All-round education in schools comes at a price

Schools are set to be more fun from June, but a tad more expensive. The Madras high court ruling on Monday allowing schools to charge for extracurricular activities after school hours has encouraged schools to consider bringing back all the activities they cut out because they couldn't afford them. After the Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act 2009 was passed, many private school heads said extracurricular activities would be the first casualty . Schools which maintained smooth relations with parents did not have to cut down on after-school activities as they could charge for them without having parents knocking at their gates in protest. Institutions that had a small section of the parents protesting against fee charged in excess of that prescribed by the committee made the activities optional , while those that had a majority of the parents insisting on governmentprescribed fee were forced to cancel activities after class hours . Heads of some schools said in the last two years they have had to even drop their NCC and Guide and Scout activities because they were paid services. "Because of the restrictions imposed , we did not know whether we could hire coaches for sports during hobby hour . The ruling has opened up the field for us once again and we are now confident of providing holistic education without focusing on just academics," said C Satish , senior principal , Paavai Group of Schools . Thanks to the new ruling, schools are now gearing up to offer everything from Go-K arting to music lessons and robotics to dramatics, with parents bearing the expense . Coming ahead of the new academic year, this is set to increase the parent's burden by 4,000- 5,000 a term. R Arul , a parent , said , "We can bear a maximum increase of up to 3,000. Anything more is beyond my means, and I will have to excuse my child from these activities." Others felt it would save them time, money and energy if the school conducted the activities. "I don't have to go looking for classes to occupy my child, and if it is done in school it will also save me the cost of sending him by autorickshaw to another place," said Raghav Vijay, parent of a 12-year-old . Schools said it was a good bargain because summer camps charge as much as 4,000 for a 20-day package on robotics, whereas the same activity would cost 4,000 in a school over a three-month term. Activists felt strong parent-teacher associations would help maintain the balance between commercialisation of education and enhancing the schooling experience for a child.

Torrid times

Heat can kill if it is dealt with carelessly. The summer of 2010 is a black mark in the city's history. A total of 310 Amdavadis lost their lives in a single day - May 21 - because of temperatures that peaked at 46.5 degrees Celsius. The relation between deaths and heat waves was recently studied by the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH). This happens to be the only study of its kind in the country and will be published shortly. It took experts two years to make a detailed correlation of deaths in different areas of the city with temperatures.The study found that between May 1 and May 19, when temperatures hovered around the 43-degree mark and over, the number of deaths remained between 100 and 150 a day, because of the heat wave. On May 20, the number of deaths in just a single day was reported to be close to 200, while the following day - May 21 - when temperatures peaked to 46.5 degrees, 310 individuals died.Most of the dead were slum dwellers, the old, newborns and outdoor workers. The IIPH study was carried out by a team of experts led by assistant professor Gulrez Shah Azhar and included Amruta Sarma, Ajit Rajiva, Priya Dutta , Abhiyant Tiwari. Based on this analysis, the team helped Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) devise a heat action plan this year."The best way to counter heat-related deaths is to keep in touch with your near and dear ones, informing them when not to venture out. The old must be encouraged to consume more liquids," says Sarma, who is a Fulbright scholar. Dutta added, "Patients with heart ailments have to extra careful as their blood circulation increases in heat wave situations, which increases their pressure and they hence become vulnerable."IIPH director Dileep Mavlankar said, "Threshold temperature for Ahmedabad has been found to be 42 degrees Celsius, after studying mortality patterns of the past several years. The AMC now plans to open all its parks in the afternoons so that people can take shelter under trees and cool off during heat wave situations, besides installing electronic temperatures gauges at various points in the city."Mercurial upswing in Ahmedabad at 43 degreesAhmedabad recorded a sizzling 43 degrees heralding the arrival of the killer month of May. The day temperature was two degrees above normal.Officials said the weather was dry over the region. On Wednesday, day temperatures rose appreciably in parts of Saurashtra and less alarmingly over the rest of the region."Temperatures were appreciably above normal in Saurashtra and Gujarat regions and above normal in Kutch. The highest maximum temperature was 43 degrees Celsius in the region, recorded at number of places," said an IMD release.Diabetics, hypertensives, heart patients must pay special attentionExperts say that extreme temperatures in summer can be especially excruciating for diabetics and those suffering high blood pressure and heart disease."Hypertensives and heart patients on diuretics, are at a risk of losing lot of fluids and essential electrolytes including excessive sodium and lower blood pressure," said cardiologist Dr Sameer Dani."Diabetics generally suffer from excessive urination at a risk of losing excessive fluids which leads to increase in sugar levels in concentrated blood," said diabetologist Dr Banshi Saboo.DO'S AND DONT'S*Diabetics must take care to consume more fluids, including plain water and buttermilk. Drinking fruit juices and coconut water should be avoided as they lead to spikes in sugar levels.*Coconut water, which is considered healthy, should not be excessively consumed by diabetics as it contains high levels of potassium which is contraindicated for diabetics who have kidney complications. *Heart patients should avoid adding salt to their buttermilk and aam panna as it may spike sodium levels and cause a rise in blood pressure.

2002 riots: Judge's transfer to delay proceedings on Zakia Jafri's plea

Court proceedings on Zakia Jafri's complaint - against chief minister Narendra Modi and others with regard to the 2002 riots - will be delayed, as the metropolitan magistrate hearing the case, B J Ganatra, has been transferred to an Anand court.Ganatra is one of over 100 officers of the lower judiciary transferred across the state.The special investigation team (SIT) had already started arguments against Zakia's protest petition. The magistrate's transfer will stall proceedings for a while now. The further course will now be decided on May 15, which has been listed by the court for formal proceedings.The name of the metropolitan magistrate to preside over Court No. 11 has not been finalized yet.Meanwhile, CBI magistrate A Y Dave has been transferred to Godhra. It was before this additional chief judicial magistrate that CBI filed two chargesheets in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, and accused cop N K Amin proposed to become approver three years ago.

Bamrauli airport to get major facelift

A team of Airport Authority of India (AAI) is likely to visit the city next week to finalise the project for construction of a new terminal and upgradation of the existing facilities at the Bamrauli airport. After completion of the project, it would be possible to operate big aircraft and many more flights from the airport. An AAI team led by its Chairman V P Agarwal and Executive Director Kalpana Sethi held talks with Sunita Singh, state's Civil Aviation Secretary and Secretary to the Chief Minister, in Lucknow on Wednesday to finalise the project. Following consultations, the AAI team would be visiting Allahabad next week to give final touches to the project. District authorities said with the proposed extension (in terms of both length and width) and improvement of the airstrip at Bamrauli, big aircrafts would be able to land and take off conveniently, putting the city on the civil aviation map of India. Allahabad DM Raj Shekhar told TOI: "Besides upgradation of the runway, the Bamrauli airport would also have night landing facility for big aircrafts. Testing for night landing is in pipeline and the district authorities are coordinating with AAI and Air Force authorities in this connection." The DM maintained that land for constructing the new airport terminal has been identified at Katuhala Gauspur and Chandrabhanpur villages under Sadar tehsil. Once the district authorities get the nod from AAI, the process for acquiring 30.391 hectares of land would be launched. In view of the project, the district authorities have identified three road alignment routes as per AAI norms. One of these routes would be finalised after due consideration, said district authorities. Survey of the three routes has already been carried out. The first road alignment -- from the Allahabad High Court to the proposed new terminal in Raheemabad (NTML) -- passes through High Court-Dhoomanganj-Jhalwa-Raheemabad areas. This route is 9.5-km-long and it would take about 20 minutes from the High Court to reach NTML.

Bamrauli airport to get major facelift

A team of Airport Authority of India (AAI) is likely to visit the city next week to finalise the project for construction of a new terminal and upgradation of the existing facilities at the Bamrauli airport. After completion of the project, it would be possible to operate big aircraft and many more flights from the airport. An AAI team led by its Chairman V P Agarwal and Executive Director Kalpana Sethi held talks with Sunita Singh, state's Civil Aviation Secretary and Secretary to the Chief Minister, in Lucknow on Wednesday to finalise the project. Following consultations, the AAI team would be visiting Allahabad next week to give final touches to the project. District authorities said with the proposed extension (in terms of both length and width) and improvement of the airstrip at Bamrauli, big aircrafts would be able to land and take off conveniently, putting the city on the civil aviation map of India. Allahabad DM Raj Shekhar told TOI: "Besides upgradation of the runway, the Bamrauli airport would also have night landing facility for big aircrafts. Testing for night landing is in pipeline and the district authorities are coordinating with AAI and Air Force authorities in this connection." The DM maintained that land for constructing the new airport terminal has been identified at Katuhala Gauspur and Chandrabhanpur villages under Sadar tehsil. Once the district authorities get the nod from AAI, the process for acquiring 30.391 hectares of land would be launched. In view of the project, the district authorities have identified three road alignment routes as per AAI norms. One of these routes would be finalised after due consideration, said district authorities. Survey of the three routes has already been carried out. The first road alignment -- from the Allahabad High Court to the proposed new terminal in Raheemabad (NTML) -- passes through High Court-Dhoomanganj-Jhalwa-Raheemabad areas. This route is 9.5-km-long and it would take about 20 minutes from the High Court to reach NTML.

Hotmail officially dead: Outlook the New-look Replaces the Hotmail

Hotmail is officially dead with outlook with new look replaces the hotmail and the users who type “hotmail.com” in their internet’s address bar might find that they need to use a Microsoft account name and password in order to sign in. “As of today, every single Hotmail account has been migrated to Outlook.com, Microsoft's newer and redesigned email experience,” reported Yahoo! Finance on May 2, 2013.

