Flood alert issued in UP villages after water discharged into Yamuna

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): The concerned authorities in Uttar Pradesh”s Muzaffarnagar District have issued fresh flood alert in over a dozen villages after excessive water was discharged from Haryana”s Tajewala barrage into Yamuna river following heavy rains.

Flood outposts in Dund Khera, Sehpat, Mawi, Haiderpur, Ramda, Nagla Rai, Mandawar, Baseda, Belhera, Choutra, Fatehpur, Bidoli, Manglora, Udeypur and Bhadi villages have been put on alert.

Meanwhile, over a dozen villages, mostly in Patiali and Soron regions, in Etah district have submerged after about 1.25-lakh cusec of water was released in the river Ganga

The crops in many villages, including Nagla Hansi, Nagla Narpat, Nagla Heera, Nagla Shambhoo, Nardoli, Nagaria and Kadasgav have reportedly been damaged due to the excessive water. (ANI)

Kashmiri Sikhs say they are safe in Valley

By Parvez Butt

Srinagar, Aug 20 (ANI): Kashmiri Sikhs refute suggestions that they are in any danger, after they received letters claiming to be from separatist organizations, insisting to join the protests against civilian killings, or leave the Valley, altogether.

The Sikh populace on Friday said they are safe in the Valley.

“What was the need to send these letters? If any organization has done this, they would have done it using their letterhead. We can say that this must be done by a central government or state government-paid organization,” said Indumeet Singh, the Chairman of the United Sikh Front Kashmir.

“We don”t have any problem here, we are living here for the past 20 years in the midst of so much of militancy, and we never faced any such problems,” he added.

Locals also said they are completely safe in the Valley, adding that they had been staying there since many years.

“If we have any problem, the Muslim brothers always came and helped us. This is a kind of propaganda by one of the organizations, which are working here. We are a kind of a scapegoat for them. They want to gain something out of it,” said Rajender Singh, a local.

Meanwhile, separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani reassured Sikhs, and said they shouldn”t feel threatened and should, in fact, ignore the fake letters. He added that nobody would force them to join the protests.

“It is not necessary that any Muslim would do. This can be done by any third person who wants to spread misinformation and wants to harm and stop our movement,” said Geelani.

Sikh organizations, said that they feel secure with the majority of Muslim community.

Meanwhile, Rattan Singh Ajnala, a lawmaker of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) raised the matter in the Lok Sabha and said that Sikhs have always been there whenever the country needed them.

Ajnala showed a newspaper, which carried an article stating that the Sikhs in the Valley got letters from separatist organizations, threatening them to either join their movements or leave the Valley. (ANI)

Chandigarh Police arrest two Australians on kidnapping charges

Chandigarh, Aug 20 (ANI): The Crime Branch of Chandigarh Police on Friday arrested three persons including two Australian nationals for plotting to stage a kidnap in order to extract ransom.

The accused taken into custody have been identified as Grant Alanestein, Simon Galti and Gursher Singh, a resident of Punjab”s Ropar town, presently residing in Australia.

Chandigarh Inspector General of Police P K Srivastava said the police monitored the accused persons movements and arrested them before they could attempt to execute the intended kidnapping.

“The Crime Branch of Chandigarh Police got some credible information, that two foreign nationals from Australia, one is holder of a British passport and the other is Australian passport holder. They along with an Indian, who is also living in Australia, they have hatched a conspiracy to kidnap a person in Chandigarh for ransom,” said Srivastava.

“The amount to be realised through this ransom was to be invested again in drug trade,” he added.

The police reportedly seized drugs and weapons from the foreign nationals at the time of their arrest.

“From the search, we got some Hashish, Charas (drugs) from the possession form one of them, and two knives and booked them under Arms Act and various sections of kidnapping. So, that is the brief I have right now,” said Srivastava, mentioning that one of the Australian nationals was a truck driver and other one was a security guard. (ANI)

Rural employment schemes a boon for West Bengal villagers

Kolkata, Aug 20 (ANI): Rural folk living on the outskirts of Kolkata have welcomed the various employment opportunities generated through financial aid by the Government social schemes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and the Swarnajayanti Gram Sarojgar Yojana (SGSY).

The villages here are witnessing a slow, but steady impact of various poverty alleviation schemes being implemented by Panchayats (village councils) and West Bengal”s Rural Development Department.

The formation of self-help groups (SHG) along with several others, have economically bolstered the entire area, empowering women in various fields.

According to the latest figures, around 6,604 families are availing the benefits of various poverty alleviation schemes, including income generation projects and micro-credit programmes.

