CISF security botch-up leads to delay of flights at Patna airport

Sourcce: hindustantimes.com

The CISF went on a wild goose chase following a security scare after it failed to detain a suspicious passenger, believed to be carrying an objectionable item in his hand baggage.

The CISF, however, could neither recover any objectionable item nor identify the passenger, but ended up delaying three flights — one of GoAir (G8-150 to Delhi) and two of IndiGo (6E-2041 to Delhi; and 6E 7718 to Kolkata) — as it temporarily suspended boarding of passengers into aircraft.

The CISF also insisted on an intensive security re-check, which included re-frisking and re-scanning personal baggage of all 180 passengers, asking some on board the GoAir flight to deplane and reroute through security. The aircraft was subjected to anti-sabotage by airlines security staff before being allowed to take off at 9.30pm, 80 minutes behind schedule.

Having found nothing objectionable on GoAir, the CISF concluded that the “culprit” would have flown to the national capital by another aircraft of SpiceJet (SG-8481), which flew around 7.30pm. It then not only alerted its counterparts at Delhi airport, but also called for SpiceJet station manager Syed Hassan and its security incharge Amit Jha to impress upon them to ask their colleagues in Delhi to be alert and keep an eye on all deplaning passengers from the Patna flight.

As the whole drama unfolded at the Jai Prakash Narayan International airport here between 7.30 and 9.30pm, the GoAir and the IndiGo flights were delayed by up to 80 minutes.

Avinash Kumar, a Delhi-bound GoAir passenger, said: “We were harassed in the name of security as all passengers, including those on wheelchair, were made to disembark and go through the security drill all over again, with no tangible result whatsoever. This led to a delay, causing severe inconvenience to passengers.”

The CISF ended up with egg on its face, giving out conflicting statements, as it was hard put to defend its actions.

Vishal Dubey, commandant of the airport security unit, Patna airport, sent a text message on a WhatsApp group, terming the operation as “routine intensive search”. “Please don’t go by any version of any unusual detection, etc. All passengers boarded and flew (sic!). It was a precautionary measure in wake of alert (sic!),” read his text message.

Dubey’s subordinate, inspector Ajit Kumar, sent out a different message on another WhatsApp group that read: “A screener (baggage screener on X-ray machine) missed some suspicious item in hand baggage of a passenger during physical check. All the screened passengers were rechecked and allowed for boarding. In the whole process some delay has occurred.”

Airport director BCH Negi said, “Three flights were delayed last night due to some security issues. You can speak to the CISF commandant for details.”

Dubey, however, refused to talk to this reporter, saying he was not authorised to speak to the media.

CISF public relations officer, Hemendra, said: “I am not aware about the incident as I am on leave.”

Security at all Indian airports has been heightened following a high alert till August 31.

Villagers Help to Declare Gogabeel as Bihar’s 1st Community Reserve

Source: newsclick.in

Patna: Ten days back, the Gogabeel lake in Katihar district was declared as Bihar’s first Community Reserve. Nearly 250 villagers including farmers and tribals expressed their happiness and said that they have offered 140 acres of land to develop it as a bird sanctuary.

A local environmentalist T N Tarak said local villagers are happy and upbeat following the Principal Secretary, Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dipak Kumar’s notification declaring Gogabeel part (140.29 acre) as a Community Reserve and another part (73.78 acre) as the Conservation Reserve on August 2 .

Jeet Narayan Yadav, a retired defence personnel, who is residing in village near the Gogabeel lake, told NewsClick that local villagers, mostly farmers, have contributed to turn it into a community reserve and to develop it as a bird sanctuary. “We have offered our land for it,” said Yadav, one of the 250 villagers who offered their land for the development of Gogabeel lake into a bird sanctuary.

Another villager Mahesh Rai said, “We are happy as our long struggle has finally born some fruit as the authorities have accepted our request to conserve the Gogabeel lake for birds and biodiversity and declared it as the first and only community reserve as well as a conservation reserve in the state.”

