Parking fees to be slashed in Ranchi


In a move to ensure better compliance, Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has decided to reduce parking fees by 50 per cent at all parking bays.

“Existing parking fares will be reduced by 50 per cent. We will also increase the time limit for parking. These decisions have already been taken. A formal notification would be issued in a day or two,” said RMC CEO Manoj Kumar, adding that the idea was to encourage people to use authorised parking bays instead of parking their vehicles in front of shops and cause traffic congestion.

Currently, the parking fare for four-wheelers is Rs 40 per hour and for two-wheelers is Rs 20 per hour. As per the new rates, Rs 20 will charged for four-wheelers for three hours and Rs 5 for two-wheelers, also for three hours.

According to sources in the RMC transport wing that manages parking lots, the new rates would be introduced at all the 30-odd parking bays across Ranchi, including 18 parking bays along Main Road. Most parking bays are along roads and have been auctioned to private parties.

“Private agencies that have won rights to collect fees at various parking bays have been asked to introduce the new rates as soon the official notification is issued in a day or two. We hope that after the introduction of the reduced fees the problem of illegal parking would be resolved to a great extent and Main Road will remain free of traffic congestion,” said an RMC official.

Another senior official said the RMC had plans to introduce POS machines at parking bays.

“We would like private parties managing parking bays to have POS machines to enable ease of payments. However, it will take some time,” said RMC official.

Residents welcomed the move.

“This is good news at a time when steep fines are being imposed for traffic violations. The new fees won’t pinch pockets and will encourage people to park in designated spots without having to worry about bike thefts,” said Rajesh Sharma, a cloth trader in Upper Bazaar.

Caught on cam: Bihar DGP rides official car without seat belt


On Thursday, Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey was caught on camera sitting on a four-wheeler without wearing a seat belt.

The incident happened in Chhapra district of the state where the DGP had gone to attend a private function. Soon after the function, the DGP left in his official vehicle without wearing the seat belt.

He was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle without the seat belt.

Taking the cue from the DGP, Saran range DIG Vijay Kumar Verma and Chhapra SP Har Kishore Rai also left in their official vehicle without wearing a seat belt.

The Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI) of Chhapra, Vinod Kumar Singh, said that it was mandatory for everyone whether sitting on the front seat or on the back seat to wear a seat belt.

“It is compulsory for anyone sitting on the front seat or back seat to wear a seat belt. Though I have not seen the DGP without seat belt but had the incident taken place in front of me then I would have fined him. Everyone has to adhere to the new Motor Vehicle Act,” said Vinod Kumar Singh, MVI Chhapra.

A day before, clashes broke out at the Exhibition Road roundabout in Patna between the locals and the police after a lady driving four-wheeler without wearing seat belt was asked to pay Rs 5,000 fine.

Bihar Oppn bogged down with many ideas on fighting NDA


The Opposition in Bihar, still smarting under the crushing loss in all but one seat in the Lok Sabha polls, seems to be bogged down with too many ideas when it comes to fighting the Assembly polls next year, when it will face the formidable NDA once again.

Veteran RJD leader and former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh on Friday again called for a merger of all the regional parties in the bloated and loosely-knit Mahagathbandhan – a view that has few takers even in his own party.

Hindustani Awam Morcha, a smaller constituent, reacted with sneer with its spokesman Danish Rizvan, remarking “Merger is a good idea. We would welcome it if RJD and other constituents agree to merge with HAM”.

Notably, HAM founding president Jitan Ram Manjhi, a former chief minister, has been threatening the grand Alliance that he would quit and go it alone in the Assembly polls if his demands are not accepted.

Manjhi’s demand is that if the grand alliance wins, it should have two Deputy CMs, besides the chief minister and these posts should be held by one candidate each from the extremely backward classes, the Scheduled Castes and the minorities.

The formula suggested by Manjhi virtually rules out the possibility of accepting the leadership of the Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu Prasad’s younger son or any other member of his family which controls the RJD, who belong to a powerful OBC caste.

RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, a former NDA constituent who switched sides less than a year ago, has suggested that the grand alliance should be expanded to include other entities like the Left parties.

The Left parties, which are seen as a spent force in the state, have so far shown little interest in the proposal.

Amid this deluge of political strategies, Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra has warned the alliance members about the lurking threat from a recently formed front of a number of disgruntled leaders, which will benefit only the NDA.

The Bihar Navnirman Morcha was formed a fortnight ago by former state ministers Narendra Singh and Renu Kushwhaha, previously with JD(U) and BJP respectively, and Arun Kumar, the former RLSP MP from Jehanabad.

Speculations are rife that Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, may also join the front as he has been disowned by the grand alliance and spurned by the NDA.

“All these leaders who have formed the Morcha, as well as those who are expected to join, wield influence in their respective areas. The social equation is such that if they enter the fray, they will cut into the votes of the grand alliance and benefit only the NDA. Something needs to be done about it, said Mishra.

PM Modi inaugurates Jharkhand assembly building, lays foundation of state secretariat


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated the Rs 465 crore newly constructed state-of-the-art Jharkhand assembly building, putting an end to the state’s 19-year wait for construction of its own assembly building and laid foundation stone of the Rs 1238 crore proposed construction of state secretariat.

The ground plus three floors magnificent structure of the assembly building has come up on a site of 39 acres of land at HEC township near Jagannath temple. A symbolic one-day special assembly session has been convened on September 13 in this new building.

Inaugurating the assembly complex, Modi said, “It’s a historic day for Jharkhand. After 19-years of its creation, the state now gets its own assembly building and foundation stone of the proposed state secretariat has been laid.”

