ive persons were killed and over 5,000 were evacuated in Gujarat which was battered by nearly 500 mm of rain till Thursday morning, even as Assam and Bihar heaved a sigh of relief as the flood situation in the states improved considerably for the second consecutive day.
Water from the overflowing Vishwamitri river entered several localities in Gujarat’s Vadodara.
Four persons were killed in Bajwa area after a wall collapsed due to heavy rain. The body of an unknown man was recovered from Khodiyarnagar area Thursday, Vadodara district collector Shalini Agarwal told PTI.
According to figures provided by the state government, Vadodara received a staggering 499 mm of rainfall in 24 hours ending 8 am on Thursday.
Of this, 286 mm of rain fell in just four hours, between 4 pm to 8 pm on Wednesday, the release said.
Close to 9 million people are said to be affected by floods in Bihar till Thursday though the number of casualties remained unchanged, at 130, for the second consecutive day, according to the state disaster management department.
Torrential rainfall in Nepal in the second week of July, besides heavy showers in districts of Bihar situated on the border, had caused half a dozen rivers, including Bagmati, Kamla, Khiroi and Burhi Gandak to swell, which continue to be above danger level at many places.
Assam’s flood situation also improved considerably with the water level of all the major rivers and its tributaries receding and life was slowly returning to normal in the flood affected districts.
A population of 3,64,553 in 459 villages of 12 districts are currently affected by the floods, according to the flood bulletin of Assam State Disaster Management Agency (ASDMA).
The marooned districts are Dhemaji, Darrang, Barpeta, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Chirang, Kamrup, Morigaon, Nagaon, Golaghat, Jorhat and Charaideo.
There was no report of any fresh casualty and the death toll in the current wave of floods in the north eastern state stays at 86.
It was a hot and humid day in the national capital with the mercury settling at 36.9 degrees Celsius, three notches above the normal.
The minimum temperature settled at 27.8 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal, a Meteorological (MeT) Department official said.
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said the monsoon is expected to be normal in August and September, in its forecast for the second half of the four-month rainfall season.
Mritunjay Mohapatra, Director General of IMD, said the next two weeks are expected to bring good rainfall due to formation of a low pressure area in the north Bay of Bengal.
Light to heavy rains lashed several places in Himachal Pradesh, while a yellow weather warning for heavy rains has been issued in the state for this weekend.
Una received the highest 76 mm rainfall in the state, followed by Amb (30 mm), Sundernagar (24 mm), Mandi (20 mm), Bhuntar (15 mm), Manali (12 mm), Shimla (7 mm), Dalhousie and Kufri (1 mm each).
The highest temperature in the state was recorded at 29.6 degrees Celsius in Nahan, while the lowest temperature was 14 degrees Celsius in Keylong, the official said.
The Shimla MeT centre has forecast rains in the state till August 7, and issued a yellow warning for August 3 and 4.
Downpour in parts of Kashmir brought down the temperature in the Valley, even as rain caused waterlogging in many regions.
Light rainfall started in the city around 7:30 am. The downpour got heavier as the day progressed, leading to waterlogging of roads in many areas of the city, including the commercial hub of Lal Chowk, officials added.
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.
A Jharkhand High Court bench recused itself from hearing a petition filed by the CBI seeking enhancement of the jail term of RJD chief Lalu Prasad and five others in a fodder scam case.
When the petition came up for hearing, Justice K P Dev said that since he had been a counsel for the CBI earlier, he wished to stay away from hearing the matter.
The bench of Justice Apresh Kumar Singh and Justice K P Dev then directed that the petition be sent to another bench.
A special CBI court had sentenced Prasad and five others to three-and-a-half years prison term while sentencing another convict to seven years of incarceration in the same case.
The CBI moved the high court seeking enhancement of the jail term of Prasad and five others, contending that the case pertained to conspiracy and the sentence should be the same – seven years – for all.Prasad has been serving jail term in a number of fodder scam cases in Ranchi.
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.
Several political leaders from the neighbouring state of Jharkhand, including one from BJP, joined JD(U) on Sunday, following the party’s decision to go solo in the upcoming assembly elections in four states.
Those inducted into the JD (U) fold by national president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar were Prem Kataruka, former state secretary-cum-spokesperson of BJP, Manoj Yadav of JVM (P) and Arun Mandal and Prabhat Kumar Prabhakar of JMM.
