Spurt in human trafficking cases in State :
Human trafficking has become a major cause of concern for Assam and in 2015, the State has the dubious record of most number of persons trafficked among all the States of the country. On the other hand, child trafficking has also become a major cause of concern as according to records available, more than 6,000 children are still reported missing.Sources revealed that during the period from 2011 to January this year, more than 760 cases involving 1035 victims of human trafficking were recorded in the State.In the year 2015, Assam topped the list of the persons trafficked among all the States of the country, followed by West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka.The most vulnerable districts of Assam include Sonitpur, Kokrajhar, Kamrup (Rural), Nalbari, Tinsukia and Dhubri.Sources revealed that 14 anti-human trafficking units have been set up in the State to deal with the problem, while, the Railway police force has also been sensitized to deal with human trafficking.Sources pointed out that strict implementation of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen’s Act of 1979 can deal with the problem to a great extent as under the provision of the Act.
Ambitious Bharatmala road project to hit ground soon :
The ambitious highways development project subsuming all road projects in the first phase will see the construction of 20,000 km of highways. “National Highways Development Project (NHDP) and all existing schemes will be finished in the coming six months. We will launch Bharatmala very soon,” Gadkari told PTI in an interview.Detailed project reports (DPRs) are in the process of preparation and the first phase of the Bharatmala project will see construction of 20,000 km of highways, he said.Detailed project reports (DPRs) are in the process of preparation and the first phase of the Bharatmala project will see construction of 20,000 km of highways.Bharatmala is a mega plan of the government and the second-largest highways project after the NHDP that saw development of about 50,000 km of roads. NHDP, being implemented in various phases was initiated by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and includes Golden Quadrilateral connecting four metropolises besides North-South Corridor connecting Srinagar to Kanyakumari and East-West Corridor joining Porbandar to Silchar.
Ahom kings started census, land survey systems :
The British rulers introduced population census in India in 1881.The Ahom Swargadeos conducted such census and surveys right from the first Ahom Swargadeo Siu-Ka-Pha entering.Assam for the foundation of the Ahom kingdom in AD 1228.The Ahom rulers got such operations conducted from time to time, Prof Mumtaza said.In the 16th century AD, the Ahom kingdom got its area expanded almost by four times its initial size.At the beginning of the 17th century AD, the size of the Ahom kingdom got further expanded on the western side up to Barnadi on the north bank of the Brahmaputra and the Asurar Ali (which is now believed to be the Rajgarh Road in Guwahati) on the south bank.In the end part of the 17th century, the western border of the Ahom kingdom got extended to the river Manas with the expulsion of the Mughals from this part.This military victory helped the Ahom kingdom consolidate its rule on the whole of the then Kamrup. This necessitated another census operation, which was conducted in two phases and lasted for 19 years, between AD 1728 and AD 1747.
Centre proposes ‘aerotropolis’ in State :
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha proposed to build an aerotropolis – a metropolitan subregion where the layout, infrastructure, and economy are centred on an airport, which serves as a multimodal ‘airport city’ – in the State which would bring huge benefits to the region in terms of civil aviation and air connectivity.Referring to the government plan of dredging the Brahmaputra river from Sadiya to Dhubri, the Chief Minister said that increased depth of the river would enable plying of cargo ships on the river through Bangladesh to Chittagong port.
Jamiat opposes 1951 as new cut-off year :
Ahead of the deadline, the Assam unit of the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind has petitioned the Supreme Court in support of the Assam Accord, and expressed its opposition to 1951 as the new cut-off year.The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had set May 1 as the deadline for all interested parties to make their submission. In keeping with that the Assam Jamiat, which has close links with AIUDF, filed its petition.The general secretary alleged that a section of organisations including Assam Public Works (APWs), Assam Sanmilita Maha Sangha, Purbotar Hindustani Sanmelan and Ahom Association among others have been opposing 1971 as the cut-off date and filed petitions in the Supreme Court advocating 1951 as the cut-off date for detection and deportation of foreigners.
Jamiat vows to defend Assam Accord in SC :
A day after Assam Jamiat expressed its opposition to a proposal to fix a new cut-off year, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind today said they will take a strong stand to defend the Assam Accord in the Supreme Court.As the issue was related to one-third population of Assam, Ajmal has decided to defend the Assam Accord and Section 6A of the Citizenship Act of 1955. “We are also opposed to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016,” he said.Launching a direct attack on the Congress party, Ajmal said that the State Government under their leadership has already consented to regularisation of Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Buddhist migrants from Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 as citizens of India and the Central Government has notified it duly.
Aadhaar for PAN to check terror finance, Govt to SC :
Government today asserted in the Supreme Court that Aadhaar was made mandatory for PAN card to weed out fake PAN cards which were used for terror financing and circulation of black money, while terming the concerns over privacy as “bogus”.The top law officer, who was opposing the challenge to making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN card, said out of 29 crore permanent account number (PAN) in India, 10 lakh cards have been cancelled as it was found that there were multiplicity of PAN and a person had more than one PAN card which were being used for “unscrupulous” activity causing a loss to the exchequer.
22 new ITIs to be set up in NE :
The Union Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has formulated a scheme titled “Enhancing skill development infrastructure in NE States and Sikkim” to set up 22 new ITIs in Northeastern region. Out of the 22 new ITIs, five have been allocated to Assam. Arunachal Pradesh will have four, Tripura and Mizoram three each; Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya will have two each and Sikkim one.
New Guv in 2 NE States likely soon :
New Governors are likely be appointed soon in five States, including Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, which do not have full-time occupants in Raj Bhavans.Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya have no full-time Governors for the last several months. Appointment of Governors in five States is expected to take place soon, official sources said.
Meghalaya is without a full-fledged Governor since January 27 when V Shanmuganathan had resigned following allegation of sexual harassment. Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit has been holding the additional charge of Shillong since then.There has been no full-time Governor in Arunachal since the sacking of Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa on September 12, 2016. Nagaland Guv Padmanabha Acharya is holding the additional charge of the State since then.
SC seeks responses from Centre, State :
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre and the Government of Assam to file their responses to the petitions challenging the Gauhati High Court’s order declaring the panchayat certificates invalid. AAMSU leader Azizur Rehman said that an estimated 48 lakh names would be segregated if the Gauhati High Court order is followed, out of which 30 lakh are women. Currently, some 2.8 crore documents are being examined by the National Register of Citizens (NRC) authorities.Residency certificates issued by gaon panchayat secretaries will no longer be considered as a valid link document for NRC, the Gauhati High Court had ruled.The High Court, in a strongly-worded judgement, had said, “If a panchayat secretary issues such certificate and the same is later disbelieved by the Foreigners Tribunal or High Court and the certificate holder is eventually declared as a foreigner, the issuing authority would run the risk of issuing the certificate to a foreigner.Such an act may be construed to be an act of harbouring an illegal migrant, which may amount to a gross misconduct exposing himself to departmental action besides attracting penal consequences.
Nagaon cleanest medium city :
Nagaon has been declared the cleanest Medium City, while Gangtok has emerged as the cleanest among the Big Cities.Aizawl, the capital city of Mizoram, has been ranked as cleanest among the Fast Moving Big City.In the Swachh Survekshan 2017 category, four cities of Assam were surveyed and Guwahati was given the best rank, while Dibrugarh was given the lowest rank.At the national level, in the Small Cities category. Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, has emerged as the ‘Faster Mover’ in the Medium Cities category, while Khargone, Madhya Pradesh, moved the fastest by significantly improving its rank this year over that of 2014 Survey in the Small Cities category.Faridabad in Haryana has emerged as the ‘Fastest Mover Big City’ at the national level in the Swachh Survekshan -2017.
India successfully launches South Asia Satellite :
India successfully launched, in copy book style, the South Asia Satellite, intended to serve “economic and developmental priorities” of South Asian nations, using its heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09).Precisely at 4.57 pm, the GSLV-F09 rose into the sky from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh, carrying the satellite, intended as an Indian Gift for its fellow Saarc nations except for Pakistan which had opted out.The 49-metre, 415 tonne rocket slung the 2,230 kg satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit, from where it would be taken up to its final geostationary orbit.
Govt submission favours migrants :
Opposing the submissions made by the Central Government and Assam Government before a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the citizenship matter, the Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM) said the 51-page submission is in favour of protecting the rights of migrants.Firstly, the submission says that the political rights of the indigenous people are not affected by illegal migration by enabling foreigners to become voters.Secondly, it has supported the grant of citizenship by birth to children born of foreigners in Assam.Thirdly, it makes an assertion that there is no factual foundation to show how many foreigners have been enrolled as voters.
Implement Assam Accord in toto: Cong
Under attack for its silence on the latest controversy on the foreigners issue, the Assam Congress today demanded implementation of the Assam Accord in letter and spirit and urged the Narendra Modi government to defend Section 6A of the Citizenship Act in the Supreme Court.The preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam shall bury down the issue of foreigners in the State. The Central Government has started work for preparation of the NRC based on March 25, 1971 as the cut-off date according to Section 6A of the Citizenship Act.The Division Bench of the Supreme Court has on December 17, 2014 directed the authorities to complete the process of NRC based on 1971 as the cut-off year and further framed 13 issues in respect of the constitutional validity of Section 6A.
Separate railway zone for NE likely :
The Railway Ministry may discuss and look into the issue of bifurcation of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone and creating a separate zone which will have jurisdiction solely over the seven northeastern states while the existing areas of NFR located in West Bengal and Bihar could be turned into a different zonal railway.
Cinnamon may cut risk of heart disease :
Consuming cinnamon — a spice used in both sweet and savoury foods — may lessen the risk of developing obesity, diabetes and cholesterol caused by a high-fat diet, researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have said.The findings showed that high-fat diet activates the body’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory systems and slows the fat-storing process.
State GST Bill tabled in Assam Assembly :
Assam Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today tabled The Assam Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 in the State Assembly on the first day of the three-day special session.Eight states – Telangana, Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana – have already passed the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) Act in their respective state assemblies, even as the Central plans to roll out the new tax regime that would help turn India into one common market from July 1 next.Earlier, the GST Council had approved the model State GST (SGST) Bill in its 12 meeting held on 16 March 2017. The next GST Council meeting is scheduled to be held at Srinagar in J&K on 18 and 19 May 2017.
CBI unearths 393 shell cos used to divert Rs 2,900 cr :
CBI sources said the shell companies were allegedly being used by the accused to divert loan funds meant for specified purposes, creating fake invoices, and “round-tripping” of funds to evade taxes and generate black money.Round-tripping is sending money abroad to tax havens in the guise of payments for fake imports through shell companies and bringing back that money showing it as foreign investment.
Naharlagun-Guwahati Shatabdi Express flagged off :
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today laid the foundation stone for construction of a 26-km-long new broad gauge railway line from Murkongselek in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh and announced commencement of surveys for seven new broad gauge railway lines in Arunachal Pradesh.The surveys for the seven new lines are in addition to the surveys already announced for strategic lines connecting Tawang, Along and Parasuramkunda, and are targeted for completion by December 2018.He also flagged off a new Shatabdi Express (No. 12088/12087) between Naharlagun and Guwahati by remote through video link.
Panel of VCs to decide grace marks formula :
Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said the government has decided to form a panel of four university VCs to determine a formula to award grace marks to students.The VCs will sit before the HSLC results are compiled and decide on the ‘marks moderation’ strategy.He said that CBSE too follows a policy of moderation, but in case of only specific subjects and in the event of difficult or out of syllabus questions.”They will depoliticize the system. The education minister will not have any say,” Sarma said.
SC defers hearing on citizenship issue :
The hearing of the petitions challenging Section 6A of the Citizenship Act has been deferred by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court and it is likely to be held after vacation as some of the petitioners have sought time to file additional affidavits.The Constitution Bench comprising Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice RK Agarwal, Justice Prafulla C Pant, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan.The matter would now be referred to Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Khehar, who will fix a fresh schedule. The Bench is also likely to be reconstituted as Justice Prafulla C Pant is scheduled to retire.All Assam Students Union adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya told this newspaper that they are defending the Assam Accord with its cut-off date of March 25, 1971. It has been 31 years since the Accord was signed and over a period of time, a consensus has been evolved among the Hindus and Muslims on the cut-off date.
