Annual Investiture Ceremony held in Hyderabad Public School


Hyderabad: The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet celebrated the Annual Investiture Ceremony on its magnificent campus on Saturday.

The chief guest was N V S Reddy, Managing Director, Metro Rail, Hyderabad. This traditional ceremony was graced by B Janardhan Reddy, Chairman , BOG , A Shyam Mohan President HPS Society, Gusti J Noria Vice Chairman , BOG, Faiz

Khan Secretary and Treasurer BOG. , M Radha Reddy, Secretary to BOG and other members of the HPS Society and the Board of Governors. H L Dutt , former Principal , The Hyderabad Public School was the Guest of Honour. The chief guest inspected the impressive parade led by The Nishan Toli bearing the School flag and the flags of the four colour houses- Nagarjuna, Nalanda, Taxila, and Vijayanagar, followed closely by NCC. The Parade Commander was II/o K Ravi Kumar.

Head Boy Designate Master Mihiran Choudhary , in his speech said he would strive to create an atmosphere that promotes creativity, and individuality among his fellow eaglets and incorporate new skill sets to help them develop as visionaries and self sufficient individuals, IshaGandham, Head Girl Designate, urged her peers , in her speech, to aim for the stars, always aspire to conquer new heights and rise to the challenges of life , unflinchingly. The audiences couldn’t help but marvel at their vision and clarity of thought.

SkandBali , The Principal ,presented the School Annual Report, lauding the multifarious achievements of the students in the academic and co- curricular fields in the year 2018-19.

The event ended in jubilation with the students forming a corridor, cheering on the Chief Guest and other dignitaries who graced the function.

GoAir flight meets with accident at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport: Narrow escape for 165 passengers


A GoAir flight met a freak accident after its rear portion hit runway during landing. Bengaluru-Ranchi flight G-8/375 was carrying 165 passengers when its rear portion hit the runway of Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi. The pilot was able to control the flight and all passengers were deplaned safely.

The incident took place at 1:30 pm on Sunday. A flight engineer carried out a check up of the the airplane which was then declared grounded. The plane was to take-off for Bengaluru at 2.20 pm but it was not allowed to take off till 7.30 pm.

Passengers who were due to travel to Bengalur were forced to wait at the Ranchi airport. They were onboarded on flight G6/116 incoming from New Delhi and the plane proceeded to Bengaluru.

Passengers who were due to travel to New Delhi were also inconvenienced. They were told that the flight for New Delhi will leave by 8:30 pm. However, the flight was cancelled at 9 pm.

Ranchi Municipal Corporation asks for geotagged photos to aid anti-dengue mission


Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has asked supervisors to upload GPS-tagged photographs of the ongoing cold fogging exercise to ensure better compliance of the anti-dengue measure that involves killing full-grown mosquitoes.

“All multi-purpose supervisers (MPS) will have to upload GPS tagged photographs (geotagged images) of the cold mist fogging exercises that is on in various lanes of all 53 wards to ensure strict adherence to the monthly roster that has been prepared to tackle the vector menace,” RMC additional municipal commissioner (AMC) Girja Shankar Prasad said on Monday.

As per a directive issued on Sunday evening, all 53 MPS will have to upload GPS tagged photographs of the fogging exercise in the RMC’s WhatsApp group in the morning and evening while monitoring the activities of 66 workers.

“From Monday onwards there will be cold mist fogging and anti-larvicidal spraying in mornings and evenings. While the morning exercise will be carried out between 5am and 7am, the evening exercise has been scheduled between 6.30 pm and 8.30 pm,” said RMC assistant medical officer Kiran Kumari.

RMC has three cold mist fogging machines and the roster has been made in such a way that fogging is repeated in each ward after a span of nine days, the time taken by larvae to develop into an adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoe, she said.

“Cold fogging machines are aimed at killing adult mosquitoes. There have been complaints earlier from residents that their wards are not being covered although supervisors show us log books to claim that they have covered all areas. GPS tagged photographs will remove such confusion and help us monitor the fogging exercise,” she added.

RMC efforts at controlling dengue come in the backdrop of last year’s outbreak with Ranchi recording 350 dengue positive cases. Unconfirmed reports claimed two casualties but the health department denied these were caused by dengue.

“Yes, there was a dengue outbreak in Ranchi last year but there was no casualty. Blood samples of two persons suspected to have died of dengue turned out negative in the Elisa test. This year, there have been no reports of any dengue positive cases,” said Ranchi civil surgeon Dr Vijay Prasad.

