasons, thus impairing the
genuine interest of the nation.
TKM Kumbalamchuvattil
Muvattupuzha
E^YdUT9^TYQ
Sir — This refers to the editorial,
“Modi’s message of peace” (March
19). Prime Minister Narendra Modi
deserves praise for his strong words
against terrorism and the care he
took to separate religion from ter-
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rorism. It was encouraging to see
Modi speak about Islam while
quoting verses for the Quran and
paying tribute to Sufism for peace.
The phrase, ‘Vasudhaiva
Kutumbakam’ (the universe is a
family), used by Modi during his
speech, is a benchmark for the prisoners of narrow-minded dogmas
who harp on patriotism, nationalism and sedition. The culture
behind Sufism must swell across the
nation for communal peace and
harmony. Our political and religious
leaders have a key role to play in
uniting humanity by discarding the
practice of obscurantism.
Vinod C Dixit
Ahmedabad
5aeQ\dbUQd]U^d
Sir — This refers to the article,
“Congress’s new nightmare” (March
18) by Rajesh Singh. Industrialist
Vijay Mallya’s loan issue is nothing
when compared to the Congress’s
National Herald scam. Why is it
then that the judiciary and the
Enforcement Directorate have different set of rules for a citizen and
a politician? Fraud is a fraud. One
defendent is being hunted down
with warrants and the other is getting free-pass for years.
Premolal
Via web
5^T\UcccY^c
Sir — This refers to the article,
“Congress’s new nightmare”
(March 18) by Rajesh Singh. The
Congress enjoyed unlimited
power for nearly 60 years and had
committed great sins during its
rule, which cannot be washed
away so easily. BJP leader
Subramanian Swamy’s fixture is
just a part of it. When the present
Government digs deep, the tunnel of fraud will never end.
Venkataraman Jagadesan
Via web
BUcdbQY^Y^W`U_`\U
Sir — This refers to the editorial,
“Owaisi’s new nonsense” (March
17). All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul
Muslimeen chief Asaduddin
Owaisi’s opposition to the utterance
of ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’, is senseless.
Of course, the Muslim community must not approve of his unsound
suggestion. It’s time that such rabble-rousers, who forget about
national unity, be restrained in the
larger interest of this country.
Nimai Charan Swain
Bhubaneswar
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his past week, the fifth edition
of the India Aviation Summit
was held in Hyderabad. The
summit highlighted India’s
potential in the civil aviation
market — a market that feels a bit calmer
now after the heady days in the middle
of the last decade. Back then, Vijay
Mallya was ‘the man’ — the poster child
of civil aviation in India. He had taken
on the establishment and upended the
airline market in India.
Make no mistake, despite all the outrage today, Mallya has built an amazing
brand. Yes, it was built on the back of bank
loans, but in 2008, Mallya was flying high
at the very first India Aviation Summit.
Ultimately, the disastrous acquisition of
Air Deccan was completed and Mallya
acquired his first wide-body Airbus A330
aircraft, one of which was proudly on display at the summit, and he was due to
receive five of the gargantuan A380 aircraft from Airbus by 2010.
He had rattled the established airlines
so much that a few days before the first
summit, Jet Airways, the sole survivor
from the first phase of private Indian air
carriers, had been forced to lay-off several cabin crew members. This became a
massive media issue, with television
news frightfully unclear about how businesses were run (something they still do
not understand), and being on the side of
the laid-off employees.
Mallya then stepped into the issue and
assured his ‘rival’ Naresh Goyal, the usually reticent chairman of Jet Airways, of
a potential Jet-Kingfisher alliance. At the
first summit, the then Civil Aviation
Minister, Praful Patel, climbed into a golf
cart with Mallya and Goyal, and the
media, with this writer who was then a
civil aviation beat correspondent for a
business magazine chasing them.
Mallya was his usual boisterous self
when the media caught up, but suddenly, snapped at a reporter who asked him
a simple question: Where was the money
to back up all those ambitious growth programmes because Kingfisher was burning through almost C100 crore every
month? “Don’t teach me how to run an
airline, I know how to run an airline and
I have the best professionals”, Mallya
snapped at the reporter. That reporter was
this writer, and there is a certain perverse
satisfaction that one has been proven right.
Mallya clearly did not know how to run
a profitable airline. His ego got in the way
of sensible decision-making. He was a
media darling, after all.
Mallya made massive mistakes in
running his airline. While the service standards were from another planet, his cabin
strategy was confused. There was no clear
strategy on aircraft types and he went
ahead and ordered wide-body aircraft to
start international operations just two
years into his flight operations, knowing
it well that Government regulations,
then like now, prevented airlines from flying abroad until they achieved five years
of flying experience with at least 20 aircraft in their fleet.
Mallya, who counted on Patel and his
party leader Sharad Pawar as close
friends, fully believed that the policy
would change. After all, he argued, correctly, if airlines such as Air Arabia and
Air Asia are given flying rights to India
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after weeks of establishment, why should
Indian carriers need to wait?
The policy was not changed. But
Mallya, who had impetuously ordered big
planes, needed to deploy them. Denied
international flying rights, he set about
acquiring them. He first forced Jet
Airways into a defensive acquisition of Air
Sahara in 2005. In 2007, Mallya bought
Air Deccan which had just turned fiveyears-old and acquired flying rights. Air
Deccan, celebrated as India’s first low-cost
carrier was founded by former Army
Captain and helicopter pilot GR Gopinath.
It had gained a modicum of success but
was bleeding money; in a deep financial
hole, it was selling most of its tickets well
below costs.
It can be fairly argued that the acquisition of Air Deccan is what sealed the fate
of Kingfisher Airlines. The multiple
cabin strategies was another nail in the coffin. Was Kingfisher a full-service carrier
or a low-cost carrier? Nobody knew. Still,
until 2010, things were relatively smooth,
as the cracks could be papered over, and
after all, Jet Airways was confused too.
And Air India? Well, some suspect they
still do not know what sort of airline it is.
But had the Government policy changed
to become more rational, maybe
Kingfisher would have survived.
Yes, two other airlines with equally
horrible financial track records — Air
Deccan and Air Sahara — would have
possibly collapsed, and there would have
been an outcry. Yet, business failures are
part and parcel of life. And several airlines
have folded in the past, some rather dramatically in the mid-1990s with allegations of the Mumbai underworld being
involved. A year before Kingfisher shut
shop, Chennai-based Paramount Airways
too had shut down. Other airlines collapsed as well; detritus from those failures
such as broken aircraft and other equipment still litter some Indian airports today,
as do several Kingfisher ATR aircraft at
Chennai, now probably flood-damaged
and likely unable to fly.
And it did not stop there — Mallya
had wanted to fly to San Francisco via
Dubai to offset India’s massive fuel
costs. Aviation fuel in India was the
only fuel the Government allowed the
oil marketing companies to sell at cost,
as global crude prices shot up.
Permission was never given to that
flight, and permission for Kingfisher to
hedge on global fuel prices by importing its own fuel was also denied, as oil
marketing companies, which were
bleeding by selling massively subsidised fuel, refused to play ball.
Mallya was also refused permission
to fly the lucrative routes to Arab countries and his appeals for the Government
to allow international airline investors in
Indian airlines was only accepted just as
Kingfisher was failing. The only one to
benefit from this decision then was
Mallya’s rival Naresh Goyal, whose Jet
Airways effectively sold itself to Abu
Dhabi’s Etihad Airlines.
There is another chapter in the
Mallya tale: Wherein Mallya is probably
guilty of colluding with bank officials.
However, that will have to be proven in
court. In 2012 and 2013, as Kingfisher
Airlines was imploding due to a combination of the factors listed above, crippling
debt, massive aviation fuel prices and, of
course, Mallya’s own ineptitude in running
the airline, there were some banks, particularly Government-owned that not
only forwarded him more money but also
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hen the Bharatiya
Janata Party, under
the leadership of
Prime Minister Narendra
Modi, won the Lok Sabha election in 2014, social media was
abuzz with praises for election
strategist Prashant Kishor.
Kishor was given the title of
‘master strategist’ and political
pundits labelled him as
Modi’s Chanakya.
However, things went
wrong when, after the massive
victory, Modi and Kishor parted ways. Meanwhile, Bihar Chief
Minister Nitish Kumar saw an
opportunity, immediately contacted Kishor and signed him
for the Bihar Assembly election.
After an outstanding victory in Bihar, where the Nitish
Kumar-Lalu Prasad-led mahagathbandhan won with a
thumping majority, Kishor was
hailed as the most sought after
‘commodity’ in politics. The
rule of the market is that each
W
and every investor wants to
invest in that ‘commodity’.
Large investors also want to join
the gravy train. Same is the case
in politics. Now, every political
party wants to invest in that
much-wanted ‘commodity’
called Prashant Kishor.
Of late, there has been
much noise about nationalism
and sedition. Each and every
political party is busy preaching about nationalism in its
own way. In this scenario of
fierce political debate, the
Congress has invested in
Kishor. The grand old party has
roped in Kishor for the elections in Punjab, Gujarat and
Uttar Pradesh that will be held
in 2017.
However, in political corridors, speculation is rife that
Kishor will work with the
Congress till the 2019 Lok
Sabha election. This will, however, depend on the results in
Punjab, Gujarat and Uttar
Pradesh. Those who know
Congress culture are of the view
that it will be difficult for
Kishor to play a long-inning
with the party.
Meanwhile, Kishor has
started making strategies for the
Congress in Uttar Pradesh,
which will go to polls in the first
half of the next year. He has
already met senior leaders of
the Congress and is planning to
meet district-level leaders of the
party in the coming days.
Political pundits are underlining this as a major political
coup by the Congress.
Kishor’s biggest challenge is
perhaps the fact that he was initially a part of the Modi campaign. At a time when scams
after scams and a major policy
paralysis had given the UPA
Government a bad name, and
anti-incumbency was clear, it
was Kishor who put the final
nail in the Congress-led
regime’s favour by projecting
Modi as a leader with a strong
will. The result is known to
everybody.
When Kishor came to the
Nitish Kumar camp, he played
a masterstroke. It is widely
believed that he was the person
who persuaded the Chief
Minister to form an alliance
with Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya
Janata Dal. It was Kishor who
also convinced Nitish Kumar’s
Janata Dal (United) to give up
more than 25 of its seats for the
RJD to contest. This was an
accurate political move, keeping in mind the caste equation
of the State. Kishor pitched the
Lalu Prasad-Nitish Kumar
combine against Modi. He portrayed Kumar as the ‘Bihari’
pride and clearly, his election
strategy of bihari versus bahari
paid rich dividends.
