Remembering Jagannath Mishra, Doctor Sahib of Bihar politics

Source: indiatoday.in

Jagannath Mishra, three-time Bihar chief minister and a former Union minister — terms which earned him a mix of accolades and criticism — died on Monday at his home in New Delhi. He was 82. He was suffering from multiple medical ailments, including cancer. He will be cremated with full state honours. He was survived by three sons and three daughters.

Though Doctor Sahib, as he was fondly referred to, had stepped out of the spotlight while leading a retired life, Jagannath Mishra was never short of political wisdom and sharp analysis. Many in media and politics recall him as an affable man with a deep understanding of politics and abiding love for Bihar and all its people.

Dr Mishra, younger brother of former Railway Minister Lalit Narayan, was also the last Congress chief minister in Bihar. In December 1989, as Congress stared at an electoral setback following gruesome riots in Bhagalpur, Rajiv Gandhi had picked Mishra as Bihar chief minister in an attempt to salvage the state. Mishra ruled Bihar for 95 days in his last stint as Bihar chief minister but could not stop Janata Dal storm to power in Bihar in March 1990.

When the Congress lost power in Bihar, Jagannath was inducted as Union agriculture minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government in 1995. In 1999, he joins Sharad Pawar in opposing Sonia Gandhi on her foreign origin issue. Later, he left the Congress to join the Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar, becoming the director of LN Mishra Institute of Management — a cabinet minister’s position.

His son Nitish Mishra became a cabinet colleague first of Nitish Kumar and later of Jitan Ram Manjhi. Mishra also broke away with Nitish Kumar by siding with his erstwhile disciple Jitan Ram Manjhi in the latter’s war with Nitish Kumar. But his move failed, leaving him to lose political significance.

For someone who began his career as a professor of economics in Bihar University, Jagannath Mishra touched many political peaks in his career. He took over as Bihar’s chief minister after the assassination of his brother in January 1975.

Lalit Narayan Mishra was attacked with a bomb while inaugurating a broad gauge railway track between Samastipur and Muzaffarpur in north Bihar on January 2, 1975. He was declared dead in Danapur railway hospital the next day. Jagannath Mishra, who too had been severely injured in the incident with multiple splinters piercing his legs and thighs, survived to achieve many political peaks in his career.

Remembering him as a “famous leader and educationist,” Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar paid tributes to Dr Mishra saying he made an invaluable contribution to the politics of Bihar and India. “His death is an irreparable loss in the field of politics, society, and education,” Nitish Kumar said in a statement.

In his heydays, Jagannath Mishra had emerged as the most powerful Congress leader in the late seventies and eighties. He was known as a very popular mass leader, with ears to the ground and hands of political pulse of Bihar. Prior to emergence of Lalu Prasad on the political landscape of Bihar, Jagannath Mishra was the most popular leader among the minorities for making Urdu as the second official language of the state in 1980.

A man with sharp intellect and a perfect practitioner of populism, Jagannath won over the hearts of lakhs of teachers by taking over hundreds of private primary, middle and high schools across the state in 1977.

Dr Mishra also had a fair share of controversies in his political careers. One of his most infamous actions was seen in July 1982, when his government pushed the Bihar Press Bill, which prohibited the publication, sale and possession of any printed matter that was “scurrilous” or “grossly indecent” or “intended for blackmail.”

Though Dr Mishra claimed he supported the free press, his moved was criticised as draconian and dictatorial and also an attempt to gag the press. The move was responded with unprecedented protests from newspapers, as journalists staged a protest on the streets. A year after, the then Bihar government withdrew the bill, which was not given the presidential assent till then.

Dr Mishra was also convicted in the infamous fodder scam case. He, however, was granted bail. Dr Mishra always blamed former Congress president Sitaram Kesri for having his name deliberately included in the scam.

While historians and political scientists will continue to debate whether he could have done better or rose higher, it is true that Dr Mishra has left a rich legacy and will always been remembered as someone who cared for Bihar.

Sorceress kills woman with a trident in Jharkhand village

Source: newindianexpress.com

RANCHI: In an alleged case of practising illegal black magic, a sorceress allegedly killed a woman reportedly by stabbing her multiple times using a ‘Trishul’ (trident) to free her from the clutches of an evil spirit. 