RMC has stopped its earlier practice of thermal fogging that was less effective. “The 10 thermal fogging machines will not be used anymore in any of the wards. Cold mist fogging machines will be using a chemical, insective Aqua K-Othrine, which can be mixed with water instead of diesel (as in thermal fogging machines) and will not harm the environment,” Kumari said.

Cold fogging is in the form of a mist and is more precise in hitting adult mosquitoes compared to earlier methods that led to smog and was not that effective. “We also plan to buy three more cold mist fogging machines later,” Kumari added.

The cold mist fogging machines will be deployed alongside the 600 hand-held machines that are used to spray larvicide in drains and other water accumulation points where mosquitoes breed.

“We have a roster for spraying larvicide too. MPS will also have to send GPS tagged photographs for that too. Two workers have been assigned in each of the 53 wards (106 in 53 wards) and the roster has been made in such a manner that larvicide spray is repeated in a particular drain every seven days,” Kumari said.

Over 100 Bonded Labourers Rescued from Brick Kilns in Bihar and Haryana


Over 100 bonded workers were rescued from brick kilns of Bihar and Haryana in the last week of June, who congregated at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on July 1 to share stories of severe forms of physical violence, abuse and humiliation that they had to go through to make ends meet. The labourers were rescued from a carefully construed web of human trafficking spanning across Banka and Nalanda in Bihar among other districts. Kamla rescued from Diwana gaon in the Kurukshetra region said, “We were sold off to the brick kiln owner by two human traffickers. The boys who had sold us off made a hefty commission out of the deal. On the other hand, after slogging in the kiln for hours at a stretch we were given only about Rs. 1,000-1,500 per month to make ends meet.”

Over 21 families have been rescued from the region, which include around 80 workers being women and children. The workers from Bihar explained that employment in the unorganised sector in the state primarily remains seasonal as they are able to find work only for approximately three months. Poonam Devi from Jagta village said, “Through agriculture we could not sustain our family. Per month, my husband was able to make Rs 200 while I as a woman could only manage to get Rs. 100.”

The rescued workers stated that they were lured in the trade because of the advance payments being offered to them at the beginning of the season. Some families were offered Rs. 10,000, while some were given Rs. 15,000. The workers had taken the loans to repay old debts, while some in the case of medical emergencies. The rescued workers said that they had taken their entire families to the kiln to ensure that the payments come through, however, even after ten months of working for over fourteen hours per day, the workers were told that their debt could not be cleared. After the rescue, it was discovered that the signatures of the workers had been taken forcefully.

Laxmi, who was rescued from Bihar said, “I had no other option but to work at the kiln as the employment generated under MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) would get me a meagre amount of Rs. 100 per day. Children as young as 14 are being forced to drop out of education and made to work in the kilns. I was made to believe that the life at the kiln would be a lot better.”

Another worker, Sanjay who was also lured through a network of traffickers, he said, “I was working as a construction worker for ten hours a day and I could manage to make only Rs. 250 per day. I was told I would just need to be in another state for six months and make 1,000 bricks and I would be paid close to Rs. 700 per day. But in reality, the trafficker managed to take his cut and I was not paid as promised. My children had to leave school and work with me at the kiln to survive.”

The lack of education among the workers gives a leeway to contractors to trick the labourers into signing contracts which are designed for their own profit. As a result, many workers get trapped in the kilns as they can’t even run away since their families are also in the kiln.

The workers were rescued on the basis of an input from the region. Post the rescue, Nirmal Gorana of the National Campaign Committee for the Eradication of Bonded Labour, has filed written complaints with the Deputy Magistrate of Kurukshetra. The team of rescuers from the Human Rights Law Network also reached out to the DM’s office of the Pehwa region on June 28. Post the rescue, the local administration left the workers at the railway station without taking any responsibility for their rehabilitation.

While the state government often denies the charges of bonded labour persisting in the region, the Modi government has gone on to slash funds meant for rehabilitation of bonded labourers by 61%. In 2017-18, the total funds released for bonded labour rehabilitation was Rs 6.64 crore, But it has been reduced drastically to Rs 2.53 crore in the following year. In terms of rehabilitation of the rescued workers, Haryana has been termed as the worst performing state which has managed to rehabilitate only 92 of the 594 bonded labourers rescued. Experts, however, are sceptical about the numbers. They feel that the numbers could be far higher both in case of rescued labour as well as those who were rehabilitated.

Nirmal Gorana said, “The Modi government has brought in an amendment to the Human Trafficking Bill, however, the provision of the rehabilitation for the bonded labourers has been reduced to a joke. How is rehabilitation even possible without the release certificates from the government?” He added that the dalit and adivasi communities are bearing the brunt of the multiple intersections of systemic oppression placing them in the condition of poverty, regular harassment and denial of their right to life and dignity. He said, “These labourers are being deprived of their basic rights, and even in 2019, modern slavery exists. We demand that the government form a policy protecting the rights of these labourers. Also, the government should immediately issue release certificates to all these rescued labourers along with interim relief fund of Rs 20,000 per labourer. The government should provide rehabilitation to these workers and ensure that the manual issued by the ministry of labour is implemented.”

