Bodh Gaya to be developed into a world-class tourist destination


Tourism in Bihar is set to get a massive boost as Bodh Gaya is soon going to get developed as one of the 16 iconic destinations in India. According to reports, Bihar Chief Minister was presented a detailed plan regarding this by the tourism department of Bihar.

One of the most important places for the followers of Buddhism, it was in Bodh Gaya where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The Chief Minister was informed that the tourism department is now planning world-class accommodation for tourists, who come here from across the world. The Chief Minister, in turn, asked the committee to make the development plan after visiting the spot. The government is also building a Mahabodhi Cultural Centre here at Gaya, which would seat about 2000 people. Also, a standard guest house is being built for travellers. Several other facilities are being put in place at Bodh Gaya for guests coming to the holy place.

According to the CM’s statement, “The state government is also working on a plan to link Bodh Gaya, Rajgir and Vaishali, all the three important places where Lord Buddha visited and stayed. We are also working to provide all facilities to Buddhist monks and tourists visiting Bodh Gaya from other places.”

Bodh Gaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is also home to the tree under which Buddha got enlightenment; it also has the holy Mahabodhi Temple. Additionally, there are other important temples as well.

Clashes erupt in Patna after woman fined for not wearing seat belt


Locals and police clashed on the streets of Patna over the new motor vehicle act after the traffic police tried to fine a woman for not wearing a seatbelt.

The incident happened at around 1 pm at the Exhibition road roundabout in Patna. The woman, who was driving a four-wheeler was caught by the traffic police for not wearing a seatbelt.

A heated argument took place between the woman and the police following which she got support from the local people who then clashed with the police.

“I was going to PMCH when the traffic police stopped me and asked me to park my car. I showed them all my documents but despite that, they said I need to pay Rs 50,00 as fine for not wearing seat a belt,” said the woman.

People started pelting stones after which the police also resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the mob. Thereafter, a massive police deployment was put up at the exhibition road to contain the situation.

“Some people who are agitated with the new MV Act created a ruckus at Exhibition road because of which vehicle movement was stalled in this area. The woman alleged that she was asked to pay a fine for not wearing seat but that is not the case. The local people came out in her support and created ruckus”, said DSP Suresh Prasad.

Patrolling ordered on the Ganga in Bihar to conserve its dolphins


Patrolling of the Ganga has been ordered in Bihar after reports surfaced of local fishermen netting smaller fish that are the food supply of the endangered Gangetic Dolphin.

“We have ordered the divisional forest officers in Vaishali and Saran to conduct regular patrolling on the Ganga and initiate tough action against those involved in these acts,” Bihar’s additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Rakesh Kumar said on September 12.

Officials have also been asked to register cases and seize small nets being used for fishing by fisherfolk or others.

Some fishermen claim many of their peers caught small fish out of ignorance. There was a need to launch extensive awareness campaigns in the areas where patrolling has been ordered.

“My family has been surviving on the river and it pains me to see the fishing of small fish which has registered a rise in recent years,” said Mahendra Sahni, 58, who runs a fish shop in Patna.

“They do not know that if they net small fish, the bigger ones would die too. But they are just not ready to listen to sane voices,” said Sahni, who sells 50 to 60 kg of fish every day.

He is also aware that small fish are the main food of the Ganga’s dolphins but added that the officials concerned were not bothered. “There must be regular river patrolling and awareness drives must be launched among the fisher community to make them aware about how killing small fishes is not good for the environment,” he said.

A recent comprehensive census conducted along nearly a 1,000 kilometre (km)-stretch of the Ganga and its two tributaries, the Gandak and Ghaghara, in Bihar counted 1,150 dolphins in what environmentalist said was a sign of a healthy river ecosystem. That is because Gangetic river dolphins can survive only in clean and fresh water. 

The census was conducted by three separate teams involving experts from the Zoological Survey of India, Wildlife Trust of India and Tilka Manjhi University, Bhagalapur, in different stretches of the three rivers in between November 18 to December 10 last year.

During the extensive survey lasting for 23 days, 700 dolphins were counted in the 300 km stretch of Ganga from Mokama to Manihari, 300 in another 300 km stretch of the Ganga from Buxar to Mokama, 100 in the Gandak river and 50 in the Ghaghara river.

The researchers used the visual survey method to conduct their study through boats, Coordinator of Vikramshila Biodiversity Research and Education centre, Bhagalpur, Sunil Kumar Choudhary, said.

The campaign to save freshwater mammals took a sudden leap after the Centre declared river dolphins as India’s “national aquatic animal” in 2009. This happened while the Manmohan Singh government was at the Centre.

The government had acted on the proposal moved by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

PM Modi launches Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana in Ranchi


Following on the foosteps of the Krishi Maan-dhan Yoajana that kicked off from the first week of August this year, the scheme ensures Rs 3000 per month for traders with a turn over of less than Rs 1.5 crore per annum.

Farmers who feed the nation have been bearing the brunt of floods and drought for decades. 70 years after independence, the Modi government that took on the pledge of improving their lot promising to double farmers income by 2022. And it didn’t stop there.