However, the assignment in
Uttar Pradesh is different from
the last two assignments of this
celebrity pollster. The Congress
in Uttar Pradesh is in its worst
phase. When the party won 21
Lok Sabha seats in Uttar
Pradesh in 2009, it was said that
Congress vice president Rahul
Gandhi had revived the party.
At that time, the Congress won
almost 18 per cent vote share.
But after that, the Congress
fared badly in the 2012
Assembly and 2014 parliamentary elections. Gandhi worked
hard and spent many days in
UP, especially for the 2012
Assembly election, but the
Congress mustered only 12
per cent vote share.
Now, the Congress has given
the baton to Kishor for its revival.
After Kishor took over the
responsibility, it was reported in
the media that Priyanka Gandhi
may be the face of the Congress
in Uttar Pradesh. But till now this
is just political gossip.
Strategists of the Congress
feel that since Kishor has
worked with Modi for a long
willingly took over clearly over-valued
equity in exchange for that debt. This,
while it was obvious for all (and not just
beat civil aviation correspondents) to see
that Kingfisher Airlines was crashing.
Mallya is guilty of a business failure,
one that could well have been avoided had
he run his business better and if he had
put his love for the front pages aside. How
ironic it must feel to him that today, in failure, he is getting more primetime coverage than ever. But blaming Mallya alone
for the failure of Kingfisher Airlines is
disingenuous. Do keep in mind that as a
result of the Kingfisher Airlines failure,
Mallya lost control of United Spirits and
will likely soon become a minority shareholder in United Breweries as well. His
dream of being an airline magnate has
ended in total failure.
The number of people flying domestically in India is still abysmally low, with
an estimated 100 million passengers
expected to fly this year with the industry helped along with low-cot fuel. Once
accounting for multiple trips that most flyers make, it can be safely assumed that
optimistically only 20 to 25 million
Indians actually fly on airplanes. That
number can only grow.
Maybe, had Kingfisher not been
crippled by the Government’s indifference
and the weight of Mallya’s ego, the airline
might have survived and we would be
singing a different tune today. We celebrate
our rail networks, and rightly so, but we
must also remember the vast distances in
our country. And while flying is only
restricted to India’s ‘One Percenters’
today, it must reach more people, as the
economic benefits of air travel are manifold. Either that, or Kingfisher Airlines
will not be an isolated story.
WKLQN
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0=0=CE890H
time, he can make out the
weak points of the Prime
Minister and successfully
counter him. But this theory
is rooted more in belief than
in rationality.
It is a fact that Kishor has
written a success story with
Modi and Nitish Kumar, but at
the same time, it is also felt that
for writing a success story,
Kishor needs a leader like Modi
or Nitish Kumar to be the protagonist. In Uttar Pradesh, the
Congress has neither a Modi
nor a Nitish Kumar, although
Kishor is searching for a leader
who can lead the State.
It will be interesting to see
Kishor’s Uttar Pradesh strategy.
It is widely believed that
Congress leaders are not in
favour of any alliance — be it
with Bahujan Samaj Party chief
Mayawati or Sammajwadi Party
chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
(The writer is a journalist
working with IBN7)
2
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=4F 34;78) RBI Governor
R a g hu r a m
R aj a n
on
Monday said the world is
facing “increasingly dangerous situation” and a new
international agreement on
the lines of Bretton Woods
is needed to prevent central
banks from adopting policies that could hurt other
economies.
“What I have in mind (is
that we) will eventually
require a new international
agreement along the lines of
Bretton Woods, and some
reinterpretation of the mandates of inter nat ionally
influential central banks,” he
said in a commentary posted on the website of Project
Syndicate.
He said that central
banks in developed countries find “all sorts of ways”
to justify their policies,
without acknowledging the
unmentionable – that the
exchange rate may be the
primary channel of transmission.
“If so, what we need are
monetary rules that prevent
a central bank’s domestic
mandate from trumping a
c o u nt r y ’s i nt e r n at i o n a l
responsibility,” Rajan said.
Setting the rules will
take time, he said, adding
the international community has a choice.
“We can pretend all is
well with the global monetary non-system and hope
that nothing goes spectacularly wrong. Or we can start
building a system fit for the
integrated world of the
twenty-first century,” Rajan
added.
He said the world is facing an increasingly dangerou s s itu at i on and b ot h
advanced and emerging
economies need to grow in
order to ease domestic political tensions.
“If
G ov e r n m e nt s
respond by enacting policies
that divert growth from
other countries, this ‘beggar
my neighbour’ tactic will
simply foster instability elsewhere. What we need, therefore, are new rules of the
game,” Rajan added.
The Bretton Woods conference led to the setting up
of IMF, World Bank.
He said to bring growth
back to pre-2008 levels, the
remedy may be to write
down the debt to revive
demand.
“It is uncertain whether
write-downs are politically
feasible or the resulting
demand
sustainable.
Moreover, structural factors
like population ageing and
low productivity growth –
w h i c h w e re pre v i ou s l y
masked by debt-f uelled
demand – may be hampering the recovery,” Rajan said.
Po l it i c i a n s , h e s a i d ,
know that structural reforms
– to increase competition,
foster innovation, and drive
institutional change – are
the way to tackle structural
impediments to growth.
“But they know that,
while the pain from reform
is immediate, gains are typically delayed and their beneficiaries uncertain,” Rajan
added. All monetary policies
have external “spillover”
-HZHOOHUVGLYLGHGRQFDOOLQJ
RIIVWULNH'HOKLVKRSVVWLOOVKXW
=4F34;78) A section of jew-
ellers and bullion traders continued their strike for the
20th day here on Monday,
demanding rollback of the
proposed 1 per cent excise
duty on non-silver jewellery,
even as major associations
called off the stir after meeting Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley.
Most jewellery shops and
establishments in the national capital remained shut on
Monday despite Government’s
assurance that there will be no
harassment by excise officials.
Some jewellers kept their
shops shut in Mumbai as well.
All India Sarafa Association
Vice-President Surinder
Kumar Jain said the strike in
the national capital will go on
for an indefinite period until
the government rolls back the
proposed excise duty.
Jewellers, bullion traders
and artisans are organising
‘dharna’ at Chandni Chowk
here to intensify the agitation,
he added.
Meanwhile, major jewellery associations, including
All India Gems and Jewellery
Trade Federation (GJF), India
Bullion and Jewellers
Association (IBBJ) and Gems
Jewellery Export Promotion
Council called off the strike
on Saturday after a meeting
with Jaitley.
Jewellers in various cities
including Jaipur in Rajasthan
also continued the strike.
*RYWVHWVXSSDQHOWR
effects,Rajan said, adding
circumstances today are,
however, not normal and
domestic demand may not
respond to unconventional
policy.
“To use a traffic analogy,
policies with few adverse
spillovers should be rated
“green”; those that should be
used temporarily could be
rated “orange”; and policies
that should be avoided at all
times would be “red”.
He said globally countries are far from having
cle ar agre ement on t he
colour of policies today, even
with the best data, models,
and empirical work.
“So we must begin a discussion. We could start with
background papers from
eminent academics and
move on to multilateral
institutions such as the
Int e r n at i on a l Mon e t a r y
Fund and the G-20.
“There will be a lot of
fuzziness initially, but discussion will lead in time to
better models and data – and
will push policymakers to
stay out of the clearly red,”
he said.
Central bankers face a
different problem: inflation
that is flirting with the lower
bound of their mandate.
“ Wit h i nt e re s t r at e s
already very low, advanced
economies’ central bankers
know that they must go
beyond ordinary monetary
policy – or lose credibility
on inflation. They feel that
they cannot claim to be out
of tools.
“If all else fails, there is
always the ‘helicopter drop’
whereby the central bank
prints money and sprays it
on the streets to create inflation,” he added.
He admitted that setting
such a rule will take time.
“But the international community has a choice. We
can pretend all is well with
the global monetary nonsystem and hope that nothing goes spectacularly
wrong. Or we can start
building a system fit for the
integrated world of the 21st
century”.
?C8
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?=BQ =4F34;78
ith hopes of rate cut by
Reserve Bank of India
W
(RBI) in its Monetary Policy
Review to be held in the first
week of April, market’s mood
was quite upbeat on the Dalal
Street and the BSE benchmark
Sensex soared 333 points to
close at 25,285 - a nearly 11week high, while NSE’s Nifty
gained around 100 points, ending at 7,704.25 on Monday.
Experts are of view that an
accommodative stance of the
US Federal Reserve that fuels
more capital inflows and the
Government’s decision to slash
rates on small savings also consolidate expectations that the
RBI will step up and lower rate
at its first policy meet of 201617 on April 5. Besides, lower
retail inflation at 5.18 per cent
in February provides more
room for the central bank to act
positively for the domestic
stocks which see an upward
trend due to sustained foreign
fund inflows and a rising rupee.
“Overseas stock markets
continued to cheer the Federal
Reserve’s accommodative policy stance announced last week
while Chinese stocks also edged
higher after authorities signaled
a loosening stance towards mar-
-LQGDO6KDGHHGDOOVHWWRWDS
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pick-up in
ORRNLQWRMHZHOOHUV¶GHPDQG Anticipating
demand in construction
of the jewellery industry have
and road sector in the GCC
?=BQ =4F34;78
he Government has constituted a panel under former
chief economic advisor Ashok
Lahri to look into demand of
jewellers who are protesting
against imposition of 1 per cent
excise duty on non-silver jewellery items.
The panel, which has been
asked to submit its report in 60
days, will look into issues related to compliance procedure for
the excise duty, including records
to be maintained, forms to be
filled, operating procedures and
other relevant issues.
The sub-committee of a
high level committee constituted earlier to suggest steps to sort
out taxation problems being
faced by trade and industry will
have
three representatives
of the trade.
“All associations will be
given an opportunity to submit
representation before the SubCommittee in writing and the all
India associations to state their
case in person,” the Finance
Ministry said in a statement on
Monday.
Even as major associations
called off their stir following
assurance by the Government to
look into their concerns, a section of jewellers in the country
continue to protest against the
budget proposals.
Late Saturday, major associations, including All India
Gems and Jewellery Trade
Federation (GJF), All India
Bullion and Jewellers Association
(IBJA) and Gems Jewellery
Export Promotion Council
(GJEPC) called off strike after
Government’s assurance that
there would be no ‘Inspector Raj’.
