Bihar police crack whip on 41 officers for failure to implement prohibition


he police department in Bihar has taken stern action against police officers across the state for their failure to implement prohibition. The department has directed that the officers who have failed to implement the order will not be made station house officers (SHO) for the next 10 years.

The police department has compiled the list of 41 erring police officers, who failed to implement prohibition in their respective areas over the last three years.

The penalised officers are posted across 16 districts of the state, including Patna, Muzaffarpur, Siwan and Katihar.

It may be mentioned that despite prohibition in the state, illegal liquor trade and smuggling has been flourishing. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on several occasions in the past had warned the police officers of implementing prohibition strictly or else they will not be posted as SHOs for the next 10 years.

The police headquarter, during inquiry, found that these guilty policemen had nexus with liquor mafia because of which illegal liquor was being manufactured and sold rampantly in the areas falling under their jurisdiction. Action has also been taken against the police officers for failing to check smuggling of liquor from neighbouring districts of Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.

100-bed paediatric ICU to be set up in SKMCH, Muzaffarpur within a year: Centre to SC


New Delhi: The Centre on Monday filed a reply in the Supreme Court on the AES outbreak in Bihar, saying that a decision has been taken to set up a 100-bedded paediatric ICU at Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur in one year with funds from it.

Five virology labs were set up in different districts of the state and 10-bedded paediatric ICUs will also be established in different districts, it said.

The reply submitted that despite the fact that health is a state subject, the central government had taken all steps for giving necessary help and assistance to the Bihar government to contain the outbreak.

The death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) mounted to 140 in Muzaffarpur district on Friday.

As per official data, 119 deaths have been reported at the government-run SKMCH, which is handling the largest number of patients in the district, while 21 deaths have been confirmed at Kejriwal Hospital.

The state has been battling with the vector-borne disease for the past several weeks.

AES is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms such as high fever, vomiting and in extreme cases, brain dysfunction, seizure, and inflammation of heart and kidney.

The Supreme Court had on June 24 expressed “serious concern” over the rising number of deaths due to the disease.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the children who died due to AES.

Centre’s Proposed List of World-Class Tourism Sites Has None from Odisha, Stakeholders Unhappy


Bhubaneswar: The Union government’s decision to develop 17 “iconic tourism sites” in the country into world-class destinations has disappointed many here as none of the world-famous sites in the state has found a place in the list.

Sites of cultural and national heritage with significant global appeal abound in Odisha drawing millions of tourists every year.

The sun temple of Konark, a 13th Century architectural and sculptural marvel that keeps attracting foreign tourists, is among the 38 world heritage sites in the country identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The 10th Century temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri is another preeminent tourist destination in the state.

“The government is developing 17 iconic tourism sites into world-class tourist destinations to serve as a model for other tourism sites. The sites would enhance visitor experience which would lead to increased visits of both domestic and international tourists at these destinations,” said Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech on July 5.

The sites identified by the Ministry of Tourism include Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, Hampi in Karnataka, Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, Mahabodhi temple in Bihar, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar in New Delhi, Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh, Amer Fort in Rajasthan, Somnath and Dholavira in Gujarat and Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra.

Since all of these selected sites are not UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the exclusion of Konark’s sun temple, a massive sandstone structure counted as one of the seven wonders of India, came as a rude shock to many in Odisha.

While other sites such as the Colva beach in Goa and Kaziranga National Park in Assam are among the 17 selected sites, similar sites of unique natural environment in Odisha were given a miss.

“It is disappointing. The selection process certainly raises questions. We will raise the issue with the Centre. Our MPs will raise it during the budget discussions in parliament,” said Minister for Tourism and Culture Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi.

The state, with its wealth of ancient sites of tourist importance, registered 1.5 crore tourist footfalls in 2018.

‘One nation, one poll’ in a time of Operation Lotus


The spokespersons of both the BJP and the Congress were probably right in their comments on the political instability in Karnataka. While the Congress alleged that the BJP was “buying” the ruling alliance’s MLAs to grab power in the state, the BJP asserted that it could not be blamed if the Janata Dal (S)-Congress government could not keep its own house in order.

The phenomenon of the legislators on the lookout for greener pastures has been an unsavoury aspect of Indian politics since the “Aya Ram, Gaya Ram” days of defection in Haryana in 1967 (and elsewhere afterwards) which now features in the Wikipedia. The reference is to a footloose Haryana MLA who changed parties thrice in a fortnight.

The rebellious Karnataka legislators belonging to the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) have been less adventurous. But they have kept their party bosses on tenterhooks about their intentions ever since the two parties, which fought against each other in the last assembly election, came together to form a government to keep out the BJP. But it was a quest for power and not any ideological opposition to the BJP which made them form a coalition.