Gogabeel is an ox-bow lake formed by rivers Mahananda and Kankhar in the north and Ganga in its south and east. Despite being ignored by the concerned government agencies for a long time, the lake survived due to the awareness and motivation of local enthusiasts and friendly villagers in collaboration with the members of Mandar Nature Club. It has now become the 15th Protected Area (PA) of Bihar.

Ram Kripal Kumar of Goga Vikas Samiti of Sura Par praised and lauded the villagers, by saying, “They have set an example by donating land to develop the wetlands as a reserve for local and migratory birds.”

“It was not at all easy to convince the villagers that the rights and management of this community reserve will remain with the local community. For this, the members of different organisations Goga Vikas Samiti, Janlakshya (Katihar), Mandar Nature Club and Arnav from Bhagalpur worked together hard for years. Janlakshya has adopted a local tribal village ‘Marwa’ organising different camps and programmes for them for ensuring the protection of Gogabeel Lake and its biodiversity,” said Dr. Raj Aman Singh, who is the treasurer of Janlakshya.

Arvind Mishra, state coordinator of Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN), and a member of IUCN Species Survival Commission said, “We are overwhelmed to find the first community reserve and conservation reserve of Bihar with the help and support of local villagers.”

Mishra said the proposal for notifying Gogabeel and Baghar Beel as ‘Community Reserve’ and ‘Conservation Reserve’ was passed in the meeting of State Board for Wildlife held on November 2, 2018. “We will request the government to similarly notify the adjoining wetland Baghar Beel which is no less than the Gogabeel lake,” he added.

According to Mishra, Gogabeel was initially notified as a Closed Area by the state government in the year 1990 for 5 years and this status was extended in 1995 up to 2000. After the amendment of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 in 2002, the provision of closed area has been omitted and this site disappeared from the list of the Protected Areas (PAs) of the state government of Bihar having no legal status.

But this wonderful birding site, including Baghar Beel and Baldia Chaur, was given the international status of an IBA (Important Bird Area of India) in 2004 and again in 2017 by the IBCN, a network of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Bird Life International, UK and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), UK, on the recommendation of Mishra, who was a regular visitor to the area since the early 90s. He also recommended this site as having all potential for being declared as a Ramsar Site of India which found place in the book “Potential Ramsar Site of India” published by BNHS in 2008 in which eight wetlands of Bihar have been included. At present, there are 27 wetlands in India with global value and importance, which have been designated as Ramsar Sites.

Besides many scientific publications at national and international level Gogabeel finds mention in the book Ducks, Geese and Swans of India: Their status and Distribution published by BNHS and the bird count conducted by Mandar Nature Club, Bhagalpur has been recorded in the data zone of Asian Waterbird Census of Wetlands International since 1995.

Mishra said Gogabeel is a permanent water body, which shrinks to some extent in summer but never dries completely. “It may be a smaller water body of only 88 hectares but it supports unique assemblage off bird species both in count and diversity,” he said.

More than 90 bird species have been recorded from this site of which about 30 species are migratory. Among the threatened species, the Lesser Adjutant falls in the vulnerable category; and three species, the Black-necked Stork, White Ibis and White-eyed Pochard are under the near threatened category. Four of the Biom Restricted species are also found here. The site falls in Biome-12 (Indo-Gangetic plains) but many species of Biome 11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) are also reported from this site. They include the Black Ibis, Ashy Swallow Shrike, Jungle Babbler and Bank Myna (Mishra, A. 2002). Some other bird species of interest are Red Munia, Northern Lapwing and Spotbill Duck which otherwise are not commonly seen in other wetlands of the state. The large flocks of Asian Openbill and White Ibis are the beauty of Gogabeel.

A cry for help from this Bihar’s city on the brink

Source: hindustantimes.com

Shakeela Khatoon, 60, poked into layers of mud for utensils sunk there by the recent floods that ravaged villages through Muzaffarpur district, including her own hutment in Bada Jagannath village in Musahari block.

Floods are an almost annual phenomenon in Muzaffarpur, which lies in the way of five Himalayan rivers that come down from Nepal. This year it was the Burhi Gandak river that spilled out in parts of the district because of heavy rains in the neighboring country.

