Police rifles fail during gun salute to former Bihar CM, Nitish Kumar miffed

Source: indiatoday.in

In a major embarrassment to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, none of the 22 guns fired when former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra was accorded a state funeral in his ancestral village Balua Bazar in Supaul on Wednesday.

According to the protocol, the former chief minister was to be given gun salutation by a guard of honour but none of the 22 guns fired during the funeral, which was attended by Nitish and senior ministers of the state government.

What was further shameful is the fact that the policemen tasked to fire the gunshots kept on trying repeatedly in front of the chief minister and other dignitaries, but failed.

It may be mentioned that the state government had decided that Jagannath Mishra would be accorded a state funeral as he was a three time Chief Minister but what transpired at the funeral only exposed the sloppiness of the state police.

RJD legislator Yaduvansh Yadav who was also present at the funeral has claimed that the incident was the insult to the former Bihar Chief Minister and demanded that a inquiry should be initiated in this case.

Jagannath Mishra’s funeral was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister receive Kumar Modi, Health Minister Mangal Pandey and Bihar assembly speaker Vijay Choudhary.

Nitish banks on Prashant Kishore’s Jharkhand groundwork for rich poll harvest

Source: hindustantimes.com

Janata Dal (United) national president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is all set to launch party’s election campaign in poll-bound Jharkhand on August 25. Mega preparations are on in the state’s capital city by the party workers to welcome Kumar, who would be holding a meeting with around 2,000 leaders from across Bihar during his four hours stay on Sunday.

Assembly elections are due in Jharkhand later this year. The state carved out of Bihar in 2000 has remained a traditional BJP stronghold. The opposition led by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), however, has had its brief share of power on more than one occasion with the JMM patriarch Sibu Soren and his son Hemant Soren – currently the party’s executive head – serving as chief ministers of the state thrice and once respectively.

The JD(U) since its formation in 2003 had remained in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) across states including Jharkhand, expect from June 2013 to August 2017, when the party switched to Rashtriya Janta Dal-led Grand Alliance (GA) in Bihar. The party, which had won six out of the 81 assembly seats in 2005, doesn’t have any presence in the state legislature as of now and its organisational strength has been fading with each passing year.

However, buoyed by its recent successes in the Lok Sabha polls when it won 16 out of the 17 seats it had contested in Bihar followed by the triumph in Arunachal Pradesh – where JD(U) went on to become the second largest party winning seven seats, the JD-U is now striving hard for Jharkhand assembly polls to build up on its push to become a strong national party.

“Nitish Kumar’s scheduled visit on Sunday has already set eye-balls rolling in Jharkhand’s political circles. The state badly needs Kumar’s model of development and we are confident that we will make a difference with or without any alliance in the coming polls,” said JD-U Jharkhand president and former BJP parliamentarian, Salkhan Murmu.

JD-U had contested the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar in alliance with BJP and also intends to contest the 2020 assembly polls under the NDA. However, during the recently held party’s executive committee meeting in Patna, the party leaders announced that outside Bihar they would go solo in all polls.

In Jharkhand, if JD(U) fails or refuses to bridge an alliance with any party, it would be pitted against a strong NDA – comprising BJP and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) and a resolute Grand Alliance (GA) comprising JMM, Congress, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) and the left.

The party leaders, both in Patna and Ranchi, are unperturbed by the prevalent political combinations. Influenced from Rajya Sabha deputy speaker Harivansh in the state and backed by expertise of poll strategist Prashant Kishore, whose teams have been working clandestinely in all 24 districts for last six months, JD(U) leadership is confident of altering all the set poll equations.

“Our party vice-president, Prashant Kishore’s teams have done extensive ground work and have found out that there exists immense potential for JD(U) to make headway in the neighbouring state,” said a senior JD(U) leader requesting not to be quoted.

Though the party has announced to contest all 81 seats, it may scale down to 35 seats or even less after Kumar’s meeting with local leaders and office bearers, leaders, adding, they would field candidates in constituencies where they stand a chance to win or give a tough fight.

According to the insiders, the party would focus on constituencies with high Kurmi voters’ percentage. Several disgruntled Kurmi leaders associated with other parties are being lured to join JD(U).

Shailendra Mahato, vice-president of JD(U) unit in Jharkhand, said that among others, Kumar would be accompanied by Kishore, Member of Parliament Lallan Singh, Bihar welfare minister and Jharkhand in-charge Ram Sevak Singh and general secretary Arun Kumar Singh.