The Finance Ministry further said till the recommendations of the sub-committee are
finalised there will be no arrest
or criminal prosecution of any
jeweller. There will also be no
search and seizure of stocks by
any central government officials. Further, the Central
Excise Officers will not visit the
manufacturing units/ shops/
place of business/residence of
the jewellers; and all payments
of Central Excise duty will be
based on first sale invoice value
till committee’s recommendations are finalised.
Jaitley has proposed one
per cent excise duty on jewellery without input credit or
12.5 per cent with input tax
credit on jewellery excluding
silver other than studded with
diamonds and some other
precious stones.
?C8
T
gin trading,” said Shreyash
Devalkar, Fund Manager,
Equities, BNP Paribas MF.
The 30-share Sensex wrested control of the 25,000-mark
again, advanced to a high of
25,327.45 and ended up 332.63
points, or 1.33 per cent, at
25,285.37 - its highest closing
since January 6. The gauge had
region, industrialist Naveen
Jindal feels Jindal Shadeed Iron
and Steel (JSIS) with its 1.4
MTPA rebar facility is all set to
take advantage of the $6 billion
market opportunity in the
region.
JSIS, a subsidiary of the
steel-to-power group Jindal
Steel and Power (JSPL), has
invested $1.2 billion to set up
a 2 million tonne per annum
(MTPA) steel melting shop
and a 1.4 MTPA rebar mill at
the industrial port city of Sohar
in Oman.
The firm, which boasts of
the third largest steel plant in
the GCC, hopes to beat competition from China and other
steel-surplus nations to get a
significant pie in the region’s
USD six billion TMT bars
market with the newly inaugurated rebar mill.
Gulf Cooperation Council
or GCC is a political and economic alliance of six nations –
Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,
Bahrain, Qatar and the United
Arab Emirates.
According to market analysts here, GCC requires
around 15 million tonnes of
steel annually. The current
prices have gone up from $360380 a tonne to $410-420 per
tonne, which is a significant
market in the region.
Jindal’s rebar facility gives
his firm inroads in this 15 MT
market opportunity in the
GCC region, of which around
3-4 MT is imported.
“Unlike other producers
in the region, we have an edge
when it comes to the cost of
production since this technology would allow us to produce
TMT bars directly from the hot
metal that comes out from the
steel melting shops,” Jindal told
reporters here.
He added the company
through its specialised products
(TMT bars) will get an edge
over Chinese export of steel billets.
“Having specialised products gives us an edge over
imports here of billets from
China. We are giving customers here better products,”
Jindal noted. After acquiring
Shadeed Steel and Power in
2010 for $500 million, Jindal –
Chairman of JSPL - invested
another $700 million to set up
the steel melting shop and
rebar mill.
So far, the company has
produced billets and other
related products and sell them
to local steel producers who
would use them to produce finished products. It also exports
specialised steel products to
auto component manufacturers
in Europe.
With the rebar mill, Jindal
Shadeed can sell TMT bars
directly to the customers not
just in the GCC region but will
also tap the markets in Africa
as well as other neighbouring
countries.
Jindal hopes to produce
other value-added products in
the future though he declines
to give a time-frame, saying the
focus of the company would
now be on consolidation.
He said listing of the unit
on domestic bourses is also an
agenda, but it will all depend
upon the market condition,
which is somewhat subdued
now due to present oil crisis.
The oil crisis has also
forced the local governments to
cut down investments on
developing infrastructure, but
Jindal is not apprehensive.
Steel demand here is
bound to grow as all the investments do not necessarily come
from the states. On top of all,
the aim of the company would
be to replace the burgeoning
imports, mainly from China,
with local produce.
China, he claimed, has also
been playing havoc with the
local market, the same way it
has been impacting the Indian
market back home. Jindal said
the local government should
also take a cue from India and
impose minimum import price
(MIP) on imports of steel
products to help the domestic
industry counter competition.
Jindal Shadeed buys pellets,
the raw material used for ironmaking, from Brazilian major
Vale, which has a pellet plant
near Jindal’s plant here.
Asked whether the company would divest Jindal
Shadeed to repay its mounting
debt, he answered in the negative.
“We are committed to
Oman. Our focus is now on
integrating the plant fully. Debt
restructuring is a continuous
process.”
gained 275.37 points on Friday
as foreign funds continued to
pump in money amid a firm
global trend after the Fed indicated a slower pace of rate
increases in coming days. The
50-share Nifty too recaptured
the 7,700-mark and ended at
7,704.25, up 99.90 points, or
1.31 per cent.
3R_\d`_%URj
Y`]ZURjWc`^
EYfcdURj
=4F34;78)Customers won’t be
able to conduct bank transactions at branches for 4 days in
a row this week as all banks
will be closed from Thursday,
although the lenders assure
that they will fully load ATMs
for meeting people’s cash
needs.
Thursday will be a holiday
for celebrating the Holi festival, followed by Good Friday
and the weekend.
Banks are closed on second and fourth Saturdays every
month. Hence, 4 continuous
offs for the bank employees.
Banks are trying to ensure
that ATMs remain operational
during these days so that people don’t have any cash problem, a senior public sector
bank official said.
They are trying to put
higher denomination notes in
ATM machines to ensure
meeting the cash demand, the
official added.
IDBI Bank may be closed
for an extra day if the strike call
given by a section of officers
and employees of the bank on
March 28 (Monday) materialises.
The staffers, belonging to
the All India Bank Employees
Association (AIBEA) and All
India
Bank
Officers
Association (AIBOA), have
given the strike call to protest
against the Government move
to privatise IDBI Bank.
The Government owns
around 80 per cent stake in the
bank.
?C8
&$'QDUURZVWR
RI*'3LQ'HFTWU5%,
<D<108)India’s current account
deficit (CAD) narrowed to 1.3
per cent of GDP in third quarter of the fiscal as against 1.5 per
cent in the same period last year,
mainly on account of lower
trade deficit.
“India’s CAD at $7.1 billion
(1.3 per cent of GDP) in Q3 of
2015-16 was lower than $7.7 billion (1.5 per cent of GDP) in Q3
of 2014-15 and $8.7 billion (1.7
per cent of GDP) in the preceding quarter,” Reserve Bank of
India said.
While releasing the Balance
of Payments data during the
October-December quarter of
2015-16, it said the contraction
in CAD was primarily on
account of a lower trade deficit
($34 billion) as against in Q3 of
last year ($38.6 billion) and
$37.4 billion in the preceding
quarter.
On a cumulative basis, the
CAD narrowed to 1.4 per cent
of GDP in April-December
from 1.7 per cent in the corresponding period of 2014-15, on
the back of the contraction in
the trade deficit.
RBI further said net services
receipts moderated on a yearon-year basis largely due to fall
in export receipts in transport
and financial services, though
there has been a marginal
improvement over the preceding quarter.
Private transfer receipts,
mainly representing remittances
by Indians employed overseas,
amounted to $15.8 billion, a
decline from their level in the
preceding quarter as well as
from a year ago.
The central bank also said
that after moderating in second
quarter, net foreign direct
investment again picked up
and stood at $10.8 billion in
third quarter.
“Non-resident Indian
deposits moderated significantly
in Q3 of 2015-16 over their level
in Q3 last year as well as the preceding quarter,” RBI said.
Foreign exchange reserves
(on a BoP basis) increased by
$4.1 billion in third quarter of
2015-16.
During April-December,
there was an accretion of
$14.6 billion to foreign
exchange reserves (on a BoP
basis) compared with $31.3
billion in the corresponding
period of 2014-15.
?C8
\^]Th
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?=BQ =4F34;78
he Finance Ministry on
Monday held a meeting
with senior officials of public
sector banks (PSBs) to review
their efforts for loan recovery,
including from Kingfisher
Airlines.
“This is routine review
meeting to assess various recovery efforts. We are stepping up
recovery efforts,” said a senior
official at the ministry. Asked if
Kingfisher’s bad loans were
part of the discussions, the
official said that all the cases of
defaults were reviewed. The
meeting convened on Monday
was part of the ministry's exercises to clean up balance sheets
of PSBs. It also deliberated on
the ways banks can be more
proactive in dealing with cases
of wilful and genuine default-
T
?aX\T<X]XbcTa=PaT]SaP<^SXSdaX]VcWT?505^d]SPcX^]Bc^]T;PhX]V2TaT\^]h^U3a0\QTSZPa=PcX^]P[
<T\^aXP[P]S3a0\QTSZPa<T\^aXP[;TRcdaTX]cWT_aTbT]RT^U<X]XbcTa^UB^RXP[9dbcXRT4\_^fTa\T]c
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ers. Gross NPAs of PSBs rose to
C3.61 lakh crore at the end of
December 2015, while that of
private lenders were at C39,859
crore. Gross NPA ratio as percentage of advances rose to 7.30
per cent while for private banks,
it stood at 2.36 per cent as of
December-end.
There are some 7,686 wilful defaulters who owe C66,190
crore to PSBs, 6,816 suits have
been filed and FIR has been
lodged in 1,669 cases. Banks
have initiated action under the
Securitisation and Reconstruction
of Financial Assets and
Enforcement of Security
Interest Act (Sarfaesi) Act in
584 such cases.
Amid outrage over embattled Vijay Mallya's alleged massive loan default, Finance
Minister Arun Jaitley and RBI
Governor Raghuram Rajan had
cautioned against going on a
‘fishing expedition’ on bad loans
so that it doesn't make banks
worried about lending in future.
However, the Finance
Minister also made it clear that
individual misdemeanours will
be ‘looked into differently’.
Rajan had said “we have to be
careful as we go forward” and
criminal actions are penalised.
“But at the same time, we don't
indulge in a broad fishing expedition which then becomes a
reason for banks to get worried
about making loans which then
hamper the recovery as well as
the absolutely important investment in infrastructure that
have to take place.
“So, as a country, as a system, we have to draw that balance very carefully and we are
hopeful that we can manage
that,” the governor had said.
WKDQJOREDOFOXEV
?=BQ =4F34;78
et Airways on Monday
Jested
indicated it was more interin stitching partnerships with other international carriers through codeshare
pacts than joining any of the
three global clubs and said its
ne w Europ e an gate way
Amsterdam offers stronger
proposition over Brussels.
The domestic carrier is all
set to commence operations
f rom
D utch
c apit a l
Amsterdam with daily nonstop flights from Delhi,
Mumbai and Toronto from
March 27. As of now Brussels
is its European hub for international services.
The Mumbai-based pri-
vate airline has also entered
into a codeshare partnership
with KLM Royal Dutch
Airlines and Delta Air Lines
to provide convenient connections for passengers to
and from destinations across
Europe and North America
via Amsterdam.
“I work with partners.