“A similar flood had ravaged our village in 2017. Last year, we had drought. This year, the floods returned with a greater force and wreaked havoc,” Khatoon said, pointing at the rubble inside her house and craters outside. “But I have got used to the floods since my childhood and have learnt to live with them,” the woman said as her daughter-in-law and grandchildren continued the clean-up.

Some of the disasters that have affected Muzaffarpur over the past 16 months have seemed to border on extraordinary.

The floods this year affected around 400,000 people in 84 panchayats of nine out of the district’s 16 blocks. They were preceded by an outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in May and June. The disease claimed lives of the 162 children across Bihar, with 137 casualties reported from the city alone.

The damage went beyond devastating floods and dying children. This year, Muzaffarpur was categorised as one of the most polluted cities in India as per a World Health Organisation study. Calamities appear to strike back-to-back in Muzaffarpur — floods, disease outbreak, hazardous air—and some repeat every year.

But the city has also witnessed tragedies entirely man-made. In fact, its year of disasters began after a report last April by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) blew the lid off allegations of years of sexual abuse, rape, torture and murder of girl inmates at a shelter home run by a non-government organisation in the city. Put all these events together and you get the picture of a city hit by a combination of natural disasters, manmade calamities, and pure criminality. And beneath it all, the underlying message: apathy of different kinds.

What is it that makes Muzaffarpur synonymous with bad news; who is to blame for it; and what lies in the future?

Muzaffarpur is the undeclared capital of upper Ganges, also known as North Bihar. About 6.2 million people live in the district of Muzaffarpur, spread over 16 blocks, two sub-divisions. It accommodates 11 assembly and two Lok Sabha constituencies.

It is the biggest city in the state after the capital Patna. But despite its numerical and political significance, Muzaffarpur doesn’t offer an easy life to its residents.

“We don’t have communal riots here,” said Rajiv Tulsyan, 55, a cloth merchant, stressing that despite cultural and religious differences, the Hindus and Muslims in the city have lived in harmony. “We have bigger challenges to confront — some of them beyond human control.”

SHELTER HOME SHAME

The city made national headlines on April 26, 2018 when TISS submitted its fact-finding report on Balika Griha, a shelter home for girls run by influential businessman Brajesh Thakur’s NGO, Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti. The report submitted to the principal secretary of Bihar’s social welfare department pointed to sexual exploitation of inmates. The medical tests of all the 44 inmates confirmed rape and sexual abuse.

As investigations pointed to an entire chain of people in-charge of social welfare in Bihar — charity workers, bureaucrats, ministers — having enabled the exploitation, the state government asked for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe. Soon after, the Patna high court and the Supreme Court intervened and shifted the hearing of the case out of Bihar.

At present, the witnesses are deposing in a Delhi court. The kingpin of the scandal, Thakur, has been shifted to Patiala jail and 20 other accused to New Delhi’s Tihar jail. The 42 inmates have been rehabilitated to shelter homes in Patna and Madhubani under government supervision.

Thakur’s NGO, which was granted the contract to run the shelter home by Bihar government, has been blacklisted and the building, which was constructed on encroached land, has been demolished.

Through all of this, the city had to quietly bear the national and international disgrace. “The shelter home incident is a result of the complete collapse of administrative machinery. A syndicate comprising the land, sand and liquor mafia and powerful contractors are ruling the roost in Bihar and making big profits. One cannot expect sanity or respect for law from them,” said Arvind Varun, a member of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

He emphasised that Thakur could not have dared to carry out the heinous crimes without political and administrative backing.

“Not long back, even a ‘lal topi’ [constable] used to spread fear among the criminals. The administration today seems to be handcuffed. Ad-hoc-ism in government appointments is making matters worse. How can you expect a teacher or a health worker to perform if he lives in the fear of losing his job after 11 months,” said Dr Om Prakash Roy, principal of the 120-year-old LS College. Muzaffarpur, he said, was and remains one of the most academically advanced districts in Bihar. “It is also the cultural capital of Bihar,” he said.

