Bihar: Swachh Bharat in shambles as civic staff strike enters third day


At Patna, where 4500 workers are on strike, the employees dumped carcasses of cows, goats and dogs at Patna Municipal Corporation offices at Maurya Lok complex and Kankarbagh circle.

Patna: With the strike of the 25,000 municipal staff all over Bihar entering its third day on Wednesday, the entire state is stinking as heaps of garbage is scattered on all streets, roads and residential colonies.The daily wage workers of the municipal corporations and municipalities are agitated over state government’s decision to outsource the civic services.

The striking workers dumped carcasses of animals on busy market areas and headquarters of the civic bodies. At Patna, where 4500 workers are on strike, the employees dumped carcasses of cows, goats and dogs at Patna Municipal Corporation offices at Maurya Lok complex and Kankarbagh circle. According to reports received from Gaya, Darbhanga and Ara, the officers abstained from attending their respective offices due to the strike.

The workers had also dumped garbage at the official bungalows of the Urban Development Minister Suresh Sharma on Strand Road and Health Minister Mangal Pandey on Polo road.

Morning walkers at Shivaji park, S K Puri Park and Raj Banshinagar Park also avoided visiting parks due to the carcasses dumped inside them.Urban development Minister on Wednesday claimed the decision to scrap the services of daily wage workers was taken on the orders of the Lokayukta. He said the government would hand over the civic services to non-government agencies next month.

Patna Mayor, Seeta Sahu, met the minister and said the corporators were also in support of the demands of the striking workers. She said daily wage workers should be engaged as regular employees than handing over the services to the outsources agencies.

Chandra Prakash, president of the striking civic staff union said the government was denying its due to the workers who were engaged in civic services for the last 15 years.

Kanhaiya’s convoy attacked again in Bihar


Pelted with stones by pro-CAA supporters in Supaul, CPI leader escapes unhurt

The Communist Party of India leader and former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s convoy was pelted with stones on Wednesday by a group of youth chanting slogans in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Mr. Kumar is currently undertaking a month-long march across Bihar.

The CPI leader had launched his march on January 30 from Bhitiharwa Gandhi Ashram in West Champaran and it is scheduled to culminate on February 29 at Patna’s historic Gandhi Maidan.

A group of youths shouting pro-CAA slogans pelted stones at Mr. Kumar’s convoy at Mallik Chowk in Supaul district where he had gone to address a public meeting. Mr. Kumar was on his way to the neighbouring district of Saharsa. One person was reportedly injured in the attack and windows of three vehicles were damaged.

Mr. Kumar, though, was not hurt in the attack. Ink was also thrown at him but he escaped. The CPI leader’s supporters got down from their vehicles and protested against the attack for some time at the spot.

Later, senior district police officers reached the spot and made elaborate security arrangements for the convoy to pass through the area. “No one has been seriously injured in the incident… one person suffered minor injuries and window panes of some vehicles have been broken,” said Supaul Superintendent of Police S.K. Porika. However, no one has been taken into custody yet in the incident.

Earlier attacks

Earlier, Mr. Kumar’s convoy was attacked in Saran and Sitamarhi districts too — stones were thrown at vehicles. On the day he had begun his protest march, he was also stopped for some time in West Champaran district by the local administration. However, he was later allowed to address people at Bhitiharwa Gandhi Ashram and his convoy was allowed to proceed for the adjoining district of East Champaran.

Bihar election: Congress pushes for early alliance, shortlists seats with better winning chances.

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NEW DELHI:  Realising that delay in alliance formation in Bihar dented the Mahagathbandhan’s chances during the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress is pushing for alliance in the state to be in place by May for the assembly elections scheduled later this year. In fact, the party has already shortlisted seats with better winnability chances.

Of the 243 assembly seats, the party has prepared a list of those falling in three categories — A, B and C — with wining probabilities keeping in mind caste equation. The Congress is in a bad shape in Bihar with no district or block level committees in many regions of the state.     

“We want an early alliance to be in place for Bihar elections and we are doing our homework for the same. During Lok Sabha polls, the announcement of alliances was pushed till the last minute and it didn’t travel well to the party workers on the ground. As a result,  there was a lack of coordination between party workers,” AICC Bihar in-charge Shakti Sinh Gohil told this newspaper. 

The party feels that in 2015, seat-sharing formula between JD (U)-RJD-Congress alliance was in place much in advance as it was taken care of by Nitish Kumar and that helped the alliance’s coming to power before Kumar parted ways. 