"Microsoft account" is the new name for what used to be called a "Windows Live ID." Some Microsoft services like Messenger, SkyDrive, Windows Phone, Xbox LIVE, or Outlook.com might still show “Windows Live ID.” However, over time, all Microsoft services will be switching from “Windows Live ID” to “Microsoft account.”

While it will take some time to streamline all services to “Microsoft account,” Hotmail.com has completed the process today.

The advantage of a streamlined account sign-in name has the advantage of not having to remember different names and passwords for different services. Windows 8 users can also use the same Microsoft account name and password to sign in to any PC running Windows 8.

For anyone who does not have a “Microsoft account” name and password or for anyone who is not sure if they already have an existing “Microsoft account” name, Microsoft is providing a Microsoft Windows video that explains the process and a button to sign in or to establish a new sign-in name. Signing in from the Microsoft Windows webpage allows users to see a complete summary of their Microsoft account with name, birthdate, and password and security information.

As of today, Hotmail.com’s webpage uses the same “Microsoft account” sign-in name and will take users to a new webpage, Outlook.


“Your Hotmail account will stay the same – people can continue emailing you at [your address]@hotmail.com – but the interface and experience no longer have a thing to do with the Hotmail name.”

Instead of Hotmail, users are now seeing the name Outlook.

Outlook.com is Microsoft's newer and redesigned email experience. In contrast to Hotmail, Outlook is offering new features that include “Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a popular and device-friendly standard for receiving your email, and deeper integration with SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage solution. Instead of sending an attachment from your hard drive, for example, it's now a snap to send a file stored in your SkyDrive.”

Many Hotmail, now Outlook users, will not be interested in the technical aspects of Outlook but rather continue to use simple features like Inbox, Drafts, Sent, or Deleted. A Photos folder allows users to have their pictures available to be e-mailed with a click of a button.

More advanced Hotmail, now Outlook users, can check the Outlook Blog for any technical issues that might come up by using Outlook. One of the issues that is being discussed is that some users are not able to see the “Insert” menu. Other topics included in the Outlook Blog are in regard to SMTP, Send Only accounts, or Android issues. “We have a known issue on Android 2.2, a fix is in the works.”

The Outlook Blog also describes its integration of SkyDrive into Outlook and what other features Microsoft is still working on during the coming weeks.

Microsoft Outlook users who receive e-mails via Outlook Express on their computer and not by going to a website might notice that they received some unusual e-mail today. Check to what e-mail address the e-mail was sent to; it is most likely an old and long-forgotten Hotmail.com e-mail address that is saying good-bye.

Parents to hold jan panchayat against school fee hike

Parents of children studying in private schools, under the banner of Abhiwawak Ekta Samiti, have decided to organize a 'jan panchayat' against fee hike at Subhash crossing in Civil Lines on Thursday. On Tuesday, the samiti launched a signature campaign at collectorate and roped in support of large number of lawyers. On Wednesday, the samiti would organize a similar campaign at High Court crossing to ensure support of high court lawyers and public alike.Samiti's convener Vijay Kumar Gupta said that the issue of fee hike would be discussed with students, political representatives, intelligentsia and various sections of the society. He blamed the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities concerned and adamant attitude of school management for the crisis. Gupta rued that education mafias had turned the temple of education into a business. They are forcing parents and guardians into purchasing new school uniform, text books and copies from school shops at exorbitant price. Stating that parents had no option but to follow school's diktat, he said that such practice would not be tolerated any more.Another leader Anandji Tandon Pappanji said that people running convent schools either held important posts in government or were well-connected with higher ups. As a result, the education department had turned a blind eye towards them. He, however, declared that the parents and the guardians under the samiti banner would raise the issue at all level.

Reconstitute Shirdi trust committee, HC tells govt

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the state government to reconstitute the management committee of the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust within 15 days, keeping in mind the object underlined in the Act pertaining to the trust and the rules framed in January 2013. The court also directed the ad hoc committee not to take any policy decision. The petitioners' main contention was that the government had not framed the rules for the appointment of the management committee under the provisions of the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust (Shirdi) Act, 2004, said government pleader Sunil Kurundkar. "The court, however, allowed the petitioner to challenge the constitutional validity of the rules framed on January 1, 2013 for the appointment of the management committee," said lawyer Satish Talekar, who represented the petitioners including Sanjay Kale and Sandeep Kulkarni. Talekar told the court that the rules framed by the government had not been referred to the committee on subordinate legislation. The rules were required to be placed before both houses of the state legislature within 30 days. The rules were placed before both houses on April 3, 2013 and both houses were prorogued on April 7. Talekar said the rules gave unchallenged and unfettered powers to the government to appoint candidates of its choice. The rules did not contemplate inviting applications from candidates who had expertise, conviction and devotion towards Sai Baba. Talekar argued that the rules were not in conformity with the object of the Act. He told the court that the rules did not speak about disbursement funds, appointment of employees and welfare activities. The high court bench comprising Justice Naresh H Patil and Justice A V Nirgude directed the government to re-constitute the committee within 15 days. It allowed the petitioners to challenge, if they wanted to, the constitutional validity of the rules framed by the government in a separate petition. It may be noted that the bench, on March 30 last year, had granted an interim stay on the state government's order appointing a new board of trustees. It had asked the government to frame the rules for the appointment of the new committee. Accordingly, the government framed the rules on January 1, 2013.

Civic body to foot insurance cost for Nahar survey team

Civic authorities have decided to provide insurance cover and adequate equipment to the team involved in the physical survey of the 400-year-old Nahar-e-Ambari and Nahar-e-Panchakki. The survey is being conducted following a high court directive. An expert committee, according to the April 24 HC direction, has been formed to supervise the survey. It has asked the civic body to provide equipment like helmets, flood lights, as the teams would have to explore through 11 km of dark and deep underground alleys of the nahars. The panel members had a meeting recently to chalk out modes of the survey of dark underground alleys of the nahar to get its actual status. Shaikh Ramzan, water expert and member of the committee, suggested that it would be risky for the team to explore the nahar without any safety gears. Ramzan had personally inspected the nahar system about 30 years ago as part of his study for his PhD thesis on the history of Aurangabad. He suggested that the civic body provide insurance cover to the team surveying 7 km of the Panchakki Nahar and 4.5 km of Nahar-e-Ambari. Ramzan said that the HC had asked the civic body to appoint an experts' committee to survey and suggest means for maintenance and preservation of the age-old nahar system in the city. The civic body is expected to submit its report to the HC by June 15, he said. He said, architect Pradeep Deshpande, another committee member, submitted a list of required material to the committee chairman and city engineer M D Sonwane, who agreed to the requirements. The gears that would be provided include helmets fitted with torches being used by people engaged in mining, gas masks, oxygen apparatus, strong portable ladders, strong ropes, heavy torches and flood lights and a video camera. M D Sonwane said that the nahar in some places is at least 30 to 50 feet deep. He said, "We have to take all care. Wherever we find required maintenance and repair we will immediately do the needful.'' A team for the physical survey would soon be decided on. The meeting was also attended by civic body engineers S S Kulkarni, Mohammed Waseel, Naser Khan of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, architect Rashmi Chaudhary, Juned Khan, Kakasaheb Randive and Abdul Hakeem of Nahar-Bachao Samiti.

NCW probes lady doc death

Six months after lady doctor Madhabilata Pradhan died under mysterious circumstances at Puri, the National Commission for Women (NCW) on Thursday began its probe blamed the state government of hushing up the case."The government is trying to suppress the case because of involvement of a ruling party MLA," alleged NCW member Charu Walikhanna after interacting with Pradhan's family at its native Brahmagiri. She said the MLA got her transferred from Rebena Nuagaon to Kanas (both in Puri district), causing her mental trauma and death. The state Crime Branch is probing the case. Her body is yet to be found. Brahmagiri MLA Sanjay Dasburma, who had earlier denied charges, said, "I do not want to make any comment as the case is sub judice." Pradhan's brother had moved Orissa HC seeking his sister's body and a CBI probe.

'Cheat' funds roots run deep in state

Several financial management firms are into money circulation business in the state without RBI's nod, sources said. There is no official record about such companies."A non-banking financial company (NBFC) must be registered with the RBI and have specific authorization to accept deposits from the public. Not a single NBFC has been authorized by the RBI in Odisha to collect deposits," said a RBI officer."Even the Saradha Group was not registered with the RBI here," the officer said. The RBI has given permission to 17 NBFCs to do business only in terms of loans, investments and asset finance (a company conducting the business of equipment leasing or hire purchase finance), sources said.Cheating of investors by unscrupulous companies takes many forms, such as 'vanishing' after raising money through public offers; illegal collection of deposits in violation of Section 58A of the Companies Act, 1956; floating sham 'Collective Investment Schemes (CIS)' in violation of SEBI Act; collecting money from public by posing as NBFCs in violation of the RBI Act; and resorting to money circulation schemes under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.While Bollywood actor-cum-director Naseer Khan allegedly duping investors of crores of rupees blew the lid off the chit fund trade in Balasore in 2009, the recent crackdowns on dubious money circulation companies exposed the non-banking businesses thriving in Odisha.The Crime Branch has registered cheating and money laundering cases against nearly 60 NBFCs, including Seashore Company, Sai Pragati Assets and Properties Limited, Safex Infra India Limited and Ashore Group, in the last two years. "We appeal to people not to getlured by false promises of such fraudulent companies," additional director-general (Crime Branch) B K Sharma said.