Eminent Gandhian and activist from the Bihar Movement of the 1970s, Chandrika Sahu spoke of Muzaffarpur’s descent from a being a hub for resistance movements before and after Independence. “Once a land of doyens like Gandhian and socialist Acharya Kripalani, freedom fighter and socialist leader Rambriksh Benipuri, Bihar’s first speaker, Ram Dayalu Singh, Gandhian LN Agarwal and [socialist leader] George Fernandes, who fought for the people, from the streets to Parliament, is now a centre for the mafia and criminals,” said Sahu.

Following the Muzaffarpur shelter home expose, the Bihar government led by Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) has updated the guidelines for shelter homes and hostels for girls across the state.

District Magistrate (DM) Alok Ranjan Ghosh said that since the exposure, the government directly monitors the operation of shelter homes.

“At present, we do not have any shelter home for women in Muzaffarpur.

But there are quite a few hostels for girls. CCTV cameras have been installed at vantage points in all such hostels. The movement of strangers is closely monitored without hampering the privacy of the girls.”

Ghosh added that all vacant posts of guards and wardens in girls’ hostels are being filled up, inspections by administrative officials have been regularised, and social audits commissioned.

AES OUTBREAK

The shelter home scandal had barely been forgotten when Muzaffarpur hit the headlines again with the AES outbreak. Still considered a mystery disease, AES is a group of clinically similar neurologic manifestations caused by several viruses, bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals and toxins. The disease most commonly affects children and young adults.

Its prevalence in the region is attributed to people eating a high quantity of litchis empty stomach (the region falls in the litchi belt), and the toxin the fruit releases.

As AES spread like wildfire in the region, claiming lives of children mostly from the economically weaker sections, hundreds of patients from in and around Muzaffarpur came pouring into the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), the only government-run advanced medical facility equipped to treat AES cases.

Despite the outbreak being an annual affair, the hospital struggled to rise to the occasion with its 12-bed pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) shockingly insufficient for the incoming stream of patients.

Left with no option, the hospital made stopgap arrangements, accommodating children in every inch of empty space in the administrative building and the pediatric ward in the face of extremely hot and humid conditions.

The result was that while several lives were saved, many children died due to delay in getting medical attention. Once again, across India, people outraged at the slackness of the state and central government in dealing with the public health emergency.

SKMCH superintendent Sunil Kumar Sahi does not accept the blame. “A comparative study of casualties of last six years reveal that we have actually brought down the percentage of deaths this year,” he said.

“While in 2014, out of the 334 suspected AES patients admitted to our hospital 117 had died, this year against the total 465 admissions only 132 died.” On steps being taken to prevent such crisis in the future, Sahi said the union government has already sanctioned a 100-bed PICU on the campus, which should be ready by April next year. He hoped that it would suffice the requirement during any calamity of such magnitude.

The district magistrate said all public health centres in the district have been equipped to admit and treat AES patients, albeit the scarcity of doctors remains a worry.

“We are appointing ASHA workers, training them and equipping them with necessary kits to diagnose suspected AES cases at their homes and administer first aid before shifting them to nearby hospitals.” He said the plan is on to launch an AES awareness drive in villages from November and intensify it during the three months before the onset of the next summer.

DELUGE OF WOES

The summer led to the monsoon, which brings its own challenges.

This saucer shaped, low-centered city lies on the great Indo-Gangetic plains of Bihar. Every time it rains heavily in Nepal, the rivers flowing through Muzaffarpur get flooded, submerging several blocks and hundreds of villages and rendering lakhs of people homeless. For those affected by this year’s flood, life is still far from back to normal.

At work in the dingy lanes of Islampur’s Chudipatti, Mohammad Meraz Gouri, 25, pointed to the overflowing drains and broken roads that ring his renowned store, Baba Bangles, which has put Muzaffarpur’s bangle market on the fashion maps of Bihar, Nepal and even Bollywood.