“Our national president would be in Gaya on August 24 where he would stay back overnight. Next morning after breakfast, he will leave for Ranchi by road and hold crucial meetings till 5 pm before he departs for Patna by the evening flight,” he said.

Nand Kishore Yadav, BJP’s Jharkhand co in-charge, said that JD(U)’s foray into Jharkhand assembly polls does not affect his party much as JD(U) has contested polls independently in several states. “Our alliance with them is only in Bihar. We do not have anything to do with their decisions,” he said.

Govt to set up committee to study corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board

Source: thehindu.com

The Government is set to form a high level committee to examine the aspects of corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and work out the modalities, defence sources said while rejecting apprehensions from employees that there is an attempt at privatisation.

“A high-level committee will study the issue and take a call on what needs to be done,” a senior source said. It will be a political call on how to go about.

The Kolkata-headquartered OFB with 41 factories spread across the country functions under the Department of Defence Production. Due to this every decision and action needs the approval of the Cabinet, officials said. For instance, in 2001 the OFB was to set up a plant at Nalanda in Bihar to manufacture bi-modular charges for the Army with initial investment of around ₹800 crore, which went up to ₹2,000 crore later. But the plant has not been set up till date, the source said.

On the contrary the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) do not have such hassles and have been establishing joint ventures and partnerships for technology development and other things. “At the current rate and in the present model OFB has no future,” the source said, and added that today there is “no accountability and result orientation” and the need is to move to a system of accountability on the lines of DPSUs. The total support to OFB is around ₹6,500 crore both from indents from the Army and direct budgetary support.

Alleging moves to privatise the OFB, three recognised Defence Federations under the OFB have launched a month-long strike from August 20. There are about 82,000 employees in OFB of which around 46,000 are industrial employees who went on strike, sources said. “As of now the strike is not worrisome. The Defence Ministry is in continuous discussions with them,” another official said.

In the last few years, several measures have been undertaken to augment capacity and increase production of the factories under the OFB. At least 20 cases of capital upgradation were cleared in last few years, the official added.

This is not for the first time, though, that corporatisation of ordnance factories is being considered. There have been recommendations by various committees and several attempts over the last two decades but there has been no progress.

Jharkhand’s industrialists’ banner reminder of industry SOS

Source: telegraphindia.com

Jharkhand’s industrialists are angry over what they say is the state’s insensitivity to a dire situation for businesses, and they plan to remind the Raghubar Das-led government about the harsh ground reality through hoardings at strategic locations, including in front of the chief minister’s residence in Ranchi.

The reality for businesses, the Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI) said at a news meet held in the state capital, was in stark contrast to expectations of industrial growth claimed during Momentum Jharkhand in 2017.

The FJCCI is the coordinating body for more than 10,000 industrial units operating across the state.

“The hopes generated during Momentum Jharkhand are completely dashed with industrialists fighting for survival and nearly 1,000 big and small industries downing shutters in the last few months due to the insensitivity of the state government,” FJCCI president Deepak Maroo said during the news meet held at Chamber Bhavan in Ranchi on Wednesday.

“We tried presenting our stands before every responsible persons including ministers, chief minister and bureaucrats but so far we have not received any solution to our woes and had no option but to display our sentiments through hoardings, beginning with a hoarding near the CM residence at Kanke,” he added.

The FJCCI hoardings will be put up at eight locations in Ranchi, and similar billboards will be sent to industries and trade bodies for display at strategic locations across all 24 districts.

“We would like nearly four-five such hoardings put up at strategic locations like near the district collectorate and near the residence and office of ministers and MLAs across the districts — to make them aware about the problems faced by us,” Maroo said.

The hoardings declare: “Vyapariyo ki marmik pukar — ab to sudh lo sarkar” (Poignant call of traders — at least remember us now, government).

They highlight problems faced due to frequent power cuts, complete failure of the single-window system of clearances for business, harassment of transporters by police officials, unhygienic condition and poor infrastructure in industrial areas, rising cases of theft and crime, and rampant licence raj and red tape.

“Industries in the last one year have suffered losses to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore due to poor policies of the government. The claims of hassle-free clearance through single-window system and ease of doing business is simply an eyewash. Momentum Jharkhand has failed to generate any revival for industries,” Maroo said.

During the Momentum Jharkhand 2017, nearly 210 MoUs were inked with Jharkhand government, promising investment of more than Rs 3 lakh crore.

