Thursday, 6 September 2012

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Indian Carmakers go ahead for Hybrid and Environment Friendly Cars

Posted: 06 Sep 2012 05:50 AM PDT

Days after the government announced a Rs.23,000 crore plan for promotion of electric and hybrid vehicles automobile majors Thursday unveiled their plans in the segment.

Two-wheeler major Hero MotoCorp said that it will go ahead and develop its hybrid 100 cc scooter, Leap, that it showcased during the Delhi Auto Expo held earlier this year.

“We are very much going to go for the full development of that product (Leap). It is on our drawing board. We will take technical assistance from our technology partner EBR (Erik Buell Racing),” Pawan Munjal, managing director, Hero MotoCorp told reporters here on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Hybrid vehicles can run on either conventional or non-conventional energy sources.

Automobile major Mahindra and Mahindra said that it is also developing electric vehicle products that will soon be launched in India including the Mahindra Reva NXR.

Apart from the Reva brand the company is also looking at powering its own range with electric technology, including products

from South Korean firm Ssanyong’s stable.

The government had, on Aug 29, approved a project for the promotion of environmentally-friendly electric and hybrid vehicles, at a total cost of Rs.23,000 crore ($4 billion) to be invested over a period of eight years.

The National Council for Electric Mobility (NCEM) adopted the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP 2020), which is a vision document that envisages promotion of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The plan calls for state help that includes provisions for setting up of manufacturing units, acquisition of technologies, setting up of infrastructure and demand creation.

The document envisages penetration of 60-70 lakh electric and hybrid vehicles, including passenger cars, two-wheelers, trucks and three-wheelers by 2020.

Currently electric and hybrid vehicles form less than one percent of the overall 17 million units per annum automobile market in the country.

India to get over 700 crores from Volkswagen

Posted: 06 Sep 2012 05:20 AM PDT

German Volkswagen Group Thursday said it will invest €100 million euro (over Rs.700 crore) in its three Indian subsidiaries, including Volkswagen India, Skoda and Audi India, in the next two years.

“We will invest 100 million euro in the entire group in the next two years,” John Chacko, Volkswagen Group’s chief representative for India told reporters here on the sidelines of the annual summit of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

The investments will go into improving production facility in Chakan and Aurangabad near Pune and for making minor changes to the export variant of the company’s sedans.

“The investments will be made in improving our (production) facilities and for minor changes for our export models,” Chacko said.

However, Chacko said that the group has put its investments plans in Maharashtra on hold due to the confusion surrounding various policies of the state government.

“We had planned to invest Rs.2,000 crore that is on hold since lots of policy decisions are confusing. We are still putting pressure on Maharashtra government on various policy issues,” he said.

The company expects sales to rise 10-12 percent in 2012 from the 1.11 lakh units that were sold last year.

Production is also expected to rise 10-15 percent due to various production efficiency measures that were taken.

Chacko said he expects the group’s exports from India will grow. Currently, the group exports sedan Vento to Middle East, southeast Asia and Africa.

Government sets up 10 new colleges for skill development

Posted: 06 Sep 2012 05:02 AM PDT

The government will set up 10 community colleges in collaboration with Canadian educational institutes to educate illiterate adults and provide skill-based training for employment, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said Thursday.

“Under the adult literacy programme of the HRD ministry, as many as 70 million people need to be literate and their capacity enhanced to enable them to acquire the skills required to perform jobs,” the minister said at the fifth Global Skills Summit organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Of the illiterate 70 million, 60 million are women who need education and skill training close to where they live. And for this, the government would launch 100 community colleges this year.

“We are going to set up a working group and have a roadmap in the next three months with Canadian collaboration,” he added.

Referring to India’s rich demographic dividend, the minister said there are 400 million people in the age group of 0-40 which is three-fourth of Europe and much larger than the numbers in the US and Canada put together.

“I shudder to think of the challenges of educating and imparting training in skills to contribute to the growth process. If we don’t get it right, the recipe would be between disaster and great success.”

He called for a roadmap for focused international collaboration on developing skill-sets that would be needed to service the world community.

“If we can collaborate and set up community colleges or skill development centres in the context of National Skill Development Corporation and the Sector Skill Council then what we will be able to do is develop skills and human resources which then can be absorbed in other parts of the world for their economic development and at the same time have enough skills to be absorbed in our economy which is a win-win for both.”

The minister underlined the need for vocational education programmes in schools.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Bihar News, Latest News from Bihar, News of Bihar, Biharprabha News

Bihar News, Latest News from Bihar, News of Bihar, Biharprabha News

India’s longest Bus introduced between Bangalore and Mysore

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 06:30 PM PDT

Karnataka has  introduced the  India’s longest bus, at 14.5 metres and including a pantry and toilet facilities, to ply the 130 km between Bangalore and Mysore.

Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister  of Karnataka R. Ashoka launched the trial run of the multi-axle Volvo bus built at the Swedish firm’s manufacturing plant in Hoskote near Bangalore.

Ashoka said the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) plans to operate this bus service between Bangalore and Chennai after the feedback from passengers on the service between Bangalore and Mysore.

Akash Passey, chairman of board of Volvo Buses in India, said the new bus was “a global introduction from India, and has been developed keeping in mind the evolving customer, passenger and driver needs in India”.

Though 14.5m long, the bus “offers almost the same manoeuverability as a typical coach”, he said.

Steps to Revive the Glory of Indian Hockey begins

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 05:30 PM PDT

After drastic performance at London Games, Indian Hockey Veterans are working out to revive its lost glory. Olympians and former International hockey players including Mohammad Riaz, B.J. Carriapa, Baljeet Singh Saini, Surinder Kaur and Sandeep Kaur are participating in the first High Performance Coaching Programme  at Lucknow.

The three-year programme, organised by Federation of International Hockey (FIH) and Hockey India, aims to help Indian coaches obtain up to a Level 3 certification and will be an annual feature during the junior national championship.

As many as 46 coaches have registered for the inaugural course that is being conducted by FIH Master Coach and FIH Coaching and High Performance Manager Tayyab Ikram and FIH Grade 1 Coach Siegfried Aikman.

“Hockey in India needs to be institutionalised and the focus should be on the structural development and high performance awareness. There is a pressing need of professional high performance center and a long term plan for coaches and training of team entourage, time to give up ad hoc arrangements,” Ikram said.

“In India, we need to be more consistent when it comes to coaching development. This can be the most important investment for a country which is very rich in potential and talent,” he said.

The seven-day initiative will conclude Sep 10, a day after the conclusion of the men’s junior hockey championship.

The content includes two High Performance Courses a year and will target the experienced and qualified coaches from all over India. It also includes inputs from top experts and practical coaching sessions, discussions on development, special presentations and contributions from participants, match analysis, feedback after each course and complete monitoring and assessment process will be in place.

