Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna Beneficiaries in Ranchi Rechristen Diyadih Village as ‘Modi Tola’


Impressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship programme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), about 40 beneficiary families have renamed their Diyadih village as ‘Modi tola’ at Icchagarh block of Seraikela-Kharsawan district-105 km south of Ranchi.

According to The Pioneer, Diyadih village is one out of 116 odd villages where around 20,000 people were left homeless due to construction of Chandil Dam of Subarnarekha multipurpose project.

The homeless people displaced from their original habitant were bereft of their houses and agriculture land. However, a few months ago, 40 families of Diyadih village were provided houses under PM Awas Yojana by the Seraikela-Kharsawan district.

Under PM Awas Yojna, each unit of house has two rooms, verandah, kitchen and a toilet.

“Diyadih village is one of displaced village of Subarnarekha multipurpose project. As the government has constructed 40 units of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme, the villagers impressed with the project and expressing their gratitude towards Modijee have renamed the village as Modi Tola,” Vimal Mahto, one of the beneficiaries of PMAY was quoted saying by The Pioneer.

A farmer by profession, Mahto further said they were displaced from their houses around four decades back, many governments visited them but they cared little about their interest. “Few months back that we receive houses PM Awas and the onus goes to PM,” Mahto said.

However, residents of Diyadih village are deprived of infrastructure facilities in the village as they are yet to see power connection at the time when the Jharkhand government is claiming of 100 percent power connection in rural areas.

To fasten Centre and State Government’s development schemes, BJP MLA from Icchagar, Sadhu Charan Mahto recently visited the village and assessed the development projects there. The MLA has promised villagers to provide drinking water through deep boring.

“Work on connecting the village with power map is going on war footing pace with the village going to witness power connection within a month. I have also ensured villagers that a rural road will be constructed in their village,” The Pioneer quoted the BJP MLA saying.

Though the villagers have received houses under PM Awas Scheme, the displaced families are yet to get the promised compensation.

The State Government had approved proposal for construction of 1.60 lakh houses under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana, of which 48,000 houses has been completed. At the same time construction work of 43,822 is underway at war footing pace.

The PM Awas Yojana was introduced in June 2015 is an interest subsidy scheme for purchase/construction/extension/improvement of house to cater economically poor section of society.

Crop failed due to lack of rain, Jharkhand farmer hangs self


“Depressed” over his worsening financial condition, a 50-year-old farmer allegedly hanged himself at his home in Dhadhauli village, in Jharkhand’s Gumla district, on Monday night, it emerged on Wednesday.

Family members said Shiva Khariya had sown paddy but it failed due to lack of rain, which deteriorated his “mental condition”.

Deputy Commissioner Gumla Shashi Ranjan, however, said stress may not be the only reason behind the suicide. “He was also an alcoholic, and over the last few days had fever. He did not eat anything.”

Khariya’s family was a beneficiary of the LPG connection under the Central government’s Ujjwala scheme, Ranjan added.

This came days after a farmer from Ranchi district allegedly killed himself, with his family claiming that the government authorities did not clear dues for building materials for a well dug on his land under the Mahatma National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

Khariya’s wife Mangri Devi said he had mortgaged land for their son and daughter’s weddings. She said: “Farming is limited to the three-four months during the monsoon; there is no water the rest of the year. Over the years, we survived on free ration and some rice and urad dal produced on our farm. Our sons go out for work, but the money they send home is not sufficient.”

Land records show Khariya owned 13 acres of land; the family said half of that had been “mortgaged”.

Khariya’s son Birsa, 25, said his father did not eat the rice and starch cooked at home on Monday night and went to sleep. “We found his body, hanging, the next day,” he said.

The family has an MNREGA job card but has not taken any job for the last five years, with family members claiming that the low wages and a bigger payment cycles dissuade them.

Village head Sushila Soren said most people in all three villages under Kasira panchayat are farmers but people temporarily leave for other areas in search of jobs after the monsoon. “Under MGNREGA, payment cycles have been absurdly delayed by more than 45-60 days. Even when money comes, there there is misdirection of wages and people do not get it. This has led to a belief that there will be no payment under MGNREGA,” Soren said.

Panchayat secretary Ravindra Kashyap said farmers who had availed schemes such as well construction in 2017-18 have not received material payments yet.

But maintaining that MGNREGA payment error in Gumla is “less than 1 per cent”, the DC, Ranjan, said, “There are some problems regarding material payments, but the dues are cleared periodically.”

