Monday, 11 January 2016

Uttarakhand CM served notice by GDA for building violation

Confirming the issuance of notice, GDA vice chairman Vijay Kumar Yadav said: “Yes, the notice has been issued for violation of housing construction rules.
“The basement was built on plot number GK 1/165, situated in Gyan Khand I in Indirapuram in excess of the parameters. The floor area has also been constructed in excess of parameters,” he said.
“Notice has been served on Harish Rawat as the plot is in his name,” he added.
Earlier, Ghaziabad police registered a criminal case against GDA clerks for forging documents to sell an already allotted plot of Rawat in Indirapuram.
Gulab Yadav, a property dealer, lodged a police complaint saying GDA clerk Vinay Kumar lured him to buy two plots in February 2010 and arranged a meeting with supervisor Chandra Pal and Virpal Raghav, who called three clerks Prashant Kumar, Rajendra and Mewa Lal.
They all assured him of providing two plots, and after some time, demanded Rs.25 lakh as the initial amount.
Yadav said he paid Rs.25 lakh to Mewa Lal, but they neither provided him the plots nor returned his money.
They later gave him an allotment letter signed by then GDA joint secretary Shambhu Nath and in the name of Vimal Chand Mitra, a resident of Nehru Nagar here.
GDA officer on special duty R.P. Pandey said he received a complaint in October 2013, and during investigation, found that the Indirapuram plot was in the name of Rawat, and that the allotment letter in the name of Mitra was a forged one.
A criminal case has been registered against the clerks.

Navy chief in Bangladesh for Indian Ocean Naval Symposium

During his visit which will be till January 14, Admiral Dhowan will also meet political and military figures to strengthen bilateral relations.
In the symposium, the Indian Navy would be presenting a guideline document on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
“The aim of the document is to provide guidelines for developing a speedy, responsive, coordinated and effective HADR for IONS members, as and when required,” the statement said.
IONS was launched in February 2008 to captilise upon regional strengths of Indian Ocean Region littorals and was the 21st century’s first significant international maritime-security initiative.
Alltogether 35 littoral states in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) have been grouped into four sub-regions – South Asian, West Asian, East African and South East Asian including Australia.
IONS seeks to provide a regional forum through which the chiefs of navies or equivalent maritime agency of all the littoral states periodically meet to constructively engage each other through the creation and promotion of regionally relevant mechanisms, events, and activities.
The chairmanship of the symposium is rotated sequentially through each of the four sub-regions.
The chair was held by India from 2008 to 2010, UAE from 2010 to 2012 and South Africa from 2012 to 2014. The current chair is Australia and Bangladesh would be taking over the chair for the term 2016 -2018.
The theme of the seminar this year is “Fostering Partnership in IOR: Charting course for Maritime Cooperative Engagement”.

Establish Hindi’s supremacy in MEA: Sushma Swaraj

“To promote Hindi language is not just the job of an organisation or sangathan, it is the responsibility of all office-bearers of the external affairs ministry. Everyone should take a pledge to help earn Hindi its deserved place, which has been neglected for so many years.
“The monopoly of English should be broken. I want to see that day in future when the supremacy of Hindi over English is established at the external affairs ministry,” she said at the ministry’s “Vishwa Hindi Diwas” programme.
Taking a dig at the UPA government, she noted that even though ‘Vishwa Hindi Diwas’ is being celebrated every year since 2006, Hindi was neither spoken nor written at the external affairs ministry till 2014.
“I once visited Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) after becoming the minister. A number of books were showed to me. I only asked them one thing, ‘how many books have been written or translated in Hindi, the reply was not even one’.
“Every year since 2006 ‘Vishwa Hindi Diwas’ was celebrated, and even pledge used to be taken to promote Hindi, but was forgotten after 24 hours,” she added.
Sushma Swaraj commended her own government’s efforts in promoting Hindi.
“Today I am glad to say that it has been just 19 months since we’ve come to power, but Hindi is now gaining its must-required place in the external affairs ministry. It is now breaking the monopoly of English in the ministry.
“Both the prime minister and the external affairs minister are not ashamed of speaking in Hindi. They feel proud of it. It should be noted that both of us addressed the United Nations in Hindi. I have also made it a point to speak to the foreign guests, who speak in their own languages and not in English, in Hindi,” she added.
She also congratulated the foreign students who studied Hindi in India and participated in the ‘Vishwa Hindi Diwas’, and praised the Kendriya Hindi Sansthan for promoting the language.