For me bilaterally is the way
that this airline has always
grown. And we work with all
the airlines across all the
three alliances. They have
partners with Star (Alliance),
OneWorld and Sky Team. All
of them are our partners.
And they work bilaterally,”
Jet Airways Whole-Time
Director Guarang Shetty told
reporters.
&HQWUHWRDVVLVWH[SRUWHUVLQ B18[TPSb\^QX[TQP]ZX]VRWPacfXcW^eTa"'\ZcbWPaT
OHYHUDJLQJ)7$VVD\V7HDRWLD MUMBAI: State Bank of India, the nation’s lakh and HDFC Bank with a low 39.13 lakh, in
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MUMBAI: The Centre on
Monday urged exporters to take
advantage of Free Trade
Agreements (FTAs) with other
countries and assured its support
in leveraging such trade pacts.
“India’s Free Trade Agreements
(FTAs) with various countries
are not being leveraged fully by
Indian exporters. Our department is ready to assist our
exporters in leveraging these
FTAs better,” Commerce
Secretary Rita Teaotia said after
inaugurating ‘'CAPINDIA 2016’
exhibition here. India has signed
FTAs with several countries to
reduce trade barriers, including
import quotas and tariffs, and to
increase trade of goods and services. “The total global imports
for chemical products are estimated at about $2 trillion. Our
present world share is about 1.8
per cent which is an indicator of
the immense opportunities
which are out there for growth
of exports. The initiatives are
aimed at targeting the world as
our market,” Teaotia added. PTI
largest lender, is also the leader in digital banking in the country in both volume and value
terms, handling over 38 per cent mobile banking transactions a month. The bank, quoting the
Reserve Bank data for December 2015, on
Monday said in December 2015, SBI accounted for 38.44 per cent of total mobile banking
transactions in terms of volume and 35.97 per
cent market share in terms of value. SBI leads the
mobile banking space with 151.83 lakh transactions worth C17,636 crore in December 2015.
As against this, the closest rivals, who are all
private sector lenders, pale. ICICI Bank, the second largest lender, had just about 70.01 lakh
transactions, followed by Axis Bank with 60.28
,QYWVYLD31RWHVVOXPSWR 58?1R[TPab $
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nvestments through participatory notes (P-Notes) into
IIndia's
capital markets declined
to 18 month low of C2.18 lakh
crore at the end of February,
amid sluggish equity markets.
P-Notes, which are mostly
used by overseas HNIs (high net
worth individuals), hedge funds
and other foreign institutions,
allow investors to invest in
Indian markets through registered foreign portfolio investors
(FPIs), the key driver of Indian
markets.
This saves time and cost for
them, but the flip side is that the
route can also be used for
round-tripping of black money.
According to Sebi data, total
value of P-Notes investment in
Indian markets (equity, debt and
derivatives) has been falling
since October. It declined to
C2,17,740 crore at the end of
February from C2,31,317 crore
in the previous month. Total
value of P-Notes investment in
Indian markets stood at C2.58
lakh crore, C2.54 lakh crore,
C2.35 lakh crore and C2.31 lakh
crore in October, November,
December and January, respectively. It was C2.54 lakh crore in
September.
Of the total, P-Note holdings
in equities were at C1.32 lakh
crore at February-end and the
remaining holdings were in debt
and derivatives markets.
The January figure marks
the lowest level since August
2014, when the cumulative
value of such investments
stood at C2.11 lakh crore.
The quantum (percentage) of FII investments via
P-Notes rose to 10.7 per
cent in February, from 10.5
per cent in the preceding
m ont h . Me anw h i l e , t h e
benchmark Sensex plunged
7.5 per cent during the period under review.
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insurer Nippon Life
Insurance, Tata AIA and Aviva
JLifeapanese
were among the 15 companies whose foreign direct investment proposals totalling C7,262
crore have been approved by the
FIPB. Besides, the proposal of
Yes Bank to hike foreign investment limit to 74 per cent from
existing 41.87 per cent without
any sub-limits has been referred
to the Cabinet Committee on
Economic Affairs (CCEA).
“Based on the recommendations of the Foreign
Investment Promotion Board
(FIPB) in its meeting held on
March 7, the Government has
approved 15 FDI proposals
involving C7,261.6 crore and recommended one proposal for
approval of CCEA involving
FDI of C6,885 crore,” a Finance
Ministry statement said.
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ritain’s exit from the
European Union could
B
cause a ‘serious shock’ to the
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country’s economy, potentially
costing it 100 billion pounds
and nearly one million jobs, a
business report has warned.
According to the report
commissioned
by
the
Confederation of British
Industry (CBI), the exit could
cost the UK economy 100 billion – the equivalent of 5 per
cent of GDP – by 2020 and
would lead to long-lasting economic damage from which it
would never recover.
Household incomes could
be between 2,100 pounds and
3,700 pounds lower if Britain
voted to leave the EU, while the
UK's unemployment rate, currently one of the lowest in the
EU at 5. 1 per cent, would be
between 2 and 3 percentage
points higher, with 950,000 jobs
potentially lost, said the report conducted by accountancy firm
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
“This analysis shows very clearly why leaving the European
Union would be a real blow for
living standards, jobs and
growth. The savings from
reduced EU budget contributions and regulation are greatly outweighed by the negative
impact on trade and invest-
ment,” said Carolyn Fairbairn,
director general of CBI.
“Even in the best case this
would cause a serious shock to
the UK economy,” Fairbairn
was quoted as saying by 'The
Guardian'. The report angered
Brexit campaigners, who believe
the Government is trying to
scare voters into supporting
Britain remaining in the EU.
“Even in the CBI’s skewed
choice of scenarios for exit,
they are forced to admit that
employment and the economy
will continue to grow after we
Vote Leave,” said Matthew
Elliott, chief executive of Vote
Leave, which campaigns in
favour of an exit.
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volume terms. Commenting on the achievement,
SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said in
terms of mobile banking volume, the bank has
been consistently maintaining leadership position since April 2015.
“Till a few months back, our customers were
doing mostly low to medium value fund transfers and m-commerce transactions on mobile.
But with the launch of our dedicated user-friendly mobile apps for non-retail customers, the average transaction size has shot up more than five
times,” she said. In May 2015, SBI launched
mobile banking variant StateBankAnywhereSaral which is meant for small and medium firms
with single authorised signatory/user.
PTI
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mid the growing feeling
A
that Republican front-runner Donald Trump could fall
short of the requisite number
of delegates to clinch the presidential nomination, the party
leadership has for the first
time stated publicly that it is
preparing for the eventuality of
a “contested convention”.
“I think it’s possible and
we’re preparing for that possibility,” Republican National
Committee Chairman Reince
Priebus said on Sunday, making it clear that a candidate will
have to get 1,237 delegates to
win the nomination outright,
failing which the party convention will select the nominee.
Even so, Priebus, in a qualified response, tended to discount the possibility that the
chosen nominee would be
someone other than the three
currently in the fray — Trump,
Senator Ted Cruz or Ohio
Governor John Kasich.
“I can’t 100 per cent guarantee that. But I can’t imagine
right now sitting here believing
it would be anyone but the
0?
three remaining candidates,”
Priebus told ABC News against
the backdrop of speculation
that the Republican convention
could nominate a senior party
figure who may have kept out
of the race.
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elgian prosecutors say that
DNA has identified an
B
accomplice of captured Paris
attacks suspect Salah
Abdeslam.
The man is named as
Najim Laachraoui, 24, still on
the run. A statement said he
had been using false ID and
that his DNA had been found
in houses used by the suspected jihadist network.
Abdeslam was captured in
Brussels on Friday and is still
being interrogated.
French President Francois
Hollande will later meet relatives of some of the 130 killed
in the 13 November attacks.
Meanwhile, Abdeslam’s
lawyer has denied Belgian
media reports the suspect will
become an informer in return
for more lenient treatment.
So-called ISIS said it was
behind the Paris attacks.
The Belgian prosecutor’s
statement said that last
September Abdeslam had travelled twice to the Hungarian
capital Budapest, using a rental
car. In the car were two other
men, using fake Belgian identity cards with the names Samir
Bouzid and Soufiane Kayal.
Soufiane Kayal has now
been identified as Laachraoui
by DNA found at houses in the
town of Auvelais and the
Brussels district of Schaerbeek.
Trump, who is well ahead of
his other two rivals in the delegate count, is clearly not amused
by what the Republican bosses
may have in store for him. On
Sunday, he stated pointedly that
it would be “very unfair” to deny
him the nomination if he ends
up on the top but a little short
of the majority.
“If I’m a little bit short —
and one of the reasons was we
had so many candidates. I
mean, we started off with 17
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Seoul: North Korea on
Monday fired five short-range
missiles into the sea off its east
coast — the latest in a series of
missile launches ordered by
leader Kim Jong-Un amid rising military tensions.
The launches came just
days after the North test-fired
two medium-range missiles, in
what the UN Security Council
described as an “unacceptable”
violation of UN resolutions.
Tensions have been soaring on
the divided Korean peninsula
since the North carried out its
fourth nuclear test on January
6, followed a month later by a
long-range rocket launch that
was widely seen as a disguised
ballistic missile test.
The Security Council
responded earlier this month
by imposing its toughest sanctions on North Korea to date.
In
recent
weeks,
Pyongyang has maintained a
daily barrage of nuclear strike
threats against both Seoul and
Washington, ostensibly over
ongoing large-scale South
Korea-US military drills that
the North sees as provocative
rehearsals for invasion.
An official with South
Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said
the five short-range missiles
were launched from near the
eastern city of Hamhung,
beginning just before 3:20pm
(local time), and landed in the
East Sea (Sea of Japan). AFP
candidates,” Trump told the
same network in a separate
interview, adding, “There are so
many candidates, so it’s very
hard to get over that number.
It’s very unfair.”
Trump, with a tally of 678
delegates right now, needs about
560 more to reach the magic figure of 1,237. With only 900 or
so delegates still to be allocated
in the remaining primaries,
Trump will have to win around
60 per cent of the available delegates to reach his target.
It’s a far more daunting
proposition for Cruz, while
for Kasich, it’s a mathematical
impossibility. Even so, the
Republican leadership is clear
that the precise number must
be met, failing which the convention in Cleveland in July
will go through multi-balloting
by the delegates, if need be, to
decide the nomination.
Defending the process,
Priebus told CNN, “When
someone’s a little bit short,
you let the process play out.
And generally if it’s that close,
generally that’s what happens.
But certainly what I would say
is that the minority of delegates
doesn’t rule for the majority.”