“We are delighted to assist the coach education programme which intends to develop the coaches with updated and scientific know how of High Performance Coaching, an area which needs attention and resources in a country full of talent,” Kelly Fairweather, CEO, FIH said.

The Empty Indian Political Drama against Sri Lanka

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 04:30 PM PDT

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa appears dead set on taking on the ordinary Sinhalese for her inability to influence the Indian government to pursue a Sri Lanka policy of her choice.

It is plain ridiculous to suspend an officer of Chennai’s Jawaharlal Nehru indoor stadium for allowing the use of the ground for a football match between a Sri Lankan team and a local team.

The game, we are told, had hurt the “sentiments” of Indians Tamils, because of the excesses that took place during Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE that also killed many innocents (mostly Tamil).

The Sri Lankan football team was asked to go back. Another Sri Lankan student team also faced hostility. If this wasn’t enough, Tamil groups have taken upon themselves to oppose the visit of some 200 Sri Lankan pilgrims to Tamil Nadu.

At this rate, will Jayalalithaa call for an end to India-Sri Lanka cricketing ties?

After all, if a football clash between two unknown teams – an event which would have gone unnoticed but for the chief minister’s action – can hurt “Tamil sentiments”, a high-profile cricket match between the national teams of India and Sri Lanka is bound to cause the same effect. (India won 4-1 an ODI series in Sri Lanka in as July-August and is set to visit Sri Lanka again.)

What more? Will New Delhi be asked to shut its high commission and two consulates in Sri Lanka? Maybe India should also sever trade links with Colombo. Will Indian tourists be told to boycott Sri Lanka?

In as much as none of these has any logic, the same applies to Jayalalithaa’s action against the football team.

It is one thing for the chief minister to rant against India’s military relations with Sri Lanka.

It is insane to tell ordinary Sri Lankans – whatever the ethnicity – that they are not welcome to Tamil Nadu on account of the supposed wrongs of the regime in Colombo.

This would be akin to punishing the Indian Muslim today for whatever Mughal kings of an earlier period did.

The Indian government was wrong in stating that it would continue to provide “training” to Sri Lankan military officers. It was a badly worded statement.

What should have been stated is that the Sri Lankans are among military personnel from many countries who come to India for routine refresher courses. India is not teaching these soldiers how to kill; they already know it.

The only Sri Lankans India trained to kill belonged to Tamil groups including the LTTE.

Despite Islamabad’s undisguised backing to terrorist groups in India, no sensible Indian wants an end to people-to-people contacts with Pakistan. Nor has anyone said ‘no’ to Chinese investment since Beijing occupies Indian territory.

Jayalalithaa’s actions – and those who think on similar terms – can only strengthen the Rajapaksa regime, which will point at Tamil Nadu to maintain its military presence in predominantly Tamil areas.

None of what is taking place in Tamil Nadu – which itself is linked to the traditional DMK-AIADMK rivalry – will prove in anyway useful to the ordinary Tamil in Sri Lanka.

Many in Sri Lanka and around the world have legitimate concerns about human rights abuses and reconciliation issues there. There is nothing wrong if these are discussed threadbare – or if people feel frustrated vis-à-vis Colombo.

But the anti-Sri Lanka tendencies Jayalalithaa is fanning in Tamil Nadu will have long-term consequences — for India.

Man sentenced to Death for killing Pregnant Wife and Foster Parents

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 03:30 PM PDT

A man  in New Delhi has been sentenced to death for murdering his  parents, who had adopted him, and his pregnant wife in 2008, terming him a menace to society.

“The convict (Nitin) is a menace to the society. When he did not spare his own parents and wife and killed them in cold blood, what respect he would show for the lives of others,” Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat said.

The court called the convict a live bomb, which has the potential of causing a huge catastrophe, if not destroyed at the earliest.

“I am of the opinion that the life imprisonment would be altogether inadequate punishment in this case, having regard to the nature of crime and manner and circumstances in which it was committed,” Bhat said, terming the case among those rarest of rare cases that have shocked the collective conscience of the society.

“There was no justification at all for the convict to commit the grotesque killings. The convict appears to be without any remorse,” the judge said.

The case dates back to April 2008, when Nitin killed his pregnant wife after she opposed his extramarital affair. He also killed his parents.

Sri Lankan Tourists Forced to Leave India by Tamil Activists

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 02:30 PM PDT

One hundred and seventy-five Sri Lankan tourists were safely escorted by police to Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirapalli airport Tuesday when Tamil activists staged demonstrations against their visit.  The Sri Lankan tourists were on a tour to Velankanni Church, around 320 km from here.

“The tourists will be leaving for Sri Lanka tonight. Their flight is around 10.40 p.m. We have organised food packets for them at the airport,” Shailesh Kumar Yadav, commissioner of police, Trichy told IANS over phone.

He said another six Lankan tourists later joined the group at the airport.

Following the protests against their visit by Tamil activists, the tourists were taken in vans to Tirchy airport, said police officials.

According to the police, the Lankan tourists were travelling in seven buses. A tyre of one bus got punctured on the outskirts of Trichy and MDMK activists came to know about their presence in the state.

Around 30 MDMK cadres gathered around the buses and shouted slogans and also pelted stones at the buses, police said.

According to police, no serious injuries were caused to the tourists.

Police dispersed the protesters and escorted the Lankan tourists to Trichy airport.

The Sri Lankan government Monday night issued a statement warning its nationals to desist from visiting Tamil Nadu till further notice.

“The Government of Sri Lanka regrets the increasing number of instances of intimidation of Sri Lankan nationals visiting Tamil Nadu for the purposes of tourism, religious pilgrimages, sporting and cultural activities and professional training,” the statement said.

“These visits are a reflection of people to people contact between the polity of two countries which are bound by age old friendly ties and traditions,” the statement added.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Sunday ordered the sending back of two Sri Lankan football teams that were in the city to play friendly matches. The teams left for their country Monday.

Queried about by reporters, DMK President M. Karunanidhi said it is normal for sportsmen and cricketers from India to visit Sri Lanka and players from Sri Lanka visiting India.

He said all that DMK is saying is that the Sri Lankan defence personnel should not be trained in India and the issue has been raised in parliament as well.

On the proposed visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India, Karunanidhi said the DMK will not accept with open heart any warm reception to him as he was “responsible for the killings of lakhs of Tamils”.

He said DMK will send the resolutions passed at the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) meet here to the United Nations (UN).

Karunanidhi said: “Efforts are on to submit the copies of resolutions passed at the TESO meeting to the UN by M.K. Stalin and T.R. Baalu. Soon I will announce when these two would submit the resolutions to the UN and other foreign missions.”

He said one of the resolutions passed at the TESO meeting is that the Tamils in Sri Lanka have lost their livelihood and they are on the run to save their and their children’s lives.

Officials at the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission here were not available for comments despite several attempts by IANS.

