Forced to leave Srinagar, migrant workers from Bihar face uncertain times


Told to leave Srinagar by security forces and forced to go by local landlords and employers, a group of migrant workers from Bihar found themselves outside the Jammu railway station on Thursday facing an uncertain two-day journey back home.

Ahead of its announcement revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and carving the State into two Union Territories on Monday, the government had begun moving out tourists, pilgrims and outstation workers. With large parts of Jammu and Kashmir under curfew-like conditions since Monday, the group of workers from West Champaran district of Bihar said they were unsure of ever returning to collect their unpaid dues.

Lal Babu Shah went to Srinagar for the first time about a month ago, hoping to stay for four to five months working in construction.

“I used to sell vegetables back at home, but this time the crops had failed, so business was down. I thought I would be able to make some money by working in Srinagar for a few months. I was working in a mosque, laying tiles,” he said.

At 3 a.m. the previous morning, the group of about 30 men said they were all asked to leave their accommodation. They then made their way to the bus stand in Srinagar, where long lines for tickets awaited them.

“The bus tickets were being sold in black by the government officials for a higher amount. The private cab operators were demanding ₹2,000 per person for a trip to Jammu that is usually ₹700. Our employers did not even clear our dues because they said the work was incomplete. We were able to scrounge enough for bus tickets. Now, we don’t know how we will buy tickets to Bihar,” said Lalji Kumar.

Spending six months a year in Srinagar working construction jobs, Mr. Kumar said he was able to make ₹60,000 to ₹70,000 a season, the highest rate anywhere in north India. Now, he said he was leaving with ₹3,000 in unpaid wages.

Support to PM

Having gone through a harrowing few days, both men said they supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decisions on Jammu and Kashmir.

“In two years, the way life is in Jammu, that is how we will be able to live in Srinagar,” said Mr. Kumar, adding he was not sure if he would return.

For Mohammad Arif, who has been going to work in Srinagar for the past 10 years, this time was different. During the violence and curfew after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016, he said the situation for migrant workers was not as bad as now.

“They used to hurl insults at us, but now they are telling Biharis to leave. We heard that some people beat up a Bihari worker in Soura,” he said.

Another member of the group, Bhola, said locals would taunt him by saying “come back with a passport”.

While these workers and others like them worried about how they would be able to get back home, the government has announced special trains for them.

Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said in a tweet on Thursday that special trains and coaches had been arranged from Udhampur and Jammu “in view of large number of workers including those going home on Eid”, which is on August 12.

Bihar: National Hindi daily journalist shot dead in Madhubani


A journalist working for a national Hindi daily was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne miscreants at Sarsopahi bazar under Pandaul police station area of Bihar’s Madhubani district late Sunday evening, police said on Monday.

The deceased has been identified as Pradeep Mandal (36), Pandaul police station SHO Anuj Kumar said.

The bike-borne criminals identified as- Sushil Sah and Ashok Kamat- fled from the spot after pumping two bullets in the scribe’s stomach, the SHO said.

Mandal, who was associated with a national Hindi daily (Dainik Jagran) as its Pandaul block stringer, was rushed to Sarsopahi primary health centre where doctors declared him brought dead, the police official said.

Prima facie it seems to be the case of an old enmity between the slain media persons and the attackers, the SHO said.

The two miscreants have criminal antecedents as both have been named in a criminal case lodged with Bhairav Asthan police station of the district.

The body has been sent to Madhubani sadar hospital for autopsy, the SHO said.

Condemning the murder of the journalist, opposition RJD demanded immediate arrest of the criminals.

“I strongly condemn the killing of the journalist in Madhubani. This is the glaring example of deteriorating law and order situation in the state. Democracy will be in perils if people, who work as a watchman of democracy, are shot dead by criminals.

“Journalists are the mirror of the society and it is the first and foremost duty of the government to protect them. The administration arrest criminals immediately,” RJD legislator and spokesman Shakti Singh Yadav said.

