Chief minister Raghubar Das launches Atal clinic in Ranchi

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Chief minister Raghubar Das on Friday inaugurated an Atal clinic at Edalhatu in Morabadi that will offer free treatment and medicines to local residents.

The clinic was part of the 25 Atal clinics launched in 17 districts of Jharkhand on Friday, to mark the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Ranchi mayor Asha Lakra, Ranchi MP Sanjay Seth, state urban development minister C.P. Singh, deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya, state health secretary Nitin Madan Kulkrani and urban development secretary Ajoy Kumar Singh were present at the inauguration of the Edalhatu clinic.

“This clinic is dedicated to our beloved former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. We have set a target to open as many as 100 Atal clinics across Jharkhand by September 25. In the 2019-20 budget, the government had promised to start clinics at the colony level,” the chief minister said in his address.

The CM directed civil surgeons of the districts to visit Atal clinics daily to ensure their proper functioning.

The clinic will operate from the RMC ward office. The government will appoint a doctor who will be available at the clinic from 6-10 in the morning and 6-8 in the evening.

The Atal clinic, which will function as a normal outdoor patients’ department, will offer free treatment and medicines for normal health problems.

The facility of vaccination will be available twice a week.

Pregnant women can seek free medical consultation at the clinic, which can also conduct tests for anaemia, tuberculosis and malaria.

State health secretary Kulkarni said Atal clinic would be opened in urban areas having a minimum population of 15,000 to 20,000 people who don’t have easy access to sadar and government hospitals and health centres.

“Local urban bodies will have to provide space for these clinics, which will be opened in accordance with the requirement. It is not necessary that every ward under the civic body will have a clinic,” Kulkarni said.

On the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the flagship scheme of the central government that was launched from Ranchi on September 23 last year, the CM said: “We had set a target to include 2.85 crore people belonging to 57 lakh families of Jharkhand under this scheme. So far, golden card has been issued to 40 lakh individuals. We have set a target to issue golden cards to the remaining 2.45 crore people by the end of September 23. The government has launched the drive from today (Friday).”

On the sidelines of the clinic launch, the chief minister handed over golden cards to some of the local residents.

Cabinet gives nod to Bihar Sand Mining Policy 2019


The Bihar Cabinet has approved the revised sand mining policy as per which an applicant can get licence for a maximum of two sand blocks.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on August 13 gave its nod to the draft proposal of Bihar Sand Mining Policy 2019 with a view to regulate sand mining, conserve environment, ensure availability of sand, Cabinet Secretariat Department, principal secretary, Sanjay Kumar told reporters here.

As per the draft policy, now a single person or a registered company, partnership firm or a cooperative society can obtain license for a maximum two sand blocks/ghats or 200 hectares of sand mining area, whichever is lower, the principal secretary said.

Any person now can get maximum of two sand blocks allotted provided such mining area is not spread over 200 hectares of mining area either in one district or any other district, he said adding that now the government has set a limit for getting sand blocks.

The draft policy has also treated rivers in district as a separate unit for allotment of sand blocks, the principal secretary said.

Altogether 19 decisions were taken in the cabinet meeting.

The cabinet also decided to reserve one per cent of quota for people performing well on national and international sporting events in the selection of constables in Bihar Police, he said.It also sanctioned a revised estimate of Rs 108 crore for providing piped drinking water in arsenic affected villages of Maner in Patna district, he said.

Ranchi Metro a must but where’s the will


The proposed monorail/metro project for Ranchi, which chief minister Raghubar Das had announced in November 2015, has been struck off from the priority list of the government ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections.

Ministers and members of the BJP tasked with the job to highlight the achievements of the government ahead of the crucial polls no longer broach the sensitive topic of “Metro Rail”.

The central government, which was supposed to provide funds for the project, has also rejected the state’s proposal on technical grounds but residents feel that monorail or metro railway is the need of the hour for better public transport in the state capital.

“In the next three decades Ranchi is bound to expand because of the growing population but the government has not taken any step for planned development of the capital. The main city is spread over a few square kilometres but people are gradually settling down in the fringes of the city. In such a situation, metro rail would have served future purposes. Now, the Jharkhand High Court and the Assembly are being shifted outside the city limits and people will require a rapid transport system,” said city-based contractor Arun Kumar Mishra.

Ranchi entrepreneur Chandra Bhushan Jha, however, feels metro is not feasible for a city like Ranchi that is growing vertically.