The alliance talks between RJD, Congress, Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikasheel Insaan Party lingered on during Lok Sabha polls. It was finally announced nearly a week before the first phase of polling in the state. 

Gohil says that instructions have been given to state president to constitute district and block committees on priority basis and first round of assessment is already over.    

With the RJD announcing that it will contest at least 150 of 243 seats and projecting Tejashwi Yadav as CM’s face, Congress leaders are in a fix as Bihar unit has told the party high command that they cannot win under him. 

“It would be difficult for the party to win even 5 seats if Tejashwi is declared CM candidate of the mahagathbandhan and party should not agree to contest under him,” said a senior Bihar Congress leader.

Citizenship Act: Kanhaiya Kumar detained with several others in Bihar ahead of protest rally.

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Communist Party of India leader Kanhaiya Kumar and several others were detained on Thursday in Bettiah city in West Champaran district of Bihar, reported Republic. The Bihar Police swung into action just before Kumar was scheduled to begin a “Jan-Gana-Man yatra” against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens.

Speaking to reporters as the police took him away, Kumar said although the administration wants all Indians to show documentary proof of being citizens, the police would not show him the papers for his detention orders, reported News18. The protestors had gathered outside the Bhitiharwa Gandhi Ashram.

Kumar said the police had earlier granted permission for the protest march, but revoked it on Wednesday night. The month-long march was to start from Champaran on Thursday to coincide with Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary.

The former JNU student has held several protest rallies against the amended citizenship law. The former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president had lashed out at the Centre over the arrests of prominent activists who organised protests. He had called the government a “coward and liar”.

Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act are continuing across the country, more than a month after it was passed in Parliament. The amendments, notified on January 10, provide citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam.

The government’s critics and some protestors fear that the amended law and the National Register of Citizens will be misused to target Muslims since the Citizenship Act now has religion as a criterion. There are now fears that a nation-wide National Register of Citizens will be imposed. The Assam NRC had left out around 6% of the state’s population. Work has also begun on the National Population Register, which is the first step to creating an all-Indian NRC identifying undocumented migrants residing in India.

Coronavirus outbreak: Medical camps in .

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PATNA:  Seven Bihar districts, which share a border with Nepal, were directed to set up medical camps in coordination with the border authority to keep any suspected coronavirus cases in check.

Sitamarhi, Kishanganj, Araria, Supaul, Madhubani, East Champaran and West Champaran share their borders with Nepal. According to principal health secretary Sanjay Kumar, district administration has been asked to set up medical camps at Jogvani, Farbisganj and Raxaul.

Polio teams have also been directed to remain on alert with ANMs health workers and Panchayat representatives.

The department reviewed the preparedness with civil surgeons of all districts through video conferencing with officials. Kumar said sufficient masks and medicines have been made available to all districts. 

After sacking of Kishor, is there a third force in the making in Bihar?

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‘Third force’ in Bihar?

The Janata Dal (United) on Wed-nesday sacked party vice-president and election strategist Prashant Kishor (pictured) and former diplomat Pavan Varma from the primary membership of the party. It said the two had been making anti-party statements.

According to sources, Kishor is preparing in earnest for the Bihar Assembly polls, scheduled for September-October. Several senior leaders of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) are upset with Tejashwi Yadav. Allies, including Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party’s Upendra Kushwaha and others, could also be amenable to join a “third force” in Bihar politics that Kishor hopes to shape.

It could comprise RJD rebels, these smaller parties and the Left parties. Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Kanhaiya Kumar is set to start his whirlwind tour of Bihar in the coming days. With RJD chief Lalu Prasad unwell and in jail, the question now is whether the Congress will sever its alliance with Tejashwi-led RJD and lead such an alliance against Nitish Kumar-led JD (U) and Bharatiya Janata Party alliance.

Better interpretation

The Rajya Sabha currently has an interesting mix of interpreters within its ranks. It has expanded its pool of interpreters after Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu instructed officials to ensure that the House’s “simultaneous interpretation service” in all the 22 scheduled languages of the country operates smoothly.

A total of 32 consultant-interpreters have been hired for seven languages including Dogri, Konkani and Sindhi. Instead of recruiting full-time interpreters, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat has experimented with hiring consultants to be engaged on a need to basis. Rajya Sabha Secretary General Desh Dipak Verma said this was a cost-effective way of meeting the simultaneous interpretation need.

Congress’ Shatru!

The bonhomie between maverick Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha and Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav continues to cause much consternation among Congressmen in Uttar Pradesh. Recently, Shatrughan Sinha and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha had shared the dais with Yadav at the SP headquarters in Lucknow.