Jharkhand government seeks national fair tag for Deoghar Shravani mela


The Jharkhand government will send a proposal to the Centre requesting national fair status to Deoghar Shravani mela, the cabinet decided on Tuesday. The formal proposal will be made soon.

Putting a seal on the tourism department’s proposal, the state cabinet decided to take it up with the Union government in the form of a recommendation with the plea to declare Shravani mela a national fair, said cabinet secretary Ajoy Kumar Singh in Deoghar while briefing media persons after the meeting.

The mela is held in Baidyanathdham (Deoghar) every year in the month of Shravan (the fifth month of Hindu calendar from mid July to mid August) wherein people offer Gangajal to the Shivalingam situated in Babadham temple. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India wherein kanwarias (devotees) in lakhs from various parts of the country and foreign lands throng the temple city.

The cabinet also put its seal on removing state value added tax (VAT) that is being levied on liquor and human consumption items sold at army canteens of the state besides the border security force (BSF) training school in Meru (Hazaribag).

It cleared the decks for the construction of two new roads and reconstruction of three existing roads as well.

The new roads sanctioned are: Dumka ring road (7.45 km) at the cost of Rs 36.77 crore (revised estimate), BishnugarhNarki road (22.96 km) in Bokaro costing Rs 41.57 crore and Fatehpur More- Bangi road via Bhelwaghati (Rs 50.51 crore) in Giridih.

The roads for which widening and strengthening was cleared are: Katra-Kerakona road in Gumla (11.40 km; Rs 56.72 lakh) and the 6.31 km Koeridih-Dighria road between Punasi and Jasidih in Deoghar district costing 27.92 crore.

All you want to know about malnutrition in India


Moderate Acute malnutrition (MAM): Children aged between six months and 59 months who are between the -2 and -3 standard deviation for weight for height (wasting) score.

Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM): Children aged between six months and 59 months and have a weight for height (wasting) score 3 standard deviations below the median, have a mid-upper-arm circumference less than 115 mm, or the presence of bilateral edema.

Severe Chronic Malnutrition (SCM): Calculated with the Z-score defined as a height-for-age index less than –3 standard deviations from the mean weight of a reference population of children of the same height and/or having edema.

Stunting: Calculation is based on height-for-age. It is is associated with an underdeveloped brain, poor learning capacity, and increased nutrition-related diseases.

Wasting: Calculated by weight-for-height. It is associated with decreased fat mass. Also known as wasting syndrome, it causes muscle and fat tissue to waste away.

Underweight: Calculated by the weight-for-age formula. It is a body weight considered to be too low to be healthy. It can reflect both stunting and wasting.

Key highlights of the report

The highest levels of stunting and underweight are found in Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

At the national level, among social groups, the prevalence of stunting is highest amongst children from the Scheduled Tribes (43.6 percent), followed by Scheduled Castes (42.5 percent) and Other Backwards Castes (38.6 percent).

The prevalence of stunting in children from ST in Rajasthan, Odisha and Meghalaya is high while stunting in children from both ST and SC is high in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka.

Prevalence of wasting is highest in Jharkhand (29.0%) and above the national average in eight more States (Haryana, Goa, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat) and three UTs (Puducherry, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli).

Prevalence of underweight is also highest in Jharkhand (47.8%) and is above the National average in seven more States (Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar) and one UT (Dadra and Nagar Haveli).

Food and malnutrition in the country

Over the last 20 years, total food grain production in India increased from 198 million tonnes to 269 million tonnes. Despite increase in food production, the rate of malnutrition in India remains very high.

In the food basket, it turns out that in both urban and rural areas, the share of expenditure on cereal and cereal substitutes has declined between 1972-73 and 2011-12, from 57% to 25% in rural areas and from 36% to 19% in urban areas.

The energy and protein intake from cereals has decreased in both rural and urban India, largely because of increased consumption of other food items such as milk and dairy products, oils and fat and relatively unhealthy food such as fast food, processed food, and sugary beverages.

The consumption of unhealthy energy and protein sources is much higher in urban areas.