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Beirut: At least 26 proGovernment fighters were killed
battling the Islamic State group
near Palmyra on on Monday as
Damascus stepped up a bid to
recapture the ancient city, a
monitoring group said.
“ISIS thwarted an offensive
by Syrian regime loyalists as
they pressed an advance some
four kilometres (two and a half
miles) from Palmyra, and at
least 26 fighters were killed,” the
Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights said. “Warplanes believed
to be Russian meanwhile struck
parts of Palmyra city and its surroundings in the east of Homs
province, as well as AlQaryatain in the southeast.”
ISIS seized Palmyra, a UNESCO
World Heritage Site known as
the “Pearl of the Desert”, in May
last year, sending shock waves
around the world.
AFP
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Athens: A total of 1,662 migrants have landed on
Greek islands near Turkey since a landmark EUTurkish deal on curbing the influx took effect, a
Greek coordination panel said on Monday.
Half of the migrants arrived in Chios and
698 in Lesbos, according to the SOMP agency
which is coordinating Athens’ response to the
migration crisis.
The continuing influx “creates a problem,
and raises questions about the intent of all parties” in the agreement, SOMP spokesman
Giorgos Kyritsis said. The deal aims at cutting
off a route that enabled 8,50,000 people to pour
into Europe last year, many of them fleeing conflict in Syria.
AFP
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Istanbul: Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan said on Monday his country was suffering “one of the biggest waves of terrorism in
its history”, vowing to crush the ISIS and Kurdish
rebels behind a string of attacks. “We will hit
these terrorist organisations as hard as possible,”
Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul, two days
after a suspected ISIS suicide attack in Istanbul
that killed four foreigners.
“Faced with the terrorists’ new strategies we
will develop new modes of combat and quickly
overcome them,” Erdogan said, promising democratic values will not be sacrificed in fight. AFP
Istanbul: Turkish police are searching for three
alleged ISIS members suspected of planning further attacks after a suspected ISIS suicide
bombing in Istanbul that killed four foreigners,
media reported.
Turkish media published photographs of the
three suspects, named as Haci Ali Dumaz, Savas
Yildiz et Yunus Durmaz. According to police
sources quoted by Dogan news agency, the threeall Turkish nationals- are believed to be planning attacks in busy public spaces, including in
Istanbul. Interior Minister later named Ozturk
as perpetrator.
AFP
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srael has raised the alert
level on Turkey declaring
the country as “unsafe” for its
citizens after three Israelis
were killed and 11 others
wounded in a suicide bombing
in Istanbul.
The Prime Minister’s
Office in a statement said it has
decided to “upgrade existing
travel warning and recommend that the public avoid visiting Turkey”.
Amid a spate of attacks by
the ISIS groups and Kurdish
separatists, and especially
Saturday’s bombing, “it was
decided to update the existing
travel warning vis-a-vis Turkey
from an ongoing potential
threat to a basic concrete
threat,” the statement said.
Prime Minister Benjamin
I
Netanyahu in his reaction said
Israel was at the front line of a
global war on terror, adding
that those who failed to condemn terrorist attacks were in
effect supporting them.
“There could be no justification for terrorism. Israel is at
the forefront of the fight against
international terrorism. This
fight is primarily military, but
no less than that, it is moral,”
the Israeli premier said at the
beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
“The key point of the moral
struggle against terrorism is
clear — terrorism, the murder
of innocent people, has no justification anywhere — not in
Istanbul, not in the Ivory Coast
and not in Jerusalem.
“Those who do not condemn terrorism support terrorism,” he emphasised.
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London: A company in France
has developed a new smart
umbrella that when paired with
a smartphone app not only can
predict the weather but also
send you a notification if you
leave it behind.
‘Oombrella’, the smart
umbrella is fitted with a capsule
having sensors for air pressure,
humidity, temperature and light.
This setup allows the umbrella to
tell whether or not it may rain in
the next 15 minutes, notifying
the user via a Bluetooth-connected smartphone with the
corresponding app.
It can also record weather
data and can hold camera at the
top. The capsule also has an integrated buzzer and light so that
users can be alerted when they
get a call. The ribs of the umbrella are made of Kevlar, a synthetic
fibre of high tensile strength,
TechTimes reported. According
to the company Wezzoo that
developed Oombrella, the device
is “really wind-resistant”
with the capability of withstanding storms, hailstorms and
snowstorms.
PTI
Jakarta: China called on
Indonesia on Monday to
release the crew of a Chinese
fishing boat detained during a
maritime confrontation, as
Jakarta lodged a furious protest
in the escalating row.
The incident happened
Saturday as Indonesian surveillance vessels tried to
detain the trawler suspected of
operating illegally near
Indonesian islands in the South
China Sea.
After stopping the boat
and removing eight crew
members, the Indonesians were
towing the vessel to shore
when the Chinese coastguard
appeared and rammed into
the detained boat, helping to
release it.
However, Chinese foreign
ministry spokeswoman Hua
Chunying insisted today that
the area near Indonesia’s
Natuna Islands was a “traditional Chinese fishing ground”,
and that the Chinese boat had
to be rescued by coastguards
after facing harassment from an
Indonesian vessel.
AFP
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stronomers the world over
kept their high-end teleA
scopes set on the sky on
Monday to see the closest ever
flyby of two comets that may
have more in common than
their intriguingly similar orbits
— they may be twins of a sort.
Comet 252P/LINEAR,
approximately 750 feet in size,
will zip past Earth on Monday
at a range of about 5.2 million
kms. On Tuesday, comet
P/2016 BA14 will safely fly by
our planet at a distance of about
3.5 million kms.
This will be the third closest flyby of a comet in recorded history next to comet
D/1770 L1 (Lexell) in 1770 and
comet C/1983 H1 (IRAS-
Araki-Alcock) in 1983.
“Comet P/2016 BA14 is
possibly a fragment of
252P/LINEAR. The two could
be related because their orbits
are so remarkably similar,” said
Paul Chodas, manager of
NASA’s Center of NEO Studies
(CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion
Laborator y in Pasadena,
California. While both comets
will safely fly past at relatively
close distances, anyone hoping
to see them will need powerful,
professional-grade telescopes,
due to their relatively small size.
The time of closest approach
for comet 252P/LINEAR on
March 21 was around 8:14 am
EDT (5:44 pm India time).
The time of closest
approach for P/2016 BA14 on
March 22 will be around 10:30
am EDT (8 pm India time).
The approaches of these
two comets will be the closest
they come to Earth for the foreseeable future.
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e have seen him beat up the bad guys
and deliver some hard packed punches but with Rocky Handsome, John
Abraham will be taking action in movies (especially in Bollywood)to a whole new level. If you
have seen the trailer of the movie, you will know
what we are taking about. And what’s more interesting is that the actor himself believe that the
forms of martial arts that are depicted in the
movie will soon become a trend in the industry.
“Specially the Silat. It is a form of martial arts
which uses knives and it will catch up soon,”
Abraham sounded optimistic.
From the looks of it, the movie is going to
be a thorough action film but we were told that
everything in the movie generates from the bond
that Abraham’s character shares
with a seven-year-old girl.
Abraham said, “It is a fantastic
film, fully commercial emotional and action roller coaster. It is
two hours of relentless action.”
In many ways both the director and the actor feels that the
movie will raise the bar of how
India sees action. And Abraham
believes in real action and not just
saying it. So all the action that the
trailer gives a glimise of is all
Abraham. It was when the two
were deciding on the movie that
they realised they needed to present action which wre a few
notches higher than Force, the
first film they did together.
“When we decided to do this
film we knew that we had to push
the envelope. We decided to take
it a few notches higher and went
higher to the oriental belt —
Chinese, Japanese, Korean and
Japanese martial arts. We hired a
team from Thailand and they
demonstrated it and we realised
how difficult it would be to pull
it off. But John went there and
train to get in tune with that kind
of action,” Kamath explained.
Speaking about his character,
Kabir Ahlawat, Abraham shared,
“The character is comlex and layered. He is hard and there is a lot
that has happened in his life. And as the story
unfolds, the audience will know the experinces
the character has been through and why he is like
that. Also the way Nishi has put the screenplay
out there to the audience is fantastic. When you
see it you will under-
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stand what a beautifully and
emotionally charged film it is.”
Apart from all the action
and the fighting, there is a little
girl at the heart of the movie.
Both Kamath and Abraham were
all praises for her. Abraham said,
“We feel that it is difficult to work
with children. But Diya has been
very special because she has been
always been on time and is a very disciplined kid. It was a joy having her
in the film,” to which the director added,
“We were initially worried about how we
would manage a six and a half year old
kid because they are impatient and at the
end of the day get cranky
and exhausted, But with
Diya we had no such problems.”
Unlike others in the
industry, neither of them
denied the fact that the movie
is based on a 2010 Korean
film titled The Man From
Nowhere. In fact Kamath said,
“It is adapted because no matter how hard you try you cannot make a Korean film. It will not
be palatable for the Indian audiences. It was adapted with Indian
sensibilities or rather my sensibilities. Also, inspite of being an
action film, it is a musical — it has
five songs. You cannot take a
Korean film and put in songs. I took
the story because it was interesting
and then moulded it to the way
John was playing the character.”
Did you know that Kamath
plays the villain in the movie?
“Something that I will never do
again. It happened by accident
because I had to fill in for the actor
when he backed out. I am used to
doing theatre but acting and direction I have never done together. It
is scary because I used to get confused on the sets. But direction has
always been my first love and I
enjoy acting but never the two
together,” he laughed.
Talking about his love for bikes, Abraham said
that he is loking forward to doing a movie that
would bring bikes to the fore. “Nowadays bikes
are used as props where people dance around
it. I want to change that,” he pointed out.
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mraan Hashmi — love or dislike him but you can never
avoid him. Even in times of adversities, you can expect
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him to fight his way through chin up. In spite of his six-yearold son’s long-drawn battle with cancer, he never lost hope
and his faith remain unflinched. “But my wife still thinks
I need a shrink,” he joked, pointing to the obsession he developed for researching on cancer.
He released the book The Kiss Of Life: How A Superhero
and My Son Defeated Cancer, co-authored by Bilal Siddiqi,
at the Penguin Random House Spring Fever 2016 festival.
The story is about Ayaan’s battle with the ailment.
“Ayaan has taught me it’s okay to fail. After he started
getting chemotherapy, we started getting nightmares as parents. At a school race, he fell after two steps; he fell again
after three steps but reached the finish
line. That was what was important. This
was the time he had come back from
Toronto after his chemotherapy. It’s the
participation that matters,” said the
proud father.
