first_imgDespite growing protest from rival political parties against its move to the facilitate direct election of a sarpanch, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has decided to issue an ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Gram Panchayat Act, 1958. The Maharashtra government on Saturday forwarded the proposal to issue an ordinance to the Governor, citing urgency in view of the upcoming elections to 7,000 Gram Sabhas in the State. The ordinance is likely to be issued by Monday, officials said. On July 3, the State cabinet cleared a proposal to amend the Maharashtra Gram Panchayat Act, 1958, to pave way for direct elections of sarpanch to the village Gram Sabha. The decision by the State cabinet was immediately slammed by rival political parties, who alleged it was an attempt by the BJP to appropriate “extra constitutional” authority at the third tier of the government. Senior officials said the ordinance route was necessitated since the code of conduct for September election may come into place by July 31. More time neededThe Election Commission will also need to increase the number of electronic voting machines (EVMs) as a result of the direct election rule. There is no scope for waiting to get an approval from the State Assembly, said officials. “We need to factor in a lot of logistical issues, such as the increase in EVMs and the change in ward formations because of direct election of sarpanchs. For all this, the EC will need time. There is not enough time to go to the Assembly and so we are issuing an ordinance,” said an official of the State government.last_img read more


first_imgFlood situation in Arunachal Pradesh continued to remain grim as surface communication has been disrupted in various parts of the State.Majority portion of Anjaw, East Siang and Namsai districts were affected by flood while Papum Pare, East Kameng and West Siang were partly hit.Remote Anjaw district has been cut off from the rest of the State for seven days as the main road to the district from Lohit remained blocked at several places following landslides triggered by incessant rains, an official report said here.Intra-district road communications were also badly hit. Hawai, Hayuliang and Chaglongam Circle in the district were cut off from the rest of the district for the past three or four days, the report said. Though efforts were on clear the roads, recurring landslides were hampering restoration work.Meanwhile, food crisis looms large in the district bordering China and Deputy Commissioner Mamata Riba requested the State government for facilitating air dropping of food packets if the road remains blocked for another two days.The district administration has directed the PWD and other departments to pull in resources for quick restoration of roads. An East Siang district report said that a sudden change in course of Silluk river has cause inundation in Silluk village damaging paddy fields and roads.At least nine houses were damaged due to erosion of Noa-Dehing river in Namsai district in the second wave of monsoon flood, though officials said the situation is improving.last_img read more


first_imgThe Lucknow Metro has received the much-awaited clearance from the Commissioner Metro Railway Safety for starting its commercial run for public.CMRS Satish Kumar Pandey gave his certification to the Lucknow Metro after “inspecting the trial run of the train at the maximum operating speed of 80 kmph,” the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation, the agency responsible for its construction, announced on Monday evening.The inspection was carried out by Mr. Pandey along with senior LMRC officials by running the train from the Transport Nagar Metro station to Charbagh Metro station to and fro.“The trial run was completed successfully,” said Amit Kumar Srivastava, LMRC spokesperson.Kumar Keshav, Managing Director of LMRC, said: “Getting all the required technical clearances from the Ministry of Railway and finally certification from the Commissioner Metro Rail Safety today to commence revenue operations on the Priority Corridor of the Lucknow Metro Project from Transport Nagar to Charbagh has been a great achievement for all of us”.The Lucknow Metro would soon be open to public use “at any convenient date,” Mr. Keshav said.The CMRS had earlier inspected the Metro project thrice in July and once in August but wanted some additional tests of running the train at the maximum speed of 80 kmph, as per mandatory requirements.The work for the Lucknow Metro started in September 2014 and the trial run on its priority corridor was conducted on December 1, 2016. Amid much publicity by the previous Samajwadi Party government, the services were slated to start on March 26. The target, however, could not be met and even after the Yogi Adityanath government came the power the project kept getting delayed. After all all works on the priority section of the rail and required trials for safety measure were complete, and arrival of the required number of trains, the Lucknow Metro only required the clearance from the CMRS to start services.Metro services in Lucknow will start with the 8.5 km-long ‘priority corridor’ on the North-South line (Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport to Munshipulia), which is also Phase-1A of the project.The total distance of the North-South Corridor is 22. 878 km, consisting of 21 stations, including right elevated ones. The entire stretch of the Phase-1A of the Metro is expected to be completed by 2019.The second phase of the project is the East-West Corridor, stretching from the Charbagh Railway station to Vasantkunj, a distance of 11km. Though included in the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Metro, it is yet to get approval. There will be only 12 stations on this stretch.The estimated cost of the 22.878 km long Phase-1A of the project is ₹6,928 crore, a joint venture of the State and Central governments. The Lucknow Metro will also get a loan assistance of €450 million (₹3,502 cr) from European Investment Bank (EIB) for its Phase-1A project. The estimated expenditure for “Priority Corridor,” which is operational first, is ₹2,000 crore. Metro-man E. Seedharan is the principal advisor of the Lucknow Metro.According to the project DPR, daily expected ridership on the North-South corridor is 6.44 lakh (year 2020), while for the East-West line it is much less at 2.43 lakh, also estimated for the year 2020. The capacity of each six coach unit is 1574 passengers.The Lucknow Metro was last year adjudged the best Metro project for “Excellence in Innovative Designs” at the 5th Annual Metro Rail Summit in New Delhi. The exterior and interior of the train would prominently feature the rich culture of Lucknow, also known as the City of Nawabs. The front shape of train shows the spirit of the Roomi Gate, Bara-Imambara & Asifi Masjid, while the exterior livery in golden colour is inspired by the Chikankari craftsmanship.One of the highlights of the project would be the special balanced cantilever span of 255 meters, executed at a height of 21.5 meters above ground while passing over 12 railway tracks.last_img read more