“Patna will soon have metro railway but we don’t even have proper city bus services. A bus fleet was purchased under JNNURM to improve urban transportation but most of these buses are in bad shape because of lack of maintenance. Metro is indeed required since Ranchi has the worst traffic system but the big question is whether we have enough space within the city to execute the project,” said Jha.

Sidharth Tiwary, a business consultant, however, feels otherwise.

“Three cities of Jharkhand — Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad — have been categorised as tier-II cities. Trade, commerce and industry in Ranchi is expanding. Inter-connectivity of districts should be priority for the government now. Urban development remained pivotal for the government and a number of good works were done by Das but I am surprised why the government did not take up the metro railway project,” said Tiwary.

State urban development minister C.P. Singh, who also holds the additional charge of transport, said the project had been aborted on technical grounds.

“We had submitted a proposal to the Centre but it was rejected on technical grounds. In future I don’t think neither monorail nor metro railway would be taken up for Ranchi. We don’t have sufficient land in the city to start the project. People want facilities but they won’t part with land. Even in executing small projects we face problems and protests. To commission a project the government is forced to use force and then attract criticism. Without public cooperation it is impossible to start a mega project like this,” minister Singh said.

He added that the urban development department had identified government land at Dubalia to set up the Transport Nagar but people had started protesting against the project.

“Like at Bajara, the department had identified government land to execute a housing project for the poor, but we have been facing protests. In fact, the government drags its foot from any project fearing people’s protest,” said Singh.

Open hospitals in State: CM to investors


Riding on the recent health indicators portraying growth and betterment in the health services in the State, Chief Minister Raghubar Das today appealed to investors to help improve health facilities in Jharkhand by means of opening hospitals, especially in rural areas. The CM said that the government will provide subsidy and all facilities to the investors for the purpose.

Addressing people during the inaugural ceremony of Healthcare Summit Jharkhand-2019 here on Thursday the CM said that if any investor builds a hospital in a rural area, the government will give them 75 per cent subsidy on land value for the purchase, 50 per cent in the block headquarters and 25 per cent in the urban area. The investment (single door) will be through a single channel, he said.

“Jharkhand was ranked third in the NITI Aayog’s State index for incremental growth. It is the result of continuous growth of State in the field of health since 2014. In the year 2000, the maternal mortality rate in Jharkhand was 400 per lakh, which decreased to 165 per lakh, infant mortality rate was 72 per thousand, which decreased to 29 per thousand, institutional deliveries which were only 13.50 per cent which increased to 80 per cent and complete vaccination was 9 per cent which increased to 87 per cent. Jharkhand ranks third in providing OPD service in hospitals across the country. These facts indicate that the State is on the path of reform in the field of health,” said the CM.

Das said that till September 25, 2 crore 85 lakh people of the State will be covered by Golden Card under Ayushman Bharat Yojna. As many as 57 lakh families of Jharkhand will have benefit of this scheme. Golden cards have been made available to 39,13,000 families. A total of 2,26,000 beneficiaries have been taken advantage of the scheme. An amount of Rs 206 crores has been spent for this. To provide maximum benefit of the scheme to the poor, a 300-bed hospital has been arranged in Jamshedpur, where only patients coming under the Ayushman Bharat scheme will be treated. The State has 429 private and 219 government hospitals listed under the scheme. The government will also waive the fee being taken for the golden card in the Pragya Kendras from August 16, 2019, for the poor,” added he.

The CM said on death anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Atal Clinic will be opened in every ward.

Das said that the people of the state are getting 108 ambulance facilities. About 5,000 calls are being received every day. The treatment of 8,000 patients is being ensured by 108 ambulances. This service is more effective in tribal areas. Through CSR also, the government is providing the facility of bike ambulance to the poor in remote areas.

Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi said that the government is working towards providing better health facilities. “We are committed to ensure that people get health care up to their doorstep. On September 25, 57 lakh families will be given a Golden Card. The government has added 32 lakh additional families in Ayushman Bharat Yojna. In the last 10 months, 2 crore 19 lakh patients have been treated under the scheme. The present government has established a medical college to provide healthcare,” he said.

Bihar CM to hold public meeting in Jharkhand


Bihar Chief Minister and JDU national president Nitish Kumar is to address a public meeting in State Capital on August 25, starting the political campaign of his party in Jharkhand. JDU which is partner of NDA in Bihar and playing the role of big brother in Bihar had already expressed its intention to contest year-end Assembly election alone in Jharkhand.

JDU Jharkhand unit president and former MP, Salkhan Murmu said, “As the party has announced to contest Assembly election alone in State, we have started preparations for the election. In this connection Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is to address a public meeting in Ranchi on August 25.” Murmu further said, “The party has given a slogan, Nitish Lao, Jharkhand Bachao (Bring Nitish, Save Jharkhand).”