Wary MP government drops plan to legalize live-in relations

With the Sangh Parivar "outraged by the audacious idea," the state government has dropped its radical plan to legalize live-in partnership in the state. The proposal, included in the final draft of the state women policy 2013-17, was essentially meant to protect the interest of deserted victims and put them at par with the divorced wife or a widow in the matter of property rights and inheritance. Submitted before the government for clearance last fortnight, it would have been formalized by June, but for raging saffron storm brewing over it.Party sources attribute the volte-face to "the acute discomfort and distress it has caused to the parivar functionaries, who would rather uphold morality than the constraints of vote bank politics. Not surprisingly such is the extent of reservation that the very mention of the issue is enough to send senior leaders, including ministers scurrying for cover. At least three ministers contacted by TOI to probe the reason for dramatic shift, sounded edgy and passed the buck to the Department of Women and Child Development. Minister Ranjana Baghel proved to be equally illusive. Baghel could not be contacted despite repeated calls.The minister had publicly vowed to fight such a move with all her might two days ago before she learnt that silence would be the best policy here. The strategy, sources claim, is to keep mum and let the issue die a natural death gradually.However, the sudden burst of coyness in saffron camp has led to sneers among Congress and social activists, who demand that the government comes clear on the matter.Slamming the Shivraj Singh government for politicizing such a sensitive issue, MP Mahila Congress state president Archana Jaiswal said the object behind the move was votes in tribal belt, particularly in Malwa region, where the practice has been rampant for years little realizing the kind of uproar it would cause among the in-house ultra orthodox wing.And now when the news has leaked, everyone is busy hiding faces, she said. Jaiswal claimed to have tried speaking to senior ministers, including Babulal Gaur herself, but in vain. Same thing happened after the Gahnsor rape case, she claimed. The leader challenged the BJP top brass to "either stand by the convictions or publicly own it was an unintentional goof-up." Backtracking here would only perpetuate exploitation of women from weaker strata, said Anurag Modi, convener, Shramik Adivasi Sangathan.

Railways told to pay for mental trauma caused to passengers

The district consumer dispute redressal forum in Mandsaur has asked Indian Railways to pay cost of ticket, taxi fare, compensation for mental trauma and cost of litigation to two families, who were denied seats in Jabalpur-Veraval express train despite having reservations.Though the complainants filed the complaint with the consumer forum way back in 2009, the order came only on Wednesday. The family had booked six tickets from Ratlam to Veraval in Jabalpur-Veraval express on December 23, 2008."I boarded the train from Ratlam with my family, including two children. Our seats were occupied and we were forced to stand. We had lodged first complaint with the station master at Ahmedabad, but to no avail. We then had to break the journey at Rajkot and hire a taxi to Veraval," said Sandeep Bhargav, one of the complainant.The aggrieved family from Mandsaur, moved a complaint in the consumer forum against station managers of Ratlam and Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh and Ahmedabad and Viramgam in Gujarat.Railway officials denied the charges and contented that the passengers did not take the seats which were allotted to them and instead they boarded a different coach.However, the forum overruled the railway's contention stating that the passengers were forced to stand in train and take a taxi to their destination in spite of reservations, causing an undue harassment.The court has ordered the railways to pay Rs 13,000 to the family, including Rs 3,000 they paid for the taxi from Rajkot to Veraval, Rs 1,500 each to six members as compensation for mental trauma and Rs 1,000 as cost of litigation.

SGPC member complains against SAD leader

Amid infighting among Akali leaders over ticket distribution for Block Samiti and Zila Parishad elections, local SGPC member Jarnail Singh Dogranwala has got a complaint registered against a local SAD leader and former block Samiti chairman alleging that the latter along with another leader thrashed him and his turban had fallen off. He alleged that even his beard was pulled. The incident took place outside the office of former MLA Sarabjit Singh Makkar, who contested the last elections from Kapurthala, and is the constituency in charge. While the case was registered late evening, supporters of Ranjit Singh Khojewal, who has been booked on Dograwala's complaint, protested outside office of the SSP after which SSP ordered an inquiry. Khojewal alleged that Dogranwala had got a fake case registered against him to settle political scores.

SGPC member complains against SAD leader

Amid infighting among Akali leaders over ticket distribution for Block Samiti and Zila Parishad elections, local SGPC member Jarnail Singh Dogranwala has got a complaint registered against a local SAD leader and former block Samiti chairman alleging that the latter along with another leader thrashed him and his turban had fallen off. He alleged that even his beard was pulled. The incident took place outside the office of former MLA Sarabjit Singh Makkar, who contested the last elections from Kapurthala, and is the constituency in charge. While the case was registered late evening, supporters of Ranjit Singh Khojewal, who has been booked on Dograwala's complaint, protested outside office of the SSP after which SSP ordered an inquiry. Khojewal alleged that Dogranwala had got a fake case registered against him to settle political scores.

SEZs in Haryana can now opt for industrial colony licence

In a major relief to private developers in Haryana, the state cabinet on Thursday allowed grant industrial colony licences to SEZs, which have failed to take off in the state. Developers of around two dozen SEZs, most of them in Gurgaon district, will be benefited by the state government's move. Under the new policy, 15% land can be developed as residential areas, 45% for industrial units and 5% for commercial use. The remaining 35% will be left for roads, infrastructure services and public utilities, apart from open space.This follows recommendations by a panel constituted to consider and suggest alternative use of land, blocked under the notified special economic zones (SEZs) and revision of policy regarding grant of licences to industrial colonies. According to a senior industries department official, initially Haryana had received expressions of interest for 100 SEZs, but only 37 of them were eventually notified by the Union governmentTwo of the notified SEZs were later de-notified and 29 SEZs failed to take off, he said. Only four SEZs were established and work in two SEZs is still underway, he added.As per the cabinet decision, SEZs notified with land measuring 50 acres (20 hectares) and above and situated in "non-residential" land use zones, may be given the option to apply for "industrial colony license."The promoters may also develop their land as cyber city or technology city after getting approval from the government. Those availing the alternate dispensation will have to get their SEZ de-notified from the competent government, if not already de-notified.The developers will have to complete the infrastructure facilities and allot at least one-third of the plotted industrial area in respect of the industrial land use, before permission is granted to occupy facilities created under residential or commercial uses.

Preliminary chargesheet to be filed before TANPID today

The sleuths of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Coimbatore have decided to file a preliminary chargesheet against the managing directors of Fine Future, a multi- crore online fraudulent firm, before the Tamil Nadu Protection of Interests of Depositors (TANPID) court here on Friday.
According to sources, the sleuths have completed the preliminary chargesheet against the managing directors of Fine Future firm M Vivek, S Senthil Kumar, and M Nithyanandam, younger brother of Vivek, and accountant Sathyalakshmi on Thursday.The 2,000 page preliminary chargesheet has testimony of 200 depositors as witnesses.The second chargesheet will be filed within two months after conducting a detailed investigation with the agents of Fine Future firm.Nithyanandam was released from the Coimbatore central prison after getting conditional bail from the TANPID court. Vivek and Senthil Kumar are spending their days behind the bars since March.

Two held for illegally occupying a house

The city police on Thursday arrested two people for illegally occupying a house of a document writer at Rathinapuri. Police are on the look out for one more person in connection with the case. A Thennarasu (40), a city unit secretary of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, and his relative R Dhandapani (32) from Sivananda Colony, were arrested on Thursday by the police for illegally occupying a house owned by H Geetharani (42), a document writer residing at Hudco colony in Rathinapuri.Geetharani had bought the house from Vasudevan on February 18 by paying Rs 5.25 lakh. She had kept the house locked as there was no electricity connection.On February 20, Patel Balu from Hudco Colony broke open the front door and occupied the house with his family members. When Geetharani confronted Balu, he threatened her. Geetharani lodged a complaint with the police on Wednesday.Preliminary inquiry revealed that a few years ago, Dhandapani, a DMK functionary from Sivananda colony, had sold the house to Vasudevan, who in turn sold it to Geetharani.After Geetharani bought the house, Dhandapani and his relative Thennarasu from Madurai Veeran Nagar at Ondipudur hatched a conspiracy and took possession of the house with the help of Balu."When Geetharani asked Balu to vacate her house, the trio threatened her and refused to vacate the house," said V Rajavelu, inspector, Rathinapuri police station. Police verified the land registration and the encumbrance certificate and found that the house belonged to Geetharani."We have arrested Thennarasu and Dhandapani. The absconding accused Patel Balu will be nabbed soon," Rajavelu added.

Youth catch mangalsutra thief red-handed at Parsem

Alert youth from Parsem caught a thief red-handed after he snatched a mangalsutra from an elderly woman. Police sources said that Vandana Varadkar, a resident of Kiranpani in Paliem, was on her way to her sister's place in Parsem when the incident occurred. While she was on the way, two unknown persons on a bike snatched her mangalsutra. She cried for help and the youth who were at the site were alerted and chased the accused on a motorcycle.After a dramatic chase, the locals finally managed to block the two-wheeler of the accused and caught hold of one of the accused. The other managed to flee the scene.Police sources said that the accused who was held has been identified as Savio Alvares, 26, from Kirbhat-Nuvem. The police are in search of the other accused who is allegedly from Maharashtra. Further investigations are in progress.

Youth catch mangalsutra thief red-handed at Parsem

Alert youth from Parsem caught a thief red-handed after he snatched a mangalsutra from an elderly woman. Police sources said that Vandana Varadkar, a resident of Kiranpani in Paliem, was on her way to her sister's place in Parsem when the incident occurred. While she was on the way, two unknown persons on a bike snatched her mangalsutra. She cried for help and the youth who were at the site were alerted and chased the accused on a motorcycle.After a dramatic chase, the locals finally managed to block the two-wheeler of the accused and caught hold of one of the accused. The other managed to flee the scene.Police sources said that the accused who was held has been identified as Savio Alvares, 26, from Kirbhat-Nuvem. The police are in search of the other accused who is allegedly from Maharashtra. Further investigations are in progress.