Appealing to the youths to must visit this assembly complex, Modi said, “One should not consider this building as a structure with walls only. It will lay foundation of the better future of state’s citizens. It will help in realizing the dreams of coming generations.”

Recalling the importance of these buildings, the Prime Minister said, “The recently concluded monsoon session was one of the most productive sessions of the Parliament after independence. The houses worked till night to discuss and pass important legislations. People felt happy to see it going. Credit goes to all MPs and political parties for giving effect to a healthy discourse.”

The dome shaped Jharkhand’s new assembly complex consists of Central, East and West wings and service buildings including covered car parking. A rooftop solar power plant of 500 KVA capacity have been set up over the car parking area. The campus is beautifully landscaped with three stage fountains in the south (front) and north (back). Besides, work is in progress to set up four half ball fountains.

The main attraction of the building is its large dome just overhead of the assembly hall. The dome has been decorated with traditional Jharkhandi arts from the inside. These arts will be illuminated with high quality lights.

The building’s central wing consists of a assembly hall of seating capacity of 150 persons, chambers of chief minister, assembly speaker and deputy speaker, a conference hall with seating capacity of 400 persons, MLAs lobby, press gallery, media lobby, library, canteen and others.

While the building’s East wing would have 22 minister rooms, six committee rooms, establishment, budget, pension, question and answer sections, accounts, legislative section and others, the west wing would house chamber of leader of opposition, five committee rooms, parliament, public information, dispatch, whip sections, bank, post office and other services.

The four-storied proposed state secretariat building will be constructed on an area of 33.60 lakh square feet in HEC township.

Central Wing: Assembly hall (150 seating capacity), chambers of CM, Speaker, deputy speaker with rest rooms, 400 seater conference hall, MLA lobby, press, officers, visitors galleries, library, canteen, dispensary and others

East Wing: 22 minister rooms, six committee rooms, establishment, budget, pension, question and answer sections, accounts, legislative section and others

West Wing: Chamber of leader of opposition, five committee rooms, parliament, public information, dispatch, whip sections, bank, post office and other services.

Service building: Electrical sub-station, AC plant room, police barrack, maintenance room, covered car parking (400 vehicles)

Bihar Police Finds Unique Way of Fining Traffic Violators; Offers Helmet, Insurance Instead of Challan


The amended Motor Vehicles Act which came into effect from September 1, 2019, is proving to be a pinch in the pockets of the offenders. Under the new MV Act, if a person is caught riding a two-wheeler without a helmet, he/she might be fined Rs 1,000 along with a three-month disqualification from driving license. The fine, however, took a new turn in Bihar’s Motihari town where the traffic police are letting off the offenders without imposing a hefty fine but are teaching them a lesson making sure their mistake is rectified. If two-wheeler riders in Motihari are caught without a helmet or lapsed insurance paper at police checkpoints, they are being directed to vendors who sell helmets and insurance policies nearby.

The innovative drive has been launched by Chhatauni police station SHO Mukesh Chandra Kunwar.

“I roped in some helmet sellers and insurance agents who have set up stalls beside the checking points. Riders are not being fined as that makes them feel like they are offenders. Instead, they are made to purchase good quality helmets and get their insurance renewed,” Mukesh Chandra Kunwar was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Mukesh Chandra Kunwar believes that the hefty fines under the MV Act fail to build people’s trust and makes them think of policemen as extortionists. “I drew inspiration from the town’s historical legacy and came up with the plan which could help us achieve the objective of the amended MV Act in a humane yet effective way,” Financial Express quoted Mukesh Chandra Kunwar as saying.

The SHO has also requested the District Transport Officer to depute an official who could issue learner’s license on the spot to offenders riding without it. However, Mukesh Chandra Kunwar said that all offences can’t be let off with goodwill gestures. If a person offends rules that are dangerous to other road users then the police won’t let him/her off easily.

“If a person is found driving rash or under the influence of alcohol — sale and consumption of which is banned in Bihar — then we are left with no option but to take action according to the law,” he said.

Cops in Bihar are not the first one to come up with a creative idea to deal with traffic offender, Kerala police distributed ladoos to traffic violators while Manipur police the offenders toffees.

Lightning kills 8 youths in Jharkhand, CM Raghubar Das announces compensation


A lightning strike killed eight people in Jharkhand on Thursday. The incident happened in Jharkhand’s Garwha. The eight youths, hailing from Pasi Tola under Mjhiyon police station, were playing out in the open when the lightning strike killed six out of them on the spot.

The other two were rushed to a hospital but to no avail. They breathed their last in Sadar Hospital, Garwha on Thursday.

Garwha SDO Pradip Kumar said that it was raining and the youths tried to hide themselves under a tree. The trees are a good conductor of electricity. When the lightning hit it the tree the current was discharged upon the youths hiding under it.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das said, “My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones.” Raghubar Das also announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the deceased.

Meanwhile, senior geologist of Ranchi University — Dr Nitish Priyadarshi — expressed his concern over death due to natural disasters time and again in the far flung and rural areas.

Nitish Priyadarshi has cited that acute lack of awareness is the big reason of casualties from nature furies. Villages located at high altitude is common in Jharkhand and people don’t know that it is not at all advisable to go outside in fields and open spaces when there are any chances of thundering or lightning strikes.

“Above all still, the use of conductors are minimal in the rural areas. Massive awareness campaign is required to update the people to stick to the dos and don’ts during thundering and lightning. This is high time disaster management department of Jharkhand government should take a call to preempt casualties,” Nitish Priyadarshi said.

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.