The spine-chilling practice, which was conducted in the presence of the victim’s family, took place in Garhwa district of Jharkhand. 

The sorceress performed the ‘ritual’ inside a room while the woman’s family was waiting outside. They went inside on hearing her screams. 

Taking swift action, the police arrested the sorceress and her husband for killing the woman after the villagers informed about the incident.

“We have arrested the sorceress Alam Devi and her husband Satyendra Oraon immediately from their house in Sapahi village and an FIR has been lodged in this regard at Ramna Police Station. Sixty-year-old Rudni Devi was hit several times on her eyes, legs and stomach with a trident, who succumbed to her injuries on the spot on Saturday,” said officer-in-charge of Ramna Police Station Lal Bihari Rajak. 

The trident used for killing the lady has also been confiscated, he added.

Rajak said that multiple marks of stabbing have been found on the woman’s body while her eyes were gouged out and the nose was broken.

According to the family members, the woman was taken to the sorceress by them as she was ill for quite some time. Despite undergoing medical treatment, she failed to recover. They were told that an evil had taken possession of her body and hence they will have to stay there at her place in order to make her free from the spirit.

“We came here on August 14 from Bhawnathpur village, about 45 kilometers from here, and stayed at the sorceress’s residence as she performed black magic on her. All of a sudden on Saturday, she killed my mother by stabbing her several times on her body with a trident in the name of freeing her from the clutches of an evil spirit,” said Dinesh Oraon, victim’s son. 

“After hearing her screams, they entered the adjacent room where the sorceress was performing the black magic and saw her stabbing my mother with a trident. By the time we could understand anything, she was dead,” he added.

Four-year BEd course finds few takers

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

PATNA: Even as the chancellor’s secretariat has come out with the statutes governing the conduct of the four-year integrated BEd course from the current academic session, there are few takers for this much-publicised academic programme in the state. Hardly six institutions are capable of introducing this teachers’ training course.

Uniform ordinance and regulations of the BEd course were assented to by the chancellor recently on the recommendation of a three-member committee comprising Nalanda Open University former vice-chancellor (VC) Rabindra Kumar Sinha, Munger University VC Ranjit Kumar Verma and B N Mandal University VC A K Roy. The committee was constituted following the Union HRD ministry’s decision to introduce four-year integrated BEd course in the universities from the current academic session.

In Bihar, Nalanda Open University (NOU) has once again been made the nodal agency to conduct state-level combined entrance test for admission to this new course. The test is likely to be conducted in September, NOU registrar (examination) S P Sinha said.

All the universities in the state have been directed to furnish the list of colleges imparting BEd course within a week. The course can be imparted only in regular degree colleges where it is being imparted along with three-year degree courses in arts and science. Teachers’ training colleges, in general, are not competent to run this course.

The four-year BA BEd and BSc BEd courses would be open to students who have passed their Intermediate examinations. “This programme will save one precious year of students as they will be able to complete the course in just four years instead of usual five years,” Sinha said.

The state government had asked the degree colleges in the state a few years back to introduce BEd course along with general undergraduate courses, but hardly any institution had then responded to this directive. Now, with the revised National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) regulations and also in the light of the provisions of the New Education Policy, all the training colleges along with general degree colleges are expected to introduce the four-year integrated BA BEd and BSc BEd courses, said the principal of a training college.

CISF security botch-up leads to delay of flights at Patna airport

Sourcce: hindustantimes.com

The CISF went on a wild goose chase following a security scare after it failed to detain a suspicious passenger, believed to be carrying an objectionable item in his hand baggage.

The CISF, however, could neither recover any objectionable item nor identify the passenger, but ended up delaying three flights — one of GoAir (G8-150 to Delhi) and two of IndiGo (6E-2041 to Delhi; and 6E 7718 to Kolkata) — as it temporarily suspended boarding of passengers into aircraft.

The CISF also insisted on an intensive security re-check, which included re-frisking and re-scanning personal baggage of all 180 passengers, asking some on board the GoAir flight to deplane and reroute through security. The aircraft was subjected to anti-sabotage by airlines security staff before being allowed to take off at 9.30pm, 80 minutes behind schedule.