'Hope illegalities will be checked'

Hailing the high court's interim order, animal activists have expressed hope that this will check the illegalities that were under way at the Goa Meat Complex at Mharvasado-Usgao in Ponda. Hanuman Parab, president of the petitioner Govansh Raksha Abhiyan, and Poonam Kapoor, an activist from Hyderabad who is pursuing the issue in Goa, welcomed the order saying it comes after a year of hard struggle, threats and "strong resistance from all quarters, including police and implementing authorities".Parab said the abhiyan has submitted his and the names of Amrut Singh of the animal rescue squad and Josphine Anthony, an animal lover, to the high court to oversee the animals being brought for slaughter at the complex. Sources at the complex told TOI that they had not yet received the court order and till late Thursday afternoon no animal was slaughtered.Referring to the findings of the three-member inquiry committee that underage animals were being slaughtered at the complex, Kapoor claimed, "The vets responsible for inspection had themselves accepted in a video taken by activists that the animals were underage." She alleged the complex harboured potential health hazards as there were no checks on the health and hygiene of the animals before slaughter.

Prisoner’s eye damaged in brawl

A jail inmate was grievously injured after one of his eyeballs split in two during a fight in a prison van on Sohna Road on Thursday. He is currently being treated at Safdurjung hospital. According to police, the incident took place around 3.30pm when the inmates were returning to Bhondsi jail after appearing for a hearing. A group of undertrials in the van attacked one Kunal, who was in judicial custody over a case of snatching.

After Saradha, govt to protect investors from fraud schemes

Against the backdrop of multi-crore chit fund scam in West Bengal, Haryana government on Thursday approved a bill, aimed to safeguard the interest of depositors from being defrauded by unscrupulous financial institutions, including NBFCs.In case of default in payment, Haryana Protection of Interest of Depositors (In Financial Establishments) Bill, 2013 has proposed stringent steps including imprisonment up to seven years and fine up to Rs 2 lakh to promoter, or any other employee responsible for conducting affairs of erring financial establishment. The bill envisages to ensure that the Non-Banking Financial Corporations (NBFCs) function on healthy lines and these companies function in consonance with the monetary policy framework so that their functioning does not lead to systemic aberrations. Moreover, the state government is empowered to prosecute these companies and attach their properties enforce imprisonment in case the general public is duped and deceived by these NBFCs, said an official release. There are 88 registered NBFCs in Haryana at present. The bill also proposed that defaulting financial establishment shall also be liable for a fine which shall not be less than five lakh rupees or where such deposit is quantifiable in terms of money twice the defrauded amount whichever is more. The government with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court shall constitute one or more designated courts in the cadre of a district judge including additional district judge for such area or areas or for such case or class or group of cases.

Three grenades, ammunition seized in Imphal

Mizoram Police seized three Chinese-made grenades and ammunition from a farm house near Aizawl on Tuesday, police said. The announcement was made late as police expected that more contraband was concealed in the farmhouse belonging to Rohmingliana, who was arrested.Earlier, police has seized 31 AK-47 assault rifles, and ammunition from the same farm on March 7 and 8. Three persons belonging to a faction of Bangladesh's Shanti Bahini (PCJSS) were arrested in this connection. They intended to take the arms across the border to Bangladesh for the use of their cadres.Mizoram shares borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh and the state has been one of the major conduits for arms smugglers and drug traffickers for years.The state's close proximity with Cox's Bazar has also also made it vulnerable and strategic as NE insurgents, who procured arms from Bangladesh and Myanmar, used to cross the state while taking the contraband to Manipur, Nagaland or Assam.

Hotmail officially dead: Skype now offers direct calls from Outlook.com inbox

Hotmail officially dead announced by Microsoft and now skype offers direct calls from outlook.com inbox. Users of Microsoft's new Outlook.com email service are getting a bonus of sorts: a preview version of videoconferencing Skype right in their inboxes.

Microsoft's product director of marketing for Skype Simon Longbottom said the feature will be rolled out in the United Kingdom first, then in the United States and Germany.

"In the coming months, audio and video calling powered by Skype will be available in every Outlook.com inbox. By adding Skype conversations to your modern email, Microsoft is creating yet another way for you to connect to the people you care about most," he said.

He said the preview version of Skype for Outlook.com allows users to enjoy Skype video and audio calls from their inboxes - "less typing, more talking!" Gmanetwork reported

"Just click on the Skype audio or video call buttons in your IM conversation. To start a call while reading an email from a friend on Outlook.com, move your mouse over the friend’s picture and click on the Skype audio or video call buttons that appear above his or her contact details," he said.

Longbottom also noted Outlook.com, in its first six months after launch, had attracted 60 million new users, becoming the fastest-growing email service in history.

Yet, he said text isn’t enough, as users may face situations "where it’s just easier to jump on a call to talk something through."

"Sometimes that quick call can accomplish more than a long email reply. That’s why we are bringing Skype audio and video calling to your Outlook.com inbox. Now, with Skype for Outlook.com, you can choose the right medium for your message, whether it is an email, call, video call or instant message (IM) — you can connect with your Skype and Messenger friends all in the same place," he said.

Users may need to download a browser plugin that will work with Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox, Longbottom said.

On the other hand, users with existing Skype accounts will be asked to link Skype and Outlook.com "in a few simple steps." — TJD, GMA News

BJP expels Gururaj Hunashimarad for six years

BJP district unit has decided to act tough against its rebel candidates who are working against the official candidates of the party in Dharwad district. In order to send a strong message to other rebel candidates, BJP high command has expelled Gururaj Hunashimarad from the party for six years, for contesting against the official candidate. Hunashimarad is also contesting the assembly election as a rebel candidate from Hubli-Dharwad West constituency after his efforts to get the BJP ticket failed. Former president of youth wing of state Janata dal(S), Hunashimarad had left JD(S) and joined BJP a few years ago. He had been campaigning that he was contesting against the BJP's official nominee Arvind Bellad to oppose the dynasty culture in the party and that he would return to BJP and support Jagadish Shettar if elected. Considering this as an anti-party activity the party high command has expelled Hunashimarad said president of Dharwad city BJP Suresh Bedre.

Karnataka polls: It's caught in a time warp, development a mirage

If the rapidity of Bangalore's pace of change often leaves one amazed, it's exactly the opposite in Bijapur. It's like time has stood still in this north Karnataka town some decades ago. Prem Herlagi, 30, who is into multiple small businesses and who has lived here all his life, can't remember anything that has changed barring some increase in traffic and an improvement in the supply of drinking water. The town is filthy, stray pigs are everywhere. The joke in the town is that but for the pigs, which feast on the filth, the town would have been even more filthy. Most buildings are old, most roads are in miserable condition. Thanks to the Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in February though, the main MG Road and a few others were relaid. There is not a single lifestyle brand advertising itself, let alone have an exclusive store. The Gol Gumbaz is the one magnificent bright spot in this town, but even that could do with better upkeep.Development has completely passed by Bijapur, once the capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty and one of India's great centres of culture, commerce, education and learning in the second half of the 16th century and the 17th century. And it does not look like things will change much in the near future because none who is vying for the Bijapur assembly seat that we talked to appears to have a larger vision for the town. They talk of improving roads, drainage, streetlights, drinking water, housing for the poor, giving ration cards. But how would they do that without encouraging industry and generating income? They look for an answer only when specifically asked the question.Appasaheb Pattanashetti, the sitting BJP MLA who has once again been given the ticket and who was a textile minister in the JD(S)-BJP coalition government, said the inadequate supply of water in Bijapur was a constraint for the textile industry but he would work to improve that. Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, the JD(S) candidate, said a denim garments project was abandoned because the sitting MLA raised pollution concerns. He said the project would have created employment for 4,500 people. Yatnal said tourism was also a big opportunity. He said he would encourage industry and personally supervise progress of projects. Yatnal was briefly the Union minister of state for textiles and later Railways in the Vajpayee government. He was then with the BJP and joined JD(S) in 2010. During the Railways stint, he converted the meter gauge lines in Bijapur to broad gauge ones, thus improving connectivity. Ordinary citizens we spoke to seemed inclined to vote for the JD(S) this time. "Most youths who last time voted for BJP are going with Yatnal now," said Rachanna Kendhuli, 32, who is in the government's judicial department. Prem Herlagi too will vote for JD(S). "Yatnal at least has some vision about industry and job creation," he said. The condition in the neighbouring constituency of Basavana Bagewadi, the birthplace of statesman, philosopher and social reformer Basava, is no better. Sunanda, 36, is selling grapes, squatting on the main town square ground, in the scorching 40 degrees heat, without a shade above her head. "The politicians see us every day sitting like this, but they don't bother to provide any shelter," she says. Shankarava, 76, has an old tattered umbrella over her head. She has been selling curds to passing bus travellers for about 40 years now. "We are sitting on PWD land. Why can't the government construct shops for us here," she asks.An NTPC power project is coming up in the area, but the sitting BJP MLA S K Bellubbi has made it clear he does not want any more land taken away from farmers for industry. Rival Congress candidate Shivanand Patil, who won in 1999 and 2004 but lost in 2008, accuses NTPC of not meeting conditions related to hiring locals and establishing educational institutions.Patil, who is in the grape and wine business and who appears to have the edge in the election this time, is focused on better irrigation, drinking water and drainage projects. His daughter Samyukta, a law student in Bangalore, is helping with the campaign and she says her focus is on toilets, especially for women.

Hotmail officially dead: Microsoft now with 400 million active Outlook.com accounts

Microsoft Hotmail is officially dead and replaced with New Outlook, Microsoft announced earlier. Microsoft has completed moving its Hotmail.com users over to Outlook.com and officials are now claiming the company has 400 million active Outlook.com accounts as a result. 

Microsoft officials announced the completion of the Hotmail-Outlook.com transition on May 2. Microsoft officials added that they've migrated 150 petabyes of email over the past six weeks.