Free CT scan facility :
State government will launch a scheme for making CT scan, blood tests and X-ray free of cost in government hospitals of Assam.State Health Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday told State Assembly that scheme for making CT scan free will be launched on May 11 by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at Administrative Staff College, Khanapara in Guwahati.
VC panel to decide grace marks formula :
A day after revealing that ‘hidden’ grace marks were given by the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) to inflate the HSLC pass percentage in the State, Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said the government has decided to form a panel of four university vice chancellors (VCs) to determine a formula to award grace marks to students.The panel comprising the VCs of Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University, Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University and Kumar Bhaskar Varma Sanskrit and Ancient Studies University will sit before the HSLC results are compiled and decide on the ‘marks moderation’ strategy.The minister said that the CBSE too follows a policy of moderation, but in case of only specific subjects and in the event of difficult or out-of-syllabus questions.
Traditional brew gets heritage tag
Alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain or fruits by using traditional starter cake has got the “heritage” tag in Assam.
The brew, however, should not contain more than 12 per cent alcohol volume by volume.The objective is standardization of the traditional brew, in terms of quality control as well as to give it an identity. The move will help popularize it, a senior Excise official told The Assam Tribune.From now, the Excise department will give license to establish heritage alcoholic beverage manufactory, while the license to establish microbrewery or a retail shop will be given by the deputy commissioner with the previous sanction of the Excise Commissioner.
Reforms announced in State health sector
A slew of measures were announced in the State Assembly today to bring reforms in the health sector by Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Henceforth, all the civil hospitals of the State would have CT scan machines where tests would be performed free of cost.The scheme would be launched on May 11 by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at Administrative Staff College, Khanapara here.As announced in the State budget, the government would also make X-ray free at 500 government hospitals, initially starting from 35 locations. Also, within three months’ time, 60 types of blood test would be made free in government hospitals.
Kaziranga National Park to close for visitors :
Assam’s Kaziranga National Park will be shut for visitors from next week, Director Satyendra Singh announced on Thursday.
He said that the jeep and elephant safaris will be closed from May 16.The increased rainfall in the last one month has partially submerged the roads inside the park making it difficult for jeeps to ply for safaris.
SC starts hearing on validity of triple talaq :
The Supreme Court on Thursday began hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq practised by Muslims.”We are going to decide the validity of triple talaq,” said Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, heading a Constitution bench, asking the parties concerned to focus on whether triple talaq was fundamental to Islam.The Chief Justice also said that petitioners and respondents would address the court on whether triple talaq was an enforceable fundamental right.The bench sought suggestions on the broad parameters of the directions the court may issue while deciding the validity of triple talaq.Other judges on the Constitution bench are Justice Kurian Joseph, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer.The court said both sides would get two days each to argue their case. Thereafter, both sides would get a day each to submit rejoinders.
Meghalaya taking Swachh Survekshan rank with ‘pinch of salt’ :
With Meghalaya ranking 276 in a country-wide cleanliness survey, the State Government said the Centre’s cleanliness ranking will be taken with a “pinch of salt” as it was not conducted by an independent agency.Meghalaya Urban Affairs Minister Ronnie V Lyngdoh told PTI, “We will take the ranking with a pinch of salt as the survey was conducted by an agency of the NDA Government at the Centre.”The ranking may not be justified in view of the political situation at the Centre and the State, which he said, is one of the last few bastions of the Congress.The State capital got a cleanliness score of 839 out of 2000 and is ranked a little above the other Northeastern cities of Dimapur at 277 with a score of 838, Agartala at 290 with score of 806 and Dibrugarh at 297 with a score of 798.
Myanmar keen to set up border ‘haat’:
Myanmar is keen to set up a border ‘haat’ (market) on its border with India and an official team from the neighbouring country visited Kasba market in Tripura to study its functioning, an Indian official said here on Wednesday.The move comes in the wake of the successful operation of such markets along India’s border with Bangladesh.“A five-member team led by Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour Affairs Director Soe Paing Myint and Indian officials visited on Tuesday the Kasba border ‘haat’ in western Tripura on the India-Bangladesh border,” a Tripura Industries and Commerce Department official said.Four Northeastern States of Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Manipur (398 km), Nagaland (215 km) and Mizoram (510 km) share a 1,643-km unfenced border with Myanmar.
APSC exam answerscripts under scanner :
Answerscripts pertaining to the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) Combined Competitive Examination 2014, held in 2015 (Mains), on the strength of which candidates were absorbed in government service in 2016, are under scanner and appropriate legal action would follow in due course of time.This was stated by Special Public Prosecutor BK Mahajan when asked by media persons about the progress in the APSC cash-for-job scam outside the court campus today.Prior to this, investigating officers of the case Surjeet Singh Panesar and assisting investigating officer Subhasish Baruah today submitted the up-to-date case diary before the Court of Special Judge, Assam, here today in presence of assistant public prosecutors Nayan Das and Pranab Das.The court after perusal of the up-to-date case diary extended the date of further investigation to July 11.
Speaker rejects no-trust motion against Dutta :
Assembly Speaker Hiten Goswami today refused to allow the no-trust motion moved against Irrigation Minister Ranjit Dutta by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Debabrata Saikia and others, saying that the move did not conform to the rules of procedure and conduct of the Assembly. The no-confidence motion was moved on Tuesday.
Govt challenges 25 orders by Foreigner Tribunals :
The State Government has so far challenged 25 cases of declarations made by Foreigner Tribunals (FTs) before the Gauhati High Court, wherein the individuals in question were declared as ‘Not foreigners’ contrary to submissions by police.Of these 25 cases, the Centre and the State have already filed writ petitions with the special bench constituted to deal with foreigners issue in 10 cases.Sources informed that of the 10 cases, notices have been served in six cases and the respective order passed by the FTs has been stayed.Assistant Solicitor General of India SC Keyal has filed the petitions on behalf of the Centre and the State.The State Government had last year constituted State and district-level committees to screen the judgements of the FTs wherein the persons in question were declared to be ‘Not Foreigner’, contrary to the submissions made by the Assam Police.While the State-level committee is headed by Additional Chief Secretary TY Das, the district committees comprise the respective Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police.Sources, meanwhile, told this reporter that the prudence of some of the members of the FTs located in ‘sensitive’ areas are seriously under scanner.
Bangla Consular office opens in Guwahati :
The opening of the office of the Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Guwahati will help in strengthening the relations between Bangladesh and the Northeastern states, newly appointed first Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh Kazi Muntashir Murshed said here last evening.Addressing a cultural function organised by the Assistant High Commission of Bangladesh, Murshed said the new consulate of Bangladesh in Guwahati opened on March 24 last will cater to the six NE states of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. Visas can be obtained from this office here and people need not go to Delhi, Kolkata or Agartala for the same, he said.
National Herald case: Income Tax probe to continue: HC
The Congress today suffered a jolt in the National Herald case as the Delhi High Court refused to stay the income tax proceedings against Young Indian Pvt Ltd, whose major stakeholders are party president Sonia Gandhi and her son and vice president Rahul.The court also said that the company has not moved the assessing officer and raised its grievances, so it should first approach the IT department and submit its documents.
In case it is still not satisfied, the company can move the court thereafter, the bench added.Sensing the mood of the bench, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the firm, withdrew the petition which was allowed by the court that termed it “dismissed as withdrawn”.Young Indian (YI), which was incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs 50 lakh, had acquired almost all the shareholding of the Associated Journal Ltd (AJL), which is the owner of the National Herald newspaper.BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, in a private criminal complaint filed before a trial court, had accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which YI had obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the AJL owed to the Congress party.
NABARD project on water conservation under way in State :
With growing water shortage emerging as a serious concern for farmers, especially during the lean winter, the NABARD has reached out to 3,000 villages of the State under its national campaign on conservation and efficient use of water in agriculture.The nationwide progra-mme billed ‘Jal Jeevan Hai’, which is now under implementation in ten districts of the State, seeks to involve over thr-ee lakh members from rural communities and train them on diverse aspects of water conservation, efficient water use, enhancement of traditional methods, etc., in a localised approach.The campaign focuses on the important theme of water and agriculture with emphasis on the need for water conservation, preservation and its efficient management. Key sub-themes include rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, efficient technologies and practices for water level techniques and technologies and initiatives for hilly area.
Oil industry will boost NE development: Pradhan
Union Minister of State (Independent), Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan today said the oil industry would be a leading force in transforming Assam and the entire Northeast into a developed region.
Assam has not been getting what it deserves despite filling the nation’s exchequer since Independence, he said.“If Assam has filled the exchequer of the country for about 70 years, it is time for the oil industry to think about Assam. The oil industry will play a leading role in generating employment, promoting economic activities, improving health and education scenario in the region. The oil industry has already prepared a Vision Document for 2030 for the development of region,” the minister said during the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) at Chowkidinghee ground here today.The Union Minister added that Oil India Limited, which for long was sponsoring 125 students of the State for nursing studies, will increase the number to 500 in next two years. He also assured to develop Dibrugarh and Sivasagar towns and Guwahati along with Kamakhya temple vicinity.
India skips Belt and Road Summit :
As India on Sunday skipped China’s Belt and Road forum to oppose the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Islamabad and Beijing vowed to conclude the contentious economic route.
While opening the two-day Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping said “all countries should respect sovereignty” and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said CPEC had no “geographical boundaries”.In a veiled reference to India, which is dead against the CPEC as it goes through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Sharif said the issues of CPEC “must not be politicised”.In addition, Xi pledged about additional $14 billion for the construction of the Belt and Road project, of which CPEC is the chief component.The grand project aims to connect Asia, Europe and Africa through a network of roads, sea links and railway lines.New Delhi, which had been non-committal about attending the forum despite repeated offers by Beijing, made its intentions clear about skipping the event.”No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity,” India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said on Saturday.The CPEC has emerged as a thorny issue between India and China, whose ties have been under strain over issues including Beijing blocking New Delhi’s bid for the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India.
Next global cyber-attack likely on Monday: Experts :
Another major cyber-attack is imminent after Friday’s global hit that infected more than 125,000 computer systems and could come on Monday, a security researcher warned on Sunday.
The UK security researcher “MalwareTech”, who helped to limit the ransomware attack, predicted “another one coming… quite likely on Monday”, the BBC reported.The virus, which took control of users’ files, spread to 100 countries, including Spain, France and Russia.In England, 48 National Health Service (NHS) trusts fell victim, as did 13 NHS bodies in Scotland.Some hospitals were forced to cancel procedures and appointments, as ambulances were directed to neighbouring hospitals free from the computer virus.After taking computers over, the virus displayed messages demanding a payment of $300 in virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock files and return them to the user.MalwareTech, who wants to remain anonymous, was hailed as an “accidental hero” after registering a domain name to track the spread of the virus, which actually ended up halting it.
Congress Accuses BJP Of Abudcting MLA’s To Sway Rajya Sabha Polls
Both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are likely to have a straight fight on May 25 for the lone Raja Sabha seat from Manipur.The Bharatiya Janata Party, with the support of the coalition partners, has fielded Khetrimayum Bhabananda, the State BJP president; while the Congress has fielded Elangbam Dijwamani.Chief Minister N Biren Singh held a meeting with the leaders of the coalition partners on Sunday night on the forthcoming elections. He reportedly told them to ensure that the party candidate is elected to the Upper House of Parliament. Sources told IANS that all of them assured him of support to Bhabananda.