Since then, it has been a fragile arrangement and has become even frailer after the BJP’s resounding successes at the national level this year and also in Karnataka where it won 25 of the 28 seats in the latest parliamentary polls. With the political winds clearly blowing in the BJP’s favour, some of the ruling coalition’s MLAs are apparently wondering whether their earlier career choices were all right.

The BJP has also apparently not hesitated to woo them with various inducements – ministerial and otherwise – in an exercise which has been called Operation Lotus. The lotus, as is known, is the BJP’s symbol.

But what is worth considering in this unedifying context is up to to what extent do operations of this kind are compatible with Narendra Modi’s pet project of ushering in an era of “one nation, one poll” (ON-OP) where there will be simultaneous elections every five years at the assembly, parliamentary and municipal levels.

The objective, as has been explained by the BJP, is to dispense with the present practice of elections at the assembly and municipal levels in various states virtually almost every year which entail considerable expenditure and interfere with purposeful governance.

There may be a case for ON-OP, but how will it fit in with Operation Lotus? The ON-OP concept assumes that once elected, the central the state governments, as well as the municipal bodies, will function uninterrupted for five years.

But the state governments can hardly do so if an Operation Lotus is launched, for the latter’s objective is to wean away from the power hungry MLAs from the ruling party or alliance and form another government.

Since an operation of this nature can only take place in the midst of a five-year term in a state, it cannot but disturb the ON-OP system. Even if the government which assumes office halfway through a five-year term proves to be reasonably stable, its political legitimacy will still be open to question because of its dubious route to power. The ousted parties will have every right, therefore, to call for an election.

At the root of the problem are, obviously the fickle loyalties of today’s politicians. As long as ideology takes a backseat and the lure of the perks and privileges of office in a ruling dispensation remains the main reason for switching sides, the poachers of the most resourceful of the parties will have an advantage over their rivals in winning over the greedy.

Avarice is at the core of the floor-crossings which the anti-defection law has done little to curb presumably because the defectors move in herds.

However, it remains a mystery, as Milan Vaishnav says in his book, When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics, “How democratic elections and large numbers of elected officials tied to illegal activity can comfortably coexist.

“After all, the democratic theory suggests that one of the crucial functions of elections is to provide a reliable channel through which voters can weed out badly behaving politicians… If, however, candidates tied to wrongdoing are rewarded, rather than rejected … it means something is amiss in the functioning of democracy”.

Since defections take place on the promise of “rewards”, it is obvious that exercises like Operation Lotus harm the democratic structure. But will ON-OP lead to restrictions being placed on such operations so that the projected virtually fixed five-year terms of the legislatures are not disturbed?

No unambiguous answers are available because curbs on such manoeuvres will mean that the covetous legislators will have to turn over a new leaf where morals are concerned. It is possible, therefore, that just as the parties have continued to field the so-called history-sheeters because of their influence in their respective constituencies, the “Aya Ram, Gaya Ram” phenomenon will remain a part of Indian politics in the foreseeable future.

Even Ranchi Municipal Corporation is fed up with dug-up spots


Traffic snarls and people falling into dug-up stretches of roads — welcome to monsoon in the state capital.

The situation has become so bad that senior officials of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) are set to meet Ramchandra Sahis, the minister of drinking water and sanitation, to lodge complaints about the number of trenches dug by the department across the capital for repairing water pipelines and giving domestic water connections.

“In the last one-and-half months we have received over two dozen complaints from residents that trenches were dug on the road and on the flanks many months back by the department that are yet to be filled up,” deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya said on Monday.

“This causes multiple problems like disruption in traffic and people falling in the trenches. The RMC has to face public criticism irrespective of the fact that the drinking water and sanitation department is responsible for this. The RMC is not responsible if the drinking water department does not have sufficient funds or if officials have no control over contractors. Now we have decided to meet minister of the department to seek his intervention.”

Vijayvargiya, a resident of Kokar, said that on Kokar Chowk the road was dug up three months back. The department has finally covered the trenches with cement slabs. “But debris is yet to be removed and proper levelling work has still not been done. You can see a similar situation on the Kantatoli stretch. Due to such unplanned work, traffic remains affected and people face problems,” he said.

Rakesh Raman, a resident of Bandhgadi, complained that stretch was dug in one of the lanes of his locality a month ago.

“This lane is narrow and has no streetlight, hence people frequently fall in it. I had lodged a complaint with the RMC but there has been no solution so far,” said Raman.

Morabadi resident Vimal Krishnan said contractors executing the works leave the dug-up portions unattended. “As per the rule such stretches must be barricaded with reflective danger sign till the work is finished. But in Ranchi such procedures are not followed. There is risk of accident especially at night for those who are not aware,” Krishnan said.

Hiralal Prasad, chief engineer of the drinking water and sanitation department, admitted that such complaints have come from various parts of the capital.