As part of the announcement, officials also said they are adding two new features to Outlook.com: SMTP Send, making it easier to send mail from different email addresses; and deeper SkyDrive integration.

The new SMTP Send supuport streamlines the process of sending from an alias, without recipients seeing a message saying “Sent on behalf of…” And on the SkyDrive front, users can now insert files and pictures directly from SkyDrive. Zdnet Reports

In February of this year, Microsoft officials said they had 60 million active Outlook.com accounts. At that time, officials said they'd be closing Hotmail and moving the hundreds of millions of existing Hotmail.com users to Outlook.com.

Of the current 400 million, 125 million Outlook.com users are accessing their accounts from mobile devices, officials said.

To those Hotmail users who are struggling with the Outlook.com interface: I'd suggest you check out this video and frequently asked questions (FAQ) document. I've heard from many (many, many) of you that you can't find your calendar, contacts, etc. Hopefully this page will provide some help.

4 gang rape married woman in Ratlam, one arrested

Three days after a young married woman was allegedly gang-raped by four men in Barkheda area of Ratlam district, one of the accused was arrested by police on Thursday.
ashrath Singh, 30, a native of Khakhakheri village of Ratlam district was arrested by staff of Barkheda police station on Thursday.Dashrath, along with Man Singh, Bhairo Singh and Pappu Singh, had abducted and then allegedly gang raped a 21-year-old married woman for two days in Barkheda area on April 28 and April 29.The woman managed to escape from their clutches on April 29 night and after that reported the matter to her family in Khakhakheri village the next day.On May 1, the family lodged a complaint of gang rape against the four at Barkheda police station.The victim's family had alleged that Dashrath and his three accomplices had abducted the woman while she had gone to fetch water from a hand pump.The medical examination of the woman also confirmed that the woman was raped."Dashrath Singh has been arrested and efforts are on to nab the remaining three," Ratlam superintendent of police GK Pathak told TOI on Thursday.

50 ill after gas leak from German chemical plant

Panic gripped the industrial town of Nagda in Ujjain, nearly 120 km from here, when a toxic gas leaked from a German plant on Tuesday affecting 50 villagers in the vicinity. While most of those affected were discharged after primary treatment, three plant officials were arrested and later released on bail.Victims complained of cough, burning in eyes and breathlessness and were admitted to Indubhai Parekh Memorial Hospital for treatment. All but three were discharged within hours of being admitted.Thionyl Chloride, used in the manufacture of special chemicals like plastics and rubber, started leaking from the German plant, Lanxess, around 9.15pm on Tuesday, affecting people in the surrounding villages. The leak took place after a glass tube in the plant developed a crack. Company officials said there was no damage due to the leak."We arrested three officers of the plant: Rajesh Kamewad (plant manager), Devendra Dhami (senior manager, safety) and Arvind Yagnik (assistant manager, production). They were released on bail within a few hours," superintendent of police, Nagda, Deepak Shukla, told TOI.Although TC isn't toxic, it forms chemicals like sulphur dioxide and hydrochloric acid once it comes in contact with air. These chemicals have ill affects on human body.The leak took place due to a crack in a glass tube rotameter in the plant. Vice president, manufacturing, Lanxess, Bappa Bandyopadhyay, said, "As a responsible corporate, we have taken necessary actions and the situation is under control."An American plant, Gulbrandsen, is just a stone's throw away, and it uses chlorine gas to manufacture Aluminium Chloride, used as a catalyst in the pharma industry.

Woman dies five years after she was wounded in Jaipur blast

A 39-year-old woman has lost her battle for life five years after she was wounded in the 2008 Jaipur blast and slipped into coma. Sushila Sahu died at Jaipur's SMS Hospital on Tuesday night after she was admitted there following deterioration in her health. Sushila's daughter, Neha, said her mother had been in coma since May 13, 2008 when she was wounded in the blast outside a temple in Jaipur's Chandpole Bazaar. Neha said the common people of Jaipur had stood by them. Her brother, Jeetesh, said, "Even if she was in coma, we always had a feeling that she was with us.'' He said they used to tell her about their problems, achievements and discuss things whether she was listening or not. "I lost my mother. For me mother is the best friend in the world for any daughter or son.'' Sushila's husband, Rajendra Sahu, remembered her as the best wife and mother. "Both of my daughters are well educated and my wife inculcated good values in them.'' He said one of his sons is a businessman while another is pursuing MBBS. The family has little hope of the investigating agency cracking the case. "At least 70 people, including my wife, lost their lives. But not even a single person has been convicted.''

Illegal mining still rampant in Alwar, 45 dumpers seized

Despite Supreme Court's orders, illegal mining still continues to persist in Alwar. On Wednesday morning, 45 dumpers used for illegal mining were seized during a joint crack down illegal mining by teams of district police and RTO. While the dumper drivers managed to flee, the police managed to arrest one person.Illegal mining is rampant in Tapukara in Bhiwadi, Neemrana, Chopanki, Tijara, Gwalda, Udhanvas, Kahrani in Alwar district. Everyday, several dumpers ferry illegally mined stones in broad daylight owing to the nexus between the police officials, mining department officials and the district administration.In a bid to check illegal mining, a meeting was convened last week under the chairmanship of the chief secretary and a task force was constituted to check illegal mining in Bhiwadi.

Strike continues as fissures appear in lawyers' unity

Disregarding elders' committee's verdict, the advocates continued to abstain from judicial work on Tuesday. The decision to continue strike has led to discontentment among the men-in-black. The district judge, Kanpur Nagar, summoned the office-bearers of Kanpur Bar Association and The Lawyers' Association, members of Elders' committee and newly-elected president and general secretary of KBA and told them that the courts should soon start functioning.Later, an office-bearer said that the district judge made it clear that the judiciary had its limit. Meanwhile, the agitating advocates sent a memorandum to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav demanding that the remaining killers of lawyer Prashant Kumar Dwivedi be arrested at the earliest. They also demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to Dwivedi's kin and firearms licence to advocates.On Monday evening, the Elders' committee had termed the strike as illegal. This has led to the belief that the strike would be called off on Tuesday. However, in-charge office-bearers of the KBA and other lawyers refused to obey Elders' committee order. A few young advocates also used foul language against Elders' committee alleging that a few senior advocates were misleading the advocates. They also announced that strike would continue till their demands were met. Led by lawyer Bhanu Pratap Dwivedi they also staged a fast at Shatabdi Gate.Many lawyers who had reached the court believing that strike would be called off were disappointed. They were found discussing the situation in small groups in their chambers. Many believed that the strike should be called off as the police had already arrested two main accused. They termed the demand for compensation as illegal.The Elders' committee meanwhile stated that they would give the charge to newly elected executive committee on May 2 and thereafter the newly-elected office-bearers would decide the course of action. Elders' Committee was not in favour of strike.Apart from all these activities, Allahabad High Court verdict wherein the court had said that the Bar Council had no right to give a call for strike was also a point of discussion among the advocates. On Wednesday, the advocates would stage a march from Kanpur court to Phoolbagh to lodge their protest against the slow investigation in advocate murder case and press for their demand of compensation.

Strike continues as fissures appear in lawyers' unity

Disregarding elders' committee's verdict, the advocates continued to abstain from judicial work on Tuesday. The decision to continue strike has led to discontentment among the men-in-black. The district judge, Kanpur Nagar, summoned the office-bearers of Kanpur Bar Association and The Lawyers' Association, members of Elders' committee and newly-elected president and general secretary of KBA and told them that the courts should soon start functioning.Later, an office-bearer said that the district judge made it clear that the judiciary had its limit. Meanwhile, the agitating advocates sent a memorandum to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav demanding that the remaining killers of lawyer Prashant Kumar Dwivedi be arrested at the earliest. They also demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to Dwivedi's kin and firearms licence to advocates.On Monday evening, the Elders' committee had termed the strike as illegal. This has led to the belief that the strike would be called off on Tuesday. However, in-charge office-bearers of the KBA and other lawyers refused to obey Elders' committee order. A few young advocates also used foul language against Elders' committee alleging that a few senior advocates were misleading the advocates. They also announced that strike would continue till their demands were met. Led by lawyer Bhanu Pratap Dwivedi they also staged a fast at Shatabdi Gate.Many lawyers who had reached the court believing that strike would be called off were disappointed. They were found discussing the situation in small groups in their chambers. Many believed that the strike should be called off as the police had already arrested two main accused. They termed the demand for compensation as illegal.The Elders' committee meanwhile stated that they would give the charge to newly elected executive committee on May 2 and thereafter the newly-elected office-bearers would decide the course of action. Elders' Committee was not in favour of strike.Apart from all these activities, Allahabad High Court verdict wherein the court had said that the Bar Council had no right to give a call for strike was also a point of discussion among the advocates. On Wednesday, the advocates would stage a march from Kanpur court to Phoolbagh to lodge their protest against the slow investigation in advocate murder case and press for their demand of compensation.

Female thamin deer dies in Allen Forest

A female thamin deer, around 15 years of age, died in Kanpur zoo two days back. The post-mortem examination was conducted by three veterinary doctors in presence of director K Thomas. The zoo now has has 28 thamin deer. It is an highly endangered animal.According to doctors, the animal died due to age related changes in its body. The dead deer was spotted by the keeper in the enclosure.Thamin deer are endangered and come under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. The number of animals had drastically reduced.Thomas confirmed that female deer died due to old age and the post-mortem examination was conducted in his presence.