Internet is useful Satya Nadella gets coveted seat for Obama address

The 23 special guests attending Obama’s annual address to the Congress with first lady Michelle Obama “represent the progress we have made” over the last seven years. the White House said
“Their stories – of struggle and success – highlight where we have been and where America is going in the future, building on the best of what our country has to offer.”
“The guests personify President Obama’s time in office and most importantly, they represent who we are as Americans: inclusive and compassionate, innovative and courageous,” it said.
Originally from Hyderabad, India, Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 and became its CEO in February 2014.
“Microsoft has been a leader in expanding access to computer science in K-12 classrooms, and in, a private public partnership to increase awareness of and support for the teaching profession,” the White House said.
“In September, the company announced a new $75 million effort to expand computer science education, including opportunities for engineers from Microsoft and other companies with teachers to team-teach computer science,” it said.
“In October 2015, under Satya’s leadership, Microsoft increased its paid leave benefits by eight weeks and now includes 20 weeks of paid leave for new mothers and 12 weeks for non-birth parents,”
Obama, who is making a strong push for common sense gun control measures has also decided to keep one of 24 guest seats empty, to symbolize victims of gun violence.
Among other special guests would be Braeden Mannering, a 12-year-old boy who “after attending the White House Kids’ ‘State Dinner,’ started his own nonprofit to provide healthy food to homeless and low-income individuals in his community.”
With South Carolina’s Republican Governor Nikki Haley seen as a potential vice presidential candidate, giving her party’s response to Obama’s address, two Indian-American governors would be bookending the president’s annual speeches.
Republican Congressional leaders had chosen Louisiana’s outgoing governor Bobby Jindal to give the party’s response to Obama’s first address in 2009.
For his final address, Obama plans to skip the traditional “laundry list” of legislative proposals, new policies and presidential appeals in favour of a broad overview of what he has accomplished since 2009 and what is undone in his final year in office.
He will give his assessment of what the country looks like in 2016 and the direction he hopes it will take in the future, aides said.
Obama, according to his chief of staff, Denis McDonough would argue that “we’ve brought America back” citing achievements like the nuclear deal with Iran, restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba, a global climate pact and an Asia-Pacific trade deal.

HC refuses to interfere in odd-even scheme

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said it will not “interfere unless the policy is unconstitutional or contrary to the statutory provisions”.

Protest ‘morning walk’ held in Pune

“It was a token half-km long march and we want to convey the message to the SanatanSanstha that we are not scared of their threats,” convener of NGO Lokayat and Socialist Party of India national executive committee member Neeraj Jain told IANS.
The morning walk – from Mahatma Gandhi statue near the railway station to Ambedkar statue near the Collectorate – was intended to serve as a reply to Sanatan Sanstha lawyer Sanjiv Punalekar’s advice to Sabnis, asking to “go for morning walks”.
Many construed it as a ‘threat’ since in the past, two prominent rationalists, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare had been shot dead while on a morning walk.
However, under fire from several quarters, Punalekar denied the purported threat and said it was purely to improve “the writer’s (Sabnis) mental and physical health”.
Followng Punalekar’s comments, Pune Police has provided two armed police guards to Sabnis and family.
After the walk, in which around 100 people, including intellectuals, youth and social activisits carrying banner and placards participated, Sabnis urged the need for ‘dialogue’ to resolve all kinds of differences.
Sabnis, an elected president of the four-day 89th All India Marathi Literary Conference starting here from January 15, reiterated that he was “ready for discussions on anything that anybody finds objectionable”.
“Let them come and talk it over. I am not afraid of such threats. I am ready to take bullets,” said Sabnis, who lives with his wife and two children in Maharashtra’s academic and cultural capital.
“It’s time the state government takes all this seriously, or I will go the Dabholkar and Pansare way. The government must also initiate suitable action against Punalekar in this matter,” Sabnis demanded.
The author of 29 books, Sabnis has been facing intimidation since the past few days for his utterances against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with some political activists threatening to “break his limbs” and “kill him”.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Mulayam Singh revokes expulsion of two Akhilesh proteges

The two were booted out of the party last week following complaints that they had opposed official party candidates in the polls for ‘zilapanchayat’ chairmen.
The expulsion had stunned the party cadres as the two were considered the closest associates of the chief minister.
After the action was announced by PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav, the chief minister went into a sulk and for the first time skipped the SaifaiMahotsava, baring in open the simmering differences between Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh.
The sources said that some family members, mainly the young leaders, communicated to the chief minister that the two need to seek forgiveness from Mulayam Singh and then the SP chief would be cajoled into bringing them back into the party fold.
Following the plan, while Akhilesh went to the SaifaiMahotsava after six days of absence, Mulayam also turned ‘soft’ at the persuasion of senior leaders that the incident was sending a wrong message to the people and the party rank and file, specially since the state assembly elections were just a year away.
Finally, Shivpal Singh Yadav announced the revoking of Sunil Singh Sajan and AnandBhadauria’s expulsion late Friday.