The actor-turned-politician had quit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joined Congress in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He contested from the Patna Sahib seat but lost, while his wife Poonam Sinha tasted defeat as the SP nominee from the Lucknow parliamentary seat.

Congress’ Lucknow Lok Sabha candidate Acharya Pramod Krishnam took to Twitter to hit out at Sinha over his alleged disloyalty towards the Congress. Other state Congress leaders also expressed dismay over the “conduct” of Sinha and demanded that such people should be shown the door.

Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Modi wants states to spend, borrow more to battle economic slowdown.

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New Delhi: States need to borrow more to step up capital expenditure to counter the economic slowdown at a time when revenues are slowing down, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has said.

In an interview to ThePrint, Modi said, “During an economic slowdown, we require to spend more to boost consumption.”

He added, “However, states will get less money from the Centre and their own sources of revenue are also growing at a lower rate. So states will need to borrow more to ensure capital expenditure is not affected.”

The deputy CM said a relaxation in the target set in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act as well as faster permission for borrowing from the market have been sought from the Narendra Modi government.

“A relaxation in the fiscal deficit target as set by the FRBM Act has been sought. Many states have asked the limits to be relaxed to 3.5 per cent of gross state domestic product (GSDP) from 3 per cent of GSDP,” he said.

Bihar is likely to get Rs 10,000 crore less this year as devolution from central taxes, said Sushil Modi, who also holds the finance portfolio.

The FRBM Act mandates states to keep their fiscal deficit targets under the prescribed limits. However, a slowdown in direct tax and indirect tax collections by the Centre means the amount of money states get from the pool of total central taxes as devolution is likely to come down.

In addition, the pace of growth of state GST revenues has also been lower than anticipated. This has forced states to cut down on capital expenditure at a time when the economy is expected to fall to an 11-year low of 5 per cent.

The Modi government is also expected to reset the FRBM targets as achieving a 3 per cent fiscal deficit by 2021-22 looks near impossible at a time growth is falling sharply.

In a report last month, India Ratings and Research pointed out that a decline in tax revenues, a lower nominal GDP and higher expenditure will see aggregate fiscal deficit of states touch 3 per cent of GDP in 2019-20 as against the budgeted 2.6 per cent.

Besides the lower devolution and GST revenues, the report said states will also see lower tax collections from value added tax on petroleum products.

“Growth of consumption of petroleum products at 2.2% in FY20 so far (April-November) is the lowest in the last seven years,” the report said. In 2013-14, the growth was 0.6 per cent.

‘States should be allowed to swap debt liability’

Speaking to ThePrint, Sushil Modi said there is a need to allow states to repay their high-interest older loans taken from the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) ahead of schedule to lower the interest burden.

“The rate of interest on NSSF loans is very high and this places a heavy interest burden. States should be allowed to swap our debt liability and repay the higher interest loans.” he said.

Bihar is also demanding faster approvals from the central government to make open market borrowings.

Modi pointed out that while states get permission from the Centre to borrow up to 75 per cent of their debt limit without any issue, it has become difficult to get permission for the remaining 25 per cent.

The Bihar leader also favoured the central government transferring funds to the state consolidated fund for any centrally sponsored schemes rather than sending it directly to the implementing authorities.

“In many of the centrally sponsored schemes, the Government of India is (right) now directly sending the money to the implementing agencies rather than to the consolidated state fund,” he said.

Sharjeel Imam arrested in Bihar over ‘cut off Assam’ remark at anti-CAA protest in AMU.

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Former JNU student and one of the key organisers of the Shaheen Bagh protest, Sharjeel Imam, who landed in a major controversy over a controversial remark, has been arrested from Bihar’s Jehanabad.

Sedition cases were lodged against Sharjeel Imam in five states across the country. Now, Delhi Police has arrested Sharjeel Imam from Bihar after he was on the run for 4-5 days since his speech video went viral.

Sharjeel Imam was arrested from Tako area in Jehanabad after several police teams conducted raids across Jehanabad and other areas of Bihar. He will now be flown down to New Delhi for further questioning.

In the controversial remark, Sharjeel Imam had suggested Assam be cut off from mainland India.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sharjeel Imam’s brother was also picked up by the police over the anti-CAA protesters alleged inflammatory speeches at the AMU protest.

Asked about Sharjeel Imam’s arrest from Bihar, CM Nitish Kumar said, “Nobody should do anything that is not in the interest of the nation. The accusations and the arrest, court will decide on the matter.”