BJP Demands Name Change Of Bihar Railway Station To Nalanda Or Rajgir



A BJP member today made a demand in Rajya Sabha to name the Bakhtiyarpur Railway Station in Bihar after famous Buddhist tourist spots, saying it was a matter of concern that oppressor Bakhtiyar Khalji who destroyed Nalanda University was still being glorified.

Gopal Narayan Singh (BJP) demanded that Railways immediately change the name of Bakhtiyarpur Railway Station to Nalanda or Rajgir, saying Khalji had destroyed the world-famed Nalanda University and killed 2,000 to 3,000 Buddhist monks.

He said the magnitude of destruction could be gauged from the fact that books of the university kept burning for two to three years.

He said burnt books are still being recovered in fresh excavations in 6 km area around the university and the government should immediately remove the name of the oppressor from all such places.

Raising another issue, Prashant Nanda (BJD) demanded a masterplan for conservation and protection of world famous Konark Temple in Odihsa, a UNESCO heritage site.

Samir Oraon (BJP) raised the issue of neglect of tribals even after over 70 years of Independence and demanded that a separate autonomous university for tribals be set up in Jharkhand.

Ranchi doctors protest ‘quack’ bill


Outdoor patients in the capital suffered on Wednesday as OPD services at private and government hospitals stayed suspended due to the doctors’ nationwide strike against the National Medical Commission Bill 2019 passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday, which doctors claim will legitimise quacks in the country.

The 24-hour national protest, called by the apex body representing the country’s medical fraternity Indian Medical Association, started from 6am on Wednesday with the withdrawal of non-essential services. Emergency, trauma, ICU and related services were outside the ambit of the strike.

In Ranchi, as well as elsewhere in the country, poor patients seeking OPD services at government hospitals faced the brunt of the strike.

At the state’s largest government-run Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, nearly 200 poor patients, many from outside Ranchi and districts of Jharkhand, had come on Wednesday. They did not know anything about the strike. On an average, over 500 people come to RIMS OPD every day.

Amar Nath Dubey, 62, who came from Baijnathpur in Deoghar to get his post-surgical check-up, said the strike was a big financial blow. “I met with an accident on February 7 and had a surgery at RIMS the same month. My doctor called me a month ago and again today (Wednesday) to the OPD for post-surgical check-up. I’ve come spending Rs 16,000 on a private vehicle as I am in no position to take buses or trains, but the OPD is closed. It means I have to stay in Ranchi, an added expense,” Dubey said.

Four-year-old TB patient Arvind from Chandankyari in Bokaro, who came for a consult at RIMS with his grandparents, slept outside the OPD, as the elderly couple worried about where to stay the night.

At Sadar Hospital, poor people from across the capital and nearby localities who turned up for free treatment at the OPD, had to leave. “I am suffering from toothache,” said Salia Khatoon, who came from Brambe to Sadar Hospital. “I was asked to come tomorrow (Thursday).” Usha Devi from Hatma, who came for a pregnancy-related test, said the same. Seven-year-old deaf-mute Raja from Dhanbad came with his grandparents to obtain a disability certificate. His grandfather, mason Ramchandra Sah rued he did not know about Wednesday’s strike.

District civil surgeon Dr Vijay Bihari Singh said outdoor patients at Sadar Hospital needing immediate attention were treated at the emergency ward that was open.

RIMS director Dr D.K. Singh did not reply to calls. President of RIMS Junior Doctors’ Association Dr Ajit Kumar said they were compelled to strike work to “save medical science.” Through the National Medical Commission Bill, the central government is taking a step that will transfer medical science in the hands of those who have not studied medical science. The new system will promote quacks. This will affect the poor the most,” Dr Kumar said. “However, all emergency services were exempt from the strike.”

On its website, the IMA has alleged that “Section 32 of the NMC Bill provides for licensing of 3.5 lakh unqualified non medical persons to practise modern medicine”.

It claimed the new bill vaguely defined the term “community health provider”, thereby allowing persons without medical training to practise and prescribe independently. If the bill comes in force, the quality of healthcare services will fall drastically, the doctors fear, calling the bill “draconian”, “anti-people”, “anti-poor” and “anti-students”.

OPD open

Dhanbad: OPD services largely stayed open at state-run Patliputra Medical College and Hospital on Wednesday. IMA state president, Dr A.K. Singh said they were “totally against the National Medical Commission Bill” but decided to let OPD services function to help the poor.