FJCCI industry sub-committee chairman Ajay Bhandari blamed lack of coordination between the legislature and bureaucracy for the sorry state of affairs. FJCCI electricity sub-committee chairperson Vinod Tulsiyan criticised the government for allowing hike in power tariff from April this year despite no significant improvement in supply. This, he said, has led to economic

burden on industrialists and several ingots units have closed down.

Bus transport association official Arun Budhiya said that tax policies on the transport sector have resulted in heavy losses for transporters, specially those in the heavy vehicles segment.

“We want the government to talk to us and sort out our problems and this is the reason we have resorted to the hoarding campaign to draw their attention,” Maroo said. “If they do not relent, then we will have to go for mass agitation.”

Transfusion hub for thalassemia in Ranchi

Source: telegraphindia.com

Ranchi became the first district in Jharkhand to get the latest thalassemia pumps and medicines at a day-care integrated centre for thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia and haemophilia at the Sadar hospital after Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) funded Rs 16 lakh to set up a Thalassemia Wellness Centre.

The Wishing Factory, an NGO set-up by 24-year-old youth Partth Thakur from Mumbai, who is a patient of thalassemia, is executing the project on behalf of IRCTC.

State health secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni, IRCTC deputy general manager Tarum Kumar and Partth Thakur inaugurated the advanced centre with the pump library.

“This is the third centre funded by IRCTC in the country after Pune and Jaipur. This will come as a great help for thalassemia patients. These pumps, also called iron chelation pumps, are used to maintain iron level and remove additional iron from the body in a way increasing their life span. I have asked Sadar hospital to submit a requisition of medicines and equipment to IRCTC for the future. The state government would also launch a special drive across Jharkhand to identify patients of thalassemia and sickle cell so that they can be given proper treatment,” said Kulkarni.

Deputy general manager of IRCTC informed that besides eight pumps, 4,000 vile of Desferal, 200 leucocyte filters and 2,000 butterfly needles have been provided.

“We will sustain the centre for at least one year and during this period we will provide financial support to the centre. This is the third centre IRCTC has funded and we are going to open some more in other states,” said Tarum.

Sabana, who had come to the day-care centre for the treatment of her 11-year-old child Irfan Ansari who is suffering from thalassemia, said: “My younger son Jisan died last year because of thalassemia. My husband works at a bicycle shop and we can’t afford the cost of the treatment. Somebody told me that my son can get good treatment here,” she said.

Lalu Prasad Yadav’s scions stage late-night dharna in Patna

Source: newindianexpress.com

PATNA: Former deputy CM of Bihar and younger son of imprisoned RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav staged a dharna amid rain in Patna on Wednesday night. Tejashwi sat on the dharna demanding immediate arrival of any senior official of the state government to assure the people that no further demolition of the milk market would take place.

As a part of anti-encroachment drive carried out by the Patna administration, some portions of the milk market, that was built by then CM Lalu Prasad Yadav were demolished. Tejashwi Yadav was apprised of this situation soon after he returned to Patna after months of political hibernation.

The protest led to traffic snarls and a complete lockdown of the area. “A complete mess has been created in the state by CM Nitish Kumar led government. We wouldn’t now allow it to continue in the systems and leave the state in a mess.  We will set everything right,” he said, adding that demolition of milk vendors market, near Patna junction, was deliberately done by officials.

The entire traffic movement in the city went haywire with hundreds of vehicles being stranded on the road. “I will continue on the dharna till the arrival of any senior official to assure to the people that no further demolition of the market would be don,” he said.

Meanwhile, upon knowing that his younger brother is sitting on dharna, Tej Pratap Yadav, the elder son of Lalu Prasad Yadav, also reached the dharna site and joined his brother.

“Now, my Arjun will demolish all those who are ruining the lives of poor people in government. I will be with him like Krishna,” Tej Pratap Yadav said. The ruckus continued till late night in and around the roundabouts near Patna junction by thousands of supporters of Lalu’s scions.

CM Yogi to reshuffle his cabinet today

Source: dailypioneer.com

Five ministers of the UP Cabinet, including Finance minister Rajesh Agarwal, resigned on Tuesday on eve of the first cabinet expansion in the state.

Also putting in their papers on Tuesday were cabinet minister for cooperative societies Mukut Bihari Verma, sports minister Chetan Chauhan, minister of state (independent charge) for basic education charge Anuradha Jaisawal and minister of state for agriculture marketing Swati Singh.

Mukut Bihari Verma had unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha elections from Ambedkarnagar.

All five ministers have submitted their resignation to the chief minister Yogi Adityanath. 

The outgoing finance minister resigned citing health reasons while the other four ministers have quit as they anticipated their dismissal from the council of ministers. 