first_imgA key objective of the CPI(M)’s West Bengal committee meet on Monday for the triennial State conference would be to convince former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to stay on as a member of the State Committee and Secretariat. The task is “difficult”, said senior leaders, as Mr. Bhattacharya has repeatedly requested the party to relieve him.A senior State Secretariat member told The Hindu that they want Mr. Bhattacharya to remain a member of the highest decision making body in the State as he is “active.”“He is reading and writing a lot. The party unanimously wants him in the State Committee. But he is the only person in the Committee who is not willing to stay, largely due to his chronic lung inflammation [COPD] and some eye related issues,” a State Secretariat member told The Hindu. He added that Mr. Bhattacharya may stay on as an invitee, rather than a regular member.Reshuffle Apart from Mr. Bhattacharya, several other State and Central Committee members from Bengal are likely to be dropped. While many are unwell, the party also feels the need to promote “new faces”, a party insider said.“Out of 96 State Committee members, about 20 may get replaced. They may get promoted from the district level,” he said. About 300 new faces were recently inducted in the district committees and State Committee members will be selected from them.“There will be a combination of hardliners and soft-liners in the State Committee,” said the party insider. Senior leader and Polit Bureau member Md. Salim may be entrusted with new responsibilities, party sources said.Divided on allianceThe other issue to be debated at the five-day conference is an alliance with the Congress. The State Committee is still divided with the majority backing an understanding with Congress. But six out of 23 district committees — including the Kolkata district committee — are against the move. A section of the State Committee, which backs the idea of “a tactical understanding” said the avenues to negotiate with the Congress have not been closed as January’s The reason, they said, is that draft political resolution highlighted adopted in January has two issues. While the resolution noted that the CPI(M) “cannot have a tactical line which treats them [Congress] as allies or partners in a united front.”, it did not discount the “threat” from BJP which is linked to the RSS. BJP and Congress “cannot” be treated as “equal dangers”, the resolution noted.Moreover, the resolution suggested, in a section on the Congress, that the party’s tactical approach “should be to cooperate with the Congress and other secular opposition parties in Parliament”, while also cooperating “outside Parliament…for a broad mobilisation of people against the communal threat.”Inaugurating the 25th State conference, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury said he was “hopeful” about the objective to form “new and alternative policy” to counter the BJP-led government in the Centre.last_img read more