CBI dictated Statement to Witness in Aarushi Hemraj Case

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 12:30 PM PDT

Aarushi Talwar Murder case took an interesting turn when a witness claimed that her statement was dictated by CBI,

Aarushi’s  maid told a special court that whatever was recorded in her statement was dictated to her by the probe agency.

Bharti Mandal, during her cross-examination before Special Judge S. Lal, said that she had never appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to get her statement recorded.

Following the witness’ remarks, the probe agency’s counsel took the maid outside the court for a few minutes.

The defence lodged a complaint over this and the court took a serious view on matter and reprimanded the CBI.

Defence counsel Manoj Shishodia said several contradictions had surfaced during the maid’s cross-examination.

The CBI submitted her three statements – recorded in 2008 – but she said that her statement in court was the first ever given by her.

She claimed once she spoke before a video camera which she did not know belonged to media or the probe agency.

The defence claimed that the CBI mentioned the name of the maid’s husband differently at three places in the case documents.

Shishodia said her husband was identified at three places as Vishnu Mandal, Bhim Mandal and Vishu Mandal.

After Bharti Mandal’s statement, the court adjourned the hearing till Wednesday.

Aarushi, 14, was found murdered at her parents’ Noida residence May 16, 2008. The body of her domestic help Hemraj was found the next day on the terrace of the house.

Aarushi’s parents are accused in the double-murder.

Her mother Nupur Talwar was taken into custody April 30 and she challenged in the apex court the May 31 Allahabad High Court order rejecting her bail plea. She is lodged in Dasna jail in Ghaziabad. Aarushi’s father Rajesh Talwar is out on bail.

Movies to get back to On-screen Smoking Scenes

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 11:29 AM PDT

Movies in India would soon be able to show smoking scenes on the screens. The ban would shortly be lifted , according to Government sources.

Ministry of Broadcasting has informed the Supreme Court that  it would shortly permit Smoking Scenes – though with the strict stipulation that one of the actors in the scene warns viewers that “smoking kills”.

A bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi was told that the new notification would mandate that the films showing a smoking scene would show the actor giving a warning at the start of the film, in between after the interval while a static message would be displayed in the course of the scene showing smoking.

Senior counsel V. Shekhar, appearing for the government, told the court that the notification, superseding all earlier notifications prohibiting smoking scenes, would be issued Sep 14.

He said that Sep 14 was important because on that day, a film “Heroine” by UTV Software Communication Pvt. Ltd., depicting a scene of a woman smoking is going to be released.

Adjourning the hearing of the matter, the apex court declined to entertain a plea by a counsel seeking exemption for the release of this film.

Justice Sathasivam said that “we have to prioritise the issues”. “People are not getting water and food. You can survive without showing smoking and liquor scenes.”

The notification will pave the way for amending rules that currently restrain filmmakers from showing smoking.

The court was apprised of an Aug 2, 2012, letter written by the information and broadcasting ministry to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) asking it to “advise the filmmakers to give a 20 second anti-smoking message as approved by the ministry of health with voice over of the one of the actors who is seen smoking in the film to be displayed at the beginning and in the middle (after interval) of the film and a static message to be displayed for the duration of smoking scene in the film”.

The court was told that on the basis of this letter sent to CBFC, the government is proceeding to issue the notification.

Shekhar informed the court that the information and broadcasting ministry has in principle agree with their recommendations.

Taking on record the statement made by Shekhar that the fresh notification that is likely to be issued Sep 14 would supersede all earlier notifications thereby paving the way for the return of smoking scenes, the court directed listing of the matter Aug 20 for further hearing.

Mumbai Metro to become operational by March 2013

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 09:30 AM PDT

Metro trains would start plying on the tracks of Mumbai by March 2013. This was said by  Reliance Infrastructure Chairman Anil Ambani .

Addressing the annual general meeting of the company, he said 700,000 passengers will be able to travel in Mumbai Metro, cutting the commute time from what it takes 90 minutes now with the existing modes of travel to under 20 minutes.

He said there was a huge growth opportunity in infrastructure, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announcing $1 trillion investment in ongoing 12th five year plan, of which 60 percent is expected to come from private players.

He said Reliance Infra had now become one of India’s leading power engineering players, with a turnover of Rs.11,700 crore last year, implementing 13 projects – seven in power and six in roads.

The company, he added, had also become the largest private power distributor, delivering over 5,000 MW to 5.7 million customers in Mumbai and Delhi. The license in Mumbai, he added, had now been renewed till 2036 to serve 2.8 million residents.

He said in Delhi, the transmission and distribution losses, which were at an alarming 55 percent, had been cut to less than 18 percent, resulting in a saving of Rs.30,000 crore to state government.

The company’s shares ended the day 1.36 percent higher at Rs.446.35, after touching a high of Rs.448 in the interim.

Boeing predicts India to be Global Leader in Aviation in 20 years

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 08:37 AM PDT

Global aircraft manufacturer Boeing has predicted that India would be  a global leader in Civil Aviation in next 20 years. Indian carriers will require 1,450 new aircraft worth $175 billion to cope with the growth in passenger traffic over the next 20 years it said.
“Over 60 million passengers will fly within India this year. Over the next 20 years, India is projected to have the highest passenger traffic growth in the world,” said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of sales, Asia Pacific and India, Boeing Commercial Aircraft, releasing the company’s current market outlook.

“The forecast passenger growth is expected to be driven by economic prosperity, higher discretionary incomes and business progress.”

And airlines in the country will require 1,450 new aircraft worth $175 billion to service the traffic growth.

According to Keskar, the biggest demand from the airlines in India will be for single-aisle aircraft, which Boeing estimates to be around 1,201 units at a cost of $114 billion.

Boeing also projected a demand for 234 twin-aisle aircraft from 2012 to 2031 worth $61 billion, followed by a demand for 15 regional jets worth $0.5 billion.

Keskar further said that airlines in India are improving their financial performance due to increased yield and capacity management. However, a slowdown in the economy, high fuel prices and weak rupee could affect the margins.

“Their is a slight more supply than demand. But this is not a matter of major concern as the airlines have been improving their performance by better capacity management,” Keskar said.

Globally, the aircraft manufacturer projected sales of 34,000 airplanes worth $4.5 trillion in the next 20 years. The company also forecast an annual traffic growth of 5.00 percent over the next 20 years and by that time the world’s commercial aviation fleet will double.

Meanwhile, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus in its latest global market forecast (GMF) said that their will be a need for some 28,200 passenger and freighter aircraft between 2012 and 2031 worth nearly $4.00 trillion.

“Aside from growth in international traffic, by 2031 four of the world’s biggest traffic flows will all be domestic – US, China, Intra-Western Europe and India, and these account for a third of world traffic,” says John Leahy, chief operating officer, customers, Airbus.