Till now, as an unspoken rule, Bihar allies JD (U) and BJP have exercised restraint in allowing leaders from joining each other’s parties.
The notable crossover of Sanjay Jha from BJP into JD (U) camp in the state was an exception. Jha, who was elevated to the post of national general secretary, is now a minister.
Sunday’s development, viewed in the context of JD (U) turning down the ‘single berth’ offer in the union cabinet, is indicative that the party is not shy of triggering a political realignment in states ruled by its saffron ally. Jharkhand is one of the two BJP ruled states, other than Haryana, that goes to polls along with Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir later this year.
Arun Kumar Singh, in-charge of JD (U) affairs in Jharkhand, said that the joining of leaders will strengthen the party and help in providing a leg-up to its electoral prospects in the state, where voters are looking for an alternative.
That the Jharkhand state unit had already started its preparations on all the 81 assembly seats was evident from the claims of JD (U) state president Salkhan Murmu, who was pitching for Nitish-model of ‘Sushashan’ in his home state which, he believed, will usher development and also remove the friction between adivasi, moolvasi and others, so that people live in harmony.
Their optimism for a ‘good showing’ also stems from the rout faced by opposition parties—JMM, JVM (P), RJD and Congress—during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “The JD (U) is in a position to provide a credible alternative to the tribals, minorities and others, particularly after the dismal electoral performance of the JMM-Congress combine,” he said.
Backing JD-U’s more than satisfactory poll performance in Arunachal Pradesh and the strong re-iteration that it was “not part of NDA outside Bihar,” a team of Prashant Kishor’s organisation has already landed in Ranchi to conduct an independent survey to assess the party’s electoral prospects in as many as 35 assembly seats in the first phase.
A BJP leader, not willing to be named, said that such things, ahead of elections, is a common phenomena and ‘disgruntled’ elementshave little or noimpact on final outcomeas voters remain wary and recent pollshave shown that theyreject ‘turncoats’ more often than not.
Internet services were shut on Friday as Meerut remained under heavy police deployment amid tension, days after a police lathi-charge on a group of people assembled at Indira Chowk in the city to protest against the mob violence in Jharkhand last month which led to the victim’s death four days later.
More than 50 people have been arrested so far in connection with the protest.
Badar Ali, who allegedly led the protests, was arrested on Thursday from near a mall in Meerut. The police will initiate proceedings under the National Security Act (NSA) against him; his properties will be seized, officers said.
Meerut SSP Ajay Sahni said: “Police patrolling is on since 6 am and the deployment was made as a precautionary measure. Internet services were shut since rumors of a Bharat Bandh were afloat. Members of the community concerned have claimed that they are not supporting the bandh and things have returned to normalcy.”
The accused have been booked under IPC Sections 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 352 (assault), 336 (act endangering life personal safety), among others.
Meerut police personnel, along with members of Rapid Action Force and Provincial Armed Constabulary, were deployed in areas around Indira Chowk. A flag march was conducted by senior police officials, including Meerut zone ADG.
Since Sunday, local residents said, fewer people have ventured out of their homes.
Noor Hassan, who runs a welding shop near Indira Chowk, said: “It was supposed to be a peaceful march. Yes, there was no permission, but the police action made it worse. Now that Internet has been shut down and there is heavy police presence, people fear something might happen. Most people are not leaving home.”
On Sunday, a group of people led by Badar Ali congregated at Faiz-e-Aam Inter College and were supposed to conduct a 2-km march up to Hapur Adda to protest the death of Tabrez Ansari, who was beaten up by a mob in a Jharkhand village and allegedly asked to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. He succumbed later.
According to the police, the group did not have permission for the gathering. Following arguments, the police said they had to do a lathi-charge to maintain law and order. No serious injuries were reported.
From Monday, vendors will not be allowed to put up stalls on 1.5-km stretch from Kutchery Chowk to Sarjana Chowk, known as hawkers’ hub, as Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has declared the stretch no-vending zone.
The vendors would be shifted to the newly-constructed Atal Smriti Vendors’ Market built at Kutchery.
The shop allotments process has already been completed. However, a section of vendors have decided to protest against the RMC’s move, alleging irregularities in the allotment process.
The stretch – comprising Kutchery Chowk, Saheed Chowk, Albert Ekka Chowk, Sarjana Chowk, part of main road — is a major hawkers’ zone in the city. More than 1,000 hawkers earn their livelihood in the stretch.