Aishwarya Rai Bachhan and Anjali Tendulkar wore bangles sourced from the store at their wedding ceremonies. Islampur is largely a Muslim-dominated locality with most of its people engaged in bangle manufacture and its trading. Glittering bangle shops dot every inch of the congested lanes.

“I have grown up in Chudipatti, but I don’t recall the last time when the drains or roads were repaired. Water keeps overflowing from the drains and invariably spills on to the road, forcing people to wade through ankle-deep sludge. Monsoon only worsens the conditions,” he said while attending to his customers.

A few meters to the north of Islampur is the famous Sutapatti market, a predominantly Hindu locality and north Bihar’s biggest cloth trading center. Name any cloth manufacturer of the country, and a connection can perhaps be traced to Sutapatti.

The business adds up to several crores of rupees every day. Some of its cloth merchants, many of whom are migrants from Rajasthan and Gujarat, have lived in Muzaffarpur for more than 100 years.

Similar civic issues prevail here. The businessmen of Sutapatti market complained about poor garbage disposal, air and noise pollution and mismanaged traffic. But they have made their peace with the city’s problems.

It remains a land of opportunities for them and their future generations.

“It is one of Asia’s biggest textile hubs where clothes manufactured across the country are brought and traded from here across Bihar, north eastern states, parts of Uttar Pradesh and adjoining Nepal,” said North Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Motilal Chaparia, adding that the annual turnover of Muzaffarpur’s textile market runs into thousands of crores. He refused to give a concrete figure, but he did note that the city’s textile trade gives direct and indirect employment to more than one lakh families and contributes immensely to the local economy.

Thousands of people are camping in makeshifts tents along the national highways, uplands and top of embankments. “We have lost everything in the floods,” said Mukund Yadav, pointing towards a vacant, undulating patch of land next to a breached embankment in Aurai’s Benibad village where his house and farmland existed. The water has receded, but it has left behind a thick deposit of sand and silt.

NOWHERE TO GO

Locals say that Muzaffarpur reels from the aftermath of floods for at least six months. “During this period, the entire village economy remains paralysed.

No crops, no schools and no business activities. Left with no options, scores of families migrate in search of livelihood every year.

Those who raise voices against the government’s failure in rehabilitating its own people find FIRs registered against their names,” District Congress president Bhagwan Das said.

“Water draining away from the upland districts, especially Sitamarhi, Sheohar and East and West Champaran, stagnates in Muzaffarpur, which is a plain area, and keeps spreading for days. Receding too takes a lot of time,” the DM explained.

Some allege that the relief and rehabilitation work is undermined by corruption. “Might sound strange to the uninitiated, but it’s an unconcealed truth that floods bring smiles to the government officials, especially those in the water resources department, as they make huge money from the earthwork that is carried out before and after the floods ever year.

Nobody thinks of a permanent solution to the crisis,” alleged Muzaffarpur’s Youth Congress spokesperson Ved Prakash. The district magistrate stressed that dams can’t be constructed on flat terrains. He said that safeguarding the hamlets by building embankments is the only solution to flash floods that come with high velocity and erosive value.

Water resources minister Sanjay Jha says a permanent solution to the perennial floods in north Bihar can only come from diplomatic talks between Indian and Nepalese governments.

Laxmeshwar Rai, minister of disaster management, also feels the same way. “The issue can be solved only through talks between the two countries,” he told a media gathering recently.

Not all of Muzaffarpur’s problems can apparently be solved in the near future, but for many of those who call it home there is nowhere else to go.

At Sadhana Bakery, Chudipatti’s lone baked-goods shop run by Mohammad Shakeel, 45, who grew up in the area and has seen the city stagnate over the years, said he wouldn’t consider relocating to a better place or a cleaner city.

“After all, my grandfather, parents, siblings, and all their children grew up here,” he said.

Dr Om Prakash Roy, principal of LS College, believes not much has been lost and the city can regain its old glory if the fear of the law returns and the local administration gets a free hand to do its work. “We love our city. Jeena Yahan Marna Yahan, Iske Siwa Jana Kahan [We live here and die here, where else can we go?].”