Jharkhand to Install 11,000 LED Solar Streetlights Across the State


The Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) has issued a tender for setting up LED solar streetlights across the state on a turnkey basis.

The bid submission deadline is August 19, 2019. The opening date for technical bids is August 21, 2019.

The scope of work for the tender includes the supply, installation, testing, and commissioning including five years of comprehensive maintenance contract for LED solar street lighting systems with lithium ferro phosphate batteries. The project will be executed at various locations across the state. A total of 11,000 streetlights will be deployed under this project.

The contract will be awarded over a 12-month duration. The project has to be completed over a six-month period. The estimated cost of the project is ₹175.56 million (~$2.55 million).

The earnest money deposit (EMD) for this tender is ₹159,600 (~$2,319.80) for a lot size of 500 LED streetlights. Those bidders who quote for higher numbers of streetlights would need to submit EMD in relevant proportions. The last date for submitting earnest money deposit is August 20, 2019.

The applicant bidding for the project should fulfill certain technical conditions. The bidder should be a Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) approved channel partner, manufacturer or system integrator. The bidder should have a registered manufacturing company or corporation of India (including medium sized enterprises (MSEs) of Jharkhand) manufacturing one of the major components of solar streetlight systems. The authorized dealers and subcontractors are not eligible to take part in this tender.

Bidders should have an annual turnover of at least 25% of their bid capacity derived from the last three financial years ending on March 31, 2018 or 2019. On the other hand, for micro small and medium enterprises, the average annual turnover of 10% of the bid capacity is required.

Solar streetlights are an intelligent way of revamping public spaces in the country. In the recent years, various state governments along with the center have introduced tenders and programs to encourage such initiatives.

In December 2018, the MNRE had received the approval to launch phase II of Atal Jyoti Yojna (AJAY) during the financial year 2018-19 and 2019-20. The ministry had also received ₹500 million (~$7.13 million) to meet the pending liabilities of phase I of the program. Under the phase II of AJAY, 304,500 solar streetlights are expected to be installed in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, North Eastern states including Sikkim, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, and parliamentary constituencies covering 48 aspirational districts.

Recently, the Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited also issued a tender for the supply, installation, and commissioning of 20,000 off-grid solar LED streetlights across the country.

Why religious tourism could be the next big bet for IndiGo


n 8th of August, IndiGo will launch services to Gaya – an in-significant thing to happen for an airline which has been growing at breakneck speed one may think. But Gaya does not feature in the top 50 airports in India by passengers and neither has it seen a sustained scheduled service in recent past. So what makes one look up to the flights to Gaya? It gives an indication of times to come for IndiGo and its focus on Kolkata as a gateway and connecting to India’s eastern neighbours and beyond.

Amidst the war of words in public and subsequent truce between the promoters of IndiGo , the airline seems to be silently pushing ahead with its renewed network plan with focus on religious tourism. IndiGo has time and again, in the last year, made its international ambitions public. Over 30 percent of its capacity growth in the last quarter has been on international routes. While the airline struggled to expand and maintain the Istanbul operations due to Pakistani airspace closure, the airline has tried making in-roads into markets of Jet Airways as the regulatory authorities initiated a re-allocation of seats to other carriers.

While the plan for flying to Gaya and connecting the city to Varanasi and Kolkata was announced a month ago, further phases of the plan seem to be taking shape – one flight at a time. The airline recently announced flights to Yangoon – the capital of Myanmar. Interestingly, the airline confirmed that the idea is to build a Buddhist circuit and attract traffic but it’s very first such connection is not seamless and would require a long layover at Kolkata both ways to travel between Gaya and Yangoon. The airline followed this with announcing the launch of flights to Hanoi from Kolkata.

Gaya is the gateway to Bodh Gaya — where Gautam Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. The temple complex is a world heritage site and attracts tourists from Japan, Mayanmar, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Japan. Buddhism has four main pilgrimage sites — Lumbini in Nepal, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kusinagara in India. With the launch of services to Gaya – IndiGo will operate to the nearest airports of all four — Kathmandu, Gaya, Varanasi and Gorakhpur respectively. Interestingly, except for Kathmandu — the other three have direct flights from Kolkata — its regional gateway.

How is it shaping out?

While numbers are hard to come by, anecdotal evidence suggests a large number of charters landing at Gaya for pilgrimage. Vietjet — the Vietnamese low cost carrier which has shied away from launching operations to India despite multiple announcements operates scheduled charter services to Gaya in pilgrimage season.