Deputy municipal commissioner Shankar Yadav said, “The notice has also been given to vendors. They will now put up their stalls at the newly constructed multi-storied building.”
Atal Smriti Vendors’ Market, a four-storied building, was built on 2.94 lakh sqft area at the cost of Rs 54 crore. The market has 472 kiosks for street vendors on ground and first floors. On the second floor, 108 shops have been built. Further, 23 offices are on the third floor and a banquet hall for marriage, anniversary and other purposes on the fourth floor.
Chief minister Raghubar Das had inaugurated the building on November 16 last year.
“A total 752 vendors had been identified on the stretch in a survey. However, 569 hawkers were found to be genuine. Around 150 vegetable or fruit sellers were excluded from the list of shop beneficiary, as perishable items such as vegetables and fruits were not allowed inside the market,” Yadav said. Cemented platforms were being constructed for them, he said.
However, Jharkhand Sikshit Footpath Dukandar Mahasangh (JSFDM) has cried foul in distribution of shop allotment. “Many hawkers who are not genuine got shops here,” said JSFDM central president Ishtiyak Ahmed.
In a shocking revelation, made by a senior police official following the story published by India Today on June 24, 2019 regarding crores of missing pistol and rifle bullets from UP, it is being said that the missing bullets are being sold in the ammunition black markets of Bihar and Jharkhand apart from Uttar Pradesh.
The revelation also mentioned that a sudden spurt in firearm-based crimes is due to these missing bullets.
The UP DGP OP Singh instructed all the district police officials in UP to conduct a full physical verification of each and every bullet issued to the licensed firearm bearers.
The state police’s crime wing will be investigating the case of missing bullets now.
Following the report from the crime wing, the police officials in all the districts will be given further instructions.
FIREARM-BASED CRIMES IN UTTAR PRADESH
Most cases of firearm-based crimes are being committed in Uttar Pradesh by criminals, according to the information available with India Today.
According to the statistics from the police headquarters, there are around 1,00 murders committed in Uttar Pradesh every year using firearms and most of these firearms are illegally produced and obtained.
Since it is easy to manufacture a firearm but it is near impossible to produce a decent bullet without an elaborate factory setup, the bullets for these illegal weapons are sourced from the licensed firearm bearers and ammunition dealers, who fudge their records to show that the bullets have gone missing or have been utilised.
JHARKHAND AND BIHAR
Similar is the case of Jharkhand and Bihar, where 800-1,000 murders are committed every year using illegal weapons.
In the past Lok Sabha polls, the UP police had raided 240 illegal weapon factories.
It is clear that all these weapons require bullets to be of any use.
In Uttar Pradesh, there are several lakh licensed weapon holders who have never faced an audit of the bullets they have in possession or have used so far.
TRACING THE BULLETS
A retired police official told India Today that the logistics wing of the police should be instructed to ensure that every firearm cartridge is numbered.
If this provision is brought into effect, the cases of murders from firearms will see a steep drop in numbers as each cartridge will then be traceable to the person who got it issued from the firearm dealer.
Social activist and Hindustani Biradari Vice-Chairman Vishal Sharma said that licensed weapons have become more of a status symbol these days and most weapon bearers do not even have the training to use the weapon when needed.
Vishal Sharma said, “Uttar Pradesh is at the top in the country when it comes to the number of licensed firearms, with Jammu and Kashmir coming second.”
While licensed weapons are a necessity in Jammu and Kashmir due to terrorism, UP does not have that big a threat to the lives of common citizens to warrant such a huge number of firearm licenses.
Vishal Sharma expressed surprise that when one licensed weapon holder can only have a maximum of 200 cartridges in a year and only keep 100 at a time, with a requirement to produce at least 80 per cent of the spent shells to the dealer, then how such a huge number of cartridges disappeared from the city’s firearm holders.
BULLETS AND BLACK MARKETS
Agra SSP Joginder Kumar told India Today that licensed weapon holders could now be subjected to random surveillance by the Local Intelligence Units of the police to ensure that they are not selling the cartridges in the black market.
WHO’S GOT WHAT
Joginder Kumar said that Lucknow tops the state’s districts in the number of licensed weapons at 53,033 weapons, Agra comes a close second at 47,102 weapons, Bareilly has 45,896 weapon bearers, Prayagraj has 45,841, while Kanpur (City) has 39,095 licensed weapon holders.