Fear of Mob-Lynching Continues to Haunt Bihar

Source: newsclick.in

Patna: With incidents of mob violence rising during the last four days, the fear of mob-lynching has once again come to haunt Bihar. Over two dozen people, mostly the poorest of the poor, have been attacked and badly beaten up by mobs and at least two were lynched on suspicion of being child lifters in the state.

Mobs also attacked, thrashed and punished over half a dozen people in different places across the state on various charges, such as harassing girls and allegedly stealing mobile phones and other items.

The rise in such incidents is giving sleepless nights to top brass of the Bihar police. Taking serious note of the continuing mob violence, the police has so far arrested more than 40 accused and has appealed to people not to take law into their hands on the basis of mere suspicion or rumours.

Rumours have been spread about of child-lifters in Patna and other places and mostly the poor, such as beggars, vendors and physically challenged people have become the victims of mob violence.

At least two mentally-challenged middle-aged people were beaten to death and over a dozen injured in separate incidents of mob violence in Patna district alone in last two days. A man was lynched on Saturday night by a mob in Chulhaichak under Rupaspur police station and another man was beaten to death on Sunday by a mob at Kalichak village under Dhanarua police station. Both were lynched by a mob on suspicion of being child lifters.

Both the victims have not been identified by police so far.

Patna police officials admitted that more than one dozen incidents of mob violence have been reported in Patna in the past three days. “All the mob violence incidents are results of rumours about child lifters. Police have been trying to counter these baseless rumours to check and control mob violence” Patna senior superintendent of police Garima Malik said.

Malik told NewsClick that as most of the mob violence on the basis of rumours of child-lifters was being reported from rural areas near Patna, police have been asked to be on alert in  Danapur, Maner, Masaurih, Naubatpur and Punpun.

A senior police blamed social media for the spurt in rumours and resultant mob violence.

Since last Thursday, more than 20 cases of mob violence reported in Bihar. In some cases, mobs even attacked police teams that tried to rescue the victims.

On Saturday, two Sikh men from Haryana were badly beaten up by a mob on suspicion of being child lifters in Patna, before they were rescued by the police. Similarly, two youths were badly thrashed by a mob in Danapur near Patna on Saturday on similar suspicions.

Three beggars including two woman were thrashed on Sunday by a mob near Neema railway halt in Patna on suspicion of being child lifters. Timely arrival police saved them from being lynched by a mob of 200 villagers armed with traditional bamboo sticks.

An auto-rickshaw driver in heart of Patna was beaten by a mob on Sunday after some women raised alarm of suspected child lifter.

A youth was thrashed on Sunday evening by a mob in a village near Bodh Gaya in Gaya district for his alleged involvement in kidney racket. But police managed to rescue him. 

In another case, two minors were beaten up, their heads tonsured and faces blackened by a mob in a village in Saharsa district on last Thursday for alleged harassment of girls.

The rise in the number of mob violence incidents started after July 20 in Saran district, when three suspected cattle thieves were beaten to death in a village by a mob consisting of mostly youths.

The rise in mob lynching incidents have come as an embarrassment for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who claims to have brought ‘sushasan’ or good governance to Bihar. Especially, in rural Bihar, incidence of ‘mob justice’ have become common.

The failure on the part of the state government to punish people involved in street justice or mob rule is being seen as the main reason for encouraging people to deliver instant justice without fear.

Odisha urges Centre not to shift CWC office to Patna

Source: asianage.com

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has urged the Centre to rescind its decision to shift the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) office to Patna, saying the move will jeopardise the state’s interests.

State Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain conveyed Odisha’s concerns in a letter to Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday.

“The recent decision to merge Bhubaneswar and Patna regions (of CWC) into a single entity and renaming it as Patna region with headquarters at Patna will seriously jeopardise the interest of the people of Odisha,” Swain said.

Noting that monitoring of scientific storage from Patna will be difficult, he said warehousing operations in Odisha will be hampered as a result of the proposed relocation. The minister also pointed out that members of the Odisha Assembly, cutting across party lines, have raised their concerns over the issue in the House.