Having found nothing objectionable on GoAir, the CISF concluded that the “culprit” would have flown to the national capital by another aircraft of SpiceJet (SG-8481), which flew around 7.30pm. It then not only alerted its counterparts at Delhi airport, but also called for SpiceJet station manager Syed Hassan and its security incharge Amit Jha to impress upon them to ask their colleagues in Delhi to be alert and keep an eye on all deplaning passengers from the Patna flight.

As the whole drama unfolded at the Jai Prakash Narayan International airport here between 7.30 and 9.30pm, the GoAir and the IndiGo flights were delayed by up to 80 minutes.

Avinash Kumar, a Delhi-bound GoAir passenger, said: “We were harassed in the name of security as all passengers, including those on wheelchair, were made to disembark and go through the security drill all over again, with no tangible result whatsoever. This led to a delay, causing severe inconvenience to passengers.”

The CISF ended up with egg on its face, giving out conflicting statements, as it was hard put to defend its actions.

Vishal Dubey, commandant of the airport security unit, Patna airport, sent a text message on a WhatsApp group, terming the operation as “routine intensive search”. “Please don’t go by any version of any unusual detection, etc. All passengers boarded and flew (sic!). It was a precautionary measure in wake of alert (sic!),” read his text message.

Dubey’s subordinate, inspector Ajit Kumar, sent out a different message on another WhatsApp group that read: “A screener (baggage screener on X-ray machine) missed some suspicious item in hand baggage of a passenger during physical check. All the screened passengers were rechecked and allowed for boarding. In the whole process some delay has occurred.”

Airport director BCH Negi said, “Three flights were delayed last night due to some security issues. You can speak to the CISF commandant for details.”

Dubey, however, refused to talk to this reporter, saying he was not authorised to speak to the media.

CISF public relations officer, Hemendra, said: “I am not aware about the incident as I am on leave.”

Security at all Indian airports has been heightened following a high alert till August 31.

Heavy rains inundate low-lying areas in Ranchi, Kolhan divisions

Source: hindustantimes.com

Heavy rains that lashed Jharkhand’s Ranchi and Kolhan divisions caused flood-like situation in low lying areas and disrupted the normal life on Sunday.

Incessant rains since Saturday night inundated parts of East Singhbhum, West Singhbum and Saraikela districts. Several families residing close to rivers in East Singhbum and West Singhbum districts were shifted to safe places.

With water level rising in rivers of West Singhbhum, water gushed in hundred of houses in Bandhgaon and Sonua areas in Chakradharpur sub-division of West Singhbhum.

Jamshedpur recorded season’s highest 146mm rainfall from 8.30am on Saturday to 8.30am on Sunday. Several low-lying localities such as Sonari, Kadma, Mango, Jugasalai and Bagbera suffered inundation as drain water gushed into localities.

Water logging on streets also affected the vehicular movement in Jamshedpur. In Adarsh Nagar of Jamshedpur, rainwater gushed in flats and residents of the colony remained stuck in their homes.

Officials in the Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC) admitted the inundation due to lack of proper drainage system.

Ranchi also witnessed flood-like situation in several low lying localities, which forced residents to confine to their respective homes for long hours. Ranchi recorded the season’s highest rainfall 63.2mm rainfall.

The rainwater gushed in several shops in Ranchi’s Main Road. At Daily Market, shopkeepers suffered knee-level water. “Unscientific drainage system caused the water logging situation in the area,” said Md Parwez, a fruit seller at Daily Market.

Weather officials said situation in Kolhan division and Ranchi would improve from Monday.

“An intensified depression following a low pressure system in Bay of Bengal caused the rainfall in Jharkhand. The system moved towards westwards on Sunday afternoon. Now, the system is moving towards Chhattisgarh.

Rainfall is expected in western parts of Jharkhand in next 24 hours,” said SD Kotal, director at Ranchi meteorological centre.

The state faced rainfall deficit this year again with farmers demanding agricultural assistance from the Raghurbar Dars government.

The rainfall, however, reduced the deficit by three percent in 24 hours. The rainfall deficit, which was 34% on Saturday, came down to 31% on Sunday.