“These trenches were dug up mainly for repair and to give domestic connections. But they must be filled up after the work is done. During periodical review meetings contractors were asked to properly fill the dug-up stretches with soil. We are going to issue a final warning to all contractors after which departmental action will be taken against them,” Prasad said when contacted.

Jharkhand: Three men thrashed in Ranchi, allegedly forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, say reports


A mob thrashed three men and allegedly forced them to chant “Jai Shri Ram” in Ranchi, Jharkhand, The Hindu reported on Saturday.

Aamir Wasim, who lodged a complaint at the Doranda police station, said he and his friends, Altaf Ali and Ali Ahmed, had gone to the airport area on Friday to take photographs when the incident took place. “We were riding our two-wheelers and were in kurta pajamawhen some people besieged us,” Wasim told The Hindu. “Without any provocation, they beat us up and told us to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. As the crowd got bigger, we fled from the spot,” Wasim said, adding that security personnel near the Birsa Munda Airport rescued them.

Community members blocked the MG Marg near Church Complex, demanding that the culprits be arrested. The demonstration went on till late evening on Friday. “We have deployed police along the MG Marg to prevent further escalation,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Anish Gupta on Saturday. “Now the area is peaceful. We are keeping a close watch on the situation.”

A similar incident was reported in Barpeta district in Assam on the same day. Three youths were beaten up and allegedly forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” in Jyoti Gaon area, according to Northeast Now.

Wajed Ali, who filed the first information report, said four people on two motorcycles thrashed Rakibul Haque, Burhan Ali and Kurban Khan, who were working there at a medical store. “They also forced the trio to chant “Jai Shri Ram”,” Ali said. Ali claimed the four suspects verbally abused Haque and tried to kill him by strangling him.

On June 18, a 24-year Muslim man was assaulted by a mob and forced to say “Jai Shri Ram” in Jharkhand’s Seraikela Kharsawan district. He died four days later. On June 24, a 25-year-old Muslim man was allegedly beaten up, verbally abused, and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” in Diva area of Maharashtra’s Thane district. The same day a 26-year-old madrasa teacher and two others were allegedly assaulted in Kolkata for not chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.

Juvenile board asks minor to recite national anthem before acquittal


The Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) in Nalanda on Friday asked a minor charged of theft to recite national anthem before acquitting his case. The JJ Board also asked the minor a few general knowledge questions and directed his guardians to take emotional care of the boy and make arrangements for his education.

The minor was caught by the locals while trying to steal a bag containing money at a bus stand under Parbalpur police station area in Nalanda in April this year and was handed over to the local police, who then sent him to Hilsa jail.

“It’s a case of violation of the child rights. Also, the way this case was handled by the police, indicates how insensitive people have been towards children and their rights and requirements. Now, things should be handled in very sensitive manner,” said Dharmendra Kumar, a member of the JJB.

“By the time the minor was brought to the JJB, he had already spent one and half month at the Hilsa prison while under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, he should have been brought here within 24-hours of arresting. He might have gone through emotional torture and must have suffered much at the prison.

“So during the hearing, the principal magistrate of JJB realised that no further investigation was necessary and that it would linger his trauma. He also felt that the minor needed emotional support and counselling instead of punishment. So he was asked a few general knowledge questions and was also asked whether he could recite national anthem,” the JJ Board member said. Rajesh Pathak, assistant prosecution officer, Nalanda, said the minor has been staying with his relatives as he has already lost his parents.

“He informed that he had a troubled life at his relatives place and on the day of the incident, he had hot discussion with the relatives and left home in a fit of anger. He was hungry and just to purchase food he had tried to steal money from the woman’s bag. He also said he had left school after passing class seven and now wanted to resume studies,” Pathak explained.

Dharmendra said his offence should have been put under general category.

“Instead, an FIR was lodged and he was put into Hilsa jail. Later a senior official at the prison noticed the minor among prisoners and recommended his case to the JJ Board where he was conformed to be a minor after medical examination,” Pathak added.

The JJ Board member said it was sad to see the lack of awareness among police about the JJ Act and its guidelines and they needed to be sensitised towards children’s rights.

“This was not the first time that a case was lodged against a minor and he was prisoned, there have been number of such cases. Though the JJ Board is supposed to dispose off the case within four months, in many cases the minor is brought to the board after weeks and months,” he said.

People travel 46 kilometres free of cost from Rajgir to Tilaiya in Bihar


About 46 kilometres of the train journey is absolutely free for the people from Rajgir to Tilaiya. It is not a gift from Railways but the common people have created this system. 

There is a junction, a station and five halts between Rajgir and Tilaiya. There is no arrangement for buying tickets in all these places and neither is the ticket collector also the train stops without any prior signals. Apart from Rajgir and Tilaiya, there is no restriction on people’s movement.