first_imgBJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav too tweeted a picture of Lenin’s statue being demolished, but without any comment.Tweets on RSS activistsOn Monday, Mr. Roy had taken to Twitter attacking critics for “misunderstanding” his decision on the death of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activists in the recent past.“I never asked for any probe into the death of four Swayamsevaks. I simply said I’ll ask the new (BJP-led coalition) government to find their remains if possible! Strange that a simple tweet is misunderstood deliberately?” he said in a tweet on Monday.The Governor also praised Tripura BJP president Biplab Kumar Deb for meeting outgoing Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and touching his feet for his blessings after laying a wreath upon the body of Khagendra Jamatiya, the CPI(M) candidate and minister who died at AIIMS in New Delhi before counting began on March 3.“Very healthy democratic norms are being set up in Tripura,” Mr. Roy tweeted.The Tripura Governor is not new to controversy in the world of Twitter. In 2016, he tweeted: “Whatever gave you the notion I am secular? I am a Hindu. My state, India, however is secular since 1976.” This was in response to a man who identified himself as a Dubai-based Marxist “currently fighting the Fascist Indian”.He had also criticised the mourners of 1993 Mumbai blasts accused Yakub Memon, who was hanged. “Intelligence shd keep a tab on all who assembled bfr Yakub Memon’s corpse. Many are potential terrorists,” he had tweeted on July 31, 2015. Watch: Statue of Vladimir Lenin brought down in Tripura Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy has commented on the controversy surrounding the demolition of a statue of communist icon Lenin by BJP supporters in the southern town of Belonia.“What one democratically elected government can do another democratically elected government can undo. And vice versa,” Mr. Roy tweeted on Tuesday.People celebrating the BJP’s Assembly polls victory in Tripura brought down the statue of Lenin — set up a year ago near a government college in Belonia — with a bulldozer on Monday afternoon. The town is about 90 km south of the State capital Agartala.Mr. Roy is believed to have referred to instances of statues of leaders iconic to other parties demolished or defiled in the past. They include those of Rajiv Gandhi immediately after the Left Front won the elections in 2008.last_img read more


first_imgThe J&K police have foiled an attempt by a group of youths to join the ranks of militants by snatching a service rifle, and handed them over to the families.A senior police officer said a search operation was started on Thursday afternoon, immediately after “miscreants snatched a rifle from a bank guard at Shopian.” They were planning to pose with it to announce their joining the ranks of militants. The police said they cracked the case in six hours.“The boys were let off after counselling,” the officer added.last_img read more


first_imgEnding the confusion prevailing for more than two months, the BJP on Friday appointed Rajya Sabha MP Madan Lal Saini as the Rajasthan unit president, while steering clear of the major political divide between the Jat and Rajput communities. Mr. Saini emerged as a consensus candidate after differences between the party factions.BJP national general secretary Arun Singh announced in New Delhi that the party president, Amit Shah, had appointed Mr. Saini, 75, as the State unit chief with immediate effect. The State unit was headless since Ashok Parnami, considered close to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, resigned on April 18 after BJP’s defeat in the by-elections to one Assembly and two Lok Sabha constituencies in March.Rajasthan is a crucial State for the ruling BJP in view of the Assembly elections scheduled here for December this year. Mr. Shah’s first choice for the State president’s post was Jodhpur MP and Union Minister of State Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, but Ms. Raje was reported to be in favour of appointment of a leader from the Jat or Brahmin communities, instead of a Rajput.The differences between Mr. Shah and Ms. Raje delayed the appointment for more than two months. Mr. Saini, who was elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan in April this year, has been closely associated with RSS and was earlier an MLA from Gudha. Mr. Saini’s choice has also been perceived here as a move to placate the farmers and counter Congress leader Ashok Gehlot. As both of them belong to the Mali caste, the BJP expects to check the caste vote swing in favour of the Opposition party.last_img read more


first_imgThe ruling Congress in Mizoram said on Wednesday that the exit of two senior MLAs from the party would not affect its prospects in the November 28 Assembly election and it was confident of a third term in the State.“With 32 MLAs, I am confident that we will win with comfortable majority to form the government for a third consecutive term. People of Mizoram have not lost faith in the leadership of Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla,” AICC general secretary in charge of the Northeast Luizinho Faleiro said.‘Many joining Cong.’“Two MLAs might have left, but hundreds of others are joining the party in Mizoram, the only Congress-ruled State in the North-eastern region,” Mr. Faleiro told a press conference.Home Minister R. Lalzirliana, also vice-president of the State Congress, resigned on September 14, three days after he was served a show-cause notice by the MPCC disciplinary committee accusing him of confusing party workers. He was expelled later. Ex-Minister resigned Another MLA and former Minister Lalrinliana Sailo resigned earlier this month. Both the leaders were expected to be fielded by the Opposition, Mizo National Front.Mr. Faleiro, a former Chief Minister of Goa, said the Congress would field as many young faces as possible in the election. “At least 40% of the candidates would be below the age of 40,” he said.The Congress’ top leadership wants to axe some legislators who are too old to contest or may struggle to win, while ensuring that those left out are not many so as to form a rebel lobby, a senior State leader has said. The party is scheduled to release its candidates’ list on Thursday.The election for the 40-member Mizoram Assembly will be held on November 28 and counting of votes will be taken up on December 11.The Congress, which has been in power in the State since 2008, is squaring off against parties such as the MNF and the Mizo Peoples’ Conference.last_img read more