The JDU leader claimed that under the leadership of Nitish Kumar, Bihar has witnessed all round development in all sectors. Improvement in law and order, women empowerment, and improving education are some of the sectors on which Bihar has made drastic changes.

The JDU has decided to reach to people in State with the Nitish Kumar’s development model.

The party cadres will reach out to people especially in rural areas how Bihar has witnessed a turnaround after Nitish Kumar came to power in Jharkhand.

The JDU cadre will also go to people highlighting the weak Opposition in State. Murmu said, “After the Lok Sabha election, all Opposition parties are decimated. The JMM’s politics revolves on father and son duo. There is no internal democracy in JMM. While the grand old party, Congress is struggling for survival as the party is pitched in internal struggle.”

Murmu said, “After the Lok Sabha  election, there is two factions in Congress party. One group is lead by State president Ajoy Kumar while the other group is headed by Subodh Kant Sahay and others.” According to JDU leader, in such situation, JDU has huge scope in Jharkhand as people are looking for an alternative party which can counter BJP.

To strengthen party in Jharkhand, the JDU has decided to make at least six members from every village. Murmu, who first became MP in 1998 under the banner of BJP, has always been advocating the cause of the tribals.

“We are dedicated for the progress of the tribals so our focus would be on them. Our party cadres and leaders have started working in the rural belts to make the voters realize their importance and need to safeguard their interests,” he noted.

The leader also said that the party will try to highlight the needs of protecting Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Acts

which are related with tribal sentiments. “The JDU will also work for protecting and safeguarding the tribal interest as the successive Governments has failed to hand over the land rights to the tribals

and ensure their adequate representation in the government jobs,” added Murmu.

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


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

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

Patna Metro route, stations

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

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

Now, Mukhyamantri Tirath Yatra Yojana to cover 7 more destinations


NEW DELHI: The Delhi Cabinet in its meeting on Tuesday, chaired by the Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal approved seven new destinations for Mukhyamantri Tirath Yatra Yojana. “In addition to the already functional five routes approved by the council of ministers earlier, the following seven routes are to be added to this scheme: Rameshwaram- Madurai, Tirupati, Dwarkadhish, Jagannath Puri-Konark-Bhubaneshwar, Shirdi, Ujjain and Bodh Gaya,” noted a statement from the government.

It has also been decided that in the existing Ajmer-Pushkar tour, Haldi Ghati destination will be added. “In addition to Three Tier AC Train, AC accommodation may also be provided wherever possible. Further, wherever yatris are required to be transported through buses, the same may be by 2X2 AC coaches wherever possible,” noted the statement.

The statement added that apart from the area MLA, any of the ministers in the Delhi Government and chairman, Tirth Yatra Vikas Samiti, Delhi government, may issue such a certificate irrespective of the constituency in which the applicant resides.

Earlier, the cabinet approved the Revenue Department’s proposal to begin the scheme titled Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana to enable 1,100 senior citizens from each Assembly Constituency per year to undertake free pilgrimages, the expenses for which will be borne by the government. It is proposed that a total of 77,000 pilgrims will be able to avail this facility every year. In case applicants won’t be able to undertake the pilgrimage, he/she has to provide intimation upto seven days before the travel date. Otherwise, he/she shall not be eligible to apply under this scheme again.

All application forms are available online and shall be filed online either through Office of Divisional Commissioner or office of respective MLA or office of Tirth Yatra Committee. The selection of pilgrims will be done through draw of lots and respective area MLA will have to certify the residents as belonging to Delhi. All other modalities will be specified in the final notification. “This son of yours will send you on at least one tirth yatra in your lifetime. Your government has done a lot of development work over the last four-and-a-half years, but sending our senior citizens on a tirth yatra is one of the closest things to my heart,” said Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal while launching the scheme earlier this month.

Nitish Kumar reaches Bihar assembly by electric car


Seeking to send out a message of environment preservation, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday arrived at the state assembly in an electric car.

As his vehicle arrived at the porch of the historic building that houses the bicameral legislature, he was presented with a bouquet by Transport Department Principal Secretary Sanjay Agarwal.

While climbing the flight of stairs that lead into the assembly premises, Kumar was heard saying, “It is a pleasure travelling in this car. It is almost soundless and its design feels very comfortable while sitting inside”.

Talking to reporters on the occasion, Agarwal said the car, which has been manufactured by Tata Motors, can cover a distance of 150 km upon being charged for four hours.