The Railways have abandoned the maintenance of these seven stations. There are bushes grown over the platforms and devices have been stolen. This railway route was approved by Nitish Kumar while being the Railway Minister and the project started in 2002. On June 19, 2010, CM Nitish Kumar inaugurated it.

On this railway route, there are two passenger trains, one is Danapur-Tailaiya and the other is Bakhtiyarpur-Gaya DMU, also one and half dozen goods trains are running. All these trains give a blow while crossing the station.

In 2012, the ticket counter was inaugurated at Jethian Railway Station. The responsibility of collecting tickets was given to the private company. In Jethian, 3 Assistant Station Master, 4 Porter and Gangman, RPF was also deployed. But the private company returned from the fear of commuters when the trains were getting late.

From Rajgir to Tilaiya, there are Negpur, Natesar, Jethian, Sarasu, Oro, Mahmudpur and Sitarampur stations and halts. Signal lights at all these places are not working.

According to media sources, there is a shortage of staff in the railway at these stations. The process of restoration is going on after which the vacant places will be filled. 

Retired Ranchi University teachers demand dues


Around 150 teachers under the aegis of Retired Ranchi University Association staged a demonstration on the varsity campus on Saturday to demand their dues.

The demonstration began around 11 in the morning and continued till 2pm till the protesters met Vice Chancellor Ramesh Kumar Pandey and discussed the issue with him.

A university official confirmed the stir by the retired teachers and said the situation reflected the sorry state of higher education in the state.

“It was painful to see the retired university teachers agitating in the same campus where they used to command respect. Though only 150 ex-teachers took part in the agitation, the actual number of sufferers is not less than 500,” the university official said requesting anonymity.

Ram Eqbal Tiwary, retired head of the department of mathematics of Ranchi University and president of the association, said they were left with no option other than taking recourse to agitation.

“Teachers, who have retired during 2006-10, have not received their arrears so far. Moreover, the fixing of pension in accordance with the recommendation of Seventh Pay Commission has also not been done so far. Several retired teachers have not got their leave encashment and gratuity amounts as well,” Tiwary said.

Vice Chancellor R.K. Pandey said he gave a positive assurance to the teachers.

“The demands of the retired teachers are justified. The money for payment has to be released by the state government. The university is not in a position to do anything. But I have promised my full co-operation to them,” Pandey said.

Set up in 1960, Ranchi University is the oldest varsity in the state and has produced many bureaucrats and technocrats.

Ranchi MP Sanjay Seth had recently raised the demand of converting the varsity into a central university in Lok Sabha.

Asked about the sufferings of the retired teachers, Seth said he would look into the matter.

“I will talk to government officials and see how the problem can be solved. It is unfortunate that they have to agitate for their genuine demand,” he said.

Director of higher education department Dinesh Prasad said the payment of dues and pension in accordance with the Seventh Pay Commission were awaiting approval from the finance department. “Efforts are underway to get the approval soon,” he added.

Chetan Bhagat to deliver motivational talk in Patna on July 14


Bestselling author Chetan Bhagat will visit the city next week to motivate young men and women converging here from across the state for a function organized by the Bihar Skill Development Mission (BSDM).

Bhagat, on whose novel “Three Mistakes of My Life” Aamir Khan’s blockbuster “3 Idiots” was based, made the announcement in a video posted on the website of BSDM which is holding a three-day “Skill Carnival” beginning on July 13.

“Namaskar friends, I am looking forward to visit the ancient city of Pataliputra, or Patna, the land of Buddha and Mahavira, on July 14”, Bhagat says in the video in chaste Hindi.

“When we meet, we will share our dreams and our experiences. Our meeting is going to be very special as we will learn about our aspirations and motivate ourselves to fulfil these”, Bhagat – whose another work “Half Girlfriend” had a boy from Bihar as its protagonist – says.

“Your faith and your participation would be vital for determining the future course of the country and the world. So, see you on July 2014”, Bhagat – who has also wrote a non- fiction book “What Young India Wants” and is a regular columnist for many journals – signs off.

According to the state’s Principal Secretary, Labour Resources, Deepak Kumar Singh, the carnival is being held as part of the World Skill Youth Day celebrations which falls on July 15, the day when the function comes to a close.

Motivational talks will be held, along with cultural activities, on the first two days. Renowned actor Ashish Vidyarthi has already announced his availability for delivering the motivational talk on the inaugural day, Singh told PTI.

Besides, the participants will be showcasing the various skills they have learnt under programmes run by the BSDM. Prizes will be distributed among commendable performers on the final day, he added.

Founded in 2010, the BSDM started functioning actively 2016 onwards mainly on account of the saat nishchay (seven resolves) programme which accords top priority to make the youth employable, the principal secretary said.

Notably, the seven resolves were promises that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made to the voters of Bihar ahead of the 2015 Assembly polls which included improving sanitation, uninterrupted power supply and availability of piped water to all households among other things.