The state has received 482.5mm rainfall from June 1 to August 18 against the normal rainfall of 703.4 mm during the period.

The East Singhbum district, which suffered 24% rainfall deficit till Saturday, recorded 5% deficit on Sunday. Similarly, West Singhbhum’s rainfall deficit came down to 33% on Sunday from 40% on Saturday.

Worry within RJD as Tejashwi Yadav stays away from action

Source: indianexpress.com

The meeting of RJD’s legislature party was cancelled on Saturday, reportedly because Leader of Opposition in Assembly Tejashwi Yadav was not going to attend it. This comes a day after former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi said on Friday that Tejashwi would attend the meeting on Saturday. On Friday, 66 of the party’s 81 MLAs attended the meeting.

Tejashwi has been mostly missing from the political scene after the Lok Sabha results in which the RJD drew a blank. He attended the just-concluded Assembly proceedings only for a couple of days, but did not take part in any debate. He also skipped the recent function of the RJD regarding its campaign to get new members.

He has, however, been active on Twitter. He recently criticised the state government for the deaths of children in Muzaffarpur and Vaishali because of the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome and over its handling of the flood situation.

A section of RJD leaders are concerned with Tejashwi’s “growing disinterest” in state politics. An RJD source said, “He wants to be in full control of the party but he is not being allowed to do so. He has been upset at his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav’s intermittent acts of defiance. He is also unhappy with some senior leaders blaming him solely for the party’s defeat. He wants his family to set things in order before he takes over reins of the party with full interest.”

Tej Pratap, who has floated apolitical forum Lalu Rabri Morcha, has been constantly throwing a challenge to Tejashwi’s leadership. “Though Tej Pratap might not have much support beyond the youth wing leaders of the party, his actions can embarass the party,” said a senior RJD leader.

An RJD leader said the rout in the Lok Sabha polls has dampened the morale of the party. “Tejashwi is not being able to take senior leaders along and to inspire confidence in the workers at the grassroots. His current silence is harmful for the alliance too. Congress is already talking about going alone in the Assembly polls,” said the leader.

While Rabri Devi allayed apprehensions of any split in the party during the meeting on Friday, senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh spoke about how the alliance with RLSP, Vikasshil Insaan Party and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) did not benefit the RJD.

Party spokesperson Mrityunjay Tewari said, “The party meeting on Saturday had to be cancelled because of unavoidable reasons. Not much should be read into it.”

Inspired by AAP, Jharkhand govt starts Atal Mohalla Clinics across 17 districts

Source: indiatoday.in

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may not see eye to eye but when it comes to policies, even the saffron party accepts and appreciates the ambitious health scheme of the Mohalla Clinics launched by the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi-NCR in 2015.

After Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, and Karnataka, the Jharkhand government, too, adopted the concept of the Mohalla Clinics. The concept was launched by the Jharkhand government in a ceremony on August 16 on the first death anniversary of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The Mohalla Clinic in Jharkhand has been renamed as Atal clinic.

The government has launched 25 clinics in 17 districts across the state. Chief Minister Raghubar Das was visibly pleased and said that this is the best way to pay tribute and rich homage to the departed leader on his death anniversary.

The clinic, which has already started operating, will facilitate the patients with consultancy, diagnostic tests, and dispensary. “When we were at the centre, at least 26 patients received consultancy and they were happy,” one of the doctors said.

Principal Secretary of the health department, Nitin Kulkarni had earlier said that the features of the clinic are more or less similar to the Mohalla Clinics operating in Delhi-NCR. The only hurdle is fewer doctors in Jharkhand. Jharkhand has a ratio of one doctor per 10,000 patients. While the WHO vision 2020 demands one doctor per 1,000 patients.

Chief minister Raghubar Das launches Atal clinic in Ranchi

Source : Telegraphindia.com

Chief minister Raghubar Das on Friday inaugurated an Atal clinic at Edalhatu in Morabadi that will offer free treatment and medicines to local residents.

The clinic was part of the 25 Atal clinics launched in 17 districts of Jharkhand on Friday, to mark the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Ranchi mayor Asha Lakra, Ranchi MP Sanjay Seth, state urban development minister C.P. Singh, deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya, state health secretary Nitin Madan Kulkrani and urban development secretary Ajoy Kumar Singh were present at the inauguration of the Edalhatu clinic.