The report predicted that in value of orders terms, India will be the fourth largest market after China, US and UAE.

“By 2031 the world’s passenger fleet will have expanded by 110 percent from slightly over 15,550 today to over 32,550. In the same period, the world’s freighter fleet will almost double from 1,600 to 3,000 aircraft,” the report said.

The report added that traffic will grow at an average annual rate of 4.7 percent in the next 20 years, during which some 10,350 aircraft will be replaced by new efficient models.

Tehelka Victim Bangaru seeks Cancellation of Jail Term

Posted: 04 Sep 2012 08:30 AM PDT

Former BJP president Bangaru Laxman has sought suspension of his four-year jail term in a bribery case and told the Delhi High Court that the 2001 sting operation carried on him was “illegal” and “contrary to law”.

Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing for Laxman, told the court that inducement during sting operation was prohibited in law.

Justice A.K. Pathak was hearing the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief’s plea challenging the jail term awarded to him April 28 by a trial court.

The court would next hear the case Wednesday.

Laxman sought the suspension of the four-year jail term on the ground that he was suffering from many old-age related illnesses and was a diabetes patient.

Sethi pleaded that the petitioner suffered from heart ailment and was living on one kidney.

I am 74-year-old, have medical conditions. I am seriously diabetic and for the last four months I am in custody,” said Laxman.

A CBI special court on April 28 sentenced Laxman to four years’ rigorous imprisonment after holding him guilty of accepting a bribe from a fake arms dealer in a 10-year-old graft case and also fined him Rs.1 lakh.

The case dates to 2001 when news portal carried out a sting operation that caught Laxman on camera receiving money from a journalist posing as an arms dealer. He later resigned as BJP chief.

Tehelka had released CDs showing Laxman accepting money for promise of assistance to a fictitious Britain-based company M/s West End International in securing a contract for the supply of thermal imagers to the Indian Army.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Bihar News, Latest News from Bihar, News of Bihar, Biharprabha News

Bihar News, Latest News from Bihar, News of Bihar, Biharprabha News

Green Activist to stay aloof Treehouse to protest Coal Mining

Posted: 02 Sep 2012 06:30 AM PDT

A Greenpeace activist has  launched a novel protest against coal mining at the expense of forests by climbing a tree where he plans to stay for a month at Chandrapur Maharashtra.

Brikesh Singh, the activist of the international NGO, would live in a tree-house, specially put together for this purpose. The tree is located on the fringes of buffer zone of Tadoba–Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), on the outskirts of the city.

Brikesh said he was trying to draw the attention of over 120 delegates who would be attending the forthcoming `UN Convention on Biological Diversity’ at Hyderabad. “We need forests rather than coal,” he said.

My mission is to mobilise people of the area against destruction of forests for coal mining and also to oppose the government that has least priority for protection of forests and wildlife.”

The tree-house has solar-powered gadgets, and Brikesh plans to be in touch with the outside world through a laptop. The area where the tree stands has a coal mine on one side. Local NGOs have extended support to the protest

Constitution can replace God says Chief Justice of India

Posted: 02 Sep 2012 05:30 AM PDT

The Constitution can replace the religious texts in today’s times, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia said at Aurangabad Maharashtra.

“The Constitution should be studied by Indians to know about citizens’ rights. If you read it, there is no need to read the religious books as you may find God in our Constitution.

Gaining knowledge of the Constitution would be a real homage to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,” he said, delivering a lecture on `Constitutional Ethics’ at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University .

Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Justice Mohit Shah was also present on this occasion. “I belong to the Parsi community and would have never thought of becoming the Chief Justice anywhere (else) in the world. It is only in India that it was possible due to the Constitution,” said the CJI.

The judges should be acquainted with multiple fields of knowledge, which can help them in the court, he said. Judges can learn a lot from “constructive criticism” but not from “destructive criticism”, he said.

Poverty was “a basic violation of human rights”, he said, talking about the need to have a “balanced” society

Kingfisher Airlines to operate as long as it meets Passengers Safety Regulations

Posted: 02 Sep 2012 04:30 AM PDT

Kingfisher Airlines will be allowed to operate as long as it does not compromise with safety.

“We cannot shut down the airline (Kingfisher) till there are safety issues involved,” Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a tour operators convention.

The Vijay Mallya-promoted full service carrier, facing severe funding crunch, has not paid salaries to most of its employees, including pilots and engineers, for long, triggering calls for strikes over the last couple of months.

Responding to a query on Air India, the Minister said the national carrier has shown some improvement but it needs to do more. The government has committed a Rs 30,000-crore financial support package to Air India, he said adding it will have to be competitive with other players in the domestic space.

Earlier, addressing the seminar, Singh said tourism and civil aviation sectors are inter-linked and are vital for the economic development of the country.

The growth of civil aviation and tourism sector are inter-dependent and they complement each other. The most important contribution that aviation makes to the economy is through catalytic impact on the performance of other sectors and as a facilitator of their growth,” he said.

Stating that the airlines industry is going through a severe financial crisis, Singh said the government has taken number of steps to address the financial issues of the industry. “The issue of allowing FDI in airlines is also under active consideration of the government,” he added.

Amitabh Bachchan gives all Actors a unique Place

Posted: 02 Sep 2012 03:30 AM PDT

Amitabh BachchanMegastar Amitabh Bachchann who is known to be punctual, says there is nothing much in him for people to copy, but he would like everyone to follow punctuality.

“I don’t think I have anything enough in me to be copied. But if I would be pushed to answer it, then I would say that it should be my punctuality which everyone should copy,” Bachchan said at an event in Mumbai.

Referring to a recent poll conducted by a leading news channel that voted Big B as the best actor, he said he did not believe in such polls. “I want to know who does these polls. They have no truth in them. All actors have their own places in the industry. To choose one over the other is not fair,” he said.

Big B who is associated with several social causes like polio, save the girl child said that he believes in working actively towards it. “I am associated with many social causes… I believe in working towards it and not talking about it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bachchan today donated his jeans to Parikrma Humanity Foundation’s programme – Parikrama’s Jeanaration, an innovative campaign to raise funds to send the poorest children to the best colleges.

The initiative will see 25 of the biggest stars of Bollywood and from South cinema like Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwariya Rai, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Saif Ali Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Suriya, R Madhavan and Dhanush participating in the programme.

Indian Expressways becoming the garden of Deaths

Posted: 02 Sep 2012 02:30 AM PDT

 Is India still waking up to the autobahn culture? With three accidents and eight deaths in just a week on the spanking new six-lane Yamuna Expressway between Noida and Agra, that was the question doing the rounds.

On Aug 25, a 35-year-old man from Delhi died and a woman and two children from his family were injured in an accident. Four days after that, on Aug 29, five people were killed when their truck overturned following a tyre burst. And, on Friday, two others were killed when their tractor overturned, also after a tyre burst.