Will give befitting reply to terror attack: Rajnath

His comment came after four terrorists were killed in an attack on the Panthankot air force base in Punjab early Saturday.
Singh said the nation wants good and friendly relations with every country, including Pakistan. “Pakistan is our neighbour, we want peace, but any terror attack on India will get a befitting response,” he said.
He lauded the efforts of the army, saying forces were giving a “befitting response”.

Science congress to focus on Make in India

“Keeping in view the prime minister’s flagship programme to get global investments, create jobs and boost exports, the theme of the 103rd Indian Science Congress is on a Science& Technology for indigenous development,” Mysore University vice chancellor K.S. Rangappa told IANS here.
To be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the sprawling Mansagangotri campus of University of Mysore in presence of top scientists, Nobel laureates and hundreds of students, the five-day annual fair is holding a mega expo on the theme of Pride of India – Frontier Science & Technologies.
Though the science congress is being held for the 10th time in Karnataka, Mysuru is hosting it for second time 33 years after Indira Gandhi opened it in 1982, and as part of its centenary celebrations since it was founded in 1916.
On eight occasions, the event was held in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), 140 km from here, with the last in 2003 when Atal Behari Vajpayee was the prime minister and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam the president.
Interestingly, the first science congress in the erstwhile Mysore state was held in 1917 at Bangalore when the Mysore maharaja, Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodiyar inaugurated it in the premier Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for which he gifted 371 acres of land free in 1911 for promoting research in science.
Eminent scientist C.N.R Rao, a receipient of the Bharat Ratna, will deliver a lecture on “Doing Science in India” on Sunday after the inaugural session, which will be webcast for live streaming though about 400 scientists from overseas and across the country and about 100 noted speakers will be present to listen him directly.
Five Nobel Laureates – John B Gurdon (medicine, 2012) from Britain, DassShechtman (chemistry, 2011) from Israel, David J Gross (physics, 2004) and Arthur B. McDonald (physics, 2015) from the US and Serge Haroche (physics, 2012) from France will speak at the panel discussion on “Science & Technology: Present & Future”.
Indian-born Fields medallist Manjul Bhargava from Princeton University in the US will also participate in the discussion on January 3.
Modi will also honour about 30 distinguished scientists who had made singular contribution to the cause of science with awards and rewards, including gold medals to Nobel laureates, best presenter at the congress, best poster, young scientists and C.V. Raman birth centenary award.
About 8,500 delegates have registered for the event from other states and overseas. Another 2,500 delegates, including faculty and students from the host university are participating.
“With about 2,000 spot registrations, we expect about 15,000 people to visit the campus for the five-day fair to witness its various events, including women’s science congress, children’s science congress and communicators meet,” Rangappa said ahead of the meet.
Plenary talks will be on nano science, space science, technology and applications , diabetes, evolution, the frontiers, atomic energy, safe water and sanitation, diseases, drug development and public-private partnerships in the Clean India mission.
Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani will open the fifth women’s science congress on January 4, while Gurdon will flag off the children congress on the second day of the fair.
As Karnataka’s cultural capital and city of palaces, this historic city will treat the visiting delegates to its rich cultural programmes, including classical dances, fusion music and folklore.
The science expo will have four pavilions – Hall of Pride, Vigyan Jyot, Genesis and Edu Vision – in which about 180 organsiations will showcase eminent personalities, inventions, discoveries and scientific solutions for common problems.
“As the expo’s revered segment, the Hall of Pride pavilion is dedicated to eminent personalities who contributed immensely to the growth of science and technology, which in turn helped in the country’s development,” Rangappa added.
Among the noted personalities are Jawaharlal Nehru, Vikram Sarabhai, Dhirubhai Ambani, G.D. Birla, SatishDhawan, AcharyaPrafulla Chandra Ray and Sir M. Visvesvaraya from the host state.
As a tribute to Kalam, the Hall of Pride pavilion will be dedicated to him.

Mild tremors hit north India

The India Meteorological Department said the earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale had its epicentre in the Hindu Kush region.