“Following the policy of my organisation, I have tendered my resignation from the state cabinet as I am 75 years of age. Now it is up to the party to accept it. I’ll carry out whatever responsibility will be given to me,” Rajesh Agarwal later said.

Speculations are rife that one more deputy chief minister from the Dalit community is likely to be inducted, thus taking the number of deputy CMs to three. 

The maximum strength of the council of ministers can be 61, including the Chief Minister, since the Uttar Pradesh Assembly has 403 seats.

“The oath-taking ceremony will be held on Wednesday at the Raj Bhavan at 11 am,” an official said.  

However, the official declined to state the number of ministers who may take oath on Wednesday. 

The much-awaited cabinet reshuffle of the Yogi Adityanath government is to fill slots that have fallen vacant, especially after some ministers were elected to the Lok Sabha. 

Yogi Adityanath took over the reins of the state in March 2017, and this will be the first expansion of his ministry. 

Three UP ministers were elected to the Lok Sabha in the recent polls, while disgruntled minister and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) leader O P Rajbhar was sacked by the chief minister for his repeated outbursts against the party.

The reshuffle was initially scheduled for Monday (August 19) but was postponed due to the deteriorating health of former Union minister Arun Jaitely in Delhi. 

Earlier on Sunday, the authorities had suddenly stopped the distribution of invitation cards after officials confirmed the postponement of the swearing-in ceremony.

Preparations had begun for the swearing-in ceremony, while legislators, who were slated to be sworn in, were asked to reach Lucknow. 

The Yogi government has a total of 43 ministers, including the Chief Minister. There are 18 Cabinet ministers, nine Ministers of State with Independent charge and 13 Ministers of State, including two Deputy Chief Ministers — Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma.

Mob attacks scientists in Bihar suspecting them to be child kidnappers

Source: gulfnews.com

Patna: Two scientists were beaten up by an angry mob of villagers in Bihar on the suspicion of being child kidnappers.

As per media reports, around 20 incidents of mob attacks or lynchings have been reported in the past month in Bihar.

Reports quoting police officials said that two geologists were conducting a survey at Chafla village in Kaimur district on Monday when it started raining. They took shelter under a tree to avoid being drenched.

In the meanwhile, some children from the area also came there, after which the scientists offered them fruits. The children fled the scene and informed the villagers.

Instantly, a mob rushed to the spot and began assaulting them suspecting them to be kidnappers. The geologists managed to flee the scene and informed the local police, which registered a case against 100 unidentified people.

“We have registered a case and action was being taken against the attackers,” the local police station in-charge Kripa Shankar Sah told the media on Tuesday.

Police officials said the geologists were conducting a survey of the area about the presence of mineral resources but the villagers mistook them as kidnappers.

Incidents of mob attacks and lynchings have seen an alarming rise in Bihar and in the past one month alone, around 20 such attacks were reported in which at least four people were killed, media reports said.

The majority of incidents have been reported from Patna, the capital of Bihar, with the main reason behind the attacks being rumours of child kidnapping.

The police have regularly launched awareness campaigns while top officials, including the Bihar’s director general of police Gupteshwar Pandey, have appealed to the masses to maintain calm but this has failed to put a brake on such incidents.

As things fails to improve, the police department has now issued instructions to the heads of all police stations in the state asking them to take videos of the mob violence.

“You [police officials] are hereby instructed to make videos of mob violence so that the persons involved in the crime could be identified and action taken against them,” Bihar’s inspector general of police Sanjay Singh told the media.

According to Singh, from now on all the cases will be registered against named persons and action will also be taken against the villagers who make the video during the mob violence.

After ‘triple talaq’, Jharkhand woman accuses husband of rape, forced conversion

Source: hindustantimes.com

A woman has lodged a police complaint in Ranchi alleging that she was duped into marriage by a man who allegedly coerced her into embracing Islam and eating beef, raped her for six years, administered her sedatives to get her to have sexual relations with others, video graphed the act and finally divorced her by way of triple talaq.

She has identified the accused as Sonu alias Md Abul Kaish.

Based on the woman’s complaint, the police have registered an FIR under Sections 376 (rape), 376 (2) (g) (gang rape), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and various other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

“We have started the investigation. As per our information, the accused is not in Ranchi. However, we will find out the truth and appropriate legal action will be taken,” Ranchi SP (rural) Ashutosh Shekhar said.

The accused, who is in Delhi, however, denied the allegations when contacted on phone.