Double burden of malnutrition

For several decades India was dealing with only one form of malnutrition– undernutrition. In the last decade, the double burden which includes both over- and undernutrition, is becoming more prominent and poses a new challenge for India.

From 2005 to 2016, prevalence of low (< 18.5 kg/m2) body mass index (BMI) in Indian women decreased from 36% to 23% and from 34% to 20% among Indian men.

During the same period, the prevalence of overweight/obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2) increased from 13% to 21% among women and from 9% to 19% in men.

Children born to women with low BMI are more likely to be stunted, wasted, and underweight compared to children born to women with normal or high BMI.

Jharkhand wins Sub-Junior Girls National Football C’ship final


Jharkhand defeated Arunachal Pradesh by 4-0 to clinch the Sub-Junior Girls’ National Football Championship (NFC) at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Thursday

Soni Munda and Basanti Lakra scored a brace each to help Jharkhand to their first national championship victory this season. Earlier this year, the state had also made it to the finals of the Junior Girls’ NFC in Kolhapur where they lost to Himachal Pradesh.

Jharkhand got off to a quick start in the first half itself as they looked to use the width of the pitch to stretch the Arunachal defence. It took them only 15 minutes to break the deadlock. Forward Soni Munda made the perfect run in between the two Arunachal centrebacks, as she was played into the box before she placed it past the keeper and into the net.

Arunachal tried to get their game going but the Jharkhand defence kept cutting them off in the final third. Soon, Jharkhand doubled their lead through Basanti Lakra, who only had to tap it into the empty net after Arunachal keeper Bumpasai Manyu collided with one of the attackers.

The Jharkhand defence was at the top of its game on the day as they neutralised the threat posed by the Arunachal duo of Simran Zeeba and Tallo Ana. The former, who is the captain of the North-eastern side, had even released the latter, who is the top scorer of the tournament, with an aerial through ball towards the end of the first half, but it was expertly cut out by the defence.

Jharkhand captain Salina Kumari came into her own in the second half, chasing down lost causes which led to the third goal of the evening. The left winger hounded after a stray ball that was somewhat equidistant between the two Arunachal centre backs and the goalkeeper. She managed to get to the ball before the onrushing keeper and cut past her to expose an empty goal.

While the angle was too tight for Salina, she simply squared it across the face of the goal for Lakra to tap it into an empty net and score her second of the game. Arunachal did try to get some of their counter-attacks going through captain Simran Zeeba but the North-eastern side’s wingers Zila Kamchi and Bamang Yaro were played too narrow and were often crowded out by the Jharkhand midfield and defence.

The highest scorer of the tournament, Tallo Ana, was heavily marked and often had to drop deep into the midfield, in order to find space, which meant that Arunachal missed her goalscoring instinct up front.

Arunachal head coach Kipa Bharat brought in Gumku Rani, while Ana operated in the hole. This freed up some space for the latter, who had the perfect opportunity to pull one back. With a little over 10 minutes of regulation time left on the clock, Rani played Ana through on goal, but the latter’s out-step shot lacked any venom, as Jharkhand keeper Jyotsna Bara slid in to claim the ball.

This push from Arunachal Pradesh came too late as they ran out of time. With just a few minutes of regulation time left, Soni Munda scored her brace, as she slipped the ball past the Arunachal keeper to make it four. There was no coming back from that, and Jharkhand ran away with their first National Football Championship title of the season.

Nigeria: How Lawan, Gbajabiamila Emerged National Assembly Leaders


By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Adamu Abuh, Terhemba Daka and Segun Olaniyi

Abuja — Weeks of campaign, political intrigues and horse-trading at the upper legislative chamber climaxed yesterday with the election of Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan and Ovie Omo-Agege as Senate president and deputy Senate president.Leaving nothing to chance, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had ensured the event was preceded by a series of powerful meetings where battle strategies were mapped.

While the PDP adopted Mohammed Ali Ndume, hoping to checkmate the presidency’s alleged bid to pocket the National Assembly, the APC stockpiled its arsenal at ‘Fort Lawan’.Tension became highly stoked late Monday when an ‘Abuja court order’ suddenly emerged, threatening to down the hopes of lawmakers who banked on secret balloting. According to the document, the Senate standing rule of 2015 must be jettisoned for an open ballot method.