There are five states in India whose total number of licensed weapons are lower than the licensed weapons held by either of these five districts of UP.
Delhi has 38,754 licensed weapons, Tamil Nadu has 22,532, Assam has 19,283, Odisha has 20,588, while Kerala has just 9,459 licensed weapons.
5 April 2019, marked a very important day in the lives of over 759 candidates (577 men and 182 women) who cleared the coveted Union Public Service Commission exam. One step closer to their dream of serving the country in various roles like IAS, IPS, IFS, among others, future aspirants find succor in the success stories of those who rose up to the challenge and beat it.
Among these stories, stands out the tale of Indore’s Pradeep Singh. One of the youngest candidates appearing for the UPSC 2018 exams, Pradeep, the son of a petrol pump serviceman, cracked the exams in his first attempt at the age of 22!
In an exclusive interview with The Better India, Pradeep recalls how his father, Manoj Singh, who originally hailed from the town of Gopalganj in Bihar, migrated to Indore in 1991 in search of better education and employment.
Though the family had ancestral land, farming brought no steady income. The women of the household stayed back and took care of the land, while men migrated to bigger cities for employment to sustain their families.
Manoj took up the humble job of a petrol pump serviceman to make ends meet. In 1996, when Pradeep was born, he spent the first few years in Gopalganj. But for education, he moved to Indore with the rest of his family. From studying at a CBSE school to completing his B.Com (Hons) from IIPS DAVV, he spent the formative years of his life in Indore.
When I asked him how the decision to pursue UPSC came about, he laughs.
“Growing up, I didn’t know what UPSC or an IAS officer was. But my parents often spoke with delight about the success stories of aspirants who had cracked the exams to become ‘afsars’ (officers). I would look on in awe at the joy on their faces as they tried to fathom how proud the parents of these achievers would have felt to see their children crack one of the toughest exams in the country and serve the nation.”
It was at that moment that Pradeep knew, he wanted to be the reason for the same pride and joy on his parents’ faces. The dutiful son wanted it all for his loving parents.
Pradeep recalls the last wish of his late grandfather who, on his deathbed, told Pradeep and his older brother to educate themselves and achieve something on their merit and hard work.
Another source of motivation was the change Pradeep witnessed first hand.
Moving to Delhi to prepare for the UPSC was a big decision. From coaching to accommodation, Pradeep knew it was more than his father could afford. And yet, Manoj decided to sell their home and move into a rented accommodation to help Pradeep achieve his dream.
Pradeep moved to Delhi on 17 June, two years ago. Already a bright student who had won several debates, quizzes and extempores, his preparation had started back in college where he kept himself abreast of the latest happenings in India and the world.
Even though there were times when the study material was expensive, Manoj never let Pradeep lose out. He ensured that his son had all the resources he required.
He sheds light on the challenges he faced while preparing for his maiden UPSC attempt, “I was new in the field and there are lakhs of aspirants. I knew there would be a lot of struggle but I was ready to fight my battles.”
“The schedule was set. Get up, shower and eat, all the rest of my time was spent studying. The distractions were rare. I had limited going out for films or hanging out with friends to a bare minimum. My father sacrificed a lot and I knew not everyone gets the opportunity that I had. So I treated my first attempt like it was my last attempt. I had to give it my best shot and prove myself.”
Before you think the process may have drained him, he is quick to clarify that he enjoyed the process of preparation thoroughly.
With every result that came—be it the prelims, mains or the final, the happiness of the Singh family reached new heights.
In a message to UPSC aspirants, Pradeep says, “Do not rely on coaching alone. Be a self-starter. Coaching will contribute about 8-10 per cent to the results. But 90 per cent depends on your hard work. If you want to pursue UPSC, think your decision through. Don’t pursue it under family or peer pressure. When it is your own decision, you will do well. Your motivation will come from within and at no point will you regret it. Yes, there will be a lot of struggle. But remember, the more you struggle the greater your chances at success.”
The results were only the first step, as he begins his journey into the civil services.
Pradeep whose journey as an IAS officer has begun signs off by saying, “As an IAS officer, any district that I am posted to, I want to focus on four key areas, namely law and order, women empowerment, health, and education. Because I believe all of these fields are intertwined and dependent on each other for a better society. As I step closer to my dream, I hope I am able to attain these for the greater good of the people I serve.”