Mamata on the warpath to win back lost trust

Her party stuck deep in the Saradha muddle — a crisis unprecedented in the Trinamool Congress' history — Mamata Banerjee took to the streets on Thursday in a desperate bid to reclaim lost faith and stave off a CBI probe into the Ponzi crisis. Mamata chose Shyambazar crossing to launch her counterattack — a location of symbolic importance for her because this is where she had carved out her political course more than a decade ago. With nephew Abhishek Banerjee facing the heat from CPM, Mamata was in a combative mood with a clear strategy to drag CPM and Congress into the muddle. But she made a rare admission: "One or two in a family may be at fault. Don't judge the entire family by the individual. What do you do when you find a rotten chilli in a 100 kg pack? Do you throw away the entire lot?". Belittling the Opposition as "men whom their wives don't rely upon," she said: "There are some who have no other job but to make themselves available at talk shows. Oder mogoje morubhumi, pete krimi (they have lost their brains with stomach full of worms). They are busy spreading spicy canards against us. They are men full of deceit." Her government has gone on an overdrive, rounding up suspects and sealing offices of chit fund firms across the city to give an impression that the administration is serious about the probe. This will come handy in Mamata's defence against a CBI probe. With two PILs demanding a CBI inquiry due to be heard in high court, Mamata knows that her words won't be enough.

CM's brother warned govt on Ponzi firms

At a time when the Mamata Banerjee government is being criticized for ignoring Sebi's and her ministers warning against mushrooming chit funds in the state, the latest revelation by the chief minister's brother Kartik Banerjee may only add to the controversy.If the Mamata Banerjee government had turned a deaf year to Sebi's warning against chit funds and ignored similar words of caution from its own ministers, here come the latest revelations from the chief minister's brother, no less.Kartik on Thursday told TOI that he had raised an alarm against Ponzi companies like the Saradha Group in the last one and a half years, but the government did not pay heed to his words. and the government could have contained the dubious companies - loosely called chit funds -- from flourishing in Bengal had his words been heeded to.He claimed that his efforts went in vain since he was not "influential" enough in the party that is headed by his sister."It was clear as daylight that chit funds were looting the poor. Our NGO, Vivek, has been involved in social welfare-related work for the past 16 years. We thought it would be most appropriate to start campaigning against the chit funds," he said.When asked if he had spoken about this to any of his party leaders, Kartik said he thought it better to concentrate on spreading awareness through seminars and distribution of leaflets and putting up hoarding and flexes. that Did he speak to his party leaders? "I am a small fry in the party. I spoke to no one in particular, but concentrated on spreading awareness through seminars and distribution of leaflets and putting up hoarding and flexes. I thought the people - who were the target of these fraudulent companies - would see them and stay away from such investments," the chief minister's brother said, adding, "I don't know if anyone in the party was paying any heed. If they had reacted, the government would certainly have done something to prevent these firms from spreading their tentacles with such pace."To a more direct question on whether he had spoken to his sister (Mamata) about it, he replied: "I didn't get a chance. She is such a busy person."ut he was family. Kartik shook his head: "She may be my sister but we don't share the same house. I live in another house near my sister's Harish Chatterjee Street residence."He added that the flexes against money-raising firms put up near the CM's house were destroyed by some people in December. Did he know who had done them? The CM's brother replied: "I do have some idea, but my lips are sealed. I don't know if the matter came to her (Mamata's) notice, but I didn't feel like telling her about it."Moreover, he blamed the erstwhile Left Front government for allowing companies like Saradha to run their Ponzi schemes in the state: "The companies started spreading during the CPM's tenure. The effect continued. I have no doubt that political leaders are hand-in-gloves with them.""The new government could have controlled it. We realised that several leaders got involved and they nurtured these shady companies and benefited from their operations. Such leaders didn't want people like us to come to the forefront so they pulled down posters put up by our organisation," Kartik said. He signed off, saying, "It is unfortunate that the political leadership and elected representatives now claim that they are unaware of Bengal becoming a breeding ground for chit fund companies."

Swiss-model tendering for waste plant

The state government has decided to opt for the 'Swiss challenge system' of tendering, a bidding process to help private sector initiative in core sector projects, for the new solid waste treatment plant to be set up at Brahmapuram.Urban development minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali said the cabinet has already taken a decision in this regard and tender notifications would soon be released. "By adopting this model of tendering, we will be able to finalise the bid within three months of releasing the notification," he said.As per the Swiss model, a private participant can submit a project proposal and even draft contract terms for undertaking a project initiated by the government. The government then invites competitive bids from other interested parties. If the government finds a competing counter proposals more acceptable, the original project proposer will be given an opportunity to match the competing counter proposal and win the project. In case the original project proposer is not able to match the more attractive counter proposal, the project will be awarded to the competitor."This process will ensure more transparency in finalising the tender. The government will also get the best competitive rate and technology," said Manjilamkuzhi Ali. The cabinet took the decision after a high-level technical committee recommended retendering the Brahmapuram project. Earlier the state government had issued a tender notification and the committee, which scrutinised the technical and financial bids submitted by three firms, sounded alarm after evaluating the bids. The committee expressed its fears that some firms may use unviable projects to raise money from banks and later vanish from the scene.The Suchitwa Mission is coordinating the project for constructing the Rs 350 crore waste-to-energy project which can treat around 500 tonnes per day. The stand-off between Kochi corporation and Vadavukodu-Puthencruz panchayat over dumping waste at Brahmapuram had forced the state government to set March 31, 2014 as the deadline for completing the new solid waste treatment facility.

Aranmula airport gets National Green Tribunal reprieve

The Chennai bench of the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday dismissed a petition which challenged decisions, including industrial area notification for the proposed Aranmula airport project and the no-objection certificate granted by the state government for it. In a press release, Aranmula International Airport Limited authorities said the stay on the construction of the airport had been lifted through the verdict.The Kerala government has 10% equity stake in the Rs 2,000-crore project by KGS Group. The dismissal of the petition by the tribunal would help the company speed up the project work, said Gigi George, managing director of the airport.Various environmental groups had been up in the arms against the move to make the banks of Pamba an industrial zone. They said the construction of the airport would be in violation of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act. The Aranmula Heritage Village Protection Action Council had moved the green tribunal against construction of the airport.

Father, stepmother arrested for death of girl child

Father and stepmother of a seven year-old-girl, who died at the Medical College Hospital after allegedly being tortured by her stepmother, were arrested, police said on Wednesday. The girl's mother had died four years back in a road accident after which her father got remarried. Police said the girl was admitted to a private hospital here with serious burn injuries on Monday. Doctors, who found the parent's explanation that the girl had accidentally fallen into hot water unsatisfactory, informed the police about the incident. Later, she was admitted to the Medical College Hospital where she died yesterday. Police also preliminary medical reports confirmed that the girl had undergone extreme physical torture which led to her death.

Project to develop Karipur Airport in a deadlock

Lending credence to charges of lack of government interest in acquiring land for the development of Karipur Airport, the state government has apparently not issued orders to appoint a land acquisition officer for the crucial project despite repeated requests from the Malappuram district administration.With the government sitting on the request for the past six months, the district administration is unable to carry out further acquisition proceedings including issuing the mandatory Section 6 (1) notification. This notification has to be carried out by the designated officer. The much delayed land acquisition for airport development had hit a roadblock following resistance on the part of local residents from around the airport.Various trade and business organizations, including the Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have alleged that the government has been deliberately delaying the project to satisfy local political interests of the IUML. It has been alleged that certain vested interests have been trying to scuttle airport expansion works in favour of Nedumbassery airport and the upcoming Kannur airport.District administration sources said the state revenue department has not acted upon their request to appoint a land acquisition officer for the last six months"We had requested Revenue- B department to appoint the officer in 2012. Several reminders were also sent this year to expedite the matter," said deputy collector, Land Acquisition A Nirmala Kumari.The special land acquisition wing for the airport headed by the deputy collector and comprising 12 members have been able to prepare the alignment sketch for just 5 acres of the 137 acres needed for the airport development project and only 70 of the 176 families have consented to give land for the project. "We have not been able to go to the site due to intense public opposition. The acquisition work for the airport can begin only after the appointment of a land acquisition officer," she added.President of the Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry, PTS Unni said the failure to appoint an officer was proof of the insincere stand taken by the government on the issue."Even the promise given by chief minister Oommen Chandy in May 2012 to complete the acquisition of 137 acres for expansion of the airport within three months has not materialized. We intend to launch a series of public protests next month and plan to approach the court by means of a public interest litigation if the delay persists," he added.

Ruckus over fee payment at Lohia hospital

Chaos prevailed at Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences after delay in handing over the body of a patient to relatives due to alleged non-payment of fees. Hospital sources told TOI that the incident took place at around 4pm when kin of a patient alleged that despite admitting him to the general ward, the hospital had demanded fee for private ward.Director of the institute Dr MC Pant rubbished the allegations and said, "The patient who came to us was suffering from cancer and was terminally ill. Everyday, patients' relatives promised they would be paying the fee and requested us to continue the treatment. We did not stop treatment on humanitarian grounds. But, on Thursday, when the patient died, some anti-social elements joined hands with his family and refused to pay the hospital fee, and threatened that the hospital administration will have to bear the expense. " Deceased was identified as 55-year-old Ram Shankar Yadav.

Corruption main motive behind water meter mandate: People's group

The state level Jan Abhiyan Samiti has accused the government of promoting corruption by mandating installation of water meters in all seven cities of UP, including Lucknow, despite shortage and poor quality of water supply in most areas. The committee claimed that the local water agencies would most likely take undue advantage of this order by harassing common man to pay more.An effort was made earlier too in 2009 to install water meters in a few areas of Lucknow but the idea bombed due to opposition from the public. The members of the association claimed that there are no estimates as to how many meters were installed in 2009 and where have they gone. "I am quite sure those have been sold out to make money by the workers of local bodies," alleged vice-president of the Samiti, Ramesh Mishra. TNNLarge part of old Lucknow, many commercial areas, outskirts of the core city are devoid of even bare minimum supply of water. Even those areas which receive water frequently complain of fecal contamination, dissolved sewage matter, sand, mud and other impurities in water. The association said that most water pipes are old and worn out and have been leaking for years.State convener of the Samiti, Chandra Kumar Chhabra, said, "Water meter installation was a key reform under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. But the mission also makes provision for ensuring 14-16 hours timely supply of pure water before installing water meters. The government has shown much haste in implementing the order even before listening to the plight of the public."