“This clinic is dedicated to our beloved former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. We have set a target to open as many as 100 Atal clinics across Jharkhand by September 25. In the 2019-20 budget, the government had promised to start clinics at the colony level,” the chief minister said in his address.

The CM directed civil surgeons of the districts to visit Atal clinics daily to ensure their proper functioning.

The clinic will operate from the RMC ward office. The government will appoint a doctor who will be available at the clinic from 6-10 in the morning and 6-8 in the evening.

The Atal clinic, which will function as a normal outdoor patients’ department, will offer free treatment and medicines for normal health problems.

The facility of vaccination will be available twice a week.

Pregnant women can seek free medical consultation at the clinic, which can also conduct tests for anaemia, tuberculosis and malaria.

State health secretary Kulkarni said Atal clinic would be opened in urban areas having a minimum population of 15,000 to 20,000 people who don’t have easy access to sadar and government hospitals and health centres.

“Local urban bodies will have to provide space for these clinics, which will be opened in accordance with the requirement. It is not necessary that every ward under the civic body will have a clinic,” Kulkarni said.

On the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the flagship scheme of the central government that was launched from Ranchi on September 23 last year, the CM said: “We had set a target to include 2.85 crore people belonging to 57 lakh families of Jharkhand under this scheme. So far, golden card has been issued to 40 lakh individuals. We have set a target to issue golden cards to the remaining 2.45 crore people by the end of September 23. The government has launched the drive from today (Friday).”

On the sidelines of the clinic launch, the chief minister handed over golden cards to some of the local residents.

Rain takes a 48-hour break in Jharkhand

Source: telegraphindia.com

Most parts of Jharkhand won’t have rain for the next 48 hours due to a weak monsoon trough, weathermen said on Thursday.

The axis of the monsoon trough at mean sea level was passing through Sri Ganganagar (Rajasthan), Narnaul (Haryana), northwest Madhya Pradesh and south Uttar Pradesh, stretching to Bankura (Bengal), Mizoram till Bangladesh.

Director of Ranchi Met Centre S.D. Kotal said rainfall had reduced due to the weakening of monsoon currents over Jharkhand. “The currents are expected to regain strength after the next 48 hours,” he said.

A bulletin issued by the Ranchi Met on Thursday afternoon indicated thunderstorm with lightning at a few places over Jharkhand on Sunday, August 18.

Met data revealed districts in northeastern parts including Pakur, Sahebganj, Godda and Deoghar had rain in the past 24 hours. Pakuria in Pakur recorded 85mm and Rajmahal in Sahebganj recorded 25mm. Pockets of Dhanbad and Bokaro districts and Jamshedpur recorded 10mm.

Against a normal of 676.1mm, Jharkhand has so far received 455.4 mm, a deficit of 33 per cent. Sahebganj is the only district with 11 per cent surplus. 

Cabinet gives nod to Bihar Sand Mining Policy 2019

Source: moneycontrol.com

The Bihar Cabinet has approved the revised sand mining policy as per which an applicant can get licence for a maximum of two sand blocks.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on August 13 gave its nod to the draft proposal of Bihar Sand Mining Policy 2019 with a view to regulate sand mining, conserve environment, ensure availability of sand, Cabinet Secretariat Department, principal secretary, Sanjay Kumar told reporters here.

As per the draft policy, now a single person or a registered company, partnership firm or a cooperative society can obtain license for a maximum two sand blocks/ghats or 200 hectares of sand mining area, whichever is lower, the principal secretary said.

Any person now can get maximum of two sand blocks allotted provided such mining area is not spread over 200 hectares of mining area either in one district or any other district, he said adding that now the government has set a limit for getting sand blocks.

The draft policy has also treated rivers in district as a separate unit for allotment of sand blocks, the principal secretary said.

Altogether 19 decisions were taken in the cabinet meeting.

The cabinet also decided to reserve one per cent of quota for people performing well on national and international sporting events in the selection of constables in Bihar Police, he said.It also sanctioned a revised estimate of Rs 108 crore for providing piped drinking water in arsenic affected villages of Maner in Patna district, he said.