Ram Chandra Purve elected RJD Bihar unit president

The process of Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) organizational election from panchayat began last month. It was formally announced by RJD chief Lalu Prasad at the party headquarters here in the presence of hundreds of party leaders and workers.
Purve, a former minister, is considered a trusted man of Lalu Prasad. He is soft spoken person with over three decades of active politics.
This is third time Purve has been appointed as RJD state president.
When he was appointed RJD state president for the first time in 2010, the RJD was in opposition. And, in 2013 also the party was in opposition. But now the RJD is a ruling party, as it is part of the Grand Alliance-led government.
RJD today enjoys a strong social support base in Bihar, thanks to its mass leader Lalu Prasad. It was reflected in Bihar assembly polls concluded in November 2015 when the RJD won 80 assembly seats and emerged as the largest single party.
Lalu Prasad is likely to be re-elected as party chief on January 17.

Left to stage state-wide agitations against Bengal government

Declaring its resolve, at the Brigade Parade Grounds rally on December 27 as well as its recently concluded organisational plenum, of ousting the “authoritarian” Mamata Banerjee regime, the Marxists and their mass organisations will be hitting the streets on the issues of the Saradha chit fund scam, the dismal industrial scenario as well as the plight of tea garden workers.
Demanding the prosecution of all those involved in the Saradha scam as well as indemnifying the poor investors, the Left Front will stage a demonstration at the CGO Complex which houses the offices of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate — the two central agencies probing the multi-crore-rupee scandal.
Left leaders will also be campaigning about the January 12 demonstration across the state during January 8-12.
Under the banner of Bengal Platform of Mass Organisations (BPMO), a host of Left organisations will undertake a march from Singur in Hooghly district to Salboni in West Midnapore district, beginning January 16.
Addressing the Brigade rally, CPI-M state secretary Surjy Kanta Mishra had assured of reviving the state’s industrial scenario, promising to set up industries from Salboni to Singur — from where a massive anti-acquisition movement by the Trinamool forced Tata Motors to relocate its proposed car manufacturing unit to Gujarat.
The protest march, to be led by Left Front chairman Biman Bose and Mishra, will culminate on January 22.
The Left also announced organising similar agitations in North Bengal highlighting the plight of tea garden workers.
A large number of tea gardens have closed down or are in a state of limbo and several workers have died allegedly due to malnutrition and starvation.
On January 28, Left leaders and activists will stage a demonstration at the administrative headquarters in each of the districts.

Three generations of women violinists at Dover Lane conference

Rajam’s daughter Sangeeta Shankar, granddaughters Ragini and Nandini Shankar will perform as a violin quartet at the four-day music conference at Nazrul Mancha in south Kolkata. The veteran violinist will be honoured with the ‘SangeetSamman Award 2016′.
“When you listen to one such concert, it will look as if the raga is being expanded by one artist, although four artists are playing. It will not be noise. It will be as if one artist is elaborating the raga,” Rajam, whose family has a music legacy of seven generations, told the media here on Saturday.
Rajam is an exponent of Hindustani Classical music. With 12 violinists in the family, including her brother Padma Bhushan T. N. Krishnan (of Carnatic style), the tradition is to hand over the musical instrument to the next generation at the age of three.
The conference also features PanditShivkumar Sharma on the santoor, Amjad Ali Khan and Amaan Ali Khan on the sarod, among other heavyweights in night-long concerts.
In a mix and match of veterans and next generation artists, the line-up includes Shoukat Hussain Khan (vocals), Anupama Bhagwat (sitar) and Mukul Shivputra (son of eminent vocalist Kumar Gandharva).
Lamenting the dearth of constructive criticism of artists in the media nowadays, Rajam requested the media to go for such criticism so that the insights help young artists to improve.

Earthquake hit NE states and neighbouring countries

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage to property.
“The quake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale, occurred at 4.37 a.m and had its epicentre in Manipur’s Tamenglong district bordering,” said an official of the regional seismological centre here in Meghalaya.
The earthquake was felt in parts of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura .
India’s northeast is considered the sixth major earthquake-prone belt in the world.

Modi meets NSA, foreign secretary over Pathankot attack

Modi held the meeting soon after his return after his two-day visit to Karnataka.
“Immediately on landing in Delhi, PM @narendramodi is chairing a high level meeting with the NSA, Foreign Secretary & other officials,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet.
Sources said the NSA briefed the prime minister about the operation carried out by security forces, including the National Security Guard, Indian Army and IAF commandos.
Security forces on Sunday nailed two more terrorists who had attacked the Indian Air Force base. Four terrorists were killed on Saturday in a 15-hour gunfight. The terrorists are believed to be from Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad.
Seven security personnel, including an NSG officer, were also killed in the counter-offensive against the terrorists.
The terror attack came almost a week after Modi flew into Lahore, on his way back from Afghanistan, for a surprise meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Both leaders had vowed to pursue the derailed bilateral peace process.
Foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan are expected to meet on January 15 to draw up a roadmap for bilateral engagement.
The Modi government has faced sharp criticism from Congress and some other parties over its policy on Pakistan. The opposition parties have said the Modi government’s policy on Pakistan “lacks clarity and consistency”.