All for a glimpse

As news of actor Salman Khan visiting the city was circulated on social networking sites thousands of fans gathered around a mall at Ferozepur Road. While some people were smart enough to enter the mall way ahead of time, those who got delayed waited outside. There were many who had no plans of seeing the actor and had come to the mall either to make a purchase or for some respite from the heat, little knowing that they would be trapped inside for the next two hours. The star who was scheduled to come at 12:30, made an appearance at 1pm. Jubilant shouts rang out as soon as he entered and fans pulled and pushed to catch a glimpse of him. Security guards found it difficult to check the impassioned crowd. People perched themselves on table tops or escalators. Some even blocked the exit, making it necessary for the actor to squeeze out. While several policemen were allotted positions to handle the crowd, they failed to do so, which led to exchange of heated words between security personnel and media persons. Although they all turned up, few managed to see the star. Those who could not get inside the mall waited in the afternoon sun for hours but in vain.

US varsity may tie up with Punjab Agricultural University

In a bid to join hands for research and academics, a seven-member delegation from Purdue University (PU), USA, visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to explore and discuss possibilities of bilateral collaboration. The visitors gave power point presentations on collaborative opportunities and various aspects of agriculture. The visiting delegation, led by Karen Plaut, associate dean and director of agricultural research; comprised K G Raghothama, associate director, international programmes in agriculture, Joe Anderson, head, department of agronomy, Mitch Tuinstra, department of plant breeding, Charlie Wolushuk, department of botany and plant pathology; Indrajeet Choubey, department of agricultural and biological engineering and Alex L. Renaud, department of agronomy. Dr Dhillon said there could be joint ventures in areas like water use efficiency, climate change, farm mechanization and bio-energy. He also said the two countries could have a tie-up in the area of value addition to agriculture. He also suggested faculty exchange programmes. Elaborating on research opportunities in the College of Agriculture, PU, USA, K Plaut said, "We are looking ahead in building partnerships with international varsities." According to her, feeding and providing energy to a burgeoning population is a major challenge.

A day in the life of the cobbler

Life is not easy for V Ramesh, a cobbler from Sakkimangalam in Madurai district. He has to bear the brunt of the scorching sun and wait for customers from early in the morning till 9pm to earn his livelihood. Although, he comes to Goripalayam Junction everyday with a hope to earn a decent buck, his earnings hardly cross Rs 80 a day. With these meagre earnings, he has to fend to his eight-member family daily.If his luck fails, he would even return home with just Rs 40 to Rs 50. With the cost of living soaring rapidly in the city, his wife Muthumari tries her best to run the family within whatever her husband earns. Although the family is struggling to meet their both ends meet, the couple never thought of discontinuing its children's education. The couple has six children including two daughters, with the eldest son just having completed class 12.Despite the poor income, they never purchase rice in the PDS shop, as their children do not like eating it. They spend whatever earnings are there on the same day. For instance, the couple would leave the house with just Rs 20 just to meet the expenses towards the bus fare. They would reach home with Rs 80 to Rs 100 depending upon their luck. Before reaching home, they would purchase two kg of rice for Rs 40 and grocery items for Rs 20, which is enough to feed the family, says Muthumari."Since we are staying in our relative's hut there is no spending on house rent. We hardly spend for our children's education as they study in the nearby government schools. We have also never spent money on medical expenses as our only destination is the primary health centre or government hospital," said Muthumari.Ramesh has studied up to class five before he started helping his father who was also a cobbler. The life of Ramesh is routine. He comes to Goripalayam Junction at 9am accompanied by his wife and lunch box. Before leaving home, Muthumari has to ensure that their school-going children are handed over with Rs five each. Once they reached the workplace, both of them look for customers unmindful of the sweltering sun, Ramesh says.

Model flower market at Mattuthavani

The district collector of Madurai has been directed by the Madurai bench of the Madras high court to develop the flower market complex situated near Mattuthavani bus stand, as a model flower market.The direction was given on a writ petition filed by flower merchants A Vaithialingam and 11 others, who sought direction to the authorities including the agricultural department's secretary, collector and corporation commissioner of Madurai to maintain the market complex.The flower merchants were assured by the authorities that they would be given better facilities at the market. But, the marketing committee and corporation neglected the complex and there was no systematic removal of garbage at the market, which forced the traders to dump it in the nearby canal. While being so, the marketing committee started to construct 24 additional shops in the area, earmarked for garbage disposal, they stated.Challenging this, they filed a writ petition that came up before Justice K K Sasidharan in April. The marketing committee told the court that it has not touched the area earmarked for garbage disposal.Following it, advocate commissioners were appointed by the high court to study the issue, who visited the spot and filed a report before the court.The report stated that the market is in an unclean condition, which generates nearly one to three tonnes of garbage every day. The corporation used to remove the garbage once in a week. Besides, there is enough space on the other side for garbage disposal.After hearing all sides and scrutinising the report, Justice Sasidharan passed orders on April 30 with directions to the authorities including the marketing committee secretary, corporation commissioner, public works department (PWD) and district collector.In the order, the judge ordered the committee to identify the place for garbage disposal and to set up such facility. Besides, more metal garbage bins, toilets, sufficient water facilities including drinking water facility, should be provided at the market complex, the court said.The court also directed the PWD to restore the canal to its original position, while giving directions to the corporation commissioner to ensure daily removal of garbage.The order also stated that if the marketing committee or the corporation fail to honour their commitment, the petitioners' can approach the court again.At the same time, the court also advised the traders to dump the garbage only at the place being identified by the committee. If the same is dumped by the traders in any other area, the committee can impose fine on concerned persons, the order said.

Lesbian bride refuses to go with husband

Defying social stigma, a bride in Sunticoppa, a small town in Kodagu district, has declared she is a lesbian and refused to go with her husband. Ramya (name changed) got married on April 21. Soon after marriage, she came to her parents' home and told them she won't go with her husband. She lodged a complaint in Sunticoppa police station claiming she was forced into marriage by her parents. Locals, who say she is in a relationship with a girl from Hoskote near Sunticoppa, have protested against Ramya's decision. When matters came to a head, Sunticoppa sub-inspector Krishnakumar intervened and tried to advise Ramya against taking hasty decisions. When she refused to rethink, she was sent to the women's rehabilitation centre at Madikeri for counselling. This attempt also failed and the local people on Wednesday protested in front of the Sunticoppa police station demanding that she be sent back to her husband's house. When Krishnakumar again tried to persuade her, she remained adamant and the people who gathered began teasing her gay companion who was with her. When the companion threatened to strip, the protestors just vanished. Ramya who is now living with her companion in Hoskote told TOI that she would not live with her parents. She said she will join a private firm in Mysore and lead her own life. On Wednesday, Kushalnagar circle inspector Ganesh met her in Hoskote village and counselled her to go back to her parents first and then decide about her future. Ramya agreed and went to her parents but still she is not willing to go back to her husband. Ganesh said he had temporarily succeeded in convincing her to live with her parents. Her parents said they will no longer bother about her as she has defied social norms.

Rahim Uchil puts adversity behind to pursue education goals

This battle is apolitical in nature. Chairman of Karnataka Beary Sahitya Academy and BJP leader, Rahim Uchil, has taken time out from the busy schedule of campaigning for his party's candidates to fulfill a long pending dream- securing a university degree.Uchil, who could not pursue higher studies even after successfully clearing SSLC in 1991 because of poverty, is appearing for BA political science examination that is being conducted by Karnataka State Open University. He has already written three Ist year papers- Kannada, English and History- at the Government First Grade College, Car Street.Uchil, who was severely injured following an attack on him while at work in the office Karnataka Beary Sahitya Academy, said that even his disability is not deterrent in pursuing his goal. He had lost his left palm and two fingers of the right arm in the attack.Rahim told TOI, "I want to complete post graduation and take up research in subjects related to Beary language and culture. I am preparing for three more papers. Many of my friends have been motivated by my attempt to get a varsity degree. Next year at least 35 of my friends, who quit schooling, will be registering for graduation through open university."Rahim, who is the maker of the Beary film 'Mami Marmol' and has acted in many Beary movies including 'Sahana', 'Nangala Kutumba' and the national award winning 'Beary', wants to create awareness among the youth in his community about the opportunity of pursuing higher studies through open universities.

Aadhaar-based DCT project may see more delays

The launch of the much-hyped Aadhaar-based direct subsidy (cash) transfer project in LPG continues to hang in balance. The project scheduled to launch in April 2013 was put off because the election for Karnataka assembly was announced in late March. But again it is likely to be postponed further because the election code of conduct continues to be in place till June 3 in Mysore. This is due to the adjournment of polling dates in Periyapatna assembly constituency following the death of BJP candidate Sannamoge Gowda. A fresh notification will be issued on May 3.Officials of Petroleum ministry are preparing to implement it from May 15 and it has asked the gas distributor, bank authorities and oil company executives to be ready before the time as the project is being deferred since January this year.Neeraj Mittal, joint secretary (marketing), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, had said that after the assembly election was announced, the project will be launched only after the poll.However, it is still unclear whether the poll code will apply to the entire district or only to the assembly segment.When contacted, deputy commissioner and district election officer C Shikha said that she is yet to check with the Election Commission on this score."We will get a clear picture after the fresh notification," the DC said.