Anxiety went a notch further when the clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Ataba Sani Omolori, charged with conducting the election, was nowhere in sight while Ndume had already arrived at the chamber as early as 7:00 a.m. Ndume was followed by a candidate for the deputy senate president position, Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano), who vowed to sustain his contest against Omo-Agege, the APC’s anointed candidate.

Gaya denied knowledge of the court order, saying that until proper information came through the right sources, he remained invulnerable to the pronouncement.The arrival of some APC governors and APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole left observers puzzled. News immediately began to fly that they had come to influence some aspirants to drop their ambitions for the party’s preferred candidates. This insinuation appeared credible as Gaya and another contestant, Francis Alimikhena, suddenly laid down their arms.

At 10:00 a.m., Omolori entered the chamber, announcing that he had received President Muhammadu Buhari’s proclamation of the Ninth National Assembly and declaring that the only business for the day would be the elections of the president of the Senate and his deputy.He told the lawmakers that the elections would be in strict compliance with Senate Standing Rule 2015, which permitted the use of secret ballot.

An uproar followed, with some senators including Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano State) objecting to the voting method and drawing the clerk’s attention to the court order. But others responded with shouts of “No court order! No! No!”The uproar continued for three minutes until Omolori restored order, warning he would not tolerate unruly conduct. He maintained that there was no court order served on him, and if there were any, he would not regard it.

Omo-Agege’s win might indicate the lawmakers ignored his alleged roles in the April 2018 snatching of the Senate Mace.Moments after the elections, Ndume addressed a press conference where he promised to work with Lawan. “Ahmed Lawan is my brother who is well experienced, having been here four years ahead of me. I will give him all the necessary support. I insisted on contesting against him in order to deepen democracy,” he said.

The bid by deputy Senate president of the Eighth Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, to seek re-election surprised many, as he had held the position consecutively for 12 years. A statement signed by his media adviser, Uche Anichukwu, congratulated Lawan and Omo-Agege, noting: “I have made my point and my colleagues have made their choice. It is now for us all to join hands across all divides to work for the success of the Ninth Senate and National Assembly as well as the peace and prosperity of our nation.”

While delivering his remarks at the end of the inauguration of the Ninth Senate, Lawan said his leadership would do justice to all. “Today means so many things. It is the commencement of another decade of our democracy and we will work to ensure best global parliamentary practices,” he promised, urging the support of his colleagues.

“We will not settle for anything less than the best. We will dream big, aim high and take good initiatives,” he added.

At the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila emerged Speaker, having polled 283 votes to defeat his lone challenger, Mohammed Umar Bago who had 76 votes. His deputy, Idris Ahmed Wase (APC, Plateau State) was returned unopposed.

Buhari meanwhile has congratulated the newly elected officers.In a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday, the president also commended the legislature for its patriotism and non-partisanship before and during the election. He described the fair conduct of the exercise as a plus for the nation’s democracy. He said the emergence of the new leaders is “a new dawn, different from duplicity and perfidy of the immediate past.” He further charged the winners to use their positions for the greater interest of the country.

He stated: “The Executive does not desire a rubber stamp Legislature. While separation of powers is essential, collaboration among all arms of government should be the name of the game. Opposition need not be virulent.”Stepping into the Next Level, the Legislature has a big role to play for the goals of the administration to be achieved. This is for the ultimate good of the nation. At the end of the day, we, the people, who elected our representatives at the national level, are the winners.”

This was as the group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) cautioned Lawan to defend the Nigerian Constitution and uphold the principles of separation of power.It also warned the senate president not to allow any third term gambit by Buhari, saying the country would collapse if any attempt were made to undermine tenure limitation.

In a statement by National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko, the rights body said its “best advice to the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, is to stick to the constitutional norms and pristine provision that guarantees separation of power encompassed in Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the 1999 constitution.”