“The regional office of CWC at Bhubaneswar has been playing a vital role in storage and warehousing of various commodities including foodgrains and notified commodities of the Food Corporation of India as well as the Odisha state Civil Supplies Corporation,” Swain said.

Established in 1990, the Bhubaneswar regional office now has an operational capacity of 3.48 lakh MT and caters to the storage needs of 15 districts of the state, he said. Swain said that the Bhubaneswar regional office has been making profit over the past five years.

 “In this backdrop, I would like to request your (Paswan’s) personal intervention for allowing the regional office at Bhubaneswar to continue as such in modification of the earlier decision of its merger with Patna region,” he said.

Class IX boy shot at coaching centre, 13-yr-old stabbed to death

Source: hindustantimes.com

A 13-year-old class IX student of Patna’s reputed St Dominik  High School was shot dead at a coaching centre in Danapur by a fellow student on Thursday evening while a class VII student of a government school in Muzaffarpur was stabbed to deaths by a group of teenagers earlier in the day.

In the first incident in the busy Bibiganj locality under Danapur police station limits, the victim, resident of nearby Nasriganj locality, died on the spot.

As panic-stricken students began fleeing from the classroom, the coaching institute teachers identified the shooter and nabbed him. A 9 mm pistol has been recovered from the school bag of the accused, whose identify has been withheld as he is also a minor. He was handed over to the police, which reached the spot and sent the victim’s body for autopsy.

The Bibiganj locality in Danapur is a hub of coaching institutes. As the news spread, all coaching institutes downed shutters and asked the students to rush back to their homes.

Danapur ASP Ashok Mishra said that a loaded pistol had been recovered from the accused.

In the second incident, four teenagers, brandishing knives and other sharp-edged weapons, barged into a government middle school in Muzaffarpur district  and stabbed to death a 13-year-old student in the presence of teachers and other students before escaping.

The incident occurred in the afternoon at the Bada Jagannath Middle School under Ahiyapur police station

The victim was son of a labourer. 

After the incident, residents of the village went on a rampage, damaging the school property.

Deputy SP (Town) Mukul Kumar Ranjan rushed to the spot after learning about the incident. However, by then, most of the students and teachers had fled to their homes out of fear.

The police, quoting eye-witnesses, said the armed teenagers barged into the school premises and called the victim out of the classroom on the pretext of some work. The moment the victim came out, they kept stabbing him in his abdomen till he collapsed and fell down. “The victim kept crying for help, but nobody came to his rescue,” the DSP said.

The teachers came out only after they realised that the killers had fled, he said. 

Soon, some locals arrived at the scene and rushed the boy to Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead.

Police suspect the student’s murder could be linked to an attempt to rob the victim’s mother on Wednesday. According to the police, a teenager from Ahiyapur had attempted to snatch money bag of the victim’s mother on Wednesday afternoon but was caught by locals, who brutally trashed him. The victim had also kicked the teenager, who could have planned his murder to avenge the assault. The DSP said the attackers had been identified and would be arrested soon.

Student caught with pistol at school 

Authorities of Begusarai’s Rajoura Middle School on Thursday nabbed a class VIII student who had come to school with a country-made pistol and handed him over to police.

Police had summoned the student’s parents and were interrogating them by the time of filing of this report.

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

Source: financialexpress.com

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.

Patna High School turns 100: Week- long centennial celebration kicks off

Source: hindustantimes.com

The prestigious Patna High School campus has turned 100 this year. The school management along with its alumni association has planned a series of programs to celebrate the grand occasion.

In fact, the week long celebrations have already begun from Monday and would culminate on August 4 with a gala event that would see scores of dignitaries from across the nation, most of them the institute alumni, converging on the campus to relive the fond memories of their school days and wish well for their alma mater.

An organising team has been formed to make all necessary arrangements and see through successful completion of the events.  The campus is already gripped with fervour. 

On Monday, an essay writing competition was held among the present students. According to school officials, different competitions including painting, math quiz, and athletics will be held and the winners will be awarded on August 4.