Campaigning ends on Friday, fresh notification for Preiyapatna polls to be issued

Campaigning for the assembly polls has reached crescendo ahead of Friday deadline even as political activities are picking up at Periyapatna assembly segment where the polls were adjourned following death of a candidate. While the campaign will end at 5 pm at rest of Karnataka, it will go on till May 26 at Periyapatna where the polling is scheduled on May 28. Ahead of the end of campaigning, candidates and their supporters braved heat wave and campaigned in the city and rural areas. Opposition leader Siddaramaiah continued his tour in Varuna segment under heavy police security. He also toured in Chamundeshwari holding a public rally at Yelwal. Chamundeshwari candidate and sitting MLA M Satyanarayan, who was hospitalized following fatigue, attended the meet. All the candidates campaigned without banking on the party stalwarts and banked on padayatras. The district administration has said campaigning should end at 5 pm on Friday as per the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Campaigning is banned 48 hours before the end of polling. Meanwhile, poll process will recommence at Periyapatna on Friday with the fresh poll notification by the Returning Officer A B Basavaraju. "With the fresh poll notification, the nomination from the BJP candidates will be accepted," he told TOI. The candidates, who have slowed down on campaigning following the sudden death of the BJP candidate Sannamogegowda, are readying to relaunch the campaign. Part of the reason for not involving in campaigning is that it will add to their expenditure. The candidates and their representatives have sought clarifications from the poll officials whether the expenses incurred during the period when the polls were adjourned will be taken into account. But there is no clarity. This is a one off case, an official explained. The officials are planning to allow the new BJP candidate who will enter the fray to spend Rs 16 lakh, the upper limit fixed by the EC. This is based on the principle that it is candidates who spend and not the political parties that is taken into account. Other candidates cannot be extended the same relaxation given that they are in fray since they filed the nomination papers in April second week, the official explained. Sources said former minister and BJP MLC C H Vijayashankar could be fielded by the party to contest from Periyapatna. The party leaders are considering to field him. A decision could be taken after the polling for other segments are through, they stated. District BJP chief Siddaraju, who is contesting from H D Kote segment, was not available for comments.

Three held for murder

Three people, including two brothers, were arrested on Thursday for the murder of a burglar. Wadi police arrested the trio who had stoned to death Suraj Dongre over past enmity on April 19. Dongre, against whom there are several offences of thefts and burglary, was repeatedly assaulted with stones between Ramabai chowk and Ambazari. Later on, they took an injured Dongre to Ambazari Lake and pushed him in to make sure that he died.Police arrested Mayur Raut and his elder brother Dhananand along with their accomplice Ritesh Gupta for the murder. Another accomplice, who has been identified as Pravin, is yet to be nabbed.According to sources, victim Dongre had a tiff with Mayur a month ago. After the fighting, Dongre would often abuse and intimidate Mayur. On a couple of occasions, Dongre had thrashed Mayur too.Fed up with the harassment, Mayur and his elder brother Dhananand along with their friends hatched a plot. The brothers lured Suraj promising him a big haul from a burglary that they were going to carry out. After meeting at Ramabai chowk in Wadi, the four started heading towards the place were the said burglary was to be done. As soon as they reached the place, Raut brothers and their friends started assaulting Dongre.Police said that the matter came to fore after an informer passed on the information to Wadi police. The culprits confessed to the crime during interrogation.

No water in OCWL pipelines since two months

The 24x7 water supply scheme was supposed to providing citizens with uninterrupted and uncontaminated water supply. However, due to lack of coordination between private operator Orange City Water Limited (OCWL) and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), Jaripatka locality is without piped water for two months. The work of laying new pipelines in the area was finished two months ago. OCWL had told the residents that they would start getting water in a day or two through new pipes but their taps continue to be dry. Jaripatka resident Shankar Gulani said, "since the residents stopped getting tap water, OCWL has been sending tankers free of cost. However, it is making us run from pillar to post for getting a tanker. On Wednesday morning I went to Bezonbagh overhead tank for booking a tanker. The OCWL and NMC employees asked me to talk to another until I started screaming at them. Then a man called Dipak told me to get a letter from corporator Suresh Jagyasi if I wanted a tanker. When I asked him to show the rulebook, he immediately relented," an infuriated Gulani said.Another resident Laxmi Sadhwani is despondent. "They haven't sent a tanker even though I booked it four days ago. We have run out of water and are borrowing it from neighbours. How can they make us wait for so long in peak summer," she asked.KB Saklecha said that the earth dug up while laying the pipelines was still lying in the lanes and bylanes of Jaripatka. "This has reduced parking space and in some cases people can't take their vehicles inside their home," he demanded. Ex-corporator Vedprakash Arya charged that OCWL engineers had still not been able to have a grip on the system.Corporator Suresh Jagyasi denied the charge that he had asked OCWL to make residents produce a letter signed by him for getting a tanker. "I have asked them to provide tankers on first-come-first-served basis. If anybody drops names he should not be entertained. OCWL has deployed 11 tankers but it is inadequate. The company claimed that after the two day shutdown water pressure will increase in areas where tap water is still available but the opposite has happened," he said.OCWL spokesperson Sachin Dravekar said the work of laying pipelines in Bezonbagh-Jaripatka area was going on. "About 8.4 km out of total 9.2 km has been laid. Water is being supplied to around 6 km. The remaining part will be completed soon. We also have to provide around 5,000 service connections in Jaripatka. As for the debris, it is part of the process. First we let the debris sink in and then do the concreting," he claimed.

Response at Gadkari Chowk overwhelming

The response to the Win With The Times (WWTT) campaign continues to grow with every passing day as more and more people are making sure they wear helmets and fasten their seat belts while driving on the city roads, apart from carrying the day's Times of India (TOI) copy with them.Citizens were found urging the WWTT team to continue with the campaign, and also shared some new ideas with them for better awareness among commuters.On Thursday, the drive took place at yet another busy signal at Gadkari Chowk. Eager readers made a beeline to grab their gifts while waving their TOI copies to the WWTT team."I was spotted by the WWTT team while driving with my seat belt fastened and was handed over the prize," said a delighted Sunita Sankalecha, a doctor by profession. She further said that every campaign the TOI took was a success and hence the WWTT team should also make an effort to focus the attention of people towards another important issue of saving water.Mahendra Pagare, an accountant with a private company, said he was happy to win the prize for following traffic rules. He said that if such campaigns were taken up regularly, it would definitely bring about a change in the society.Kiran Shankpal, an MBA student, who also won the prize, said, "Winning a prize is always a great thing. I hope that someday the police too present such tokens of appreciation, not necessarily as expensive, for following traffic rules and carrying all relevant documents. Motorists would be even more encouraged to follow all traffic rules then."Many others winners said they loved getting the gifts but more than that, they loved the feeling of getting lucky, which lingers on for a longer time.The WWTT campaign is all out spreading luck to Nashikites. Go ahead, follow the traffic rules and carry your TOI copy with you, you never you, you could get lucky too!

Terror conspiracy case hearing stayed till May 7

The hearing in the terror conspiracy case in Nashik, that was scheduled to take place in the court of special additional sessions judge K K Tantrapale on Thursday will be delayed now, as the main accused in the case, Sheikh Lalbaba Farid, alias Bilal has moved an application in the Bombay high court to transfer the hearing to Mumbai.Special public prosecutor Ajay Misar said that, following the application by Bilal, the hearing in the sessions court has been stayed till May 7.On April 12, Abu Jundal, accused no. 3, had contended that he had no role to play in the terror conspiracy case in Nashik and that he be discharged from the case. Subsequently, he had also sought the records of call details with the Anti Terrorism Squad, Mumbai.In the subsequent hearing on April 28, however, the ATS had not produced the call detail records in the court.

ADB summit starts amid widespread protests

Opposing the central government's policies, various organizations led by People's Front Against International Financial Institutions opened a four-day protest against the 46th annual meeting of the ADB with a demonstration and a rally on Thursday at Greater Noida. The protesters allege that in the name of reforms of water, electricity and education sector, the ADB is not only ensuring privatization but also threatening the role of a welfare state. Police detained hundreds of agitators en route to Pari Chowk and took them to YMCA in Greater Noida.Farmers of Greater Noida, who had threatened to march in a semi-nude state outside the Expo Mart, were detained by the police late at night in their villages. Later in the afternoon, a seminar was organized in Greater Noida where former chief justice of Delhi high court Rajinder Sachar, social activist Medha Patkar and others from various states addressed the protestors. The protestors said their agitation will go on till the end of the summit.The demonstration started from YMCA in Greater Noida in which protestors raised the slogans 'ADB Quit India, Quit Asia', 'India is not for sale' and marched towards the Expo Mart, where the summit is going on. The protest was originally scheduled at Pari Chowk, but police did not allow the demonstrators to move in that direction. Protestors even tried to break the police cordon to move forward in a spontaneous rally. The rally concluded in a meeting outside YMCA in presence of senior police personnel, including the DIG.The agitators alleged that ADB is supporting various projects in cities which are displacing hawkers in big numbers from roadsides. ADB is supporting water privatization projects which are even opposed by municipal counsellors. "In the name of urban development, ADB is supporting programmes that threaten the very existence of marginal sections of the society, especially urban poor and farmers," said an agitator.Biswendu Nanda of Bangiya Paromparik Kaaru O Bastra Shilpi Sangho, an artisans and weavers organization, said that villages have been destroyed by ADB sponsored infrastructure and urbanization projects resulting in artisans, weavers and performing artists becoming paupers.Dr Sunilam of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti said that it is shocking to see that activists are not allowed even to protest at public places. "The central government is challenging our constitutional rights to protest to please ADB officials," he said. Sunilam shared his experience of water privatization in Madhya Pradesh which has resulted in hike of water rates four times in a span of two years.Farmer leader Manveer Bhati said that the police and administration on Wednesday night 'detained' farmers in villages to stop them from opposing the ADB summit.