Drunk occupants of pvt vehicles can be prosecuted under Bihar prohibition law: SC


The Supreme Court Monday said that a private vehicle in Bihar is defined as a “public place” by the state’s prohibition law and if a person is travelling drunk, police have the power to prosecute.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and K M Joseph made the observation while deciding on an appeal filed by some persons, who were travelling to Patna from Jharkhand’s Giridih on June 25, 2016 in a private vehicle after consuming liquor, and were arrested by police.

Their vehicle was stopped for routine checking at a police post in Nawada district of Bihar and when subjected to breath analyser test, it was found that they were drunk.

Though, no liquor bottles were found in the vehicle, they were arrested by the police and remained in custody for two days.

They had moved the apex court challenging a Patna High Court’s February 16 last year judgement dismissing their application seeking to set aside an order passed by the magistrate who had taken cognisance of the offence punishable under the provision of the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016.

The counsel appearing for them contended before the apex court that no offence was made out under the provision of the 2016 Act and the vehicle in which they were travelling cannot be said to be a “public place” within the law.

The counsel appearing for Bihar countered the submissions and said that their vehicle was intercepted at a public road and no error was committed by the magistrate in taking cognisance of the offence.

“We have to further take into notice that private vehicle of the appellants was intercepted when it was on the public road. When private vehicle is passing through a public road it cannot be accepted that public have no access. It is true that public may not have access to private vehicle as matter of right but definitely public have opportunity to approach the private vehicle while it is on the public road,” the bench said in its verdict.

“Hence, we are not able to accept the submission that vehicle in which appellants are travelling is not covered by definition of ‘public place’ as defined in Section 2(17A) of the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016,” the bench said.

The bench also dealt with the contentions of the counsel appearing for the appellants who said that offence under the provision of the Act can only be committed when liquor was consumed in a public place.

The bench noted that as per Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016, even if a person consumes liquor outside the state and enter into the territory of Bihar and is found drunk or in a state of drunkenness, he can be charged with offences under section 37(b) of the Act.

“We, however, cannot take a decision on the above issue in this appeal. Whether charge that consumption of liquor has taken place within the state of Bihar is made out in the facts of the present case are questions which need to be decided by the Magistrate after looking into the materials brought on record by means of the charge sheet,” the bench said.

The bench granted liberty to the petitioners to file an application seeking discharge before the magistrate.

Ranchi death reminds what not to do on escalators


Thirteen-year-old Parthiv Shah, who fell to his death from an escalator in Ranchi’s Nucleus Mall, has once again raised an outrage over safety concerns in upscale malls and about preventable tragedies, which are allowed to happen because of largely unmonitored movement of visitors.

Closed circuit television camera footage acquired by the Ranchi police shows the boy climbing over the moving handrail of the escalator on the first floor to reach the ground floor.

It proved to be a fatal mistake by the boy who was apparently trying to have a feel of a moving slide on the escalators.

He climbed over the handrails but could manage to hang on it before he lost his balance and fell on the ground floor, 30 feet below. His skull was fractured, and within seconds, there was blood all around. Eyewitnesses recall he did not even cry and died on the spot.

The shocking footage shows how the boy, a Class VI student of Bridgeford School in Jharkhand’s capital city, awkwardly climbed the handrail chest down before losing his balance-and life.

In the footage, Parthiv is seen standing near the escalator with his hands touching the handrail. That was perhaps the moment when he seemed to have assessed the possibility of doing a stunt.

The 1.44-minute CCTV footage established that Parthiv’s fall was completely preventable and while the mall management, somewhat rightly, has blamed the incident on the guardians for not monitoring their children visiting the mall, the onus should also be on them for not deploying an adequate number of security persons to stop such a misadventure by visitors.

Parthiv was the only child of retired Navy man Raj Kumar and Ranchi anti-human trafficking unit sub-inspector Durga Gupta. The boy had gone to the mall for shopping with his relatives, who were not close by when the boy attempted the fatal stunt.

Accidents near escalators are not unusual in India.

In January this year, an 18-month-old toddler died after falling from an escalator at a Bengaluru Metro station onto the main road 50 feet below. The child, who was with her grandfather, suddenly slipped and suffered head injuries. She was rushed to a state-run hospital where she died.