first_imgMaharashtra will require a package worth ₹7,000 crore to tackle the drought announced on Wednesday in 151 tehsils.“The total package would cost the State about ₹7,000 crore. It includes financial help as well as indirect benefits such as concession in power bills, waiving off of school fees etc.,” said an official from the Revenue department. “Central teams from National Disaster Response Force will visit the area and conduct their surveys. Only then will the money be reimbursed to the State,” the official said. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said an additional 250 revenue mandals, will be included in the list of drought-affected areas. “Villages which received rainfall less than 700 ml or 75% will be included,” said Mr. Fadnavis.last_img read more


first_imgThe administration of Hailakandi district in south Assam has ordered the constitution of a medical board after an unspecified number of employees sought exemption from panchayat election duties on health grounds.Deputy Commissioner Adil Khan, who is also the election officer, asked the Joint Director of Health Services on Tuesday to assign doctors for constituting the board and check the health of the employees who applied for exemption. He also asked health officials to instruct doctors of civil hospitals and primary health centres not to issue medical certificates to any employee till the counting of votes is over.The election will be held in 626 polling stations on December 9.last_img read more


first_img Since morning, his two-room accommodation on the ground floor of an old building in 82/C Kansari Para Road was buzzing with people. Old friends, journalists and neighbours thronged to his dimly lit room with its cot, chair and desk. Mr Nair ensured that everyone seated before he would begin a conversation. “I will miss the city, but I am not sure how will I miss it. Since I am going I cannot be thinking about it anymore,” said the taciturn octogenarian.U Ramesh, a retired archivist with the State Bank of India, was among the visitors. He said that Mr Nair has done seminal work on Kolkata streets and their history. Mr Ramesh was eager to tell an anecdote, which acquainted him with Mr Nair’s work long before they actually met. It was the year 1994 and Mr Ramesh was working with National Archives in organising on exhibition on 75 years of Jalianwala Baag massacre.“We were looking for the office of Rowlatt Committee in Kolkata which was said to be located at Elsyum Row. When several sources failed to through light on where Elsyum Row was, it was Mr Nair book on the History of Calcutta streets which pointed the road known as the Lord Sinha Road is what used to be Elsyum Row,” Mr Ramesh said.Years later, I had expected to meet a man in a big bungalow but I was surprised to meet him in this room wearing a dhoti and a vest, he said. Some of Mr Nair other well known books are Job Charnock: The Founder of Calcutta, a book on South Indian community in Kolkata and another on Origin of Kolkata Police.Spartan LifeSince 1955, Mr Nair led a very spartan life, walking daily to the National Library for his research on old documents and publications. He would travel to the remotest corners of the city in search of unknown facts about the city’s buildings and streets with almost no institutional support. Mr Nair admitted said that he tried hard to keep himself from being charmed by the love of Bengali language and cinema so that he could dedicate all his energy to his research and books. Money was not among his priorities therefore his books were published by smaller publishers who could deliver books within weeks.“Since my home was only ten minutes walk from National Library. I decided to do something to the city,” he explained on what promoted to work on the history of the city. To a question whether the city has given its most prolific historian its due, Mr Nair retorted, “ But, I never expected anything. I have not done anything extraordinary,” he said, adding that those interested in the history of the city may have heard about him.Mr Nair, has donated all the books authored by him to library at city’s Town Hall. “I have kept only one copy with me at my home in Kerala. I hear that some of my books got destroyed in the recent Kerala floods. I have to check what all has remained once I get there” he said.House being demolished“Even today he does not want to leave, the city he is so much in love with,” Sita Nair, his wife said, while packing the books. The 75-year-old retired schoolteacher said that she had tried to convince her husband to leave the Kolkata since 2009, but he would not go and then since 2015, she started staying with him. “I told him, I am not leaving you alone,” she said. One of the reasons precipitating his departure that the rented accommodation he has been living in has been given for development to a local land promoter. But, leaving the city the city does not mean an end to quest to uncover something new. In Kerala, he plans to continue with his research and writing books, and the subject that has caught his attention is history of printing in India. 62 books and 63 years later, Kolkata’s historian leaves city When his 62nd book and most likely his last one on Kolkata titled Gandhiji in Kolkata will be the released at the upcoming Kolkata Book Fair, P T Nair, the ‘barefoot historian of the city’ will have left the city. On Wednesday morning, the 86-year-old chronicler of the city had packed his Remintong typewriter on which he has typed all his books since 1960’s. Mr Nair also and made a customary visit to the National Library- a habit of his for the past six decades-before bidding adieu to the city.“My children and grand children are pressing me to go back to Kerala,” was Mr Nair’s reply to everyone who asked him why he was leaving the city he loved and chronicled for over more than 60 years. He along with his wife will be leaving the city for good on Thursday.While he may not recall the name of all his books, Mr. Nair vividly recalled his arrival in the city, penniless and ticketless on October 25, 1955 at the age of 25 in search of job. “I remember that I walked from Howrah station to Dalhousie to meet a person from my native village, whose address I remembered at my typing school in my village in Kerala,” he said.last_img read more