IndiGo already operates flights to Thailand from Kolkata and has announced flights to Myanmar, Vietnam and China. The only major market which is not yet announced from Kolkata is flights to Sri lanka. The current network will make Kolkata a transit hub for passengers who conglomerate there before proceeding to Gaya, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Kathmandu.

Even if the airline does not launch services to Kathmandu from Kolkata, the open border between Gorakhpur and Lumbini, Nepal does the trick from tourism perspective, helping IndiGo build the Buddhist circuit.

Will IndiGo benefit?

While Air India and Jet Airways in the past have connected religious sites, hardly any airline in India has tried building a network around religious tourism. Connecting tourism centric places is one thing and a international to domestic connection – completely another.

The numbers will take time to shore up and the airline will have to tweak timings, equipment and operations for time to tell how successful this experiment has been. The prolonged closure of Pakistani airspace seems to have motivated the airline to look-east and reduce the dependence on its hub at New Delhi — which became prone to increased flying times due to the airspace closure.

The de-risking strategy will also help get domestic connections from major metros which are connected to Kolkata with multiple daily flights. The lack of non-stop flights to most of the countries in the east including Myanmar and Vietnam — which are becoming popular with Indian tourist, would see a steady traffic potential of Indian tourists flying IndiGo via Kolkata.

Who benefits?

Kolkata is a level 3 airport by IATA standards. This means that the airport is congested and additional movements may not be possible. However, new destinations get priorities when slots are limited and to add to that IndiGo has built a formidable hub at Kolkata over the years, allowing it to cancel its own flights on domestic sectors to utilise the slots for additional international flights.

With an integrated terminal at Kolkata — the transfer from domestic to international and vice versa is relatively simpler than New Delhi — the airline’s primary hub.

What next?

The results will be known in another year’s time. The airline has the cash to sustain that period, but one doesn’t know if it has the patience to sustain that long. With a growth which is as fast as no other, the airline has pulled the plug on few flights in the past in a short span of time.

Rarely has an airline tried something as innovative as a full circuit on religious tourism and rarely has an airline been in a position to try that. With IndiGo being cash rich at the moment, this could well be the turning time.

May be the blessings of Buddha is what the airline needs to solve its internal issues and maintain its courteous, hassle free and on-time operations.

After 33% Salary Hike, Bihar Lawmakers to Get Plush Bungalows at Govt Rate Ahead of Assembly Polls


Patna: As a pre-poll gift, the Bihar lawmakers will be entitled to purchase residential plots of two kathas each at a rate fixed by the state government. The Bihar State Cooperative Federation and Bihar Land Development Bank will be the nodal bodies to make available the required land in Ashiananagar area of the state capital to the Swablambi Grih Nirman Sahyog Samiti headed by state Parliamentary Affairs minister Shrawan Kumar. Bihar cooperative minister Rana Randhir is its secretary and BJP legislator Sachindra Kumar is its treasurer.

The former and present legislators having no house in Patna will be eligible for becoming members of the new legislators’ cooperative. There is a virtual scramble among the former and present legislators to fill the membership forms. “So far, 100 members have filled their membership forms. The other formalities will begin after registration of the cooperative society,” said Shrawan Kumar.

The rush among the lawmakers to get a house in Patna emanates from the fact that many of them are not sure to return to the state assembly in the changed political scenario after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Many of them may not be repeated as candidates by their respective political parties.

A residential colony of legislators of Bihar already exists near the veterinary college which is home to veteran leaders like Radhanandan Jha, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Rabri Devi, Ram Vilas Paswan, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Abdul Bari SIddiqui, Nand Kishore Yadav and others. But several plots in this cooperative were sold to other legislators, exchanged and put on rent in utter violation of the cooperative society’s rules.

The state government has recently constructed swanky duplex bungalows for sitting legislators with state-of-the-art facilities at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 600 crore. There are, at present, 318 lawmakers, including 243 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) and 75 members of the legislative council (MLCs) in Bihar.

The plush government bungalows would be allotted according to constituency numbers of the members. Many legislators, who used to stay outside on rent ever since the old residential flats were demolished, would be given possession by December this year.

There was a windfall for legislators in November last year when the Nitish Kumar government had approved 33 per cent hike in their salary and substantial increase in their allowances, making their salary structure no less attractive than the industry’s Chief Executive Officers (CEOs).