In fact, like any concerned parent,
Hashmi became half a doctor, visiting
hundreds of oncologists. “The main
thing as a parent I was battling against
was that no one really told me that my
son will be okay after six months of
chemotherapy. My wife still thinks I
need a shrink. I wanted to know about
the causative nature of cancer. It’s partly genetic. It’s causative
because of a host of other factors as well. The kind of air
we are breathing also makes us vulnerable. Doctors at Tata
Memorial told me how their wards are filled with kids and
adults. They don’t know the exact cause yet. There are no
beds in hospitals, but kids are pouring in. It’s the food we
are giving them; a major portion of the food. Sugar is
extremely toxic. It leads to further metastasis if given to your
child. It needs to be stopped,” Hashmi added.
The actor feels that parenting is complex. “I think more
than the school, it is the home environment that is more
important, as ultimately, your child will come back home.
Create a pleasant environment for your child. Also, my son
made me a real father. When you have a crisis at home, you
become a real caregiver. Looking at my son, I let go of any
kind of self-pity,” he advised.
Talking about his son, Ayaan, he said, “I realised that
my son is a better actor than me during the photoshoot of
the book with Rohan Shrestha. He’s eaten me alive in front
of the camera and spat me out. A six-year-old usually has
an attention span of eight minutes, but after 30 minutes of
the photo shoot, he told me, ‘Dad, is this what you do for
a living, this is so boring!’. He’s also got er pout than me. A
Murder 9 probably (laughed).”
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ine designers, distinct visions and a
myriad of stories to tell — all of this
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was weaved together with ‘India
Modern’ theme through a kaleidoscope of colours at the finale of the
India Fashion Week AutumnWinter 2016.
It laid down the final chapter
of the five-day fashion saga here with
names like Rahul Mishra and Samant
Chauhan presenting Indian traditional
craft with a contemporary twist and in
a more global format. Suits, lehengas,
dresses, gowns, formal suits and skirts
dominated the show.
Apart from Mishra and Chauhan,
stalwarts from fashion industry like
Rajesh Pratap Singh, Anju Modi, Abraham
and Thakore, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul
Khanna, Amit Aggarwal, Pankaj and
Nidhi and Aneeth Arora came together for
the finale. They presented five to six
ensembles each.
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The show commenced with a small story
with the line: “It is thread of life that ties past
and present together embracing the change.”
Singh, known for subtle yet fashionable
lines, started the fashion party with panache. He
experimented with natural indigo dying in gold
colour with the outfits running high on zardozi
work, linear pattern and hints of gold.
After a formal affair with Singh’s ensembles,
it was time for some casual style from Arora
under her brand Pero. Her comfortable and
functional outfits were backed by jackets and
casual dresses with polka dots and a splash of
gold.
The collection from the house of Abraham
& Thakore took inspiration from
the peasant jackets of Rajasthan
and Gujarat. The ‘Kedia’ was reimagined as contemporary jackets and tops in earthy hues combining fine handloom mulmul
with metallic highlights. It also had a
sparkle of gold and shimmer with surfaces
intricately worked with applique and cutworked.
Anju Modi used red and olive green
to present ethnic collection like suits with
layers, long skirts with zardozi, mirror work
and hand embroidery.
Known for his extravagant red carpet gowns, Aggarwal tempered with
bright shades like pink, orange and red
with use of sheer and ruffles.
It was jharokha play for Gandhi and
Khanna. They picked orange and red pallet for the ensemble with jharokha prints on
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rt is rightly regarded as a common
language that facilitates dialogue,
A
builds bridges between varied universes
and transcends borders and Connections
organised by Shri Ram Centre is testimony to this fact. Following two successful
editions, Shri Ram Centre is delighted to
bring its third edition.
Award-winning performances from
around the world will regale the Delhi
audience from March 25 to 28.
Concerto For Two Clowns, a contemporary circus and Ljodahått, a poetic folk
rock band, are the two unique and widely acclaimed performances lined up. Julia
Moa Caprez, Igor Sellem and Magne
Havard Brekke are the amazingly talented artistes who are expected entertain the
audience with their individualistic interpretations. Another highlight of the festival will be a spectacular fusion where
Indian musicians will team up with
European musicians to create a special
flavour of music.
Rukmini Chatterjee, Indo-French
choreographer and artistic director of the
festival, said, “We are bringing varied and
outstanding performances to Delhi so that
aficionados can truly take away something. Our endeavour is also to introduce
the Delhi audience to exciting and new
emerging languages in the performing
arts.”
ne can identify SH Raza’s works by the bindu or dot, MF Husain’s works by horses and Jamini
Roy’s by the elongated, doe-shaped eyes. Satish Gupta’s artworks can, however, be identified by the larger than life installations of Buddha, Zen philosophy and characters from epics.
It will be after 25 years that Gupta, a Delhi-based artist, will be exhibiting his lifetime’s works
of 10 sculptures, eight paintings and 72 haikus at the Visual Arts Gallery at India Habitat Centre,
starting from March 24.
“I am drawn to nature. So my journey began as a painter of landscapes. My paintings encompass portraiture, landscape as well as abstract imagery and reflect my deep engagement with mysticism and the Zen spirit. The colours that I use are minimalistic, delicate and understated like blues, moss green, lilac pink, earthy brown and beige. They make for an ethereal world,” he said. “In my works there is a sense of calm detachment, an
assurance that I am both participant and observer in my own life,” he
explained. His collection of haikus, presented in his characteristic and visually rich calligraphic style, captures the subtle nuances
of Zen philosophy. “These haikus are autobiographical as
they trace my journey and act
as records of the most transforming moments,” he added.
One has to see Gupta’s life-size
installation, a sleeping Buddha’s head
reclined at an angle, to understand his
work. “The sculpture is both meditative and
quietening, because its towering scale has a surprise element. For on the reverse, Buddha’s head
is patterned like a cave, its inner walls inscribed with
neat rows of Buddhas carved as though by ancient
hands on a rock face like edicts from a preceding age.
The mesmerising quality of the Buddhas within is hypnotic, yet it is neither old nor rock, but copper, and across
the ‘cave’s’ length sprawls the figure of a gilded sleeping
Buddha,” he told us.
There will also be on display Surrender, an elegantly
aerodynamic Garuda done in copper with patina, stainless
steel with gold and mirror finish to understand the sheer magnitude of his perspective. “The Garuda spreads its wings against
the sky’s invitation to fly. It certainly is larger than life in
its size but is made in a way that it does not overpower. Its legs and hands are bent, perhaps in worship,
or submission; each feather in each wing is so finely delineated which in itself is a work of art,” the
artist said.
“Then there are the deeply moving sculptures, Shunya and
Meditations on a Mandala, each a
masterpiece of void and solids, a
Buddha cut from a metal sheet and
a series of Buddhas suspended from
a metallic frame, to merge one moment
and emerge as the next, a point of mediation and
meditation. They make us rethink of mankind’s constant quest
and search, a restlessness that can succumb to suggestions of accord
only when it unites with, not against, nature,” said Gupta.
The Sanskriti awardee’s personal collection on display will give the
visitors a chance to experience the ethereal quality of his works which
are lucid, lyrical and profound.
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mong the several photographs that
lined the walls of the exhibition hall at
A
the India International Centre, one stood
out. It showed a bunch of kids smiling their
hearts out trample as they did among waste
scattered around Buland Masjid.
Veteran photographer Chitvan Gill narrated to us why she chose the place as the
subject for her exhibition titled Buland
Masjid — No Grass in the Ghetto. “This is,
at first sight, a world of slums and squalor,
where pigeonhole dwellings hold dark
secrets close to their hearts. Yet, what one
encounters is a world of Almadovarian
excess. Life, laughter and madness spill out
into the maze of streets and gullies. There
is tragedy here and there is triumph,” the
photographer explained.
Slowly she was drawn to this ghetto and
its people. “Through them, I began to understand the politics of urbanisation and the
complexity and injustices that underlie it,”
she said.
A large part of Gill’s overall work has
been focussed on social and developmental issues and she has always found that the
voices of people living in poverty and
backwardness go unheard. “To me, expressing their struggle, their will to overcome the
most degrading environment and to give
their children a life better than the one they
had is the most inspiring aspect of my work,”
she told us.
The collection was based entirely on the
Buland Masjid locality of Shastri Park.
Over the past three years Gill had visited the
interior areas and the lanes repeatedly to
familiarise herself with the people, to
understand them and to photograph various aspects of their lives in multiple shoots
over this extended period of time.
Even then, she thought that the work is
still in progress and, “will soon be complementing the photographs with a documentary film.”
“The shoot for the documentary has
already begun. I have been working in the
area for three years and will continue at least
for another year,” she added.
We asked her about the title of the exhibition and she reminded us how the Buland
Masjid is the eponymous mosque after
which this colony is named. “I felt that No
grass in the ghetto was a metaphor that aptly
expressed the lives of people, and specially
children, who have to endure and survive
in a degraded and ghettoised slum environment,” Gill pointed out.
The photographer, apart from working
on a documentary on the same subject, is
also engagaed in another photographic and
documentary film project on the condition
of the handloom industry. “That apart, there
are several occasional projects that I take up,”
she wrapped up.
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Prada’s traditional Mayurbhanj
Chhau performance reminds one of the
Carolina
grace and beauty of temple sculptures
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while its lyrical qualities
are akin to a poem.
Carolina, who was born in
Medellin, Colombia, is the
only female soloist of this
generation to research,
choreograph and perform the traditional
Mayurbhanj Chhau
at the professional
level.
This
Colombian is taking the ancient Indian
dance form to the next level and to various places globally.
Shiva’s dance of creation and destruction flattened many boundaries and
traditions through the vigorous but
fluidic postures of Carolina. It is not
common to see a woman take up the
dance form that requires rigorous,
back-breaking training, and that too by
a woman of foreign origin. But every step
of hers, the long one-leg stances, the
stretches and the splits proved how she
had become one with Chhau.
The exquisite presentation by the
Colombian national, whose name
equates to strength, grace and
impeccable deliverance showcases
vividly why Indian classical dance is a sacred
and powerful means of expression that can
unite both dancer and audience with the
divine forces of the universe.
While Odissi captivates with its roundness, grace, feminine postures and devotional intention, Carolina’s traditional
Mayurbhanj Chhau display overpowers the
senses with the perfect combination:
Tandava - the martial and forceful aspect and Lasya - the soft and lyrical one. In addition, it has that ritualistic trait connected to
nature, the entrancing characteristic of the
music and the strong identification of the
dancer with the character played in the item.