“The approach is still good and it should be welcome by all. Because, now people have the right to ask for work to the local self-government, like Panchayat (village council); they can go to Panchayat and ask for work,” said Achin Chakravorty, a professor of the Institute of Development Studies, who conducts workshops with villagers.

“If local government cannot give work within 50 days, then they are supposed to give unemployment allowance, and there are fussing about it, but by and large, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) has made some impact on rural poverty,” he added.

The woman groups here have set up small businesses with the help of financial aid that include fishing, fish cultivation and sapling planting, which are generating income and making them self-dependent.

The village councils are implementing the schemes through untied funds and this structure has been yielding good results.
“Village council authority gave me the fishing net. I am using it to catch fish and earn a living, and through this when I sell them in the market I get Rs 30 to 50 per day. Whatever help I am getting from the authority is benefiting me a lot,” said Purnima Gayan, a local.

The NREGA aims at enhancing the livelihood of people living in the rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage-employment in a financial year, in exchange for unskilled manual work. (ANI)

Centre approves Rs 1,479 crore under NHDP in Jharkhand

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): The Central Government on Friday approved a Rs 1,479 crore project in Jharkhand under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP).

“The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) today approved the implementation of the project of four laning of Ranchi-Rargaon-Jamshedpur section of NH-33 from 113.73 km to 277.50 km in the state of Jharkhand under NHDP Phase III,” said an official statement issued in New Delhi.

The construction period for the project that will be built on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis will be 15 years.

The government will meet the expenditure amounting to Rs 55.84 crore for land acquisition and other pre-construction activities.

It has been reported that with the implementation of this project in Jharkhand, there will be a reduction in time and cost of travel for the traffic plying between capital city Ranchi and the industrial township of Jamshedpur. (ANI)

Female graduates in Shanghai terrified of becoming “3S ladies”

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): A survey has revealed that female university graduates in Shanghai are terrified of being classed as a “3S lady”.

The term “3S lady” defines an independent and educated woman born in the 70s who is still single, China Daily reported.

The survey, carried out by the journalism school at Fudan University, showed that from the 900 female university graduates from 17 universities, over 70 percent respondents feared they would become “3S ladies”.

They believe that the failure of the “3S ladies” to find a partner is either due to their limited social network or their strong personality, or because they are too busy to date or are more capable than their male counterparts.

“3S ladies often value career success above their personal lives,” Liao Shengqing, head of the communication department in the journalism school at Fudan University, said.

“Their personal excellence and high standards leave them in a catch-22 situation in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, which weakens their chance of finding potential husbands,” Shengqing stated.

For “3S ladies” who have failed to find companions, being single involves the contradictory feelings of being free, though lonely at times, especially when their female friends go on dates, get married and have families.

As women tend to become successful in their careers earlier than men, Liao said he was unable to see an end to the plight of “3S ladies”. (ANI)

Give specific dialogue date for talks: Swami Agnivesh asks Maoists

Kolkata, Aug 20 (ANI): A day after Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji said they are ready to observe a three-month ceasefire for talks, social activist Swami Agnivesh has said Kishenji should come forward with a concrete step, not only public statements.

“Kishenji should come forward with a concrete step, not only public statements. He should propose the date for talks in a written format rather than routing it through the media,” Agnivesh said.

“Earlier too, he (Kishenji) gave proposals for peace talks and a ceasefire for 72 hours. He should produce something in writing and I will approach the government with that,” Agnivesh added.

“Kishenji can send me the confidential written format either through post or on my mail address. An advance notice period of seven to ten days should also be given for the Centre to consult with the Chief Ministers of the affected States and prepare for the dialogue,” he added.

He said that even though the ceasefire period can be extended for three months or beyond, abjuring violence for an initial 72 hours would help the peace process to actually start.

On Tuesday, Kishenji conveyed through the media suggestion of a three-month ceasefire for the sake of peace and for talks.

“President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in their Independence Day speeches, have appealed to the Maoists to abjure violence. We are never for violence but the government has instigated us to take up arms,” Kishenji said from an undisclosed destination.

“We are always against terrorism and corruption of any kind…It has been our party”s mandate to fight corruption and so we are mobilising people all over the country to ensure that they raise their voice against injustice,” he added.

Kishenji also suggested some names of mediators including writer Arundhati Roy, singer and Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman, B D Sharma, Gopal Narlekar and Ramanna.