Delhi on high alert following Pathankot attack

“Terrorist outfit Jaish-E-Mohammed is planning to carry out an attack in the city,” an intelligence source said.
Earlier, there were inputs that Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Goa and Kolkata were on the radar of some terrorists groups.
In view of the inputs, Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi on Sunday organised a second consecutive meeting with officials, including the heads of the bomb disposal unit and the fire department.
On Saturday, Bassi had reviewed security arrangements in the city with Delhi Police officials including special commissioners and joint commissioners.
Sources said Bassi, in Sunday’s meeting, asked officials to remain on high alert to avoid any untoward incident in the city.
He also directed officials to keep up the heightened security at the airport, railway stations, bus stands and other vital installations, the sources said.
Vigil was intensified in many areas, including popular market places, in south Delhi, central Delhi and the VIP movement zone in Lutyens’ Delhi, a police official said.
The police chief appealed to the residents to remain vigilant about any suspicious person or thing and report immediately to the police.
“Citizens’ vigil against suspicious persons/objects/activities is vital to counter terrorism. Report anything amiss (on) phone No.100 or helpline 1090,” Bassi tweeted.

Mopping operation continues at Pathankot air base

NSG and Army commandos conducted a thorough mopping of the entire area where the terrorists, suspected to be from Pakistan, had been cornered, police said.
Firing could be heard during the night and Monday morning. Officials said this firing could be linked to the mopping operation.
IAF helicopters flew through the night over the air base to assist ground forces in the counter offensive against the terrorists.
Army and para-military forces have surrounded the entire air force base, which is spread in a huge area.
Four terrorists were killed by security forces on Saturday after a 15-hour long gunfight in which the NSG, Indian Army and IAF commandos were involved, assisted by IAF helicopters.
A gunfight between two more terrorists and security forces continued through Sunday.
Seven security personnel, including one official of the National Security Guard, one IAF Garud commando and five Defence Services Corps (DSC) personnel were killed in the counter-offensive against the terrorists.
“Combing operation continued (on Sunday). This operation is at the completion stage. The operation will continue till the whole air base has been cleared of any intruders,” Air Commodore J. S. Dhamoon, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) of the Pathankot Air Force Station told the media.
Smoke could be seen coming out of the IAF air base in Pathankot, 250 km from Chandigarh, on Sunday evening as the gunfight moved to an end.

Pathankot attack: Sushma meets ex-diplomats, former envoys to Pakistan

Sushma Swaraj met Shiv Shankar Menon, former foreign secretary and national security adviser; Shyam Saran, former foreign secretary; SatinderLambah, former envoy to Pakistan and former special envoy to the prime minister who conducted back channel talks with Pakistan; and four former envoys to Pakistan, T.C.A. Raghavan, Sharad Sabharwal, Satyabrata Pal and G. Parthasarathy.
Raghavan, who retired as India’s high commissioner to Pakistan on December 31, was present when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his surprise stopover in Lahore to greet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.
Ministry officials refrained from giving details of Sunday’s meeting.
Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore had signalled a thaw in India-Pakistan relations but Saturday’s Pathankot terror attack is seen as an attempt by forces across the border to derail the proposed foreign secretary-level talks in Islamabad in the middle of this month.
Modi’s visit was the culmination of a series of diplomatic engagements between the two South Asian neighbours starting from November 30 last year when he had a seemingly impromptu meeting with Sharif at the Paris climate summit.
Following this, on December 6, Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua held a meeting in Bangkok which was also attended by Foreign Secretaries S. Jaishankar and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.
Two days later, SushmaSwaraj landed in Islamabad to attend the Heart of Asia conference which engages “heart of Asia” countries for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
On December 9, she told the media there that Modi would visit Islamabad next year to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit.
Then, after a courtesy call on Sharif, she held a bilateral with his advisor on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz.
The two then came out with a joint statement in which Pakistan assured India that all steps were being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack trial.
“Both sides, accordingly, agreed to a comprehensive bilateral dialogue and directed the the foreign secretaries to work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings under the dialogue, including peace and security, CBMs (confidence buildins measures), Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial cooperation, counter-terrorism, narcotics control, humanitarian issues, people-to-people exchanges and religious tourism,” the statement said.
Even as the stage was being set for the foreign secretary-level meeting between the two sides came the Pathankot attack that is being deemed as an attack on the softening of ties between New Delhi and Islamabad.