In April 2018, a 10-year-old boy died of severe head injuries that he sustained when his school bag snagged in the moving handrail of on escalator in Chennai’s Express Avenue Mall.

A mall employee in Patna admits that most accidents happen because of “user behaviour.” “We have seen visitors running on escalators or walking backwards on them. Many times, we also see people not holding the handrails, and talking on mobile phones. All this can prove dangerous,” he said.

“The most common (reasons) that cause people to lose balance are because some refuse to hold onto the handrail, while others carry heavy objects. Besides, walking up the escalator steps and even leaning against the side of the escalator must be avoided,” added a security professional working with a mall in Patna. Escalators provide convenience, but the recent incidents are giving a bit of a scare.

All you want to know about malnutrition in India


Moderate Acute malnutrition (MAM): Children aged between six months and 59 months who are between the -2 and -3 standard deviation for weight for height (wasting) score.

Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM): Children aged between six months and 59 months and have a weight for height (wasting) score 3 standard deviations below the median, have a mid-upper-arm circumference less than 115 mm, or the presence of bilateral edema.

Severe Chronic Malnutrition (SCM): Calculated with the Z-score defined as a height-for-age index less than –3 standard deviations from the mean weight of a reference population of children of the same height and/or having edema.

Stunting: Calculation is based on height-for-age. It is is associated with an underdeveloped brain, poor learning capacity, and increased nutrition-related diseases.

Wasting: Calculated by weight-for-height. It is associated with decreased fat mass. Also known as wasting syndrome, it causes muscle and fat tissue to waste away.

Underweight: Calculated by the weight-for-age formula. It is a body weight considered to be too low to be healthy. It can reflect both stunting and wasting.

Key highlights of the report

The highest levels of stunting and underweight are found in Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

At the national level, among social groups, the prevalence of stunting is highest amongst children from the Scheduled Tribes (43.6 percent), followed by Scheduled Castes (42.5 percent) and Other Backwards Castes (38.6 percent).

The prevalence of stunting in children from ST in Rajasthan, Odisha and Meghalaya is high while stunting in children from both ST and SC is high in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka.

Prevalence of wasting is highest in Jharkhand (29.0%) and above the national average in eight more States (Haryana, Goa, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat) and three UTs (Puducherry, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli).

Prevalence of underweight is also highest in Jharkhand (47.8%) and is above the National average in seven more States (Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar) and one UT (Dadra and Nagar Haveli).

Food and malnutrition in the country

Over the last 20 years, total food grain production in India increased from 198 million tonnes to 269 million tonnes. Despite increase in food production, the rate of malnutrition in India remains very high.

In the food basket, it turns out that in both urban and rural areas, the share of expenditure on cereal and cereal substitutes has declined between 1972-73 and 2011-12, from 57% to 25% in rural areas and from 36% to 19% in urban areas.

The energy and protein intake from cereals has decreased in both rural and urban India, largely because of increased consumption of other food items such as milk and dairy products, oils and fat and relatively unhealthy food such as fast food, processed food, and sugary beverages.

The consumption of unhealthy energy and protein sources is much higher in urban areas.

Double burden of malnutrition

For several decades India was dealing with only one form of malnutrition– undernutrition. In the last decade, the double burden which includes both over- and undernutrition, is becoming more prominent and poses a new challenge for India.

From 2005 to 2016, prevalence of low (< 18.5 kg/m2) body mass index (BMI) in Indian women decreased from 36% to 23% and from 34% to 20% among Indian men.

During the same period, the prevalence of overweight/obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2) increased from 13% to 21% among women and from 9% to 19% in men.

Children born to women with low BMI are more likely to be stunted, wasted, and underweight compared to children born to women with normal or high BMI.

Jharkhand CM to launch water conservation campaign from July 7


Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das Sunday said a campaign to conserve and manage water will be launched on July 7 across the state.

Das said he will go for “shram daan” (voluntary work) during the campaign in which ministers and senior government officers of the state will join him.

He said water conservation work has already begun in Hazaribagh and other districts of the state after letters were sent by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to village heads across the country to work in this regard.

Das said that farmers had benefited from the digging of ponds under water management during the past four years, triggering agriculture growth from minus four per cent to 14 per cent.

Das paid rich tributes to tribal icons Birsa Munda, Siddo, Kano, Chand and Bhairav and Phulo Jhano, who sacrificed their lives for freedom as the state observed “Hul Divas” on Sunday.

Patna ranks high on liquor raids across Bihar, low on recoveries


Is Patna the hot spot for liquor traders in dry Bihar? If the number of raids for illicit liquor is any indicator, it seems to be the prime spot on the radar of the police and the excise department, though in terms of recoveries it ranked way below many bordering districts.