To promote Indian classical dance, she
travels every year to her country for workshops and performances. At a recent show
at the Cambridge School auditorium in New
Friends Colony, Delhi, Carolina stressed on
the need to promote the Indian classical arts
and pass on the love for them to the next
generation.
“One can only dance if one has god in
his or her heart,” Carolina told the students
as she encouraged some of them to come up
on the stage and try a few basic steps of
Chhau. And there were rounds of applause
from the audience as the kids tried to uncoil
and hiss like a snake, walk the tiger steps and
jump aesthetically like a monkey as demonstrated by the 35-year-old dancer.
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ew Zealand and Pakistan face contrasting fortunes when they meet
each other here in a crucial Super
10 encounter here today.
For Pakistan it is a must-win after losing their last game against tournament
hosts India, while New Zealand can afford
to slip up after sitting atop of the Group 2.
However, the Kiwis will look to seal the
last-4 birth today with a win over Pakistan,
thereby allowing the benched players a
chance to enter the field in their final Super
10 clash against Bangladesh.
New Zealand have certainly lived up to
the dark horses tag so far in the tournament
with two massive upsets, beating India in
the opener and following it up with a crucial win against their arch-rivals Australia
in the second match.
The win against India was even more
impressive for the island nation. After being
touted as the clear underdogs against the
Men in Blue, New Zealand produced one
of the biggest shock.
They were not able to put up a challenging total and and were restricted only
for 126 runs. But, Black Caps bowled brilliantly, aided by their spin trio of Mitchell
Santner, Ish Sodhi and Nathan McCullum,
humbled India to a mere 79 runs.
They followed it up against their fierce
rival Australia in the next match. After
putting on 142 runs, New Zealand bowlers
yet again provided the rescue act by
restricting Aussies to a mere 134 runs to
clinch a 8-run victory.
On the other hand, Pakistan find
themselves in a spot of bother. The Asian
side may not be just yet be ousted from the
tournament if they lose to New Zealand.
However, the possibility of them qualifying will become very difficult as Pakistan
will have to heavily depend on other
team's results.
Pakistan started the World T20 in style
but brushing aside Bangladesh in their
opener with a 55-run win. Both their batting and bowling clicked in that specific
encounter.
However, they couldn't build on that
incredible start as yet again they fell short
to their old foes India in a World Cup. As
a result of which Pakistan's net run rate
took a big hit. They still remain in second
position, but a loss against New Zealand,
followed by a win either for India or
N
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Australia in the next match, both
these sides could well pip Pakistan
for the coveted second position.
For Pakistan the pace attack
has been the biggest strength and
that department has fired really
well so far. With the likes of
Mohammad
Amir
and
Mohammad Sami, they are difficult
to score runs from.
However, the inconsistent batting has been the main problem for
Pakistani team.
After a good display with the
bat against Bangladesh, the old
problems returned for them.
´@YdSX^_dY^[email protected][µ
41D5<9>5 <>70;8
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ith not even a ball being bowled, the conditions in Mohali has already started to
ignite a difference of opinion between the
Pakistan and New Zealand team.
The state of argument has gone beyond
the obvious analysis of whether the pitch is
a bowler friendly wicket or a batsman
favouring one, as the main question hanging over everyone's head is which country
does it favour?
Kiwis coach Mike Hesson believes the conditions in Mohali are very similar to that they
have in New Zealand. However, Afridi rejected it outright.
When asked about New Zealand
coach's opinion, Afridi said,
"From my experience here,
its always been a good
pitch. The pitch is covered
now, and we have time till
tomorrow. To say that it's
in New Zealand's favour,
I don't agree. The pitch will
be same for both the teams
and more important is how
we play on it."
Prior to Afridi, Hesson
said playing Pakistan many
times recently will help them,
particularly in a conditions
which is similar to that of New
Zealand.
"It helps both sides because we
know each other pretty well.
Obviously we played those games in
New Zealand conditions. Mohali is
probably more like New Zealand conditions than perhaps Nagpur and
Dharamsala," he added.
Afridi may not have agreed with
his counterpart coach's view, but he still
had nice things to say about them.
"They are playing really well in this
format. Their win against India on a
good spin track was amazing. The
team is well balanced and have good
spinners," Afridi explained during a
pre-match press conference.
'Boom Boom' Afridi is also not
ready to say much about Tuesday's
crunch game against the Black Caps as
he is looking to do all the talking in the
field.
W
"There is a time to talk and there is a time
to act. Now is the team to act on what has been
spoken. We spoke over two days and planned,
and tomorrow is action time," he said.
Afridi is also looking too deep into the criticism which he or his teammates receive. "Even
before the tournament started, people had written us off. But, I have stayed away from Twitter
and Facebook.
I have just kept me on one side because I
know how people are reacting back home.
Whatever happens there is a thing for the
future, but right now all we can do is perform
well," he explained.
Pakistan skipper added that the reason
behind India's defeat was because of too many
mistakes his team had committed.
"The team that wins, wins because it makes
lesser mistake than the other side. We made
more mistakes, we did not read the pitch right
and also lost the toss.
If we had won the toss, we would have also
bowled first because the conditions were
overcast and the pitch was covered for
most part of the day," he explained.
He undoubtedly had good
things to say on Kohli's knock. "I
won't give any excuse, but Virat
Kohli was the biggest difference. In
the Asia Cup too, he had singlehandedly won the match.
In the last match India
played well and won, but that's
history now. For me, tomorrow's match is the most
important and the team's
focus is on that," he said.
Earlier, Mike also reckoned it will be tough to play
against an 'unpredictable'
Pakistan side.
"They are unpredictable, but very skillful. They have got a lot
of pace of left-arm variety and with Irfan they
have a difference in
terms of bounce. Their
bowling attack in particular is very challenging. As a batting unit,
they are relatively predictable in the way they
play and that gives us
more opportunity with
the ball," he signed off.
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Against India, they struggled to
score runs and managed a mere 118
runs in 18 overs.
If Pakistan are going to
reignite their chances in this tournament, they have to start clicking in both the departments. The
likes of Mohammad Hafeez,
Shehzad Ahmed, Shoaib Malik,
Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi,
who scored an incredible 19-ball
49 runs, have to step up.
Having said that New
Zealand's batting has neither lived
up to the level. Having struggled
for runs in both the matches so
?C8
far, the Kiwis will hope for the
power hitters, Martin Guptill,
Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson
will finally start scoring the runs
that is expected from them.
Nonetheless, this will be a game,
in which bowlers are expected to
dominate all the headlines.
If the pitch in Mohali is similar
to the one that was present in
Nagpur and Mumbai, then New
Zealand are likely to go with three
spinners.
Although New Zealand's coach
Mike Hesson is yet to finalise the
play eleven. The coach said based on
the conditions and the opposition,
a decision will be made only on
Tuesday.
For Pakistan, irrespective of
pitch, pacers such as Amir, Sami and
Wahab Riaz are expected to start. If
it is a spinning track, the onus will
lie mainly on Afridi and part-time
spinner Malik to do well. Whereas
for New Zealand, the likes of Tim
Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan,
Trent Boult and Corey Anderson
will be the ones to watch out for.
SQUAD
New Zealand: Kane Williamson
(capt), Martin Guptill, Henry
Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Ross
Taylor, Colin Munro, Mitchell
Santer, Nathan McCullum, Grant
Elliott, Mitchell McClenaghan,
Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Adam
Milne, Ish S odhi, C orey
Anderson.
Pakistan: Shahid Afridi (capt),
Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib
Malik, Mohammad Irfan, Sharjeel
Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad
Nawaz, Mohammad Sami, Khalid
Latif, Mohammad Amir, Umar
Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk),
Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali,
Khurram Manzo.
5 8 A 4 ? > F 4 A
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Tuesday's encounter between
Zealand and Pakistan variIousnNewinternal
battles are expected to
be witnessed, but the one intriguing
clash will be the pace attack of
Pakistan team against the spin of the
New Zealand side.
The Green Shirts pace attack is
a well-known one, as from the days
of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram,
followed by Shoaib Akhtar and the
present crop of pacers such as
Mohammad Sami and Mohammad
Amir, Pakistan have always used
pace as their mainstay to threaten
the opposite numbers.
However, the surprising factor
has been the Black Caps resurgent
spin attack. Following Daniel
Vettori's retirement in 2015, the
Kiwis foothold in the spin department was set to be lost.
However, the present New
Zealand team has shocked everyone
with their impressive performances
so far in this World T20.
Mitchell Santner is undoubted-
;4C´BB44)<XcRWT[[BP]c]Ta^U=TfITP[P]S[TUcP]S?PZXbcP]´b<^WP\\PS0\Xa
ly their main weapon in that department, producing impressive performances so far in the tournament.
After his mind blowing 4/11
against India in the opener, he followed it up with another noteworthy contribution against arch-rivals
Australia in the next match to pick
up two wickets for 30 runs.
Overall, he has 13 wickets from six
games in 2016, which includes both
T20Is and ODIs.
Ish Sodhi is another who has
helped the Kiwis fly high in that
department.
Following his 3/18 against India,
he was impressive against Australia
with 1/14. Not to mention he has 2
more wickets to his name against Sri
Lanka in the warm-up.
Despite being a surprise inclu-
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owling sensation Mohammad Amir
was rested as he did not take part in
B
the team nets session here on the eve of
Paksitan's match between New Zealand.
?C8
sion in the World T20 squad,
Nathan McCullum has also helped
the team massively in that department.
He picked up two against India
in the opener and was very economical by giving just 15 runs. He
managed two more against England
in the warm-up game.
When Pakistan's pace is taken
into account, one doesn't have to see
beyond Amir.
After his spectacular spell
against India in the Asia Cup, when
he picked 3 wickets in the space of
3 runs, the left-arm pacer has lived
up to the level with consistent performances.
The 23-year-old has three wickets to his name so far in World T20.
He may not have hit the heights he
reached in Asia Cup, when he managed seven wickets from just three
games. But, Kiwi batsmen will be
very much aware of him and know
that if he starts to hit the blocks, then
it will be difficult to play against him.
Amir is well supported by
Mohammad Sami and Wahab
Riaz. Sami may not have lived up
to level he raised when he first
burst into the scene. However, he
has been quite effective.
He was quite effective against
India with a 2/17. He scalped
three more in the Asia Cup. But
on his day Sami can be as deadly as any pace bowler.
Riaz is another who has
become a mainstay against in the
Pakistan line-up. He was quite
economical by giving only 16
runs and also got the prized
wicket of Yuvraj in the match,
although by time the damage
was already done as the Men in
Green eventually lost to India.