With the deaths coming just days after the Aug 9 inauguration of the 165-km expressway, which cuts down travel time from New Delhi to the city of the Taj to just two-and-a-half hours, concerns are being raised.

With an estimated 100,000 vehicles crossing the expressway every day and the “dependence of most motorists” on this route increasing manifold, say locals, the frequency of road accidents on this e-way has led to a degree of consternation even in the state government.

High speed is a problem and I think the fact that the roads are cemented adds to the trouble,” conceded a senior official.

He added that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had expressed his concern at the accidents and had directed officials concerned to “talk it out with the Jaypee group”.

Jaypee Infra and the Uttar Pradesh government had described the Public-Partnership-Project (PPP) as one which would usher in a new era of development in the state.

Soon after inaugurating the expressway on Aug 9 Akhilesh Yadav had told IANS that he was worried about the speed limits on the expressway and feared for loss of life of motorists.

While the upper limit is fixed at 100 kmph but am not too sure whether people would adhere to it once they are behind the wheel,” Akhilesh Yadav had said.

His uncle and senior Samajwadi party (SP) leader Ram Gopal Yadav had, however, requested officials to “explore possibilities” to up the speed limit to 120 or more.

100 ki speed par to driver ko susti aa jayegi,” (the driver will feel lethargic if he is restricted to a speed of 100 kmph ) he had said.

With tyre bursts behind two of the three accidents, developers are now getting speed and maintenance advisories published in forms of printed material to be handed over to motorists before they enter the expressway.

Several traffic warnings – only stop on left shoulders, do not walk on the road, maintaining of speed limits, safe and alcohol free driving – already dot the stretch, a Jaypee Infra official said.

We already have three lanes clearly marked based on the speeds of driving vehicles, beyond the safety steps we have taken, drivers have to be responsible,” the official said.

More mobile speed radars, cameras and sensors will soon be installed, an official said.

Sameer Gaur, joint managing director of the Jaypee group, points out that when a car enters through the zero point, the driver is explained the traffic rules and the precautions to be taken; for people breaching the rules, the control room passes on the information to the next toll plaza and the police is immediately informed.

Special Train from Guwahati departs with people returning to Bangalore

Posted: 02 Sep 2012 01:36 AM PDT

A special train to Bangalore left a Guwahati railway station on Saturday afternoon to help people from the northeast return to their places of study or work in southern states after their mass exodus last month over fear of attacks.

The train started from the railway station at Paltan Bazar around 2.40 p.m. and would reach Bangalore Monday evening.

Another special train is scheduled to leave for the same destination Sep 5, said Assam Environment and Forests Minister Rockybul Hussain, who met the passengers before the train’s departure.

A 10-member special security team of Assam Police joined Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel for boosting the special train’s security.

Hussain and Assam Agriculture, Horticulture and Food Processing Minister Nilamoni Sen Deka bid farewell to the passengers at the railway station.

After reaching Bangalore, the train would start its return journey to Guwahati Tuesday, railway sources said.

While most of the passengers were people from Assam and other northeastern states working in Bangalore and other southern cities, some of them were also students – who decided to return after the assurance by the respective state governments.

Although the train was scheduled for departure at 1.15 p.m., it got delayed as the authorities had to add one more compartment to it due to the rush. The train included 18 sleeper-class coaches.

“When we came to the station we saw some people on the wait list. We convinced the railway officials to attach one more compartment to accommodate them,” said Hussain.

He said the government would run another special train Sep 5.

The exodus of people from the northeast from southern states started Aug 15 after rumours went viral through internet, SMS and MMS threatening them to return to their states before Aug 20 or face dire consequences.

The Karnataka government arranged nine special trains from Bangalore to Guwahati after thousands of people gathered at Bangalore railway station following the threats.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashoka visited Assam and Manipur Aug 25-26 to assure northeastern states of the security in Bangalore and requested the people to return.

Ashoka asked Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to arrange for special trains to facilitate the return of the people to Bangalore and other places.

Actor Vidyut Jammwal becomes real life Hero by nabbing thieves

Posted: 02 Sep 2012 12:30 AM PDT

Actor Vidyut Jammwal turned into a real-life action hero when he managed to nab two thieves who broke into his house.

“A few days ago, a couple of thieves broke into his house assuming that the house was empty and unattended. Vidyut was in the room inside and came out hearing the sound in the living room,” said a source.

“On seeing Vidyut, the intruders attacked him with the intention of injuring him. But they couldn’t succeed,” the source added.

The “Force” actor is trained in martial arts, especially Kalaripayattu.

The source also revealed that after brawl with the thieves, he reported them to the police and had them picked up from his house.

Vidyut’s official spokesperson confirmed the incident, which happened earlier this week.

Vipul Mehta from Amritsar is winner of Indian Idol 6

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 11:30 PM PDT

Mumbai: It was a tough call – three boys, all from Punjab, all excellent singers with a great audience connect. But it is Vipul Mehta from Amritsar, who bagged the “Indian Idol 6″ title here Saturday night at a glittering grand finale.

The 21-year-old pipped Devendra Pal Singh, 17, and Amit Kumar, 20, for the winner’s trophy, a cash prize of Rs.50 lakh from Sony channel, a Nissan Micra car, a Suzuki Hayate bike, Rs. 3 lakh from Max Life Insurance and a contract to record his own music album.

Mehta was on top of the world when Kareena Kapoor along with filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar announced his name for the winner’s position. The actress was here to promote her film “Heroine”.

“I am really very happy. I thank god for bringing me where I stand today. I would like to thank the audience too for supporting me. I am overwhelmed to see my grandfather’s dream coming true,” said an emotional Mehta after the win.

Mehta had earlier also participated in singing reality show “Voice of India – Season 2″ in 2008, but couldn’t make it to the top three. This time he was lucky.

He faced stiff and neck-to-neck competition as both the other contenders had equally powerful, melodious and heartwarming voices.

The young and talented singers displayed their ability to sing all genres during the show, but there had to be one winner.

The finale was a starry affair with judges Anu Malik, Salim Merchant, Sunidhi Chauhan and Asha Bhosle, who were in their true spirits, cheering for all the contestants.

While Sunidhi, Salim and Asha performed with the three contestants, Sunidhi and Asha also enthralled audience with their stand alone performances.

Asha brought alive the yesteryear era with songs like “Aaiye meherban”, “Yeh mera dil”, “Dum maaro dum” and “Piya tu”, and Sunidhi sang “Halkat jawani” from “Heroine”. She also matched steps
with Kareena on the stage.

Actors Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra added to the star power as they came to promote their forthcoming film “Barfi!” on the “Indian Idol 6″ sets.

The finalists paid tribute to the three generations of Bollywood’s Kapoor clan. While Amit sang Raj Kapoor’s song “Kehta hai joker”, Devender sang Rishi’s “Bachna aae haseeno” and Vipul crooned Ranbir’s “Sadda haq”.