JDU upbeat ahead of National Executive meet, Nitish Kumar may announce road map to achieve national party status


The National Executive Meeting of the Janata Dal United (JDU) will be held on June 9 under the chairmanship of party chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Nitish Kumar is likely to announce JD(U)’s road map to expand base in other states at the meeting.

JD(U) National Secretary Ravinder Singh said that the membership of a party lasts for three years. The members were inducted on June 5, 2016, and now on June 9, a meeting will be held to induct the members for the next three years.

The state president of JD(U) in Bihar Vashishtha Narayan Singh has directed every MLA, MP, MLC, office bearers and national, state and village level officials of the party to initiate the process of induction into the party by June 8.

The meeting comes amid rumours flying high about the rift with National Democratic Alliance (NDA) of which JD(U) is an ally. However, JD(U) on Friday asserted that NDA in the state was “intact”, dismissing speculation of a rift within the alliance in the wake of the party’s decision to “stay out” of the Narendra Modi government.

Earlier, Nitish Kumar had declined to be part of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre in protest against the “symbolic representation” of one ministerial berth offered to it but refuted suggestions of any difference with its ally.

In the recent general elections, the NDA, comprising BJP, JD(U) and LJP, won 39 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, the best performance by any political formation in the last few decades. Nitish Kumar’s party bagged 16 seats.

The meeting also comes in the backdrop of series of comments from JD(U)’s opponents in Bihar.

Recently, RJD leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi said she would have no problem if Nitish Kumar joins grand alliance of the Opposition. Another Lalu Yadav loyalist, RJD’s Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has waived the white flag in front of the JDU leader.

RJD’s leader Tejashwi Yadav has also gone virtually silent on Nitish Kumar’s criticism on social media. Tejashwi Yadav had earlier tweeted personal comments against Nitish Kumar.

Since the Lok Sabha poll results, the Bihar leader of opposition has not tweeted against Nitish Kumar and has restricted himself to greetings and congratulatory messages.

Meanwhile, KC Tyagi, Secretary General of JD(U), told India Today TV that JD(U) would contest the Bihar Assembly elections in 2020 with NDA. “NDA is intact in Bihar and we will fight the 2020 elections together,” KC Tyagi said.

KC Tyagi further stated that RJD is a divided house and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD might come to Nitish Kumar-led party’s fold. “RJD is a divided house, don’t be surprised if the old guard of Lalu Yadav’s party come to our fold,” KC Tyagi said.

JD(U) not only increased it vote share but also dealt a major blow to its opponents in Bihar including RLSP’s Upendra Kushwaha and HUM’s Jeetan Ram Manjhi. Both — Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HUM) — fared miserably in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The NDA ally in Bihar increased its vote share from 17% in 2014 to 21% this time. India Today-Axis MyIndia post poll survey suggested that 27% Yadavs, 13% Muslim’s voted for NDA in Bihar.

List of National Parks in Bihar & Jharkhand

  1. Betla National Park
  2. Birsa Deer Sanctuary (Kalmati Ranchi)
  3. Chandrapura Bird Sanctuary
  4. Dalma Wild Life Sanctuary
  5. Detla National Park
  6. Gautam Budha  Sanctuaries
  7. Hazaribagh National Park
  8. Ichagarh Bird Sanctuary
  9. Jaivik Udyan
  10. Jawaharlal Nehru Zoological Garden (Bokaro)
  11. Koderama Sanctuary
  12. Lawalong Sanctuary
  13. Mahuadar Sanctuaries
  14. Palamau  National Park
  15. Palkote Wild Life Sanctuary (Gumla)
  16. Ranchi Aquarium (Ranchi)
  17. SARANDA (The Sal Forest)
  18. Tata Steel Zoological Park (Jamshedpur)
  19. Tatoloi hot water stream (Dumka)
  20. Tenughat Bird Sanctuary
  21. Topchanchi wildlife sanctuary 
  22. Udhava Bird Sanctuary-Sahibganj (Pathara Lake)
  23. Udhwa Bird Sanctuary