first_imgArriving in Ayodhya ahead of a planned VHP rally for a Ram temple, Shiv Sena Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray asked the Narendra Modi government on November 24 to spell out the date when it would be constructed.Day, months, years and generations have passed, he said. “Mandir wahin banayenge, par date nahin batayenge [You say you will make the temple there, but won’t tell the date],” he said. “First say when will you construct the temple, the rest we will talk later,” he said in what sounded like a dare to the Bharatiya Janata Party–led government ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections.Mr. Thackeray arrived in Ayodhya for a two-day visit, which he claimed was not a political one. Ayodhya has been turned into fortress with multiple layers of security and deployment of drones in view of the Dharam Sabha organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on November 25.Upon arrival, the Sena chief, along with his wife Rashmi and son Aditya, were greeted with slogans of “Jai Shri Ram”.The Sena, which has demanded that the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya be expedited by promulgating an ordinance to the effect, is believed to have sent some 3,000 Shiv Sena supporters by two trains from Maharashtra.The cadres, who arrived in Ayodhya before Mr. Thackeray, took a dip in the Saryu river and then prayed at Ram Lalla and Hanuman Garhi, Sena sources said.The Shiv Sena chief is reported to have brought a pot full of soil from Pune’s Shivneri Fort, which will be handed over to the priest at the Ram janmabhoomi site when he meets him later.This is Mr. Thackeray’s first visit to Ayodhya and party leaders, including MP Sanjay Raut and others, had been camping here for the last few days to make preparations for the visit.On the morning of November 25, Mr. Thackeray will visit the Ram Lalla temple, interact with the media and later with the public, party sources said.Ayodhya turns into fortressThe temple town will also witness another major congregation of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists on November 25, who will be taking part in a Dharam Sabha. Security has been tightened at the disputed site with thousands of police and paramilitary personnel keeping a watch over the sensitive place. Ayodhya has been turned into fortress with multiple layers of security and deployment of drones.On the security arrangements in Ayodhya, Additional Director-General, Law and Order, Anand Kumar said the Supreme Court guidelines would be maintained in and around the disputed site.Ayodhya has been divided in 16 sectors and a security scheme is under force, according to Mr. Kumar, adding that additional force has been deployed for maintaining law and order and efforts are on to ensure that the events pass off peacefully.Barriers have been erected to regulate the surging crowd in the temple town and magistrates have been posted there.Everyone will have to adhere to the Supreme Court guidelines, Mr. Kumar said, adding that necessary steps had been taken to deal with all circumstances.When contacted, Ayodhya Mayor Rishikesh Upadhyay told PTI that adequate security arrangements were made by the police and district administration in the town, located 120 km from State capital, Lucknow.“As many as 13 parking slots have been provided for the event. No permission was given to the Shiv Sena by the government to hold a rally,” the Mayor said. Despite a slight chill in the air, the temple town seems to be reeling under the political heat generated by the Dharam Sabha, being held to call for the construction of a grand temple for Lord Ram.A pamphlet recently released by VHP raises the pitch for its construction. It reads “Saugandh Ram ki khaate hai, hum mandir bhavya banayenge [We pledge in the name of Lord Ram that we will build a grand temple for him]”, and urges devotees to be a part of the movement.VHP was founded on August 29, 1964 on the auspicious day of Shri Krishna Janmasthami. Its objective is to organise, consolidate the Hindu society and serve, protect the Hindu Dharma.The organisers of the Dharam Sabha claim that more than 3 lakh devotees of Lord Ram were likely to arrive for the programme on November 25.VHP media-in-charge Ambuj Ojha said, “After staying in a taat (tent), Lord Ram is expecting a revival of bravado among his devotees. The moment has come. The temple must be built where Ram Lalla is currently seated. Also, there should not be any mosque in the cultural boundary of Ayodhya.”On November 18, VHP had organised a motorcycle rally in different parts of Lucknow in this regard.Praant Sangathan mantra (Awadh) of VHP, Bholendra, in a written statement said this was the final Dharam Sabha for construction of Ram temple. “After this, no more Dharam Sabhas will be held and the construction of the temple will commence,” he said.The Supreme Court on November 12 had declined early hearing of petitions in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case. A Bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S.K. Kaul said it already listed the appeals before the appropriate bench in January.Earlier, a three-judge Bench refused, by a 2:1 majority, to refer to a five-judge Constitution Bench the issue of reconsideration of observations in its 1994 judgement of the Allahabad High Court that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.last_img read more