In the March Assembly elections, the Congress bagged 28 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party 21, while the splinter parties shared the remaining 11 seats the 60-member Manipur Assembly.The BJP joined hands with some smaller parties and staked claim to form the government with 31 members. Later, six Congress legislators also crossed the floor.The Rajya Sabha bypoll was necessitated after the death of sitting member Haji Abdul Salam.
India’s GDP growth to be around 7.4% in 2017-18: FICCI
In a survey conducted during March and April 2017, industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) predicted India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth will be around 7.4 per cent for fiscal 2017-18, with a minimum and maximum level of 7 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively.
Reasoning out the growth, FICCI’s Economic Outlook Survey said: “While agricultural sector is estimated to clock 3.5 per cent growth in 2017-18; the pick-up in overall GDP growth will also be supported by an improvement in industry and services sector growth. The industry and services sector are expected to grow by 6.9 per cent and 8.4 per cent respectively in 2017-18.”The survey was conducted amongst economists belonging to the industry, banking and financial services sector and the participants feel that with the process of re-monetisation almost complete, consumption activity has witnessed an uptick and will further build up going ahead.Also, the India Meteorological Department’s latest forecast of monsoon arriving on time and being sufficient provides some reprieve amidst earlier reports of the El Nino having a dampening effect this year.
India boycotts China’s Belt & Road summit
India today boycotted China’s high-profile Belt and Road Forum, taking its protest over a controversial economic corridor traversing through Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK) to a new level despite Beijing’s overtures to ensure New Delhi’s participation.Following India’s boycott, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, taking a veiled swipe at New Delhi’s move, said the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was an economic project open to all the nations in the region and it “must not be politicised”.No Indian official of any level was present at the elaborate opening ceremony attended by 29 heads of state and government along with top officials of the world bodies like the UN, the World Bank and the IMF.India skipped the meeting due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion CPEC, which passes through PoK.Sharif, Sri Lankan Premier Ranil Wickramasinge, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were among the world leaders who attended the meeting inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jinping.The US sent a delegation led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to the President and senior director for Asia at the National Security Council.
Judgement on first NIA case on terror funding today
Fate of 13 chargesheeted accused, including top DHD(J) leaders Jewel Garlosa and Niranjan Hojai, will be decided tomorrow in the first ever case of terror funding registered with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the country.The Court of Special Judge, NIA Rabin Phukan here will deliver the judgement tomorrow in connection with the case (NIA/1) registered in June 2009.As many as 13 accused in NIA/1 are currently facing the trial in connection with the case and already 150 witnesses have been examined during the course of the trial.The NIA had filed the chargesheet in 2009 against militant group DHD(J) chief Jewel Garlosa, DHD(J) commander-in-chief Niranjan Hojai, Chief Executive Member of NC Hills Autonomous Council Mohit Hojai, Malsawmkimi, Phojendra Hojai, Babul Kemprai, RH Khan, Ahshringdao Warisa, Vanlalchhana, Jayanta Kumar Ghosh, Debashis Bhattacharjee, Sandip Ghosh and Karuna Ghosh.
CBI conducts raids at premises of P Chidambaram, Karti
The CBI today launched searches at multiple premises linked to former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in connection with alleged favours granted in FIPB clearance to a firm.
Official sources in Delhi said the searches were spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Gurugram.
The raids are also taking place at the Nungambakkam residence of P Chidambaram in Chennai, a senior police official said in Chennai.Unconfirmed reports said the raids were also on at Karaikudi, the hometown of Chidambaram.The agency had recently registered a case regarding Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to a company in which it is alleged that favours were given when P Chidambaram was the finance minister.Asked about the raids, the former union minister said, “You should have called your CBI friends… Should I stop writing ? (against the government).””I mean…(this is) absolute nonsense,” Chidambaram told PTI adding he was not in Chennai.Chidambaram, a staunch critic of the Narendra Modi-led BJP regime, has said in the past that his voice against the Centre cannot be silenced by launching cases against him or his son Karti, also a Congress leader
Indian-origin Google researcher links ransomware attack to N Korea
As the world struggles to identify the cybercriminals behind the global ransowmware attack that hit 150 countries over the weekend, Neel Mehta, an Indian-origin security researcher working with Google, has claimed on Twitter that the hackers may have links to North Korea.According to Mehta’s discovery, the “Lazarus Group” that works on behalf of North Koreans may be behind the attack as the hacking group has, in the past, used the same coding and tools as were used in “WannaCrypt” — the software used in the current hacking into the Microsoft operating software, the BBC reported on Tuesday.Mehta, a University of British Columbia graduate who earlier worked with IBM Internet Security Systems, posted “codes” on Twitter, potentially pointing at a connection between the “WannaCrypt” ransomware attacks and the malware attributed to the infamous “Lazarus Group”, responsible for a series of devastating attacks against government organisations, media and financial institutions.”Our researchers analysed this information, identified and confirmed clear code similarities between the malware sample highlighted by the Google researcher and the malware samples used by the ‘Lazarus Group’ in 2015 attacks,” Altaf Halde, Managing Director of Kaspersky Lab (South Asia), told IANS.
New law if SC bans triple talaq: Govt
The government today told the Supreme Court that it will come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if triple talaq is held invalid and unconstitutional by the court.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar “If the practice of instant divorce (triple talaq) is struck down by the court, then Centre will bring a law to regulate marriage and divorce among the Muslim community.”Rohatgi’s submission came when the court asked him what are the remedies for a Muslim man to come out of a marriage if such practices are struck down.Earlier in the day, the apex court bench also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, said it was keeping open the issues of practice of polygamy and nikah halala among Muslims for adjudication in future, as the Centre insisted on judicial deliberations on these aspects as well.“It may not be possible to deal with all the three issues in the limited time we have. We will keep them pending for future,” the bench said.The significant observation was made when Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, said the issues of polygamy and nikah halala were also part of the order of a two-judge bench, which had referred to the Constitution bench the three issues including the practice of triple talaq among Muslims. – PTI
Centre junks 1.08 lakh ration cards in Assam
In what substantiates Centre’s stand in the Supreme Court regarding reliability of ration cards, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has deleted 1.08 lakh ration cards in Assam till April.Official sources said that ration cards in Assam were last reviewed on April 9 and it was found that during 2013-2016 altogether 1,08,681 ration cards were deleted. The total number of cards issued in Assam is estimated at 57.59 lakh. In Assam, 57,59,703 ration cards were digitised, sources said.On April 20, the Central Government told the Supreme Court that it is considering the reliability of the ration card as a supporting document for the purpose of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC).The Centre’s latest stand was part of the affidavit it has filed in the Supreme Court.According to the Central Government affidavit, there is a proposal for relook at the reliability of ration cards and the matter as to whether ration cards should be discarded is under consideration, though a final decision is yet to be taken. The Centre informed the court that a fresh look is being taken at each of the documents.
Cabinet approves 10 nuclear reactors for power generation
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the setting up of 10 indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) for nuclear power generation.”The cabinet has approved to install 10 indigenously built PWHRs,” Union Minister Piyush Goyal said at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Goyal, who is Union Power and Coal Minister, said the new PWHRs will generate 7,000 MW power. At present India generates 6,780 MW from nuclear power.Goyal also said that nuclear reactors, which will produce 6,700 MW, are under implementation and these are expected to be completed by 2021-22.
After ‘WannaCrypt’, world faces massive cryptocurrency attack
After facing a massive ‘WannaCrypt’ ransomware attack that exploited a vulnerability in a Microsoft software and hit 150 countries, the same Windows vulnerability (MS17-010) has also been exploited to spread another type of malware that is quietly but fast generating digital cash from machines it has infected.According to a report in The Registrar on Wednesday, tens of thousands of computers globally have been affected by the “Adylkuzz attack” that targets machines, lets them operate and only slows those down to generate digital cash or “Monero” cryptocurrency in the background.”Monero” — being popularised by North Korea-linked hackers — is an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that focuses on privacy, decentralisation and scalability. It is an alternative to Bitcoin and is being used for trading in drugs, stolen credit cards and counterfeit goods.”Initial statistics suggest that this attack may be larger in scale than WannaCry[pt], because this attack shuts down SMB networking to prevent further infections with other malware (including the WannaCry[pt] worm) via that same vulnerability,” US-based cyber security firm Proofpoint researchers were quoted as saying in the report.
Arunachali woman to try double ascent to Mt Everest
The first Indian woman to scale Mount Everest four times, Anshu Jamsenpa, will attempt a double ascent to climb the world’s highest peak for a fifth time, her husband Tsering Wange said on Wednesday.
The Arunachal Pradesh mountaineer on Tuesday scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to conquer the 8,848 feet Mount Everest for a fourth time.”Anshu is very keen for the double ascent. We have already paid for her fifth permit to climb the Everest and the paper formalities have also been completed,” Wange told IANS.”She (Anshu) is likely to reach the Everest Base Camp today (Wednesday) or tomorrow (Thursday) and the expedition team will take a decision for her double ascent. Nonetheless, we are elated with Anshu’s achievement. It is a historic moment for Arunachal Pradesh and India,” he said.
Wange, who also heads Arunachal Mountaineering and Adventure Sports Association, said the camp officials, who communicated with Anshu during the expedition, informed him that his wife was “fit and fine” and “keen for the double ascent”.Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Wednesday congratulated Jamsenpa for unfurling the Indian flag at the world’s highest peak for the fourth time.
Triple talaq matter of faith, AIMPLB to SC
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) today told the Supreme Court that triple talaq is a matter of faith being practiced by Muslims for the last 1,400 years and hence the question of constitutional morality and equity did not arise.The Muslim body also equated triple talaq with the Hindu belief that Lord Rama was born at Ayodhya.“Triple talaq is there since 637. Who are we to say that this is un-Islamic. Muslims are practicing it for last 1,400 years. It is a matter of faith. Hence, there was no question of constitutional morality and equity,” former Union Law Minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for AIMPLB, said.“If I have faith that Lord Rama was born at Ayodhya, then it’s a matter of faith and there is no question of constitutional morality,” Sibal told a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar. He also referred to the fact that the source of triple talaq can be found in Hadith and that it came into being after the time of Prophet Muhammad.The AIMPLB is advancing arguments before the bench which also comprises Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer.Yesterday, the Centre had told the apex court that it will bring a new law to regulate marriage and divorce among the Muslim community if all forms of divorce including triple talaq are struck down.
It was Centre’s decision, says Javadekar
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar today confirmed that the decision not to inflate marks in board examinations was taken by the Centre in consultations with the state education departments.
Addressing a press conference here, the HRD Minister said that all state boards and CBSE have agreed not to inflate marks in board examinations making them realistic.State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the Assam Assembly that HSLC results in the State had been ‘manipulated’ since 2001 by the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) that had been giving ‘hidden’ grace marks to students at the behest of political dispensation.Sarma told the State Assembly that while only around 22-23 per cent of the candidates clear the HSLC examinations, the results are manipulated by the SEBA to inflate the pass percentage to over 60 at the instance of the ‘political masters’.However, Javadekar said that 90 per cent of the students usually secure more than 90 per cent marks. “We want to maintain quality-wise numbering,” he said.