According to the FIR, the woman, a resident of Ranchi, had joined an NGO as a counsellor in June 2013 where she came in contact with the accused.

“Sonu always used to put tilak on his forehead. In August, when I was ill, Sonu came to my residence and took me to see a doctor. On return, he gave me some pill after which I became unconscious,” the woman has alleged in the FIR. “Two days later, I found myself naked at Sonu’s house in Ranchi. When I tried to escape, he showed me some videos in which I was in lying naked with some other man.”

“Threatening to make these videos public, he asked me to follow his commands. One day, he asked me to wear a burqa (veil) and took me to a Qazi at Ranchi’s Doranda area. The Qazi made me to accept what he uttered. He then told me I had become a Muslim and my ‘nikah’ was solemnised with Md Abul Kaish,” the woman has said in her complaint.

“I then realised that Sonu was not a Hindu and I was converted into a Muslim. He later forced me to eat beef. After losing his job in Ranchi, he took me to Delhi in August 2016. There, I experienced worst form of torture. He used to come with some other person every night to commit gang rape,” the complaint reads.

In May this year, the accused had gone somewhere else, leaving her alone in Delhi. “I then came to my village and after some days, I went to Sonu’s ancestral house in Rajmahal. There, his family members refused to accept me saying Sonu already had a legitimate wife from the same community,” the complaint says.

The woman alleged she finally traced Sonu in Ranchi but he refused to accept her. In fact, he divorced her by way of triple talaq on July 27, 2019, she alleged.

Sonu (37) said, “I am a lawyer in Delhi. Baseless allegations have been levelled against me. When I was working with the NGO in Ranchi, the woman was introduced to me along with her brother. Her bother and I developed a good bond. When I shifted to Delhi, he once visited me seeking some job. I helped him to find a job in a cloth factory. Later, he had taken a loan of Rs 3.75 lakh from me to open a cloth shop in Ranchi. When I demanded the money back, they started threatening me with lodging a false case.”

Ranchi to get supply from Aug 23; Jamshedpur next, from Sept 8

Source: hindustantimes.com

Around 3,000 households in Ranchi’s Mecon Colony will get piped cooking gas supply from August 23 while over 2,000 households of Jamshedpur will receive the same from September 8, GAIL officials said .

The Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), which has been carrying out the infrastructure development and pipeline work from last one year, is preparing a roll-out the project in Jharkhand’s two biggest cities. It would benefit over 5,000 households in the initial phase.

“We have received the launch date for Ranchi on August 23 and September 8 for Jamshedpur. Pipeline connections have been provided to 3,000 households in Ranchi, while 2,000 in Jamshedpur,” said GAIL executive director (eastern region), KB Sinha.

“Two CNG stations, one at Khukri in Doranda and another at Madhuban (Ormanjhi), will also be inaugurated on August 23 in Ranchi. Since the CNG and PNG will be transported from Patna through cascading system, it might be little costlier in Ranchi. However, the GAIL’s Ranchi authority is yet to announce the rates of the gases,” he said. A cubic metre PNG costs around Rs 31, while as one kilogramme of CNG costs around Rs 61 in Patna. The GAIL officials said, PNG price would be more or less same in Ranchi , while CNG might cost Rs 8 to Rs 9 higher in Ranchi than Patna.

The prices, however, will drop after the Centre’s ambitious Jagdishpur-Haldia and BokaroDharma gas pipeline projects reach Ranchi.

The main gas pipeline would reach Ranchi through Chatra, Hazaribag, Bokaro and Ramgarh. It will cover 551-km in Jharkhand comprising 362 villages in 12 districts.

As per the calculation of GAIL, PNG would be 6% to 10% cheaper than LPG, and CNG would be around 40% cheaper than petrol and 25% lower than diesel.

In a meeting with Jharkhand chief minister, Raghubar Das, and union petroleum minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, in Ranchi on Tuesday, the progress of the city’s gas distribution was discussed. Pradhan said, the gas pipeline projects in two cities would be started by first week of September.

The GAIL has set the target to cover 30,000 households in Ranchi and 25,000 households in Jamshedpur in next five years.

In Jharkhand, merely 18.9% households use clean energy such as LPG and electric kitchen appliances, while 81% are still dependent on wood, coal and cow dung cakes for fuel in kitchens.

The national average for usage of clean energy in household is 43.8%, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) officials had said during a road show in Ranchi in January this year.

The CNG-run vehicles are expected to lower down the vehicular pollution in Ranchi and Jamshedpur. However, operation of such vehicles would take some time, as mere two CNG stations would not serve the purpose, experts said.