Cousins Ranbir and Kareena came separately on the show, which was shot at Film City in Goregaon here.

Indian Army to bust illegal arms in Kokrajhar and Dhubri

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 10:30 PM PDT

The army, deployed in Assam’s troubled Kokrajhar district, has started an operation to seize all illegal arms and ammunition there.

The army has started an operation in the district today (Saturday). The operation will continue till all the illegal arms and ammunition are seized in Kokrajhar,” said a highly-placed source.

The sources indicated that similar operations might also be carried out in all the areas of Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD) and in Dhubri.

Assam’s opposition All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) had demanded that the central as well as the state governments take steps for seizure of all illegal arms and ammunition in BTAD for establishing lasting peace in the area where clashes between Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslim settlers had led to 95 people being killed and over four lakh people displaced.

AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal had also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and demanded that the BTC council be dissolved as it had failed to provide security to the non-Bodos living in BTAD and that all the illegal arms and ammunition be seized.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had earlier also asked the police and security forces deployed in the violence-hit districts to seize illegal arms.

Police said automatic firearms have been used in the last four to five days of the violence in three districts.

The four BTAD districts – the Bodo heartland of Assam – had been a hotbed of militancy earlier.

While the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) outfit has been disbanded and its leaders now run the administration in the four districts, many of its members are reported to possess illegal arms, which they did not deposit while surrendering.

Similarly, the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) now has two groups — one group of surrendered militants who expressed their willingness to sit for peace talks and the anti-talks faction, headed by Ranjan Daimnary, which also reportedly possesses a lot of illegal weapons.

Schools in Delhi to refund excess fees to Students

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 09:37 PM PDT

Sixty-four private city schools have illegally collected higher fee from students since September 2008, a committee has informed the Delhi High Court while recommending a refund of the money with 9 percent per annum interest.

The 600-page interim report of Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee, which randomly examined the accounts of 200 schools, was opened by a special bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul Friday.

The committee was constituted about a year ago to submit a report on the determination of fees in the unaided schools in Delhi.

Its first interim report was based on an examination of 200 unaided private schools out of a total 1,172 institutions.

In the case of 13 schools, the committee found that either no records were maintained or the accounts were fudged. It recommended strict action against these schools.

“The committee recommends that the schools be directed to refund the increased monthly fee from September 2008 till the date of actual refund along with the interest at the rate of 9 percent per annum,” the report said.

It also raised questions on the working of the department of education as it did not act in accordance with the law in inspecting the schools.

“The regulatory mechanism envisaged by the law has been thrown to the winds by the directorate of education. Schools are enjoying total and unbridled freedom in acting in the manner they like,” the report said.

“Right from the stage of granting recognition, the lack of supervisory control of the directorate is writ large. Hardly any inspections are done and even if they are, they are conducted in a most perfunctory manner,” the report said.

The bench July 20 directed the committee to submit a report on the fee hike in unaided private schools in Delhi.

After the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, the schools increased the fees citing additional financial burden due to increased salaries of teachers.

The court gave directions for setting up a committee to audit the accounts of each of the schools to ascertain if the fee hike by them was required.

The committee also said that there were 143 schools which increased the fee without implementing the Sixth Pay Commission.

Many of the schools in the city were operating without even a bank account and years after years they were granted recognition, it said.

Several of the schools have not been maintaining proper accounts and were not getting their accounts audited as required by the law, and were also not filing annual returns, the report said.

“Some of the schools have been fabricating their accounts and getting various types of certificates from chartered accountants which do not qualify as audit reports,” said the report.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, appearing for a group of parents, earlier said that if the report was submitted “it would be a great relief to the exploited parents, as they would be entitled to refund of the excess fee recovered from them by schools”.

The court would next hear the matter Sep 14.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Bihar News, Latest News from Bihar, News of Bihar, Biharprabha News

Bihar News, Latest News from Bihar, News of Bihar, Biharprabha News

Shome Panel recommends to postpone GAAR by 3 years

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 03:08 PM PDT

An expert committee on tax laws Saturday suggested that the Indian government defer implementation of the controversial General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) until fiscal 2016-17 and abolish capital gains tax on transfer of securities to ensure investment and capital flows.

The committee, appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July when he was holding the finance portfolio, in its draft report to the finance ministry recommended a series of steps which are expected to allay investor concerns.

“GAAR should be deferred for three years. But the year 2016-17 should be announced now. In effect, therefore, GAAR would apply from assessment year 2017-18. Pre-announcement is a common practice internationally in today’s global environment of freely flowing capital,” said the draft report.

The government had earlier deferred implementation of GAAR, introduced by the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his 2012-13 budget to check tax evasion.

The committee, headed by Parthasarathi Shome, called GAAR “an extremely advanced instrument of tax administration-one of deterrence, rather than for revenue generation” for which, it said, intensive training of tax officers who would specialize in the finer aspects of international taxation is needed.

It recommended a grandfathering clause to protect existing investments and providing protection for transactions routed through Mauritius with which India has a double taxation avoidance treaty and is considered a tax haven.

To protect existing investments, it said: “All investments (though not arrangements) made by a resident or non-resident and existing as on the date of commencement of the GAAR provisions should not be taxed as per GAAR provisions.”

The panel made a case for abolition of capital gain tax to attract investment.

“Internationally, many countries have stopped taxing capital gains because you want investment, and investment and capital flows are very fungible. If you are looking for investment like in our case, it is very important to do that,” Shome told a television channel.

“So, I have suggested in the committee and everyone has agreed is that we need to look for what is going to rejuvenate our investment. From that investment there will be growth, employment and other things, which we have lost in the past two years or so.”

The Finance Ministry also Saturday expanded the scope of the terms of reference of the committee to include all non-resident tax payers instead of only FIIs.

“The draft report has recommended certain amendments in the Income-tax Act, 1961; guidelines to be prescribed under the Income-tax Rules, 1962; circular to clarify GAAR provisions along with illustrations; and other measures to improve tax administration specifically oriented towards GAAR matters,” said a finance ministry release.

“It has now been decided to expand the scope of the terms of reference of the committee to include all non-resident tax payers instead of only FIIs,” it said.

The committee invited comments on the draft recommendations from all stakeholders by Sep 15.

It will submit its final report by the month-end.

Sonia Gandhi goes to United States for Treatment

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 02:06 PM PDT

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has gone abroad for a routine health check up, a party leader said on Saturday.

Gandhi is likely to return in four or five days, party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told IANS, but gave no other details.

The Congress chief was in the US last year for six weeks from August for treatment of an undisclosed ailment.

She had then constituted a group comprising Defence Minister A.K. Antony, her son and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel and Dwivedi to look after party affairs in her absence.

Later, in February this year, Sonia Gandhi had gone abroad for medical checkup.