ICJ to deliver verdict today
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will pronounce its verdict on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case tomorrow, three days after it heard arguments presented by India and Pakistan.According to government sources, the international court will give its verdict around 3.30 pm (IST) tomorrow.During its submission, India had demanded the immediate suspension of Jadhav’s death sentence, expressing fears that Pakistan could execute him even before the hearing at the ICJ was over.India’s forceful submission was made as the ICJ began hearing the case of the 46-year-old former Navy officer, who was arrested on March 3 last year and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities.The Jadhav case was taken to the world court on May 8 by India, which accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention and conducting a “farcical trial” for convicting Jadhav without a “shred of evidence”.On its part, Pakistan told the ICJ that Vienna Convention provisions on consular access were not intended for a “spy” involved in terror activities and charged India with using the world body as a stage for “political theatre” in the Jadhav case.The two neighbours last had a face-off at the ICJ 18 years ago when Islamabad sought its intervention over the shooting down of its naval aircraft.In a landmark verdict, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today ruled that any vehicle found over-speeding inside the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) will have to pay an environment compensation of Rs 5,000 besides challan under the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act.The order of a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar followed a mention by the park director, who was present before the bench, that four animals have died since January this year, despite installation of sensor-operated automatic traffic barriers to prevent these deaths.“Every vehicle challaned for over-speeding will have to pay an environment compensation of Rs 5,000 per accident over and above the challan as prescribed under the MV Act,” the bench said.Earlier, the bench had asked the Assam Government and the KNP director to inform about the number of animals, which have died due to vehicular movement along the highway.The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by environmentalist Rohit Choudhury opposing the expansion of the NH-37 from Jakhalabandha to Bokakhat through the Kaziranga National Park.The NGT had earlier ordered the demolition of roadside shops and eateries along the animal corridors near Kaziranga, among a slew of directions in the wake of increasing wildlife casualties due to vehicular movement on the highway.The Gauhati High Court had, however, stayed the order on demolishing shops and dhabas located within 100 metres of the NH-37.
Dhaka flight from Guwahati likely soon
In what would be one of the major air connectivity initiatives of recent times especially concerning the North East, Guwahati could soon get its first direct flight to Dhaka and vice-versa.The initiative, once it materializes, would open new doors for bilateral ties between North East India and the neighbouring country, besides giving a fillip to trade ties and cultural exchanges.This would also mean that those traders and tourists travelling from Guwahati and other North East could avoid Kolkata for a visit to the neighbouring country.The Guwahati-Dhaka-Guwahati flight is soon expected to get the nod from the civil aviation ministries of both the countries.The development could be linked with the opening office of the Assistant Office of the Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh inGuwahati, which has already issued nearly 260 Visas ever since its arrival two months back.In fact, some of the private airlines in Bangladesh have already begun their promotion activities about Dhaka-Guwahati direct flight. Novo Air, one of the premier private airlines of the neighbouring country, has already hinted towards such an initiative in their official website.
Centre to SC: Triple talaq not integral to Islam
Triple talaq is neither integral to Islam nor a “majority versus minority” issue but rather an “intra-community tussle” between Muslim men and deprived women, the Centre today told the Supreme Court.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, in his rebuttal to the arguments favouring the 1,400 year-old practice of triple talaq, made a strong pitch for judicial scrutiny on grounds including violation of fundamental rights like right to equality and gender justice and said that the apex court cannot shy away.A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, asked the Centre as to why it did not legislate to regulate marriages and divorce among Muslims.“You (Centre) said if court quashes triple talaq then you will make a law but why the government did not make a law for last 60 years?” the bench, also comprising justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, asked.Rohatgi replied that the hallmark of a secular court was to reform without waiting for a legislation, when such matters come to it.
Decks cleared for Gogamukh agri institute
The Sarbananda Sonowal Government today got a shot in the arm when the Union Cabinet cleared the decks for setting up of the much-delayed Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) at Gogamukh in Dhemaji district at an estimated cost of around Rs 1,000 crore.Announcing the decision, Union Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said the IARI will be the third such institute in the country and it would be a major boost to Assam’s agricultural sector. The proposal was to set up three such institutes in the country, he added.Goyal disclosed that the Centre has immediately sanctioned Rs 155 crore for the project. The project sanctioned in 2014-2015 did not make much progress as the previous government did not give land for it. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal sanctioned 587 acres of land for the institute.The IARI will produce 67 MSc postgraduates every year and will have the provision of admitting 106 PhD students and produce 90 PhDs every year.The setting up of the institute will not only help Assam, but also the seven neighbouring states of the Northeast. At least 85 per cent of the population of Assam is dependent on agriculture, Goyal said.The Power and Coal Minister further reiterated that the Modi Government has accorded top priority to development of the northeastern states and the second green revolution is expected to start from the region, he added.Meanwhile, official sources said that the IARI will be set up under DARE and ICAR schemes.
With 180% growth, Chinese smartphone vendors set to wipe out Indian brands
Chinese vendors captured 49 per cent of the Indian mobile phone handset market in the first quarter of 2017 — a 180 per cent (year-on-year) revenue growth — threatening to wipe out domestic players from the overall handset segment, a report said on Friday.According to research firm CyberMedia Research’s (CMR) “India Quarterly Mobile Handset Market Review” report, mobile handsets market in India recorded revenues of Rs 346,295 million in the first quarter (January-March), down eight per cent sequentially quarter-on-quarter.Samsung of South Korea, and the Chinese Itel and Xiaomi were the top market players with 27 per cent, nine per cent and six per cent market share, respectively, in terms of volume.”In the smartphone arena, the Chinese brands have already kicked out domestic players from the top five list and in the near future, we will see Chinese players wiping out the Indian brands from the top five chart of overall mobile handset segment too,” said Krishna Mukherjee, Telecom Analyst with CMR, in a statement.
Centre orders CBI probe into anomalies
The Central Government has ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the irregularities, which led to the closure of the Nagaon and Cachar paper mills of the Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC). However, the Centre is also chalking out a plan for the revival of the mills at the earliest.Official sources in the Government of India told The Assam Tribune that an internal probe was conducted by the Ministry of Heavy Industries to find out the reasons for the closure of the mills and some prima facie evidence of irregularities and mismanagement were found to be the main reasons for the present state of affairs. Sources said that there have been instances of some senior officers working on their personal interests rather than trying to make the mills economically viable and there were prima facie evidence of irregularities.After receiving the evidences, the Ministry of Heavy Industries lodged an FIR with the CBI for a thorough probe so that the persons involved in the irregularities can be brought to book.However, the Government is keen on reviving the mills and a comprehensive package is being worked out. Inter-ministerial meetings are also being held to chalk out a detailed revival package of both the Nagaon and Cachar paper mills. Sources pointed out that the Government is keen not only on reviving the mills but also to make them economically viable and that is why a comprehensive package is being worked out. “Merely reopening of the mills will not serve any purpose. The Government wants the mills to be profitable so that they can contribute to Assam and the country as a whole,” sources added.
SC reserves verdict on triple talaq
The Supreme Court today asked Muslim bodies as to how a practice like triple talaq can be a matter of “faith” when they have been asserting that it is “patriarchal”, “bad in theology” and “sinful”.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar also reserved its verdict on a clutch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq among Muslims after hearing parties including the Centre, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board and various others for six days in summer vacation.The court took note of repeated submissions of the AIMPLB and former Union minister and senior lawyer Salman Khurshid, who is assisting it in personal capacity, that triple talaq is not mentioned in holy Quran and is rather “sinful”, “irregular”, “patriarchal”, “bad in theology” and “undesirable”, but the court should not examine it.“You (Khurshid) say it is sinful. How can a sinful practice be said to be a matter of faith… Has it (triple talaq) been going on consistently for 1,400 years? The answer is ‘yes’.“Has it been going on in the world? The answer is ‘no’. The system itself says it is horrendous and bad,” the bench, also comprising justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, said.The observations were made when Khurshid was advancing rejoinder arguments by emphasising that the practice was sinful and bad in theology which cannot be good in law. He, however, argued that the court should not examine it.
EC seeks to dispel doubts on EVMs
Yet again seeking to demonstrate that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) are not tamperable, the Election Commission on Saturday dismissed the possibility of manipulating the functioning of the machines either during manufacturing, polling and transportation stages or when they are stored.
Addressing a press conference after a public display of the functioning of the machines, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said those who had raised doubts about the functioning of the machines in the mind of the people have not been able to give any credible information that the machines can be hacked to support their claim.He said there is no chip or data stored in the machines that can be tampered with by any external device like mobile phone, bluetooth and external wireles, wi-fi and internet connection.
The CEC then said that even the results cannot be changed through any coded signal.Zaidi said: “No tampering can be carried out by any Trojan horse malware in its software.”He also ruled out any manipulation in the EVMs during its manufacturing stage. “There is no manipulation possible either during manufacturing stage nor can its security software be tampered with,” he said.”There cannot be manipulation in a planned manner in the manufacturing stage in advance as the numbers of the candidates are not known to the manufacturers,” Zaidi said.”Even the EC does not have these details in advance. It can’t be known about the candidates, their names or their numbers in advance,” he said. During counting of votes, he said no manipulation was possible.
GST rates: Council finalises four slabs for services
Education and healthcare will continue to be exempted from tax in the upcoming GST regime that will see service tax incidence go up on telecom, business class air travel, insurance and sale of newspaper space for advertisement.Transport services will be taxed at 5 per cent leading to a small drop in economy class air travel which currently attracts 6 per cent service tax.Non AC train travel, including in local trains and metro, as well as religious travel including Haj yatra will remain exempted from GST.Five per cent rate will also apply to cab aggregators like Ola and Uber, which currently pay 6 per cent tax.AC train travel will attract 5 per cent service tax, same as freight levy.The all-powerful GST Council finalised four tax rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent for services including telecom, insurance, hotels and restaurants under the biggest tax reform since the Independence.The rates are in line with those finalised for goods. With this, rates of all items except a handful including gold, have been decided ahead of the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime from July 1.Space selling for advertisement in newspapers will attract 5 per cent levy in GST. It is exempted from tax currently.
WB flood management project in State
The World Bank and the State Water Resources Department (WRD) are working on a Rs 1,500-crore project for strengthening institutional capacity for water resources planning and management, and to build resilience to flood and erosion risks in selected areas of the Brahmaputra and Barak basins of the State within a period of six years from the next year.A task team of the World Bank recently visited the State and had a series of discussions with the WRD officials on the project.The project is to take up initially six tributaries of the Brahmaputra and two tributaries of the Barak for detailed study. Thereafter, one or two tributary basins would be taken up for structural intervention, said highly placed official sources here.
A World Bank technical team, including experts from all related disciplines, is likely to camp in the city for formulating the details of the project from the next month. The Bank team will study the river basins along with the WRD engineers.The Brahmaputra tributaries being taken up for the purpose are Beki, Jia Bharali, Jiadhal, Gai Nadi, Burhi Dihing and Bhogdoi, while the Barak tributaries are Singla and either of Jatinga or Madura.
Modi to boost BJP campaign in Tripura
Aiming to boost BJP’s Assembly election campaign in Tripura, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan are all set to visit the Marxist-ruled State.Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit the State in July while the party will organise a rally here on June 10 where Himanta Biswa Sarma will be present.Assam Chief Minister is all set to address a party rally at Ambassa on May 27. Assam Irrigation Minister Ranjit Dutta is also expected to visit the State but his programme schedule is yet to be confirmed.Dutta is supposed to address two party rallies at Dharmanagar and Kumarghat in Unakoti district. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is arriving here on an official visit on May 27. He will also join party programme.In his last visit to the State, BJP national president Amit Shah has already instructed the party State unit to launch party programme from the grassroot level. “The party programmes and visit of party’s star campaigners are part of the Shah’s vision for the BJP’s election campaign”, said Pratima Bhowmik, general secretary of BJP Mohila Morcha here on Wednesday.
Caution against Chinese transgression
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today asked border guarding force ITBP and governments of Himalayan states to remain ‘very vigilant’ against Chinese transgression along the Sino-Indian border saying such incidents take place due to perceptional differences.Addressing the first ever meeting of chief ministers of five Himalayan states, Singh also asked Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh governments to undertake developmental activities along the 3,488-km-long Sino-Indian border so that people living in these areas do not have to migrate.“Due to perceptional differences, there have been transgression by the Chinese PLA in the past. Such incidents have come down now. Sometimes armies of both the countries come face to face which we call face-off. Such incidents are resolved through the existing mechanism,” he said.The meeting comes days after India refused to participate in China’s silk road project ‘One Belt, One Road’ conference in Beijing and a month after the diplomatic tussle over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.Chief ministers of Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh Trivendra Singh Rawat, Pawan Kumar Chamling and Pema Khandu respectively and representatives of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh attended the meeting.