Taking welfare to the next level Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan-dhan yojana, the first ever pension scheme for farmers. He rolled out the scheme in Ranchi on Thursday making the first online transfer.

So far over 13 lakh,29 thousand farmers have joined the scheme across the country since 9th of August, when the registration began.

Farmers who own 2 hectares or less of land and are between 18 and 40 years of age are eligible for the scheme. Depending on their age they need to make a monthly contribution ranging between Rs 55 and Rs 200. 

Within a month, the union government’s contribution stands at over Rs 16 crore. 

Rs 3000 per month will be paid as a pension after farmers turn 60. Prime Minister Modi also launched a national pension scheme for small and medium traders and self employed entrepreneurs.

Traders with a turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore per annum will be eligible for a pension of Rs 3000 per month. An estimated 3 crore Vyaparis in the country are expected to be benefitted under this scheme.

Adding social justice to the script of social security, Prime Minister Narendra Modi digitally launched the beginning of work for 462 Ekalvya Model Residential Schools across the country. These schools will provide quality upper primary, secondary, and senior secondary level education to ST Students in Tribal dominated areas.
Clearly, Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwaas isn’t just a motto for the Modi government. 

Pitripaksh Mahasangam begins in Gaya


The “Pitripaksh Mahasangam”, a Hindu ritual which draws people from far and wide to this central Bihar town for a fortnight every year, went underway on Thursday.

During the fortnight, Hindus pray for the salvation of departed souls.

The annual congregation was inaugurated here by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi in presence of his cabinet colleagues and parliamentarians and legislators.

The deputy CM along with a host of dignitaries offered prayers on the occasion at the Vishnupad temple along the Falgu river, which is likely to remain abuzz with activity till the conclusion of the congregation on September 28.

District Magistrate, Gaya, Abhishek Kumar Singh, said arrangements have been made to accommodate up to eight lakh devotees during the congregation who would be provided with facilities like health camps, buses and e-rickshaw for commute and safe and hygienic drinking water.

“Vedis (altars) have been cleaned up and given a fresh coat of paint. Security has also been given due importance with installation of adequate number of CCTV cameras across the town and deputation of 550 magistrates who would be guiding the police personnel,” Singh said.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rajiv Mishra said priests have been provided with identity cards to prevent swindlers from making hay on the occasion.

“Pandas (priests who conduct Pind Daan) have been provided with I-cards so that anti-social elements do not come in disguise to swindle visitors and people go back with good memories of Bihar, as desired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during a recent meeting,” the SSP added.

IndiGo set to fly to Vietnam


HO CHI MINH CITY, 13 September 2019: India’s low-cost airline IndiGo confirmed this week the launch of a new service between Kolkata and Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam, effective 18 October.

Tour operators in both cities welcomed the news. Indian tour operators are keen to sell tour packages to Vietnam’s commercial capital that is famous for its shopping, food and entertainment. The destination is seen, as a potential competitor to Bangkok and a direct route will introduce lower fares and shorten flight times.

Travel firms in Ho Chi Minh City see a market for outbound Buddhist pilgrimage tours as Kolkata is the main gateway to Bodh Gaya.

One of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, it marks the site where the Buddha attained enlightenment beneath a sacred Bodhi Tree. The nearest airport is at Gaya served by domestic flights from Kolkata.

According to Airlineroute timetable information IndiGo will fly the route daily using an Airbus A320.

The flight will depart Kolkata at 1030 and arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at 1550. The return flight will depart HCMC at 1650 and arrive in Kolkata at 1915.

A report earlier in the year by Network Thoughts said the airline announced it would also launch services from Kolkata to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital also in October.

The online aviation site said airline market breakdown between the two countries shows that based on available seats, the top route is Delhi – Ho Chi Minh City, followed by Mumbai – Ho Chi Minh City and Delhi – Hanoi.

Robbers loot a jewellery store in Hyderabad, gets caught in Patna


Police have arrested five members of a gang that looted a jewellery store in Hyderabad’s AS Rao Nagar on September 4. The accused were arrested within 24 hours of the robbery from Patna.

Efforts are on to nab another absconding accused.

The six accused are natives of Bihar and worked as menial workers in Hyderabad.

The accused, identified as Md Shabaz Alam, Md Shahid, Md Mansoor Alam, Md Kasim, Aftab Alam and Mehandi Azeem robbed a jewellery store of AS Rao Nagar of the city and ran away with the looted items.

The looted items and valuables included 100 gm gold ornaments. The security guard of the shop alerted the police.

Police identified the accused through CCTV and found that all the accused have left to their native place from Secunderabad Railway station.

Immediately a special team was formed by Commissioner Rachakonda Mahesh Bhagwat and the team took a plane to arrive at Patna.

The police was waiting for them at Danapur Railway station.

The gang was also involved in a similar burglary in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.

Jamaat man wanted in Bodh Gaya blast held


Calcutta police’s special task force arrested a suspected Bengal-based Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh leader from Chennai on Tuesday.

Asadullah Sheikh, alias Raja, 35, is wanted in the Bodh Gaya blast that was carried out last year during the Dalai Lama’s visit there, an officer of the special task force said.