first_imgA 81-year-old man Narayan Sahu who is also an ex Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and a former Member of Parliament (MP), is currently pursuing PhD at Utkal University in Odisha’s Bhubaneswar. Narayan Sahu is two times MLA and one time MP and he proved that age is just a number. He started leading a student’s life while staying in Utkal University hostel to get his PhD degree. As a PhD scholar he chose a room to spend with a common scholar. Despite achieving success in his political career, Sahu chose to quit as he felt that his principles are slowly fading away from politics and he decided to spend the last phase of his life as a student. Sahu had not been able to complete his higher education as he belonged to a backward region of Odisha where only a few get chance to go for higher studies. Even administrative officials of Utkal University think that Sahu is setting an example for the students of the university.last_img read more


first_imgWith farmers’ bodies up in arms against stray cattle menace in Punjab, The Opposition Aam Aadmi Party has now also decided to take up the issue. The party plans to highlight the issue in the upcoming budget session of the Assembly.“The State government has failed to find a solution to the menace, the government collects cow cess and other taxes in the name of taking care of stray animals but the problem continues to grow,” said Harpal Singh Cheema, the Leader of the Opposition.“We will bring a calling attention motion on the issue during the budget session. People want to know how the money, which is being collected as cess, is being utilised by the government,” he said.Mr. Cheema said that it is the sole responsibility of the State government to protect the lives and belongings of people but unfortunately it has turned a deaf ear towards the problems of the people.Meanwhile, angry over damage to their crops by stray cattle, several farmers of Pedhni village in Sangrur district, under the banner of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), reached the Deputy Commissioner’s office last week with stray cattle loaded on tractor-trailers. They were adamant on releasing them on the office premises. The local authorities, however, finally managed to pacify them.Other farmers’ outfits have also been demanding that the State government solve the problem which has been causing difficulty not just to farmers but others as well.Pargat Singh, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Sidhupur) chief patron of Rupnagar, told The Hindu that even after repeated requests made to the State government the menace of stray cattle continues. Concrete steps sought“They (cattle) destroy our standing crops and we are helpless. Be it sugarcane, wheat, potato or seasonal vegetables, stray cattle damage the crop in almost every season. The government should take concrete steps to solve the problem otherwise we will be forced to start an agitation,” he said.Expressing concern over the problem, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had last week admitted during a meeting that stray cattle was now posing a major threat.last_img read more


first_imgThe Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution on speeding up the process of conducting elections to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. The House also authorised Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to raise the issue with the Central government.Capt. Amarinder said it was the democratic right of every Punjabi to vote in the SGPC elections which cannot be denied by Union government, while responding to the issue that was raised by MLA H.S. Phoolka.Akali, BJP protestAmid protests by Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP members, the House authorised the Chief Minister to raise the issue with the Central government.Capt. Amarinder said since the Gurdwara Act was a national legislation, it was the duty of the Central government to hold timely elections to the SGPC. The Chief Minister sought the permission of the Speaker, on behalf of State government, to adopt the resolution moved by the AAP MLA.The Speaker put the resolution to vote, as a result of which the House authorised the Chief Minister to raise the issue with the Union government immediately.Later, Capt. Amarinder told journalists that there was a broad consensus in the House over the issue. “Only the Akalis and the BJP were not in favour,” he said.Leader of the Opposition Harpal Cheema said that the “Badals” stood exposed on the issue as they (Akali Dal) neither supported or rejected the motion.The SAD asked Mr. Phoolka to clarify whether he had resigned from the Aam Aadmi Party or not. “Mr. Phoolka should disclose whether it was ethical and moral on his part to attend the Vidhan Sabha after resigning from AAP as well as the Assembly,” said SAD MLA Bikram Singh Majithia. While Mr. Phoolka has left AAP, his resignation as an MLA is still pending with the Speaker. Later, Speaker Rana K.P. Singh informed the House that till any decision is taken on the resignation, Mr. Phoolka will be the member of the House.last_img read more