New NE industrial package on the anvil
A draft Cabinet note proposing a new industrial package for the Northeast is being readied for circulation, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said today.Addressing a press conference today, the Union Minister said the new policy would be more effective and robust. Currently the NITI Aayog and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion are engaged in giving it a final shape, she said, adding, a note would then be drafted and circulated among members before being approved by the Cabinet.As reported, the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) had come under cloud after the Centre, vide a notification in December 2014, had suspended registration of new units. It meant no new units, registered post-December 1, 2014, would be eligible for enjoying the benefits under NEIIPP. The Centre had sited fund crunch as the reason behind taking that decision.Though the Centre later re-introduced the policy, many of the incentives under the policy had been diluted. The NEIIPP, 2007 was suspended from December 1, 2014 to November 22, last. During that period almost all new investments were kept on hold.
State’s revenue collection up by 21 pc in one year: Sonowal
Assam’s revenue collection increased by more than 21 per cent in the past one year, while potential investors are also showing interest in investing in the State due to the improved scenario, said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. However, he was non-committal on the issue of expansion of the ministry.
Talking to The Assam Tribune days become completion of one year in office, the Chief Minister said that the revenue collection in the State increased by 21.6 per cent in the past one year, which is the highest among all the states of the country. He said that the State managed to achieve the growth because of several measures taken to boost the State’s economy, which includes closing down of the illegal check gates, framing of new excise revenue collection rules and efforts to root out corruption from all levels of administration. He expressed the view that the financial health of the State would improve further after the GST comes into effect.Sonowal said that the State is also receiving financial and other help from the Government of India and an additional amount of Rs 7,772 crore would be received by the State as oil royalty over a period of three years. Out of it, the State has already received an amount of Rs 2,400 crore.
Compartmental HSLC exams set to return
If the pass percentage in this year’s HSLC examination drops by more than 10 per cent, a provision for compartmental examination will be introduced in which a candidate failing to score qualifying marks will be given another chance to clear the subject within two months.This was announced by Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma here today while releasing the report of the four-member committee of vice chancellors, constituted by the government to recommend on the moderation procedure to be adopted in HSLC examination.“In any case, irrespective of the pass percentage, the provision of compartmental examinations will be introduced from the next academic year,” the minister told newsmen.The HSLC compartmental examinations were discontinued in 2007.The four-member committee has suggested that the moderation policy in HSLC examination be carried out through established procedure based on rigorous statistical analyses. It also recommended that the award of ‘grace marks’ be restricted only for those students who fail to score minimum qualifying marks by marginal points of score (1-5) and is to be decided by the Board.
Ready to bring in law to stop triple talaq: Centre
The Centre today said it would bring in a legislation to stop the triple talaq, if necessary, “but after allowing the Muslim community to reach a positive conclusion following internal deliberations.”
“The government has made the stand very clear saying that we want this (triple talaq) to end… If necessary, the (Central) government will bring in a legislation, but after allowing the community to reach a positive conclusion after internal deliberations,” Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters after inaugurating the statue of Dr MS Ramaiah here.Dr Ramaiah was an industrialist and philanthropist, who in 1962 founded the Gokula Education Foundation here, which, in turn, established numerous institutes of higher learning including the MS Ramaiah Medical College.
NF Railway register growth
Substantial increase in transport of coal, foodgrains and fertilisers from the region under the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) helped the zone register a small growth in its year-on-year cumulative revenue earnings from freight traffic during 2016-17.NFR’s revenue earnings from freight traffic on an originating basis stood at Rs 1,182.08 crore in 2016-17 compared to Rs 1,149.85 crore in previous financial year of 2015-16, resulting in an annual increase of 2.8 per cent.During the period under review, the commodity-wise freight traffic on an originating basis went up marginally year-on-year to 9.59 million tonnes from 9.52 million tonnes in 2014-15.“In the previous fiscal, there was a substantial fall in earnings from freight. However, this year, products like coal and foodgrains have shown better results. The low base has also helped in taking the numbers higher. In addition, the expansion of the railway network in recent years is finally starting to show the impact with regard to freight traffic,” said an official.
Adulterated seeds behind chaffy grains: Probe
Use of adulterated hybrid seeds sourced from unrecognised dealers led to development of chaffy grains in paddy cultivations in some districts of the State, an investigation by a team of scientists has found.
“In most cases we have observed that farmers used adulterated hybrid seeds, supplied by unrecognised traders, some of whom are based in Kharupetia. One such outlet has been shut down in Barpeta. Normally hybrid rice plants grown from second generation seeds do not perform as well. The hybrid vigour disappears after the first generation. But farmers in the hope of getting the same yield, opted for the same variety using the second generation seeds,” a Krishi Vigyan Kendra scientist, who was part of the field investigation team, told The Assam Tribune.This apart, continuous heavy rain and hailstorm during the flowering stage – April-May – also affected fertilisation of the crop. High temperatures are required for seed setting, but as the temperatures were down due to the rains, the pollination was disturbed, the investigation team, comprising of experts from KVKs, State agriculture department and other agencies, noted.In many cases the affected farmers were found to be using the PAC 837 hybrid variety, which is heavily infested by neck blast disease. Seed treatment is essential for controlling the disease, but farmers did not practise it.Indiscriminate use of nitrogenous fertilizers causes the neck blast disease. Moreover, farmers were also not using micronutrient like boron which is essential for paddy.
Pakistan AG to take Parliament into confidence in Jadhav case
Islamabad, May 23 (IANS): Pakistan’s Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali will on Tuesday brief the country’s Parliament and take the members into confidence in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.”The Attorney General has been invited to brief the MPs through the Parliamentary Committee for National Security on the efforts the government has so far made,” Dawn online quoted National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq as saying.Sadiq said the Attorney General will also brief the National Assembly about the “next likely steps regarding the Kulbhushan Jadhav case so that Parliament may be taken into confidence in this regard”.The Speaker lamented that the country’s opposition criticised the legal team because the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had stayed hanging of Jadhav until the final order is announced.Ali would now represent Pakistan in the Jadhav case at the ICJ. Earlier, Britain-based lawyer Khawar Qureshi represented the country.Jadhav has been awarded death sentence by a military court in Pakistan for “sponsoring terrorism and waging war” against Islamabad. Jadhav, whose family in based in Mumbai, was reportedly arrested from Balochistan.India has approached the Hague-based court to secure freedom of Jadhav, who New Delhi says was abducted from Tehran.The top court on May 18 halted the execution of Jadhav.
Bangladesh hopeful of Teesta issue being resolved: Minister
Kolkata, May 23 (IANS): Bangladesh Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan on Tuesday said that Dhaka is “hopeful” of the Teesta water sharing issue being resolved and that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would consider their demand.”We are hopeful about the Teesta water sharing issue, and relations between India and Bangladesh will improve. We believe the long-pending Teesta water sharing issue will be resolved,” he said.Khan also said, “We have been demanding the Teesta waters. We hope West Bengal’s Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee) will consider our demand.”Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said she would have no problems in providing water to the neighbouring country provided the Central government is ready to look at “suitable alternatives”.Asked about Banerjee’s alternative offer, Khan said it is subject to a examination.Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during her visit to India last month, had said that resolution of the long-pending Teesta water sharing issue would transform bilateral ties with India.
“No further communication in this regard was exchanged between the two countries after our Prime Minister returned from Delhi,” Khan said on the sidelines of an event organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce here.The Minister said India has been developing the India-Bangladesh river route.
HC notice to Kejriwal on Jaitley’s fresh defamation suit
New Delhi, May 23 (IANS): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a fresh Rs 10-crore defamation suit filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over his lawyer Ram Jethmalani using the word “crook”Joint Registrar Pankaj Gupta issued the notice to Kejriwal and posted the matter for July 26.Jaitley, in the second civil defamation suit against Kejriwal, claimed the objectionable words caused him “permanent harm and disrepute”.This is a separate case from the ongoing Rs 10-crore Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) defamation suit against Kejriwal and five other Aam Aadmi Party leaders that Jaitley filed in 2015.On May 17, Jaitley and senior advocate Jethmalani clashed in the court with the Union Minister taking strong objection to the word “crook” that Jethmalani used while cross-examining the Minister.During the cross-examination conducted on behalf of Kejriwal, Jethmalani subjected Jaitley to “numerous questions, terminologies, statements that are exfacie abusive, malicious, offensive, irrelevant and slanderous”, the Union Minister said in his new plea.
ACB raids Kejriwal kin in PWD scam
New Delhi, May 23 (IANS): Delhi’s Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) on Tuesday said it has raided Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s deceased brother-in-law Surender Kumar Bansal’s residence in the alleged Rs 10 crore PWD scam.The raids were carried out on Monday evening at the Bansal residence and in two other offices of promoters under the agency’s scanner, a senior ACB official said.During the raids, the investigators seized several documents.The ACB action follows the filing of three cases on May 9 against Bansal and senior PWD officers in connection with the Public Works Department scam. The investigating agency had questioned six engineers of the PWD on May 13.The three FIRs were registered against Bansal and PWD officers after it was discovered that several bills were cleared by different companies for different works.The case involving Bansal, who died on May 7, relates to a drain project and improvement of kerbs (raised paths) from Shani Mandir to Bakoli village up to Drain No. 6 on National Highway 44.Earlier on May 18, the ACB had said that it has ordered inspection of a PWD project involving Bansal.The FIRs do not mention Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Kejriwal’s name.However, complainant Rahul Sharma, convener of NGO Road Anti-Corruption Organisation, has accused the Chief Minister of helping Bansal to get fake bills of around Rs 10 crore cleared. The ACB recorded the statement of Sharma on May 11.
CPI-M women members at record number in Tripura
Agartala, May 23 (IANS): The strength of women members of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in Tripura rose to a record 28 per cent against 12 per cent at the national level, a party leader said here.
“Over 27.77 per cent of the 94,259 CPI-M members in Tripura are women. Always the percentage of women members of the party was higher in Tripura compared to the national ratio,” Tripura CPI-M State secretary Bijan Dhar told the media on Monday evening.”After the annual renewal of party membership in January-March, with the increase of 2.93 per cent compared to last year, party membership rose to 94,259 this year despite 612 party members getting killed,” he said.Besides, another 154 members were expelled from the party on numerous grounds and 4,551 members did not renew their membership due to various reasons, the CPI-M leader said.Dhar, also a member of the CPI-M central committee, said 3,986 persons belonging to other political parties joined the Left party during the past two months.”The CPI-M has organised public rallies in 107 places in the past one month across the State and it would hold 1,000 more “Jatha” (public rally) in the next one month to highlight the mis-governance and anti-people policies of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)-led Central government.”
India hits Pakistan posts across LoC
The Indian Army today said it launched ‘punitive fire assaults’ on Pakistani positions across the Line of Control, inflicting ‘some damage’, days after two of its troopers were beheaded.It also released a video of the military action which showed some structures in a forested area crumbling in a heap under the impact of repeated shelling.Pakistan Army, however, dismissed as ‘false’, its Indian counterpart’s assertion of destroying its posts in the Naushera sector.Though the Indian Army did not give much operational details of the retributive assault across the Line of Control (LoC) against Pakistan Army positions in Naushera sector of Jammu and Kashmir which were ‘aiding’ infiltration, sources in the force said the strike was carried out on May 9, nine days after two Indian security personnel were beheaded.“A recent action by our troops in the Naushera sector has caused some damage to the Pak Army posts, which are supporting infiltrations… This is part of our overall strategy to counter terrorism,” Additional Director General of Public Information Maj Gen AK Narula told reporters here.The government supported the Army’s action, with Defence Minister Arun Jaitley saying it was to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir. “Government supports the actions of Indian Army across LoC. Such actions are needed to ensure peace in J&K,” he tweeted.The 22-second video showed concrete structures being reduced to rubble amid plumes of smoke and balls of fire. However, the area of the operation was not clearly identifiable in the clipping.