Sharjeel Imam had been involved in organizing the protests at Shaheen Bagh but came into limelight after a video clip went viral wherein he could be heard making some controversial comments while addressing a gathering at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), following which he was booked under sedition charges.

Delhi Police claimed he had given an “inflammatory” speech earlier on the Jamia Milia Islamia campus and lodged an FIR against him in the national capital.

Another case was lodged under the stringent anti-terror law against him in Assam, taking cognisance of Imams remark that Assam could be “severed from India, even if for a few months” as a result of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

Police in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh had also lodged FIRs against the JNU scholar, over his speech in which he threatened to “cut off” Assam and the northeast from the rest of the country.

His mother had appeared before the media and claimed that her son was “not a law-breaker and would surrender to the investigating agencies” and that he had been in favour of “calling off” the agitation at Shaheen Bagh, which has been in news for 24X7 protest, mostly by women.

Bihar BSEB STET 2019 tomorrow, check these last minute tips and tricks.

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Bihar BSEB STET 2019: The Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) will conduct the State Teacher Eligibility Test (STET) on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. The paper-1 will be conducted from 10 am to 12:30 pm, and paper 2 from 2 to 4:30 pm. The admit card will be available on the website- till January 28, 2020. The candidates can download it through the website.

The examination will be conducted in two phases- written test and physical fitness. Those who qualify the written exam will be called for the second round. The paper will be of 150 marks, out of which 100 marks are for written examination and 50 marks are for physical efficiency test.

Bihar BSEB STET 2019: Check these last minute tips and tricks

Call letter: Make sure you keep your admit card in your bag. Candidates should keep in mind that if they fail to carry the same, they will not be allowed to enter the examination hall in any case.

Identity proof: Candidates also have to bring one photo identity proof such as passport/ Aadhaar/ PAN card/ Driving license/ voter’s Id card/ bank passbook with duly attested photograph/ identity card issued by a school or college/ gazetted officer in the official letterhead in original as well as a self-attested photocopy thereof. The same should be submitted along with the call letter to the invigilators.

Items banned: Do not carry electronic gadgets inside the exam hall such as mobile phones or any other communication devices

Revise: If you have prepared notes than it is better to revise them. There’s no point starting a new topic at this point of time.

Leave on time: It is always better to reach the examination venue 30-40 minutes before the scheduled exam rather than reaching late and missing out the paper

Examination hall: Check the address of your centre properly before leaving for the exam in order to avoid last moment rush. If possible, do a recce.

Maintain a positive attitude: Maintaining your calm and a positive frame of mind is the key to perform well in any exam. Do not ponder about the leftover topics or how difficult or easy the paper would be. Just take a deep breath and have faith in your preparations

Time management: Do not dedicate more than 30-40 seconds on one particular question. In case you are confused or are unaware of the answer, move on to the next question and come back and attempt them in the end. As there would be negative marking, be careful and answer only those questions for which you are 100 per cent sure.

The aspirants should reach the exam venue one hour before STET starts. They should not bring any electronic gadget. Moreover, reports suggest candidates wearing shoes, socks and wristwatch will not be allowed to enter the exam hall. They need to wear slippers or sandals.

Criminal dies in police encounter in Bihar’s Vaishali district.

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PATNA: A criminal identified as Baiju Mahto was killed late night on Friday in retaliatory firing by the Lalganj police in Bihar’s Vaishali district while another was caught with an illegal firearm. The third criminal, however, managed to escape.

According to Vaishali Superintendent of Police (SP), Dr Guarav Mangla, a late-night police patrol team intercepted a Scorpio moving near Tinpulwa.

He added that the criminals fired at the police, unprovoked when the police indicated to stop the Scorpio. 

Lead by SHO Sunil Kumar, they retaliated and in the process, a criminal named Baiju Mahto succumbed to bullet injuries on the way to the hospital while one of his accomplices, identified as Ashutosh Kumar was caught with a firearm, the police said. 
The third criminal escaped during the fire exchange, has also been identified.

The SP said that two firearms, empty and unused cartridges and one Scorpio with a VIP registration number: BR-31PA-7000 were recovered.

The deceased was accused of multiple cases lodged in the Lalganj and Mahua Police Stations in which one of the case was lodged under relevant sections of prohibition Act implemented in the state in 2018.

The SP told media that it was an encounter death and magistrate inquiry and FSL investigation were conducted as per the law.

He also said: “There is more criminal history under Prohibition law, which is being complied”.

This was the first encounter-death of an alleged criminal in this year in Bihar. Eleven criminals were killed in seven different encounters in 2019 in Bihar, as per the numbers on Bihar police website.