Asadullah, originally from the Bhatar area in East Burdwan, was living in a rented house at Nilangarai in Chennai. “He was involved in the Bodh Gaya blast in 2018 and had been on the run since then. We arrested him based on a specific tip-off about his current address,” the officer said.

A court in Alamdur, Chennai, on Tuesday gave cops his transit remand for three days.

During questioning, Asadullah apparently told the sleuths that his superiors in JMB asked him to contact other operatives of the outfit in Chennai and spread their area of influence.

Last week, a special task force team had arrested another alleged JMB member, Mohammed Abul Kashem, alias Kashem, 22, from Canal East Road in north Calcutta.

Kashem was remanded in police custody till September 16.

Shortly before his arrest, the special task force had picked up a suspected top JMB operative, Ejaz Ahmad, from Bihar’s Gaya.

An officer in Lalbazar said the special task force had “successfully nabbed the entire gang of JMB operatives” from Bengal who were behind the Bodh Gaya blast.

“There are a few more who were part of the JMB team that carried out the blast. Some of them are already on our radar,” a special task force officer said.



Earlier the Low-Pressure Area was over Northeast Madhya Pradesh and now it has shifted its base to North Madhya Pradesh and adjoining South Uttar Pradesh. Moreover, the Axis of Monsoon Trough is expected to shift North and will extend from Haryana up to Northeast India and cross via Uttar Pradesh. Therefore, rains will now be seen over the state of Bihar.

In the past 24 hours, Gaya, Patna, and Purnea have recorded light to very light rains. In wake of the above-mentioned weather systems, the rainfall activities will now gradually increase over Bihar. The rains will be a sight over Rohtas, Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada, Jamui, Banka, Nalanda, Munger and Bhagalpur for the next 24 to 48 hours.

While rest places of Bihar are likely to witness isolated light rains during the same period.

Here the experts have to say that post 48 hours, the activities will slow down and only isolated activities will continue. Also, another spell of rain and thundershowers is expected between September 16 to 19. During this time, scattered light to moderate rains with isolated heavy spells is possible during this time.

These intermittent rain and thundershowers will continue over Bihar during the next seven to eight days and looks like the rain deficiency will not get covered up. At present, the state of Bihar is rain deficit by 23%.

Hopefully, these rains will bring back comfortable weather conditions and there will be relief from hot and humid weather conditions too.

Lynching case: Jharkhand police defends decision to drop murder charges against accused


The Jharkhand Police on Wednesday strongly defended its decision to scale down charges — from murder to culpable homicide not amounting to murder — against the 11 accused in the lynching case of Tabrez Ansari, saying it was based on investigation and medical report.

Ansari, 24, was seen on national television being beaten up with rods while tied to a pole and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ over an alleged theft.

The Seraikela-Kharsawan district police had charge- sheeted 11 of the 13 named accused in the case on July 29, dropping the stringent charge of murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. All 11 of them will now face the law for lesser offence under section 304 of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

“We have taken the decision to convert section 302 under the IPC to 304 of the code after consulting the authorities. The decision was taken based on proper probe and post-mortem and forensic reports, which said that Ansari died of cardiac arrest,” Superintendent of Police Karthik S said.

Questioning the hue and cry over the police decision to drop murder charges, the SP said, “Why are people undermining section 304 of the IPC? The undermining of the section tantamount to undermining of the Indian Penal Code.” AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday reacted sharply to the dilution of the charge and said there was a “chance that the prosecution will do its best to do a shoddy job”.

Twitterati has also raised questions over the move to water down charges against the 11 accused.

Asked whether the police received the Central Forensic Laboratory report from Chandigarh, the senior police officer replied in the affirmative but refused to give any details.

He also asserted that the video of the mob attack on Ansari was “not tampered with, but it did not synchronize with the audio”.

Talking about the petition filed by Ansari’s widow Shahista Perveen in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Manju Kumari, he said, “As the case was filed under section 295(A) of the IPC (maliciously insulting the religion or religious beliefs of any class), the district administration has forwarded it to the state government to take a decision.” Altaf Hussain, Perveen’s lawyer, also said that the petition would be admitted only after the state administration’s approval.

“We have filed the petition against the dropping of section 302 IPC against the accused and converting it to 304 of the IPC. It will be admitted only after the state administration’s approval.”

Ansari worked as a labourer and welder in Pune and had come home to celebrate Eid when he was captured by locals at Dhatkidih village on the night of June 17 over suspicion of trying to steal a motorcycle.

He was tied to a pole and assaulted by a mob with sticks and iron rods. A video of the scene that went viral and was flashed across TV networks showed he was forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Jai Hanuman’ by his tormentors.

As Ansari’s condition deteriorated, he was shifted to the district government hospital the same day. With no signs of improvement, he was then referred to the Tata Main Hospital, where he was declared brought dead on June 22.

Altogether 13 people were named accused in the case.

While police has charge-sheeted 11 of the 13 accused, the probe is still under way against two.

Though there was no evidence of the perpetrators’ link to any Hindu right organisation, Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists had protested their arrest.