“Factoring in the cost of electricity it can be said that the car, which is priced at Rs 11 lakh, costs 80 paise per kilometer. Besides economic viability, it also causes zero pollution.

“We are in the process of installing charging points at 1, Anney Marg (the CM’s residence which is about a kilometer and a half away) and here at the Vidhan Sabha,” Agrawal added.

All such vehicles would have number plates in green to highlight their eco-friendly nature, the principal secretary said.

Replying to queries from journalists who thrust their microphones inside the car as soon as the chief minister alighted, driver Ganesh said, “It is very easy to drive. There is no need to change gears frequently.”

In the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier this month, an additional tax benefit of Rs 1.5 lakh was announced on payment of interest towards loans taken for purchase of electric cars.

It was seen as a measure taken by the Narendra Modi government to promote the use of eco-friendly cars.

Youth Shot Dead in Patna; Ward Councilor’s Husband Named Suspect


The crime took place around 8:00 am when Vikas Kumar, originally a resident of Shahpur police station in Patna district, was returning home from somewhere. Suddenly about 2-3 men in a Safari vehicle arrived in the area and shot Vikas in his head from a close range.

As the victim fell on the ground, the criminals fled in their vehicle before anyone could get a good look at the car.

His body was later sent to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IIGMS) for an autopsy.

In their police report, family members accused the husband of Panapur Ward Councilor Renu Devi, her two sons, and eight others saying they had threatened Vikas in the past and there was no doubt Renu Devi’s family was involved in his murder.

Vikas lived with his parents and other family members in Dev Vihar Colony off Ashiana Nagar under Rajiv Nagar police station.

Angered by the incident, a mob stormed the home of Renu Devi and vandalized properties and vehicles parked outside on the road.

They also set a cow menagerie owned by the Ward Councilor’s family on fire. Police had to use light force to bring the crowd under control.

Police said they will be questioning a number of people in the case and will also try to collect video surveillance footage from the area.

No ease of business for this Jharkhand entrepreneur


A soft coke unit, whose foundation stone was laid by none other than chief minister Raghubar Das in December 2017 as a showpiece project borne out of the state’s first Global Investors’ Summit earlier in the year, is yet to have a power connection.

BL Soft Coke Industry, set up by Sastrinangar industrialist B.L. Agarwal at Kalyanpur, about 13km from here, by investing around Rs 65 lakh, has been running on power from diesel generator sets, leading to higher costs that has adversely impacted the SME’s bottomline.

Worst, a scrubber installed as per Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board guidelines to control emissions, hasn’t been functioning properly for want of a regular power connection.

“We had high hopes when we went to Bokaro in December 2017 during the state’s third ground breaking ceremony. Foundation stones were laid online of as many as 105 units with chief minister Raghubar Das presiding over the function amidst much fanfare. But till now, one of our basic requirements hasn’t been fulfilled,” said B.L Agarwal’s son, Gaurav, who runs the unit on behalf of his father.

Gaurav said they had approached officials of Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam (JBVNL) in Dhanbad more than 30 times ever since they had applied for an electricity connection on September 6, 2017. “But, we are yet to get a power connection. We are facing a lot of difficulties,” he said.

A year ago, Gaurav received a call from an official in the state government’s single window cell that is supposed to streamline permissions and clearances that entrepreneurs may require.

“I was asked if I was facing any difficulty. I told them about the delay in getting an electricity connection. But the issue is yet to be resolved,” he said.

Soft coke is a byproduct of coal with lesser ash content and moisture. BL Soft Coke Industry produces around 400 tonnes of soft coke per month for which it requires 30-40 litres of diesel to run generators and other factory equipment.

JBVNL junior engineer Chandan Kumar promised to resolve the issue in a day or two. “We have already completed all formalities for awarding a connection to BL Soft Coke Industry. There was an error in the company’s application form. Instead of applying for a 10HP (horse power) connection the factory applied for a 2KVA connection,” he said.

Gaurav admitted the error, but reasoned that it could not be the reason for such an inordinate delay. “The power connection could always have been given and the issue of load sorted out later. I can’t understand the reason for the delay when there is electricity in all the villages near my factory,” he said.

Jharkhand Industries and Trade Association general secretary Rajiv Sharma said the experience of BL Soft Coke shows how red tape is killing entrepreneurship. “JBVNL is earning a bad name for itself and for Jharkhand. The state government is framing policies for the convenience of businessmen with good intentions, but the benefit of the policies are not reaching the targeted people,” he rued.