UPA Govt. at Centre has doubled Bihar”s allocation: Congress

Patna, Aug 20 (ANI): The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government on Friday said the Centre has doubled its allocation to Bihar since 2004 and alleged that the Nitish Kumar-led Government poorly utilised the central funds in execution of development schemes.

“The UPA Government has been generous to Bihar by significantly increasing allocation of funds to the State under various plan heads and contingency situations, but the NDA government has been ungratefully criticising the former,” said Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) President Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser, while addressing the media in Patna.

“The data about the central allocation to Bihar over the years and a comparative analysis of who between the NDA and UPA made been more liberal towards the state could not be undermined by the propaganda being unleashed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,” he added.

Further accusing the NDA Government in Bihar, Kaiser said the two specific central flagship programmes like the Indira Awas Yojana and others became a victim of corruption in the NDA regime.

“The Centre did provide Rs 800 crore to the Bihar, but the State government failed to fully utilise the money to an extent that Rs 182 crore still remained unspent as of the day,” said Kaiser reacting to allegations that the Centre did not give adequate funds for relief and rehabilitation of flood-affected people of the state following breach of Kusaha embankment on Kosi river two years ago.

“I am prepared to take up the cudgel on behalf of the party high command for such a debate with the former at any time and any place, including the Gandhi Maidan,” he added over Kumar”s challenge to Congress President Sonia Gandhi for a debate on the Centre”s funding of Bihar and other assistances to it. (ANI)

Uphaar case: Delhi court exempts hurt ex-IPS officer Kanth from personal appearance

New Delhi, Aug.20 (ANI): Former police officer Amod Kanth’s plea to be exempted from making a personal appearance in court in connection with his role in the Uphaar fire tragedy case because of a broken ankle, was accepted by a magistrate’s court here on Friday.

“The accused is exempted from his personal appearance before this court. He is directed to appear on September 30,” Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjeev Kumar said.

Kanth was to appear before the court as an accused after the latter rejected a Central Bureau of Investigation report that gave the former a clean chit in the case.

Kanth had moved an application for exemption through his lawyer R S Malik.

“The accused had a fracture in his left ankle on June 16 this year…and has been advised complete bed rest,” the defence lawyer said, adding that he be given four weeks time to recover and appear before the court.

The case relates to the deaths of 50 people, including children in a fire that engulfed the cinema building on June 13, 1997.

Kanth is said to have given permission to the management of the cinema hall to allow extra seats.

Kanth is to be prosecuted under Section 304A (causing death by rash and negligent act), 337 (causing hurt by an act which endangers human life) and Section 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act which endangers human life) of the Indian Penal Code. (ANI)

Khadi organisations move to save KVIC

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): Prominent Khadi organisations across the country have appealed to the central government to immediately dissolve and reconstitute the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

Khadi organisations have accused the UPA government of killing the Khadi industry on which nearly 10 million people are dependent.

The Khadi Swadeshi Forum has disclosed that an ambitious rupees 15000 crore scheme, designed to create 20 lakh jobs, has failed.

In 1995, the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, had initiated a rupees 5600 crore Khadi Work Plan to create jobs for 20 lakh youth. In 2000-01, the BJP-led NDA government raised the amount by rupees 10,000 crore and kept the target of 20 lakh jobs.

Later on the UPA government dissolved the KVIC. In three years, the capital for the ‘Khadi Wpk Plan’ had increased three-fold but the results were not commensurate with it. The Khadi organisations have claimed that three KVIC schemes for hand-made paper, bee keeping and tannery have failed.

The Khadi Swadeshi Forum has asked UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, and Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, to order an open probe into KVIC affairs (1996-2010). It has also started crusade to save the KVIC.

Between 2004 and 2010, the UPA Government announced several ambitious Khadi projects but after the reconstruction of the KVIC in 2005-06, things have become worse.

The head of the Centre for Media and Cultural Research had disclosed that in the last 15 years, the Khadi output has declined by more that a quarter while the Khadi prices have gone up more than five times, adversely affecting the sales.

The Khadi Swadeshi Forum believes of the faulty government policies, Khadi, the apparel of the poor is becoming the rich people’s apparel. In the last 15 years, no probe was carried out into the financial irregularities in the KVIC, though at one time the prime minister’s office did start the process.

It was also shocking that there was no celebration of the 75 years of Khadi. The Forum wants to emphasize that there is a strong vote bank of six crore voters of Khadi workers and their families in the 640 districts and six lakh villages in the country.

The forum has appealed to all sections of political opinion to help save the Khadi industry, which is capable of maximizing employment. It wants that Khadi rebate to continued. (ANI)

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