Construction in Gurgaon with Recycled Waters only

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 12:30 PM PDT

All construction activities in Gurgaon have been stalled till the builders start making homes and offices with recycled treated water from government sewage treatment plants, an official said Saturday.

The district administration has sent notices to 81 builders following court curbs on extraction of ground water for construction.

The builders have been asked to stop construction immediately till they present a confirmation from the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), Gurgaon, saying that they were not extracting ground water.

The administration also sought assurance that the builders would use recycled water from treatment plants of the HUDA or any other source approved by the authority.

S.S. Dhillon, financial commissioner and principal secretary, town and country planning, along with other officials, visited Golf Course Extension Road and conducted random checks at some construction sites. At almost all the places, no building work was found to be on.

Dhillon said that in compliance of the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the builders, who had obtained licence from the town and country planning department, had been directed to make arrangement of recycled treated sewage water for construction.

Baba Ramdev to launch Anti-UPA Campaign from Gandhi Jayanti

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 10:57 AM PDT

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev sought resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over a huge presumptive loss to the exchequer in coal blocks allocation and announced fresh agitation against the Congress-led UPA government from Oct 2.

Ramdev hinted that the agitation would start from Himachal Pradesh in view of the upcoming assembly elections in that state and Gujarat towards the end of this year.

The yoga guru’s campaign against the United Progressive Alliance government will continue till the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Ramdev alleged that the Congress had created a record in corruption, and now “the government is exposed”.

“About 142 coal blocks containing over 50 billion tonnes of coal worth Rs.200 lakh crore were allocated to firms related to the Congress or to those who paid heavy brokerage to the party without auction,” he said.

“If the PM, who is responsible for corruption worth Rs.200 lakh crore, is honest then who is dishonest,” asked Ramdev in a press conference here.

Saying the amount involved in the scam was much more than Rs.1.86 lakh crore estimated by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), he demanded that the licences issued for coal blocks should be cancelled.

On targeting only Congress and not the Bharatiya Janata Party whose state governments were also named in the CAG report, he said: “There are many political parties involved in this. But the Congress is in power and it has got the gold medal for scams.”

The yoga guru said that he would not join politics. “It’s not our agenda,” he added.

Blaming the Congress for trying to defame him, Ramdev said the UPA government was conspiring against his ashram and trust.

“The government is using the state machinery to harass me and my aides”.

“Some people tried to bribe the people of our ashram to defame us. We are not blaming any particular person but have evidence to prove our claims. We have lodged an FIR (First Information Report) based on the evidence,” Ramdev said.

The income tax department recently decided to cancel the registration of Baba Ramdev’s trust Patanjali as a charitable organisation and reportedly withdraw all exemptions granted to it.

“There are over five lakh charitable organisations in the country… Why is that our ‘seva’ is being termed as a business,” asked Ramdev.

A Journey into the House of Arun Gawli

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 08:44 AM PDT

Arun Gawli was once considered to be Indian answer to Daewood Ibrahim. From Crime to Politics his journey has been smooth till he was elected as MLA in 2004.  He has been acquitted in most of the cases except for murder case of Shiv Sena leader Kamalakar Jamsandekar. 

Quaid Najmi got an opportunity to get into the haven’s of Gawli. Below is his travelogue.

In a narrow, congested bylane in south Mumbai’s Saat Rasta area is the Dagdi Chawl headquarters of mafia boss Arun Gawli, sentenced to life for the 2008 murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar, his first conviction in a four-decade-long career in crime in the notorious underworld of India’s commercial and entertainment capital.

Unlike the man, the chawl – local euphemism for a slum – is nondescript and easy to miss for those unfamiliar with the packed city.

On this IANS correspondent’s many visits to Dagdi Chawl, he has entered through the narrow alley. Vehicles are parked here in no particular order and scores of pavement dwellers go about their chores on the footpath. The first sight in Dagdi Chawl is a massive iron gate.

After the visitor identifies himself to suspicious and armed security personnel of Mumbai Police, a small entry gate opens up, leading into a tiny courtyard. There are rough-and-tough youth lolling around, and you cannot escape the feeling that there are scores of eyes watching your every move.

Within, young and old women wash clothes and utensils. There are those carrying out routine household chores. All the while, they discreetly watch.

Towards the right of the courtyard is the entrance to Dagdi Chawl, an old building. This is the don’s den, his residential address for nearly four decades. Or at least for all the time that Gawli is not on the run or in jail.

Dagdi Chawl comprises small, cramped tenements, each around 100 sq. feet with a tiny bathroom, with common toilets outside. There are over hundreds of thousands such chawls dotting Mumbai, and cramming entire families since generations.

As you enter the chawl building, in a small office, you are required to submit your identification, the purpose of visit, and other ‘relevant references’.

When you refer to the pater familias as Arun Gawli, you can expect to be patiently corrected: “Daddy bola” (address him as ‘Daddy’). In time, even the visitor addresses Gawli as “Daddy”, as if by habit.

Depending on your work, a couple of youngsters lead you into a narrow alley within the building with rows of tiny one-room tenements. Noisy children run around and women chat away furiously. All the while, there are youngsters keeping their eyes peeled.

Dagdi Chawl is reputed to have many hidden entries and exits, safe rooms, false walls and ceilings, but few would dare seek confirmation.

And surprise! There is a special lift inside the chawl! It is used exclusively by Gawli or distinguished guests. Policemen, as also visiting Indian and foreign media people, have access to the lift. Ordinary folk must just trudge up the dingy staircase, either two or three floors, depending on where Gawli holds his ‘durbar’, or public audience.

On a rare occasion, when Gawli was in a good mood, he took this correspondent on a guided tour of the entire premises. Gawli’s hospitality was effusive, and he plied this correspondent with soft drinks, snacks and hot beverages. The continuous supply was maintained by ruffians who seemed to appear out of nowhere.

On the third floor, the visitor is ushered into a posh living room with plush sofa sets on two sides, a thick carpet and a huge home theatre. The TV screen spans one entire wall.

At one end, there is a tiny closed verandah opening into the back of Dagdi Chawl, and possibly used as a watch-tower!

Next, the visitor is guided to Gawli’s children’s rooms. These too are well-appointed, with all facilities and luxuries, rivalling those in some of the tall skyscrapers surrounding Dagdi Chawl.

Then a quick peek into the don’s own master-bedroom, with a large bed, curtains on the tiny windows and an air-conditioner silently at work.

The next is a sprawling terrace, more than 2,000 square feet, opening into blue skies.

On the left is a heap of large black stones, “Kailash Parbat” with a small idol of Lord Shiva resting on top. A small fountain from Shiva’s head flows down, depicting the holy Ganga. The water flows all around.

Below the “Kailash Parbat” is a small, well-manicured lawn with a small temple of Lord Krishna. There are images of cows around. ‘Gawli’ means cowherd. And Lord Krishna was one too!