first_imgOdisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik attacked the BJP-led Central government at a series of election campaign meetings in Bolangir and Kandhamal parliamentary constituencies on Thursday.Mr. Patnaik first addressed a public meeting at Biramaharajpur under the Bolangir parliamentary constituency. From there he reached the Kandhamal parliamentary constituency to address public meetings at Purunakatak, Kantamal, Daringbadi and Phiringia.At all public meetings, he alleged that the Centre was conspiring to stop the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme of the State government that has already benefited 40 lakh peasants. The Chief Minister promised that on the first day of his next government, two instalments of the scheme worth ₹10,000 will be disbursed to farmers who have not benefited so far.Mr. Patnaik criticised the Central government for failing to keep its promise of doubling the minimum support price of paddy. He asked why the Centre had stopped financing the State’s KBK Yojana and scholarship funds for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students. At meetings in Kandhamal district, he lamented that even after the State government had provided land and support, railway tracks have not reached the area.Pradhan’s counterAddressing public meetings at Khallikote and Kavisuryanagar under the Aska parliamentary constituency, BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan hit out at Mr. Patnaik for saying the BJD will play a crucial role in government formation at the Centre if there was a fractured mandate. Mr. Pradhan asked why the Odisha CM wants a weak government at the Centre that cannot give a fitting reply to terrorists and enemies. He alleged that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants a strong government at the Centre, leaders such as Mr. Patnaik and those of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ wanted a weak government for their own gains.last_img read more


first_imgIt’s hard to sleep in outer space. On the International Space Station (ISS), the sun rises every 90 minutes when the station circles Earth. Space suits can be uncomfortable, too: After landing on the moon in 1969, Buzz Aldrin reported getting only “a couple of hours of mentally fitful drowsing” due to the noise and the cold. Now, a new study published online today in The Lancet Neurology shows the extent of sleep deprivation among astronauts. Researchers tracked the sleep patterns of 85 crew members aboard the ISS and space shuttle and found that despite an official flight schedule mandating 8.5 hours of sleep per night, they rarely got more than five. In fact, getting a full night’s rest was so difficult that three-quarters of shuttle mission crew members used sleep medication, and sometimes entire teams were sedated on the same night. Although, unlike astronauts from Aldrin’s day, crew members now sleep in quiet, dark chambers, lack of gravity itself may contribute to the problem. Given that sleep deprivation contributes to up to 80% of aviation accidents, it’s important to better understand why sleep is so difficult in space, the authors say.last_img read more


first_imgNatural gas is being touted as the climate-friendlier fuel that the United States can use to wean itself off coal, which releases twice the amount of carbon dioxide as natural gas when burned. But the surge of cheap natural gas may not do much to reduce long-term U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, a new study suggests, because it could delay the deployment of cleaner renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.”If you have lots of cheap natural gas available, ultimately it’s not fighting only against coal but renewables, too,” says Steven Davis, an energy scientist at the University of California, Irvine, and co-author of the study, published online today in Environmental Research Letters.For their analysis, the authors developed scenarios of what the future mix of energy sources might look like in the United States, based on factors including cost and technology availability. In part, they drew on forecasts of future U.S. natural gas supplies developed by 23 experts in academia, industry, and finance; the forecasts ran the gamut from bullish to bearish. The researchers next ran those numbers through an optimization model that produced a likely energy mix.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The results suggest that abundant natural gas will make little difference in lowering U.S. greenhouse gas emissions through 2055, because it will compete with and displace renewable energy sources. (This held true even if no methane were to escape from the natural gas infrastructure, an important issue because methane is a warming gas that is 120 times as potent as carbon dioxide.)”This is straightforward analysis that quantitatively shows what many have been very concerned about—that abundant natural gas will tend to suppress renewables,” says Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was not involved in the study.That may be true in the long run, but natural gas does appear to be helping the United States reduce emissions today, points out John Quigley, an alternative energy consultant in Harrisburg and former secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, who was not involved in the study. By 2035, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that electricity generation from coal-fired power plants will drop to 34% of the U.S. energy mix (from 39% in 2013 and 52% in 2000), mostly due to cheap natural gas and retiring coal plants. And although solar is currently booming in the United States, EIA estimates renewables will cumulatively make up only 16% of electricity generation in 2040.Changes in U.S. climate policy—and not just in the supply and cost of fuels—will play a big role in accelerating or slowing shifts in the U.S. energy mix, Quigley and the authors agree. “Policy is everything,” Quigley says. “We need strong limits on emissions and policies that encourage renewables. We have to have comprehensive climate and energy policy that takes advantage of the resources that we have in this country.”last_img read more