Jewel, Niranjan, Mohit get life term
Former DHD(J) leaders Jewel Garlosa and Niranjan Hojai along with former chief of the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council Mohit Hojai were today sentenced to life imprisonment, while the 12 other accused were awarded imprisonment ranging from eight years to 12 years in the first two cases of terror funding registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).The Court of Special Judge, NIA that convicted all the 15 accused on Monday, today pronounced the quantum of sentence against all the accused. The developments have also posed a question mark over the political career of the two DHD(J) leaders.Barring the trio, sentenced to life imprisonment, RH Khan was awarded 12 years of imprisonment, the highest among the remaining 12 convicted in the multi-crore-rupee scam in the NC Hills district (Dima Hasao). All the 15 accused were held guilty under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Arms Act, and the imprisonment pronounced by the court would run concurrently. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 each against conviction under the respective sections the accused were held guilty.
22 killed in terror attack at UK pop concert
A lone suicide bomber set off a powerful homemade bomb at a concert of US pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester city, killing at least 22 people and injuring 59 others, in the deadliest terror attack in Britain since the 2005 London bombings.The Islamic State terror group today claimed responsibility for the bombing and warned of more attacks. The group said in a statement on its social media sites that “one of the caliphate’s soldiers placed bombs among the crowds.”Prime Minister Theresa May said the people of Manchester have fallen victim to a “callous terrorist attack”.After chairing a Cobra (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms) meeting here in the wake of the blast, May said a single terrorist detonated a device near the exit, at a time and place intended to cause maximum injuries.
Oil pipeline blast
An oil pipeline blast took place in Dibrugarh last night ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit to the State. It is suspected that the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) was involved in the blast.Police sources said that the body of one ULFA(I) cadre was found near the blast site and it is believed that the bomb went off when the militant was planting it. The ULFA(I) cadre was identified as Palash Asom alias Boby Dohotiya.
Trump to promote global peace
Donald Trump vowed today to use his US presidency to promote global peace after meeting Pope Francis, before heading into a high-stakes summit of the world’s biggest military alliance.Meeting for the first time, the president and the pontiff sidestepped deep differences over issues ranging from the environment to the plight of migrants and the poor.
“Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis,” a star-struck Trump wrote on Twitter before leaving Rome for Brussels and the next leg of his first overseas trip as US president.“I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world,” the billionaire former reality TV star said.In Brussels, a city he once dubbed a “hellhole”, Trump however faced thousands of protesters ahead of his first summits on Thursday with wary leaders of NATO and the European Union.Trump sparked fears of an end to the transatlantic alliance when he dismissed NATO as “obsolete” while on the campaign trail and mortified the EU by backing Brexit.Trump said that the most important issue during his time in Belgium was terrorism after the “horrible situation” in Manchester, England, where a suicide bomber killed 22 people in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.
NIA sought IITG help to analyse voice samples
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had sought the expertise of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IITG) to analyse the voice samples of a number of those convicted in the NC Hills terror funding case, which, according to investigators, took the lid off the fund diversion and politician-terrorist nexus for the very first time.The certified copy of the judgement passed by the Court of Special Judge, Assam reveals that the audio tapes were sent to IITG which were analysed by Professor SR Prasanna of the Department of Electronics and Electrical, and his team working in speech processing area.The NIA had raised nine specific questions from the examining team vis-à-vis the findings of the voice samples, which were duly answered by the IITG experts.The voice sample report had established that the then DHD(J) commander-in-chief Niranjan Hojai was in touch with accused Phojendra Hojai on April 1, 2009 when the latter was carrying a sum of Rs 1 crore to Shillong before being nabbed by Basistha police station.The translation of the voice samples from Dimasa into English by the then Deputy Director of Fire and Emergency Services, Guwahati at the behest of the NIA also proved vital. The voice sample was extracted from the cell phone of Phojendra Hojai.
Cabinet okays setting up of AIIMS in State
The government today approved the setting up of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Kamrup in Assam which would offer superspeciality health care to people in the region.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the project to be constructed at a total cost of Rs 1,123 crore.The medical institute, to be set up under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna’, is slated to be completed in 48 months from the date of approval.It will have a pre-construction phase of 15 months, a construction phase of 30 months and a stabilisation or commissioning phase of three months.The Kamrup AIIMS will consist of a hospital with a capacity of 750 beds, trauma centre facilities, a medical college which can accommodate 100 MBBS students per year, a nursing for 60 BSc (Nursing) students, residential complexes and allied facilities on the pattern of AIIMS in New Delhi.The hospital will have 22 speciality or superspeciality departments including 16 operation theatres, an official statement said, adding, it will also have an AYUSHdepartment with 30 beds for treatment facilities in traditional systems of medicine.“The establishment of the new AIIMS will serve the dual purpose of providing superspeciality health care to the population while also help create a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region that can be available for primary and secondary level institutions being created under the National Health Mission (NHM),” the statement said.Under this scheme, such institutions have already been established in Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Raipur, Jodhpur, Rishikesh and Patna, while work on the Rae Bareli AIIMS is in progress.Three such institutes – in Nagpur (Maharashtra), Kalyani (West Bengal) and Mangalagiri in Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) – were sanctioned in 2015 and two – at Bathinda (Punjab) and Gorakhpur (UP) – in 201
UN rejects Pak claim
The United Nations has dismissed Pakistan Army’s claim that its military observers came under attack from Indian troops near the Line of Control, saying there was “no evidence” of them being targeted.UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said there was no evidence that an UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan) vehicle was targeted by the Indian Army along the LoC near the Khanjar sector.
“I can say to you that this afternoon in Bhimber District, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, UNMOGIP military observers accompanied by Pakistani Army escorts heard gunshots in their vicinity. There is no evidence that the UNMOGIP military observers were targeted by the gunfire. No UN military observer was injured,” he told reporters yesterday.
In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces, had said that a vehicle carrying two officers of the UN military observer group came under attack by Indian troops during a visit to the LoC.
The Pakistan Army had claimed the vehicle was carrying UNMOGIP officers Major Emmanual of the Philippines and Major Mirko of Croat.
Modi names Dhola-Sadiya bridge after Bhupen Hazarika
Inaugurating India’s longest (9.15 km) bridge over Lohit river in Assam here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a veiled attack on the previous Congress-led UPA Government, accusing it of delaying its construction even as he named the bridge after legendary singer Bhupen Hazarika.”For five decades you people have been waiting for a bridge. That has now been inaugurated today (Friday),” Modi said while speaking after inaugurating the Dhola-Sadiya bridge over river Lohit, a tributary of river Brahmaputra – constructed at a cost of Rs 950 crore that will connect Assam with eastern Arunachal Pradesh.The bridge will save travel of 165 km and time of six hours. The event marked completion of three years of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.”If Atal Behari Vajpayeeji had returned to power in 2004, then you would have got this bridge 10 years ago,” he said.He said the bridge would contribute to the development of the northeastern region.”This bridge will bring about a new economic revolution,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi inaugurates India’s longest river bridge
Marking the third anniversary of the NDA government at the Centre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the country’s longest river bridge – the Dhola-Sadiya bridge over the Brahmaputra river in Assam – and dedicated it to the people of the nation.The 9.15-km-long bridge between Dhola and Sadiya in Assam’s Tinsukia district will not only shorten the distance between the State and Arunachal Pradesh by 165 km but will also reduce the travel time between the two States by five hours.Besides giving a major boost to tourism, this over Rs 950-crore bridge also assumes strategic significance given its position vis-a-vis the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh.The new bridge across the Lohit river that can withstand the weight of 60-tonne battle tanks, will provide easy access to the Indian Army to reach the country’s eastern borders.Modi inaugurated the bridge by cutting a red ribbon and walking a few metres on it. He waved to the hundreds of people waiting there.The Prime Minister, accompanied by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, travelled in a cavalcade on the bridge for about two km towards Sadiya before returning to Dhola
Dhola-Sadiya bridge a brainchild of Cong: Tarun Gogoi
Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday attacked the BJP-led Central Government for trying to take credit for the newly constructed longest bridge on Lohit river in Assam, saying that it was the “brainchild” of the Congress.”Today is one of the greatest days for the people of Assam as the India’s longest and Asia’s second longest Dhola-Sadiya bridge is inaugurated by Prime Miniser Narendra Modi,” Gogoi said in a series of tweets.”The bridge was our brainchild and it was approved in 2009 by the Union Cabinet and physical work started in 2011 where the work was awarded to Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd,” he said.The Congress leader’s remarks came soon after Modi inaugurated the bridge and accused the Congress of delaying its construction.The 9.15-km-long Dhola-Sadiya Bridge over Lohit river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra river, was constructed at a cost of Rs 950 crore and will connect Assam with eastern Arunachal Pradesh.The Congress leader also thanked former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Road Transport Minister Oscar Fernandes for approving the mega bridge project.”We are grateful to Dr Manmohan Singh and the then Surface Transport Minister as per the Indian culture for this great gift to Assam. People of Assam will remain grateful forever for this valuable gift,” he said.
Pak condemns honour to Major Gogoi
Pakistan today condemned the honouring of an Indian Army officer who tied a civilian in Kashmir to a vehicle and used him as human shield.“Awarding Major Leetul Gogoi, who brazenly used a Kashmiri youth as a human shield, is condemnable. It is a crime and an insult to humanity,” Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria told reporters during the weekly briefing here.The international community, particularly, the UN should take cognizance of the act, he added. Gogoi, a Major in the 53 Rashtriya Rifles, has been honoured with the Army Chief’s commendation card for his “sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations”.Zakaria accused India of perpetrating and financing terrorism in Pakistan, saying the confessional statement of Indian prisoner on death row Kulbushan Jadhav confirms it.
CBSE results on time: Centre
NEW DELHI, May 25 – Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar today assured Class 12 CBSE students that the results will be declared on time, amid worries that a Delhi High Court order on marks policy could lead to a delay.The Delhi High Court had ordered the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) not to go ahead with the scrapping of its moderation policy on extra marks and students were anxious that any consequent delay in the results could affect their college admission prospects.“The results will be on time, there will be no delay. CBSE will make the announcement soon. The students should not worry. Justice will be done to everyone,” Javadekar told reporters, when asked if the result will be delayed.The CBSE is likely to move the Supreme Court challenging the HC order. However, CBSE officials have not come out with an official word yet.Under the ‘moderation policy’ grace marks are given to students in exams for difficult questions. It was scrapped last month by the CBSE, a decision termed “irresponsible” by the High Court earlier this week.
Changsari people upbeat over AIIMS foundation-laying
A huge dream of the people of Changsari and its adjoining areas is going to become reality tomorrow when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) proposed to be built at Changsari in Kamrup district.A festive atmosphere has gripped the entire area with the people celebrating and bursting firecrackers on the eve of the historic ceremony.Over a thousand people thronged the proposed AIIMS site today. The people heartily welcomed the efforts of the Central Government as well as the State Government to pave the way for setting up the quality health institution in their area and expressed their desire to extend all possible cooperation in this regard. The AIIMS will be constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana at an estimated cost of Rs 1,123 crore. The decision to this effect was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister yesterday, which formally approved the setting up of the institute.
Foundation of AIIMS, Guwahati laid
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Guwahati (at Changsari), by pressing a remote button.The symbolic stone-laying ceremony was held at a function at Sarusajai sports complex in the city, which the Prime Minister attended for less than ten minutes, much to the displeasure of the crowd that gathered in large numbers who had waited for hours hoping to hear Modi speak.The Prime Minister, who was running behind schedule since his second programme today, reached the Sarusajai sports complex at 5 pm instead of the scheduled timing of 3:30 pm and left for the public meeting at Khanapara within ten minutes of his arrival.Although official sources informed that inclement weather was one of the reasons behind the Prime Minister’s cutting short his stay period at Sarusajai, the crowd, however, was visibly disappointed.To be constructed at a cost of Rs 1,123 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, the AIIMS, Guwahati, is expected to be completed within the next four years.It will have a hospital comprising 750 beds, a medical college for 100 MBBS students annually, a nursing college for 60 students each year and 22 super-specialty departments, including 16 operation theatres.