As the visitor marvels at the don’s lavish lifestyle, Gawli continues to chatter away, mostly in Marathi. Every once in a while, he holds out his hand, expecting you’ll join yours with his in a clap, a “De taali” gesture. Most people clap in sheer fear!

And once the conversation is done, a gang of youngsters quietly shows you the way out.

You are out again, in the safety of the main road.

Baba Ramdev does a hand to hand with Congress

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 05:30 AM PDT

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of causing a loss of Rs.200 lakh crore in coal blocks allocation and sought resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the scam.

If the PM, who is responsible for corruption worth Rs.200 lakh crore, is honest then who is dishonest,” asked Ramdev in a press conference in New Delhi.

Targeting Congress on the coal block allocation issue, Ramdev alleged the party has garnered “gold medal in scams” and described it as a “sinking ship“.

He alleged the amount involved in the coal scam was much more than the figure of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore provided by CAG and Congress received commission for it.

He also demanded that the licences issued for coal blocks should be cancelled.

Ramdev added that he would launch a campaign from October 2 against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government ahead of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled in 2014.

People will give a suitable answer to Congress (for targeting us). What will it do to us when it is on a dissolving path on its own,” he said.

He told the media that the Congress had created a record in corruption, and now “the government is exposed“.

He said the immediate priority is the upcoming Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Asked whether he was on a collision course with erstwhile Team Anna as it is likely to announce its political party on the same day, he said he was not in competition with anybody and that he will not comment on whether he will support them.

The yoga guru said he would not join politics. “It’s not our agenda” he added.

He also alleged that the Congress was trying to defame him, and the UPA government was conspiring against his ashram and trust.

We have filed a complaint with police regarding persons who came to our institution and offered money. They told aides, including my driver, to defame those involved with me. They also asked them to plant some articles. It could be dangerous substances also,” the yoga guru claimed.


Air India would no longer ferry Animals for Experiments

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 05:13 AM PDT

Air India would no longer provide transportation to  Animals onboard for experiment purposes.

After protests by rights activists, Air India has stopped ferrying animals like rabbits, cats and dogs for laboratory tests, where they are experimented upon and finally killed, a PETA official said on Saturday.

“Air India, in an e-mail to PETA, has confirmed that a circular was sent to all stations in its network instructing them not to accept animals being transported for experimental purposes, and that the situation would be closely monitored,” Chaitanya Koduri, a policy advisor of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said.

Air India has also confirmed that it has banned ferrying animals for experimentation purpose from all its national and international flights since last week.

The carrier’s move came after PETA showed Air India a copy of an airway bill documenting that the airline transported a shipment of animals for experimental purposes in laboratories.

With this, PETA now plans to take up the same issue with all other private Indian air operators urging them for a similar humane commitment, Koduri said.

Air India is now among international airlines like Air Lingus, British Airways, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and, recently, Air China which decline transporting rabbits, rodents, dogs, cats, primates and other creatures destined for laboratories.

Supreme Court forbids rounding off Marks during Admissions

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 04:58 AM PDT

Next time there wont be any rounding off of percentage marks while seeking admission to any of the colleges in the country.

In a ruling that would impact thousands of students, the Supreme Court has held that there can be no rounding-off of the percentage of marks to the next digit for making a candidate eligible for admission to a course when eligibility criteria are clearly mentioned.

When eligibility criteria are prescribed in a qualifying examination, it must be strictly adhered to,” the apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai said in a recent judgment.

“Any dilution or tampering with it will work injustice on other candidates” and “such rounding-off is impermissible“, said Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai who authored the judgment.

The apex court’s judgment came while answering the question of law of whether a relaxation was possible through the application of the principle of rounding off in the eligibility criteria prescribed for admission, in a case related to a post-graduate nursing course.

The court said: “No provision of any statute or any rules framed hereunder has been shown to us, which permits rounding-off of eligibility criteria prescribed for the qualifying examination for admission to the PG course in M.SC (Nursing).”

The court sought strict adherence to the eligibility criteria while disposing of an appeal by Bangalore-based Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, challenging the Oct 28, 2010, judgment of the division bench of the Karnataka High Court declining to entertain a plea against the single-judge order upholding rounding-off of the percentage of marks obtained by one G. Hemlatha so as to make her eligible for admission to the post-graduate nursing course.

The Division Bench of the High Court erred in holding that the learned single judge was right in rounding off 54.71 percent to 55 percent, so as to make respondent 1 (Hemlatha) eligible for admission to the P G course. Such rounding off is impermissible,” the apex court said.

Hemlatha completed the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing with 54.71 percent aggregate marks from N.T.R. University of Health Sciences in the year 1997, and was appointed staff nurse at the Primary Health Centre, Nagasamudram (Andhra Pradesh) from July 8, 1999.

After working for eight years and three months, she decided to pursue post-graduate studies.

The eligibility criteria prescribed by the Indian Nursing Council (INC) for securing admission to the post-graduate course was 55 percent aggregate marks in B.Sc. Hemlatha had secured 54.71 percent aggregate marks.

Hemlatha made a representation to INC which said that 0.50 percent would normally be rounded-off to the next digit.

On the strength of this certificate, she got admission to the post-graduate course. However, when she was to undertake the M.Sc previous examination, she was told by the university that she was not eligible.

Hemlatha impugned this order holding her ineligible before the single judge of the Karnataka High Court. An interim order permitted her to appear in the examination.

On the strength of another court’s order, she appeared in the M.Sc final examination.

When Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences moved the Supreme Court challenging the division bench order, the apex court directed the declaration of her result and regularisation of her admission.

However, the court had said that it would decide the question of law of whether rounding of percentage of marks to next digit could be done to facilitate admission in the course of time.

Mahindra & Mahindra logs 22 percent Growth in Sales

Posted: 01 Sep 2012 04:04 AM PDT

Automobile major Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (M&M) announced that it has logged 22 percent sales growth in August this year as compared to the same month in 2011.

In a statement, M&M said it sold 45,836 units last month up from 37,684 units sold in August 2011.

M&M’s passenger vehicle portfolio (utility vehicles and Verito car) registered 39 percent growth selling 21,831 units last month as against 15,664 units sold in August 2011.

In the four-wheeled commercial and passenger-carrying vehicle segment, M&M sold 14,267 units up from 12,563 units sold last August.

However, the sales of three-wheelers came down to 6,004 units from 6,394 units sold in August 2011.

“Considering the challenging external environment, we are happy to have achieved a growth of 22 percent. Our new look Verito has evoked a positive response of having crossed the 2,000 plus units sales mark during August 2012,” the statement quoted Pravin Shah, chief executive of the automotive division as saying.

“The overall sentiments for the auto industry are low which could benefit from a relief in interest rates, to boost sales. At Mahindra, we continue to remain cautious and watchful of the situation,” he added.