Between April 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019, Patna alone witnessed 13,550 liquor-related raids, the highest in the state, involving registration of 3,872 cases and arrest of 1,566 persons, as per the official statistics of the excise department.

However, the recovery of Indian-made foreign liquor was 13,077 litres, while that of country liquor was just 535 litres. In the last two months of April and May, which coincided with peak election period, it recorded zero recovery of country liquor, though recovery of foreign liquor was 5,363 litres.

After Patna, the second highest number of liquor-related raids during the 14 months between April 2018 and May 2019 took place in Purnea. 7,311 raids were recorded, 394 cases were registered and 4,694 litres of IMFL was recovered.

In contrast, there have been districts like Gopalganj and Muzaffarpur, which have a nearly four-time higher recovery rate of foreign liquor, despite just one-fourth of raids. Similar is the case with other ‘high-yielding’ districts like Vaishali, Gaya, East Champaran, Rohtas, where recoveries of IMFL as well as country liquor were very high, despite fewer raids.

There is also huge inter-district variation in recoveries. If Jehanabad and Arwal show meagre recoveries of barely around 635 litres of IMFL in the last 14 months, including virtually zero during the last two election months, the neighbouring Gaya alone accounted for around 17,641 litres during the period. This was despite 4,308 raids in Arwal and Jehanabad, compared to just 1,831 in Gaya.

In some districts like Bhabua, Katihar, Vaishali, Saran, Samastipur, Saharsa, Purnea, Madhepura, Khagaria, Buxar, Bhojpur, Arwal the figures suggest growing proclivity for IMFL, with its high recoveries, despite virtually no recovery of country liquor and other local intoxicating drinks.

In the first Lok Sabha elections in dry Bihar, seizure of all kinds of liquor fell significantly to just 1 lakh litres compared around 5.78 lakh litres during 2014. However, IMFL still accounted for the highest share of recoveries, nearly 37% of the total during the April-May period.

Four districts – Begusarai, Gopalganj, Bhojpur and Patna – accounted for over 50% of the IMFL recoveries during the two election months. Another significant aspect is the growing recoveries of IMFL, compared to country liquor. In many districts, country liquor recovery has dipped significantly, while the more lucrative and high-risk IMFL trade continues to find favour.

Excise commissioner B Kartikey Dhanji said that the reason why districts like Gopalganj, Muzaffarpur, East Champaran etc. had high recoveries was mainly attributed to big caches. “At the entry points, there are round-the-clock check posts. There are also main routes, where truckloads of liquor are intercepted,” he added.

SP (prohibition) Rakesh Kumar Sinha said that in Patna there were smaller recoveries in large numbers, generally meant for deliveries to clients. “So, the number of cases go up,” he added.

Free meals planned to fight ‘brain fever’ in India’s Bihar state


Patna: Alarmed at the large number of deaths in the state due to encephalitis, the Bihar government is working on a plan to start free evening meals for children vulnerable to the deadly virus.

The idea is based on reports by health experts that most of the children who fell victim to the illness had gone to bed on empty stomachs or had suffered from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

According to an official report, the disease has claimed close to 2,000 lives in the past nine years.

“The government is planning to start free evening meals for children on the pattern of the mid-day meal from the next season and also shifting them to temporary shelter homes during the peak summer when such cases register a huge jump,” federal minister of state for home and family welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey told the media on Monday after holding a meeting with the experts.

However, the arrangement for free evening meal will be available only for two months during peak summer. Experts have found that the disease strikes the region once the summer starts and turns deadlier with the picking up of daytime temperatures.

Although some 20 districts are said to be in the grip of this disease, Muzaffarpur has been the worst-hit of all.

According to him, the government would also be making adequate arrangements of glucose, oral rehydration solution (ORS) and medicines.

“After meeting with the health experts, we have ordered the setting up of intensive care units (ICUs) in the affected areas from next year,” the minister said.

Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey on Monday said this year majority of children had died from hypoglycemia, which is one of the symptoms of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

One of the main reasons behind disease outbreak this year was severe heat conditions and humidity. He advised the parents not to allow their children go out in the open sun.

“When the children play under the open sun, it causes dehydration and affects a child’s intake of food and water which leads to hypoglycemia,” the minister said.

In an official statement issued on Monday, the health minister said the disease has been occurring since 1995 after which various studies were conducted by the National Institute of Virology, Pune, National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, Rajendra Memorial Research Institute, Patna and Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta (USA) but no definitive causative agent has been found so far.

According to the minister, till June 28 this year a total of 720 cases of suspected encephalitis were reported of which 566 were cured whereas 154 children died.