As per the managing committee, Vice-President of India M Venkaiah Naidu, Governors of Bihar and Sikkim, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, chief minister Nitish Kumar, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, education Minister Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma, members of parliament R K Sinha, C P Thakur, legislators Abdul Bari Siddiqui and Sanjeev Chaurasiya have confirmed to attend the function.

Patna High School Principal Ravi Ranjan, who himself is an alumnus of the school, shed light on the current challenges facing by the school. He said, “Notwithstanding the school’s glorious history, in the present scenario its stature has witnessed decline due to deteriorating infrastructure and lack of teachers. We are expecting a change in fate after the visit of Vice-president Naidu and may the school get reasons to rejuvenate again.”  

Raj Shekhar Gupta, general secretary of Patna High School Alumni Association, said, “All eyes are set for the August 4 gala event. In the morning, the visiting guests would garland the statute of Rajendra Prasad Singh, a former student of the school, who was among the seven youths killed in the infamous Patna Secretariat firing case during the Quit India Movement in August 1942. Singh’s statue stands tall on the campus even today.”

“In the second half, the students of batch 1960-70 and retired teachers of the school would be honoured followed by cultural programme”, added Gupta.

Patna University teachers to go on strike against new salary payment system

Source: hindustantimes.com

With thousands of teachers and employees of schools, colleges and universities still awaiting their monthly salaries and struggling with backlogs, Patna University teachers’ and employees’ associations have announced to go on a two-day strike on August 2 and 3, against the likely move to stop the old system and follow a new one.

Under the new centralised finance management system (CFMS), the salary to university and college teachers and employees will be paid through the treasury, instead of earlier system of releasing grants for varsities.

A couple of months ago, there was problem in salary payment in many universities after the old system was stopped for many universities without putting the CFMS wholly in place. PU is the only university that somehow manages timely salary payment through internal resources,  

“The CFMS system has not been successful in ensuring timely payment of salaries in any university. Alarmed by this, we had approached the Patna high court and the matter is pending there. Prior to this also, the teachers’ association had approached the HC. The HC had directed PU to ensure salary payment to its staff on the first day of every month by any source,” the leaders of two associations have written to vice-chancellor RB Prasad Singh.

The leaders have said that they would continue their protest against Bihar government’s unclear policies and the new system of salary payment, as it was unlikely to ensure timely payment. “At present, at least PU manages timely payment through internal resources to spare the teachers and employees from hassles,” they added.

The leaders have also voiced concern over the delay and mode of payment. “If the government will make net salary payment and not gross payment, it might again take months to get back the lawful deductions,” they added.

Officials in the department of education, however, said once the CFMS becomes fully functional, salary payment would be streamlined. 

Patna Court annuls forced marriage, provides relief to groom married at gunpoint

Source: indiatoday.in

A family court in Patna in Bihar has provided much-needed relief to an engineer employed in Bokaro Steel Plant (BSP) by annulling his forced marriage, which he had reluctantly entered into back in 2017.

“The marriage between the petitioner, Vinod Kumar, and the opposite party, Kundan Kumari, allegedly solemnised on December 3, 2017, is hereby declared voidable and accordingly marriage is hereby annulled by a decree of nullity,” the court order reads.

Narrating how he was forced to enter into marriage, Vinod said, “The incident happened in December 2017 when I had gone to Patna to attend my friend’s marriage. There, an acquaintance — Surendra Yadav — fooled me into coming to his house where he held me captive and forced me to marry his sister at gunpoint.”

Talking about the course of action he took later, Vinod said, ” I was beaten and threatened for marrying the girl. I did not accept the marriage and lodged a complaint with the Pandarak police station under whose jurisdiction the village came. The police, rather than filing my FIR, kept me at the police station for 16 hours. They did not cooperate with me. After that, I lodged a case at the Vyavhar Nyalaya and also lodged a criminal case.”

Speaking about the problems he faced in the past two years and about the decision by the Vyavhar Nyayalay, he said, “For the past two years I was facing a lot of mental torture. This decision by the Nyaylay annulling the marriage has come as a big relief for me.”