At present, the Bihar lawmakers are entitled for a basic salary of Rs 40,000 per month, besides constituency allowance of Rs 50,000, stationary of Rs 10,000 and Rs 30,000 per month for keeping private secretaries. They are also entitled to travel coupons worth Rs 3 lakh per year and vehicle loan up to Rs 15 lakh.

The government had also enhanced the pension amount of former lawmakers. Former legislators with one year tenure in the legislature get monthly pension of Rs 35,000. Their pension amount increases at Rs 3,000 per month for every additional year served as legislators.

The salary and perks of the Bihar legislators were increased before this in 2014 when Jitan Ram Manjhi was the chief minister. The then government had also hiked the monthly salary of the chief minister and all its ministers. The government also decided to provide lifetime facilities of eight private staff to all former chief ministers benefitting all the former chief ministers, including Lalu Prasad Yadav, Rabri Devi and Jagannath Mishra.

The legislators continue to get monetary benefits despite the fact that quite many of them own huge assets running into several crores. According to a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), altogether 162 out of 243 MLAs of Bihar are crorepati. Of them, 14 have assets over Rs 10 crore.

Bihar Board 10th Time Table 2020 – BSEB Matric Time Table out


Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) has released the time table for its matric or 10th examination for 2020 at All students who are preparing to appear for their 10th finals can access the schedule on the official government website and also download it in PDF format.

The exams are scheduled to begin in February 2020 with English as the first paper, from 9:30 am to 12:45 pm, which is the first shift. The second shift will start from 2 pm to 5:15 pm. The BSEB Class 10 exams will continue till the end of the month.

Typically, each year Bihar School Examination Board carries out its annual secondary school examination in February or March on the basis of the syllabus or course as prescribed by the state government. Every year, students attempt to score outstanding marks in these examinations as the 10th matric results determine the initial bit of their career.

There are several government jobs, which are related to the secondary school exam results. Last year, many examinees received above-average scores in these exams. While most of the students opt for higher studies, there are a significant few who show interest in the available government jobs.

Bihar School Examination Board has released its schedule this soon so students can start preparing from beforehand. Last year, 15.47 lakh students appeared for the Class 10 examinations out of which 8.21 lakh students couldn’t clear them.

In the coming year, while the intermediate examinations will be conducted from February 6 to 16, they will be carried out in two shifts because of the increase in numbers. In totality, examinees have to appear for 3 hour 15 minutes, of which the first 15 minutes will be provided to read through the question paper and the remaining 3 hours will be allotted to write the answers for the examination.

Patna Metro project on fast-track! Bihar CM Nitish Kumar asks officials to start work at the earliest


Patna Metro: Commuting across Patna to get easier with the upcoming metro project in the city! Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked officials to start the work on Patna Metro project at the earliest and also to ensure adequate action while carrying out the land acquisition for the proposed metro corridor. The Chief Minister directed the officials of the Urban Development and Housing department to start the work, following a presentation given by the Principal Secretary of Urban Development and Housing department on ‘Patna Metro Rail Project’. The Principal Secretary updated Kumar about the progress the Patna Metro project has made so far, according to a PTI report.

According to Nitish Kumar, the upcoming Patna Metro project, which is likely to be developed at a cost of around Rs 13,000 crore, will give “new speed” to Patna city. Last year on October 9, the state cabinet approved its Detailed Project Report (DPR) and sent it for the Centre’s approval. PM Narendra Modi-led Cabinet approved the Patna Metro project in February this year. The foundation stone for the big infrastructure project was laid by PM Modi in the same month.

Patna Metro route, stations

Under the first phase of the project, the Patna Metro will have two corridors. The first metro corridor will be between Saguna Mor-Bailey Road-Patna Junction- Mithapur bus stand. While the second corridor will be from Patna Junction to the proposed bus stand, located at Bairiya on Patna-Gaya road. Some of the major Patna Metro stations will be at Gandhi Maidan, Dakbungalow Chowk, Ashok Rajpath, Saguna More, Bailey More, Danapur.

It is being said that the Patna Metro project will provide an alternative mode of communication to a population of 26.23 lakh. The metro project will also focus on the last-mile connectivity as there will be multi-modal integration with railway stations as well as ISBT. Additionally, Patna Metro is also likely to run feeder network of bus, Intermediate Public Transport (IPT) and Non-Motorised Transport (NMT). The project is expected to be complete in the next five years.