Dhola-Sadiya bridge named after Bhupen Hazarika
Amid huge applause Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated to nation the country’s longest river bridge – the 9.15-km-long Dhola-Sadiya bridge over the Lohit.Addressing a rally at Zero Point of Dhola in Tinsukia district, the Prime Minister also announced that the bridge will be named ‘Dr Bhupen Hazarika Setu’ after the iconic cultural figure even as over 70,000 people present there erupted in joy.“Dr Bhupen Hazarika was instrumental in introducing the Brahmaputra to the world through his songs. His lips often glorified the potential and grandeur of the mighty river. His name must be attached with the bridge,” Modi said.The Prime Minister said the bridge will go a long way in propelling economic revolution in the northeastern region. “This bridge is not only a pride for Assam but it is also an honour for the entire country because the nation has been able to build the longest bridge in the remotest end of Assam,” he said.“The issue (of constructing a bridge connecting Dhola with Sadiya) was taken seriously by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had also called for a feasibility report. But follow-ups were not done and its certainty appeared bleak with the change of the government at the Centre… Had Atalji won the elections in 2004 again, the bridge would have been completed ten years back,” Modi said.“The government is giving importance to development of the Northeast because the country’s progress greatly depends on harnessing the potentials of the region like tourism, power generation, etc. If permanent development has to happen, both physical and social infrastructure have to be built,” he said.Modi also called for adopting organic cultivation in the region. “I am told that ginger of this area is of high demand. If you can produce this ginger using organic method, you can also capture global market. This bridge has already opened a wide market for the farmers of the region,” he said.Addressing the rally, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said the Centre has proposed 3,000 km of additional national highways for Assam. He said the work for three more bridges over the Brahmaputra river would be started soon. To develop water transport on the Brahmaputra, the dredging of the river would be started soon, he added.Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal said the bridge would bring economic development to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. He said Modi-led NDA government has infused life into the Northeast and ever since it came to power, it built 3,000 km of highways in the region as against the same length by the previous Congress government in 60 years.Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chouna Mein, Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain, State ministers Parimal Shukla Baidya, Pallablochan Das, MPs Pradan Baruah, Kamakhya Prasad Tasa and Rameswar Teli , Sadiya MLA Bolin Chetia and State Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia attended the bridge inauguration ceremony.Earlier, the Prime Minister reached Zero Point by a chopper from Dibrugarh Airport. He also made a round up of 3 km on the bridge.The bridge built at a cost of over Rs 2,000 crore is also considered to be very decisive from the strategic point of view. The bridge will give the Indian Army easy access to the frontier parts of Arunachal Pradesh near the China border. Earlier, the Army had to travel eight to ten hours to reach their barracks in Arunachal Pradesh from Dinjan Army Station.The bridge will now hugely curtail travel time of the people of Sadiya and Arunachal Pradesh, who often used waterway to reach Tinsukia and Dibrugarh to catch trains, flights, etc., or for education purpose and medical service.
TMC ready for poll battle in Tripura: Mukul Roy
Agartala, May 27 (PTI): The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has geared up its party machinery in Tripura for the 2018 Assembly elections in the State, party vice-president Mukul Roy said today.
“We have geared up our party machinery for the election and the main fight would be between the TMC and the CPI-M. We would oust them from power,” Roy, who arrived here on a two-day visit of organisational work in the party, said.
Without naming the BJP, Roy said that one party is claiming to be the main opposition, but the main electoral battle would only be with the TMC.
Roy also alleged that opposition parties were trying to disturb peace in West Bengal which will not be tolerated. “We will always project Mamata Banerjee as our leader and win all the zilla parishads in the next panchayat elections in West Bengal,” he added.
Regarding Presidential polls, he said that the opposition parties in the country are organised and they would announce their presidential candidate soon after the announcement by the ruling party.
Nagaland Assembly passes State GST Bill
Kohima, May 27 (PTI): The Nagaland Assembly today joined the rest of the country in passing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill.
The Bill, passed by voice vote at the special session of the House, was introduced by Chief Minister Dr Shurhozelie Liezeiestu, who also holds the Finance portfolio.
Initiating a discussion before passing the bill, Minister for Roads and Bridges Y Vikheho Swu apprised the MLAs about the benefits in implementing GST in the State.
If implemented properly, the GST will bring a number of benefits to the State such as benefits for trade and industry, benefit to the consumers, besides an increase in revenue generation for the State, he said.
However, there are challenges too, where the business community and the public will have to align with the new system in order to keep up with the change, Swu said.
With the GST, multiple layers of taxation will be eliminated, production at both national and international level will receive a boost, cost of production will be cut, goods and services will become cheaper besides the state will be able to earn more revenue, he said.
Participating in the discussion, Parliamentary Secretary for Housing Levi Rengma, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism C Apok Jamir, Minister of School Education and SCERT Yitachu and MLA T R Zeliang expressed hope that implementation of the GST would not only benefit the State but also the consumers as prices of commodities will also go down
BJP will work for ‘New India’: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today lauded the “never-seen-before” people’s support the NDA government got in the last three years, particularly at times when the Centre took some “harsh decision” and that, he said, has strengthened the resolve of the government to give a ‘New India’ to the people.Addressing the nation on completion of three years of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre at a rally here at Khanapara, Modi also reaffirmed his pre-poll promise of bringing overground all black money hoarded in the country.“I assure you, I will not turn my back on the promise. This fight against black money will continue even if I have to pay a price for it,” Modi said in his 50-minute speech at the rally which was attended by nearly one lakh people from across the State. He questioned what prevented the previous governments to notify the benami property law and frame its rules since 1988 when the law was passed by the Parliament.Admitting that even the previous governments did initiate projects, Modi, however, claimed that earlier there was a mismatch between the people’s needs and the government’s efforts.
Constructive criticism strengthens democracy: Modi
NEW DELHI, May 28 (IANS): Observing that constructive criticism strengthens democracy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday welcomed the various assessments of his three years of government and assured that mistakes and shortcomings would be rectified.In his monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat”, Modi described as “a healthy sign” the many surveys and opinion polls that assessed and analysed the work done by his government in its three years.”Audit and assessment of the performance of the present government in the last three years is happening all over on newspapers, social media or TV for the last 15 days. There have been many surveys and several opinion polls. I see this entire process as a very healthy sign,” said Modi.”Constructive criticism strengthens democracy, for an aware nation, an awakened nation, this churning is very important,” said Modi referring to the surveys which highlight both praise and criticism of his government as it completed three years in office on Friday.”The works done during these years were tested on every touch stone. It was analysed by every segment of society. And this is a great process in democracy. I firmly believe that governments must be accountable in democracy and the public at large must be provided with report card of works done,” said the Prime Minister.”There were some praises, some support, and sometimes shortcomings were also pointed out, I understand the importance of all these things. I thank those people, who provided critical and important feedback,” he said.”The mistakes and the shortcomings once highlighted can be rectified.
Online petition for PM’s intervention
GUWAHATI, May 27 – With no response from the State government regarding its change of stand over the cutoff date for granting citizenship to migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan, the Prabajan Virodhi Manch has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by starting an online petition on change.org – a popular platform to amplify the support for a cause.The Manch, a forum against infiltration, working against the social and legal fallout of the increasing illegal migration in Assam, has petitioned the Prime Minister and Chief Minister on ‘Reversal of pro-migrant anti-indigenous stand before the Supreme Court by Assam government’.A Constitution Bench of the apex court is scheduled to hear and decide on granting citizenship to migrants from Bangladesh. In Assam, several organisations and individuals have raised the demand for making 1951 as the cutoff year for detection and deportation of illegal migrants, instead of 1971 as per the Assam Accord.The Supreme Court is also to decide on the issue that whether the children born of illegal migrants in Assam up to December 3, 2004 are entitled to citizenship by birth, even when both the parents are foreigners.“We have appealed to the State government to change its stand on the cutoff date. But unfortunately, in their submission before the apex court, the State government has endorsed the stand of the previous Congress government supporting March 25, 1971 as the cutoff date and also supporting granting of citizenship by birth to children of illegal migrants,” Manch convener advocate Upamanyu Hazarika .Through the online petition, we also want to reach out to the people of the rest of India to raise awareness on the situation in Assam, which shares border with Bangladesh. Any threat to the indigenous population of the State is a threat to the national security as well,” Hazarika added.The petition highlights that by extending its cutoff date further to rest of India, Assam has turned into a magnet attracting more illegal migration. Unfortunately, the present government’s stand is contrary to the findings of the Supreme Court in two earlier cases, one involving present Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal himself.
Waste segregation to be launched in 4,000 cities: Modi
NEW DELHI, May 28 (IANS): Harping on the importance of waste management, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced launch a “massive movement” for waste collection across 4,000 cities of the country from June 5.”We must not treat garbage as waste, it is wealth, a resource. Once we start looking it as wealth, we will come up with new means of waste management,” Modi said in his monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat”.On June 5, on the occasion of World Environment Day, the government, in association with the state governments, will launch a massive movement of waste collection in 4,000 cities across the country.”He said under the movement, separate dustbins — green for liquid waste and blue for dry waste — will be installed in these cities to develop a culture of segregating the two types of wastes.”In the green basket put liquid waste like kitchen waste, things which decompose, and in the blue bin put waste like metals, broken boxes, plastic etc. The liquid waste can be used as manure for agricultural waste while the dry waste will be recycled.””I am confident that we can develop a culture of segregating waste and contributing towards waste effective waste managements,” the Prime Minister added.
24×7 power supply in State a gimmick: Experts
The round-the-clock supply of power pledged by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the hustings during the elections to the State Assembly has now seemed to be another jhumla (gimmickry), said power experts here.The State now purchases power at the rate of around 1200 MW per day, with its own generation capacity restricted to only around 250 MW a day. The gap between its monthly earning and expenditure ranges between Rs 25 crore and Rs 30 crore.Experts here maintain that a concrete plan and programme of the State Government to attain the above goal is still absent. Last year, it was observed that there was no full-time managing director (MD) of any of the three power utilities of the State at various points of time. The Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Ltd (AEGCL) is yet to get a full-time MD since October 31, 2016, when the then incumbent of the post retired.After retirement of the previous full-time MD in Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd (APGCL) on January 31 this year, it is still without a full-time MD. In the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL), frequent changes of MDs are occurring in the past few months. It is yet to get a full-time MD.As power is a very crucial sector with lots of complexities, there should have been technocrats at the helm of affairs of the three power utilities. But in the board of directors of the APGCL and AEGCL, the chief engineers (acting MDs in-charge) are the only technical directors. Surprisingly, there is not a single technocrat in the board of directors of the APDCL.
Tripura among top five States in asset creation
Contrary to the propaganda of misuse of MGNREGA outlay in the Marxist-ruled State, Tripura found place among the country’s five leading States in the field of asset creation and geo-tagging.The five leading States where asset creation and geo-tagging made good progress, include Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Tripura, according to the latest report released by Ministry of Rural Development.In November last year, the Ministry has asked all the State Governments to undertake geo-tagging of all assets created under MGNREGA during the past six years starting 2006.“Altogether 7.46 lakh assets have been created under the national flagship programme so far as the government is committed to maintain transparency in the MGNREGA works”, said principal secretary GSG Ayyanger. Talking to the media here, he said, 2.20 lakh assets created under MGNRGEA have been geo-tagged in the State
Army facing dirty war in Kashmir: Gen Rawat
NEW DELHI, May 28 – The Indian Army is facing a “dirty war” in Jammu and Kashmir which has to be fought through “innovative” ways, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat has said, stoutly defending the use of a Kashmiri as a ‘human shield’ by a young officer.In an exclusive interaction with PTI, Rawat said the main objective of awarding Major Leetul Gogoi, when a Court of Inquiry was finalising its probe into the incident, was to boost the morale of young officers of the force who are operating in a very difficult environment in the militancy-infested state.