first_imgThere is no sexism in U.S. academic science, argue researchers well versed on the controversial topic in a new paper and an op-ed yesterday in The New York Times. That’s a bunch of BS, say bloggers and others who follow the issue.The paper, by psychologists Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams of Cornell University and economists Donna Ginther of the University of Kansas and Shulamit Kahn of Boston University, says the chronic underrepresentation of women in math-intensive fields is not due to discrimination, but rather their own employment preferences. The women working in those fields, they add, “have equivalent access to tenure-track academic jobs … persist and are remunerated at comparable rates.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In their op-ed, Williams and Ceci seem to be trying to end the long-running debate. “Our country desperately needs more talented people in these fields. … But the unwelcoming image of the sexist academy isn’t helping,” they write.Not surprisingly, many find that argument seriously flawed. Science bloggers Emily Willingham and PZ Myers, for example, say it is ludicrous to blame women for choosing to avoid environments in which they are not welcome. They also say that some of the data in the paper about pay, publications, and other metrics of success fail to support the argument of a level playing field in academia. “Academic science is sexist: We do have a problem here,” Willingham asserts.last_img read more


first_imgThe marquee research journal Nature and almost all of its sister publications this week announced that they will offer authors the option of participating in double-blind peer review, where both submitters and referees remain anonymous. The practice, which is common among humanities journals, has long been debated in the sciences, and several journals have recently taken the plunge. Some observers, however, remain skeptical of the value of double-blind systems and note that other journals are heading toward greater transparency.Traditionally, scientific journals have adhered to a single-blind system, in which authors don’t know the identity of those reviewing their paper. But that system has led to concerns that it may contribute to bias against some authors, including women, minorities, and those from less prestigious institutions. In the last decade, publishers have tried to address those concerns by introducing various tweaks to the reviewing process.Nature Publishing Group (NPG) began testing the double-blind system with Nature Climate Change and Nature Geoscience in May 2013, after an author survey indicated significant interest in the model. “We’re here to serve the needs of the research community, and it’s become increasingly clear that they want to have the option … to choose double-blind peer review,” said Véronique Kiermer, director of author and reviewer services at NPG.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“The trial in Nature Climate Change and Nature Geoscience gave us plenty to be confident about,” she says, but notes the option of complete anonymity will be “an ongoing experiment.” NPG “may find that different disciplines react in different ways,” she says, “and as practices evolve in the future, we will want to evolve with them.”Editors at other journals, including Science (publisher of ScienceInsider), are watching the experiment at Nature and elsewhere, but haven’t made the jump. In part, that’s because some have concluded that it would be hard to prevent reviewers from correctly guessing who authors are, particularly in small fields. Some reviewers can predict authorship by looking closely at a paper’s references; authors often build on their previous work and thus cite themselves extensively.“With double-blind, the inevitable guessing game will begin of reviewers trying to guess which group authored the research,” wrote Marcia McNutt, editor-in-chief of Science, in an e-mail. One upside to switching to a double-blind system, she notes, could be a lower number of self-citations (which are often frowned upon by journal editors). And she adds that “it will certainly be important to determine if double-blind improves … equality for women authors in the process.”“There is pretty good evidence for various biases in the way that articles are perceived by reviewers … and double-blind review is one possible way to avoid, or at least mitigate, these biases,” says Michael Eisen, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-founder of the nonprofit open-access publisher Public Library of Science (PLOS). But, so far, PLOS has concluded that it is too difficult to mask authors’ identities in fields such as biomedicine, he says.César Hidalgo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge is skeptical of anonymity in peer review. “Unblinded reviews,” he says, are better “because they equalize the power between the author and the reviewer.”To address such concerns, some publishers are moving to highly transparent reviewing systems, in which both authors and reviewers are identified. And a few journals, such as F1000 Research, go even further by publishing referee comments alongside a paper and making the comments searchable and citable. The idea is to give referees, who generally work for free, some public credit for their efforts. But critics of open peer review fear it can also cause image-conscious reviewers to be less critical.Publicly recognizing reviewers won’t be possible in Nature’s system, but Kiermer notes that, “at the moment, reviewers can obtain a certificate of their reviewing activity for Nature journals.” And the publisher is continuing “to consider some form of open review as an option for the future, in response to author and reviewer feedback,” Kiermer says.last_img read more