However, it is not quite sure
who the pitch will favour, but if
both New Zealand's spin and
Pakistan's pace does live up to the
potential, then Tuesday's match
might be in for a thriller.
= 4 C ; > 6
The 23-year-old, who has struck
fear into opposition eyes with his
deadly pace bowling, has been in
good form recently.
He has three wickets so far in World
T20, which was followed by an impressive seven wickets in the Asia Cup,
including a 3/18 against India.
Although he did not bowl in the nets
on Monday. A coaching staff of Pakistan
team said he was just rested and has no
injury worries.
Apart from him, the rest of the session was a normal one as both batsmen
and bowlers spending valuable practice
time. Among the batsmen, Shoaib Malik
and Umar Akmal batted till the end.
Akmal had a decent outing against
India last time around with a 16-ball 22
runs and so was Malik with a well constructed 26. They both will look to build
on it against New Zealand today.
For the Kiwis, Henry Nicholls, a left
hander, was heavily involved in the nets.
He batted for a long while and came
up with some good strikes.Among other
surprises, Kane Williamson — a powerhitter — was spending extra time in
bowling. If the pitch does turn today in
Mohali, Williamson might fancy his
chances with the ball, although it looks
very unlikely. Southee, apart from his
bowling, was also heavily involved with
the bat. One of the team coaching staff
particularly heaped praise on his drives.
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he fate of the upcoming World
T20 semi-final match at
T
Ferozshah Kotla stadium is uncertain
as Delhi and District Cricket
Association (DDCA) on Monday
failed to get any relief from Delhi
High Court over lack of completion
certificate for its old club house there.
The petition by the cricketing
body seeking a direction to South
Delhi Municipal Corporation
(SDMC) to issue the certificate for
the R P Mehra block came up for
hearing before Justice A K Pathak,
who referred the plea to a division
bench observing that DDCA's issues
are pending before it.
At the outset, the bench said, "I
cannot allow you (DDCA) to hold
matches at this stage until you get the
completion certificate." The semifinal match is slated on March 30.
Senior advocates Sandeep Sethi
and Rajiv Nayar, appearing for
DDCA, said the R P Mehra block is
there since 1996 and the occupancy
certificate has already been issued.
Sethi said the concern was
Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal's view
regarding this block due to which
the International Cricket Council
(ICC) is seeking clarification from
the DDCA.
"Event by event, the court has
directed SDMC to grant us the certificate. SDMC is not objecting to
the structure (R P Mehra block).
This matter deserves clarification
from the court. We are aggrieved by
Justice Mudgal's letter (to BCCI).
The T20 world cup is yet to complete. A semi-final match is in
Delhi," he told the court.
Sethi further said "it is not the
SDMC which is bothering us. It is
Justice Mudgal's view which is the
problem. ICC is seeking clarifications on this from us."
To this, the bench said, "Your R
P Mehra block is not as per the sanc-
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tioned construction plan."
Justice Mudgal, who has been
appointed by the high court to oversee the functioning of DDCA, has
asked the cricketing body not to sell
tickets for R P Mehra block, having
a capacity of around 2,000, and that
it be used only for the broadcasters
and the media.
Sethi referred to the National
Capital Territory of Delhi Laws
(special provisions) Second Act
2011 and said that the R P Mehra
block cannot be held illegal or
unauthorised since the act provides
for regularisation of the structure.
DDCA's petition is likely to
come up for hearing tomorrow
before a division bench headed by
Justice S Muralidhar.
During the hearing, the court
referred to a March 8 order passed
by division bench before which
SDMC had said occupancy certificate
was for the entire stadium barring R
P Mehra block, which falls within
100 metre of a protected monument
and lacks clearance from
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The division bench had said the
issue of R P Mehra block was for the
DDCA and SDMC to sort it out.
During the hearing, Delhi government senior standing counsel
Rahul Mehra told the court that
DDCA was aware of this fact when
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ahmudullah top-scored with an
impressive 49 not out off 29
M
balls as Bangladesh shook off a
the matter was heard by the division
bench and this issue should have
been raised there.
"They (DDCA) are now hunting.
All these things were known to them
when the matter was pending before
the division bench. This is unfair.
They should have filed this petition
before the division bench," he said.
To this, Sethi said the division
bench has nowhere said that the R
P Mehra block is unauthorised.
"Justice Mudgal is harbouring a
view that there is an ambiguity on
the use of R P Mehra block," he said.
However, counsel appearing for
SDMC said the matter should be
referred to the division bench.
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wobbly start to post a decent 156 for
five in their World T20 Super 10
Group 2 cricket match against
Australia here on Monday.
Put into bat, Bangladesh made a
poor start as they were reduced to 26
for 2 in the sixth over but a fine contribution from Shakib Al Hasan (33
off 25 balls) and a late flurry from
Mahmudullah took them to a fighting total in their crucial match.
Bangladesh batsmen struggled
for most part of their innings and
they shook off the shackles only in
the last five overs with Mahmudullah
is small knock of 24 against Pakistan was
H
worth its weight in gold and Yuvraj Singh
said that his "focus was on right things" like
batting according to the demands of the situation rather than get overwhelmed by the
vociferous capacity crowd at the Eden
Gardens.
"I wanted to bat according to the situation no matter
how big the occasion was. It was important to focus on right
things. I just wanted to watch the ball and rotate the strike
and I was able to do that. Unfortunately, I could not finish the game. Virat is in sublime form and Dhoni came and
finished the game," Yuvraj told bcci.Tv.
taking charge.
Mahmudullah, who
hit seven fours and a six
in his unbeaten knock,
took the responsibility
of taking Bangladesh to
a fighting total after
Shakib's departure as
he played some exquisite shots towards the
end.
He and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim
(15 not out) had an
unconquered sixth
wicket stand of 52 runs
as they frustrated the
Australian bowlers who
had done a fine job till
then.
Rookie pacer Adan
Zampa grabbed three
wickets for 23 runs in
an impressive bowling
spell while Shane
Watson took two wickets for 31 runs.
Bangladesh, who
lost their opening
match against Pakistan,
were on the backfoot
even before the start of the match as
in-form opener Tamim Iqbal was left
out as he was unwell, adding to their
woes after the suspension of Taskin
Ahmed and Arafat Sunny due to illegal bowling actions.
Bangladesh were denied a strong
start with Shane Watson claiming the
wickets of opener Soumya Sarkar (1)
and one-down Sabbir Rahman (12).
Shakib, for a brief period, threatened to take the fight against the
Australians with a few lusty blows,
including a four and six off Adam
Zampa in consecutive deliveries,
but Bangladesh batsmen were found
wanting to get the big shots.
After Shakib was out in the
16th over, Mahmudullah took the
responsibility of first steadying the
Bangladesh innings for a while and
then taking to a fighting total.
A 32-run partnership for the
third wicket between Mohammad
Mithun and Shakib Al Hassan steadied the innings.
The introduction of leg spinner
Adam Zampa once again tilted the
game in Australia's favour as he
claimed three wickets, the batsmen
unable to read his leg breaks.
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etermined to keep the
Olympic dream alive
D
despite the long-standing
administrative mess, a spirited
Indian boxing team, featuring
the likes of M C Mary Kom and
Shiva Thapa, will take off on
Monday night for the Asian
Qualifiers.
Ten men and three women
form the 13-strong team which
will be in action from March 25.
In the men's competition, only
the top three boxers in each
weight category will make the
Olympic cut with the third spot
decided via a box-off between
the two bronze-medallists.
None of the Indian boxers
have so far qualified for the
Olympics. During last year's
World Championships, Shiva
(56kg) won a rare bronze medal
for the country but could not
seal an Olympic ticket owing to
his loss in the quota box-off.
It is not going to be any easier at the continental qualifiers
either. "If you start thinking
about the difficulties, you only
make it tough for yourself. So
it's better to focus on what one
actually can do. We have
trained hard just the way we do
before any big event and hopefully, we shall deliver," said
Shiva, who recently won a gold
medal at the South Asian
Games in Guwahati.
The men's team also
includes Commonwealth
Games silver-medallists L
Devendro Singh (49kg) and
Mandeep Jangra (69kg), Asian
silver-medallist Vikas Krishan
(75kg) and former Asian
medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg)
among others.
In the women's squad, fivetime world champion and
Olympic bronze-medallist
Mary Kom (51kg) is joined by
former Asian champion L
Sarita Devi (60kg) and Asian
Games bronze-medallist Pooja
Rani (75kg).
²((bdaT8]SXPfX[[fX]FC!³
ormer opener Virender Sehwag feels India remain
F
overwhelming favourites to win the World Twenty20
title and showered praise on Virat Kohli, saying that even
his kids can't move away from the TV set when the batting star is at the crease.
"I had picked India, New Zealand, South Africa and
West Indies before the start of the tournament. I still feel
that way, with India winning the title 99 percent. Okay,
they lost to New Zealand in Nagpur but the same thing
happened in 2011 (when India lost to South Africa in
Nagpur) and we went on to the win the World Cup,"
Sehwag told 'NDTV'.
India's next match is against Bangladesh on March
23 and Sehwag sees the hosts winning it comfortably.
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nlucky to have lost the
previous tie against
U
Pakistan by just two runs via
D/L method, the Indian
women's cricket team will be
fighting a survival battle when
it takes on a strong England
side at the ICC World
Twenty20 here on Tuesday.
A defeat on Tuesday
would virtually throw the
home team out of the competition and the Mithali Raj-led
side would hope to put their
best foot forward against the
English eves.
Unlike the previous edition, where India women
were ousted in the group
stages, they are a strong contender this time around,
courtesy their recent good
showing in the T20 format,
including a historic 2-1 away
series win over mighty
Australia in January followed
by the 3-0 whitewash of Sri
Lanka in the run up to the
ongoing World T20.
In their last match also,
India could have won the tie
had rains not played spoilsport on Saturday.
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ew Zealand continued
their unbeaten run at
N
the Women's WT20 cricket
tournament by coasting to a
convinving six-wicket win
over Australia to register their
third consecutive win in
Group A, here on Monday.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, Australia
Women could only muster
103 for eight, a paltry target
which New Zealand Women
overwhelmed with ease in
16.2 overs for the loss of just
four wickets.
Australia Women witnessed a horrendous start to
their innings as Kiwi off-spinner Leigh Kasperek ran
through the top-order to
reduce their opponents to 4 for
4 in 4 overs. Kasperek's impressive figures of 4-0-13-3
includes two wickets in consecutive balls of the second over.

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