“This is a proxy war and proxy war is a dirty war. It is played in a dirty way. The rules of engagements are there when the adversary comes face-to-face and fights with you. It is a dirty war… That is where innovation comes in. You fight a dirty war with innovations,” Rawat said, in what were the General’s most comprehensive comments yet to the media on the issue.The Army Chief’s Commendation medal to Gogoi, who had tied a man to an army jeep and used him as a human shield from stone throwers last month was criticised by human rights activists, Kashmiri groups and by a few retired army generals. A video of the incident had triggered a row with many condemning it.Gogoi was awarded for his sustained efforts in counter- insurgency operations.”People are throwing stones at us, people are throwing petrol bombs at us. If my men ask me what do we do, should I say, just wait and die? I will come with a nice coffin with a national flag and I will send your bodies home with honour. Is it what I am supposed to tell them as chief? I have to maintain the morale of my troops who are operating there,” Gen Rawat said.
ISRO getting ready to launch monster rocket
NEW DELHI, May 28 – An indigenous rocket as heavy as 200 full-grown Asian elephants could well be the one taking “Indians into space from Indian soil” as the country inches closer to joining the big boy’s space club.Standing tall on the rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh is the country’s latest rocket called the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III), the heaviest rocket ever made by India that is capable of carrying the heaviest satellites till now.The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) enters into a bold new world muscling its way to make its mark in the world’s heavyweight multi-billion dollar launch market.“We are pushing ourselves to the limits to ensure that this new fully self-reliant Indian rocket succeeds in its maiden launch,” ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar said.It is the maiden experimental launch of GSLV-Mk III earlier named Launch Vehicle Mark-3, but if all goes on well in a decade or after a slew of at least half a dozen successful launches, this rocket could be India’s vehicle of choice to launch “Indians into space, from Indian soil using Indian rockets”.This heavy lift rocket is capable of placing up to 8 tons of payload in a low Earth orbit, enough to carry India’s crew module. ISRO has already prepared plans of hoisting a 2-3 member human crew into space as soon as the government gives it a sanction of about 3-4 billion dollars.If the human venture materialises, India would become only the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to have a human space flight programme.
‘New cattle slaughter rules will curb its smuggling to B’desh’
The BJP in Meghalaya today said that the latest ban on sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets will curb its smuggling to Bangladesh.“There is a massive cattle smuggling racket in the State which has skyrocketed the price of beef,” State BJP president Shibun Lyngdoh said.Meanwhile, the media unit of the party has also petitioned BJP leader Nalin Kohli to allay fears and sentiments of the indigenous tribals who solely depend on beef as their source of dietary protein.“The matter related to cattle and cattle slaughtering has cropped up again and people are scared if their food habits will be disturbed,” State BJP vice president and spokesperson JA Lyngdoh said.“We have taken a note of the issue and also requested party leader Nalin Kohli to take up the matter with the Centre to allay fears,” he said.He said that the Centre’s notification in this regard is to curb the menace and increase cattle farming at a time when the State is heading towards organic farming.
Japan keen to participate in development of NE
Japan government wants to contribute actively to the enhancement of connectivity and the economic and social development of the North Eastern region including Manipur.Disclosing this, the Japan Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu said, “The PMs of Japan and India have already agreed to enhance cooperation that contributes to the connectivity of the NE region such as road network construction projects. Some of the projects have already been initiated.”“I strongly hope that the newly established State Government of Manipur, in cooperation with the Centre as well as the governments of neighbouring States, will create a favourable environment where Japan can cooperate in a variety of fields,” the Japanese envoy added.He also conveyed his country’s willingness to extend co-operation to the State in areas like road connectivity, tourism, cleaning of Loktak Lake and school education, sanitation and sewerage system in Scheduled Tribe areas, etc., during a meeting with Chief Minister N Biren Singh in his office chamber recently.The Chief Minister assured that his government will extend full cooperation and provide security whenever Japan takes up any venture in the State.The Japanese Ambassador and the Chief Minister also discussed mutual cooperation between Japan and Manipur in areas like skill development and employment opportunities in Japan, especially in the fields of nursing and manufacturing sector.
China warns India: Be cautious while building infrastructure in Arunachal
China today asked India to be “cautious” and exercise “restraint” over building infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh, days after Prime Narendra Modi launched the country’s longest bridge linking Assam with the state claimed by Beijing.“We hope India adopts a cautious and restrained attitude on the issue before the final settlement of the border issue with China to jointly control disputes, safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry told IANS.“China’s position on the eastern section of the Sino-Indian border areas is consistent and clear,” a statement in Chinese said.Modi last week opened the country’s longest bridge over the Lohit river that connects Assam’s easternmost region with Arunachal Pradesh, claimed and dubbed by China as South Tibet.“China and India should resolve territorial disputes through negotiations and consultations between the two countries,” the Foreign Ministry said.China and India have a dragging border dispute.The 9.15-km Dhola-Sadiya bridge, which has been named Dr Bhupen Hazarika Setu, will cut the distance and travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by 165 km and five hours.
Southwest monsoon hits Kerala, North-east
NEW DELHI, May 30 (PTI): The Southwest monsoon, which brings seasonal rain to the Indian subcontinent, hit Kerala and the North-east today, two days before its normal onset date.Director General of the India Meteorological Department KJ Ramesh said monsoon has also hit the North-east, thanks to Cyclone Mora, which aided the advancement of the seasonal rainfall.The normal onset date for monsoon to hit the Kerala coast, which marks its official arrival in the country, is June 1.This year, monsoon has arrived two days before its scheduled date.
Cyclone Mora makes landfall in Bangladesh
DHAKA, May 30 (IANS): Cyclone Mora hit Bangladesh on Tuesday with heavy winds and rain with nearly 300,000 people from 10 coastal districts already evacuated, the media reported.The powerful storm made landfall around 6 a.m. in Kutubdia, near the fishing port of Cox’s Bazar, bdnews24 quoted the Bangladesh Meteorological Department as saying.The Met office was expecting a four-to-five-feet high sea surge during the storm but it turned out to be lower as the cyclone made landfall during low tide.The very warm waters of the Bay of Bengal caused a tropical low to develop into a depression on Sunday morning, which upgraded into a deep depression by the afternoon.The depression turned into a cyclonic storm by early Monday morning, and by evening the warning signal was upgraded to the highest level after it turned into a severe cyclonic storm – equivalent to a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane.The maximum sustained wind speed rose to 100 km per hour in gusts and squalls in some areas as the cyclone cut through the Cox’s Bazar-Chittagong coast, said Shamsuddin Ahmed, director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department.
CBI court orders framing of charges against Advani, Joshi, others
LUCKNOW, May 30 (IANS): The special CBI court on Tuesday ordered framing of charges against BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and nine others in the Babri Masjid demolition case.The charges will be framed under section 120 B, criminal conspiracy.
Earlier, all the 12 accused had pleaded not guilty and had moved a ‘discharge application’ rejecting the charges levelled against them.Special judge SK Yadav rejected the plea and ordered framing of charges against all the 12 accused.The accused have, however, been given bail on personal bonds.
Su-30 crash: Pilot’s blood-stained shoe, other belongings found
GUWAHATI, May 30 (IANS): Search and rescue teams on Tuesday found a blood stained shoe, half-burnt PAN card and a wallet of one of the two pilots of the IAF’s Sukhoi-30 fighter jet that crashed near the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border last week, officials said.The teams comprising Indian Army, Indian Air Force and civil administration personnel had recovered the jet’s blackbox on May 28 from the crash site, located in a dense forest.
“Search operations are continuing despite bad weather conditions. However, there is still no trace of the two pilots,” Indian Army sources said.The wreckage of the fighter jet, which went missing on May 23, was found on May 26 through aerial recce, in a thick forest around 60 km from Tezpur city.The Su-30 had taken off from the Tezpur airbase, around 10.30 a.m. on a routine training mission but lost radar and radio contact with the controlling station around 11.10 a.m. near Arunachal Pradesh’s Doulasang area, adjoining China.Tezpur has one of the three IAF airbases in the country that host the Sukhois.
Indian Navy rescues people in cyclone-hit Bangladesh
New Delhi, May 31 (IANS): After Sri Lanka, the Indian Navy has rushed two ships for relief and rescue operations in cyclone-hit Bangladesh, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said on Wednesday.INS Sumitra is already deployed and has rescued 27 Bangladeshis who were washed off the shore by the cyclone. Another ship with relief material was on its way.”In south of Sri Lanka, we have two ships. Today (Wednesday) morning we received a request from Bangladesh,” Admiral Lanba said at the sidelines of a seminar here.”We had one ship deployed off the coast of Bangladesh. She is already involved in the rescue of people… The second ship has sailed from Visakhapatnam with relief material,” he added.Admiral Lanba said the Indian Navy was ready to handle all kinds of disaster response in the Indian Ocean Region.”As severe weather phenomena are only to increase, each ship has an intrinsic capability of HADR (high availability disaster recovery). We are prepared for it.
Tripura University to attract more foreign students
Agartala, May 31 (IANS): Tripura University will step up efforts to admit more foreign students.”A large number of students in Bangladesh are keen to study in Tripura University. We will go for a larger initiative to attract more Bangladeshi students,” Vice Chancellor Anjan Kumar Ghosh said on Tuesday evening. He said currently 13 Bangladeshis study in Tripura University.
“We expect around 20 students from Bangladesh to be admitted soon. We are also trying to admit students from Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan.”Ghosh said the varsity had opened post graduate, degree, diploma and certificate courses on tribal languages to improve the standard and popularity of tribal speech. These include Kokborok, Mizo and Garo.
He said Tripura University had not held a convocation since 2013 in the absence of a Chancellor.Meanwhile, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to conduct special audit in 10 central universities including Tripura University to check financial, administrative and academic matters.The University, set up in 1987 and turned into a central university in 2007, now offers 42 courses.
Modi condemns blast, says India stands with Afghanistan
Madrid, May 31 (IANS): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday condemned a terror attack in Kabul which killed at least 20 persons and injured nearly 300 and said India stands with Afghanistan in combating “all types of terrorism”.”We strongly condemn the terrorist blast in Kabul. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured,” the Prime Minister tweeted.Modi, now on a four-nation European tour, expressed solidarity with Afghanistan.”India stands with Afghanistan in fighting all types of terrorism. Forces supporting terrorism need to be defeated.”A water tanker loaded with explosives went off in downtown Kabul near the German Embassy on Wednesday morning. The blast, during rush hour traffic, ripped through the diplomatic zone and caused widespread damage.Some windows in the Indian Embassy were damaged but none of the staff was injured.
80 killed, hundreds wounded in Kabul suicide attack
Kabul, May 31 (IANS): A water tanker loaded with explosives blew up amid a deafening roar near the German Embassy here on Wednesday, killing at least 80 people, wounding around 350 and causing widespread destruction, authorities said.The massive explosion, which occurred at 8.22 am during rush hour traffic in downtown Kabul, destroyed at least 50 vehicles and damaged dozens of buildings in a wide area that included embassies and the NATO Resolute Support headquarters.Afghan and foreign troops rushed to the devastated zone centred around 17th Street Wazir Akbar Khan locality, only to meet with ghastly scenes.Amid scattered body parts, some badly wounded men and women, their faces dripping with blood, desperately sought help.A few cars were on fire and a large plume of black smoke rose into the sky.The Afghan Health Ministry put the number of dead at 80.Tolo News said most victims were civilians, a large number of them from the Roshan mobile company.Among the dead was an Afghan journalist from Tolo News, media outlets reported. At least two journalists — one each from the BBC and 1TV — were wounded.Windows in the Indian Embassy were shattered. “By God’s grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.