Cabinet reshuffle: Lalu mocks JD(U), says BJP doesn’t care for Nitish’s party
Patna :MMNN:4 September 2017
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad mocked former partner the Janata Dal (United) for being left out of Sunday’s reshuffle of the union council of ministers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi promoted four of his colleagues to the cabinet rank and inducted nine new faces as ministers of state in the third rejig of his ministerial team.
“No one bothers with the monkey who strays from the group,” Prasad, who was dumped by the JD (U) in favour of the BJP, tweeted in Hindi an hour after the reshuffle
Bihar chief minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar in July ended his party’s alliance with the RJD and the Congress and went back to the NDA four years after he walked out of the alliance.
Dressed in new kurta-pyjama and bundis (sleeveless jackets), some JD (U) leaders had reached Delhi in the hope of getting a place in Modi’s council but were left high and dry, Prasad said.
The JD(U) didn’t matter in the NDA and the BJP had not even consulted it before the reshuffle, he said, blaming Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
Modi had sent a report to the party brass that the JD(U) was trying to poach Congress MLAs and could again ditch the BJP in Bihar, Prasad said.
The RJD chief criticised ministerial berth for Buxar MP Ashwini Kumar Chaubey, alleging like ministers Giriraj Singh and Bihar deputy chief minister Modi, he, too, was involved in the Rs 1,300 crore Srijan fund transfer scandal and would have to go.
Nitish Kumar was headed for trouble and Sunday was just the beginning, he said, adding Hindustani Awam Morcha leader and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi should have been considered by Modi.
He, however, was all praise for RK Singh who was named the minister of state for power, new and renewable energy.
Singh, a first-time lawmaker from Ara in Bihar and a former home secretary, was a competent person and should have been made a cabinet minister, the RJD chief said.
The JD(U), which has two Lok Sabha members, lost out because it sought two ministerial berths, sources said. The party described the Sunday’s changes as a BJP reshuffle.
Another NDA ally, the Shiv Sena, which has 18 Lok Sabha MPs, has only one cabinet minister and wanted one more.
The Sena has three members in the Rajya Sabha while the JD(U) has 10.
The two allies were left out because the BJP leadership couldn’t come up with a formula for representation that could satisfy all allies, sources said.
The JD (U) may find a place in Modi’s team later, sources in Delhi said
Modi to swap bungalow with Tejashwi as 14 other Bihar ministers get new address
Patna :MMNN:30 Aug 2017
Deputy chief minister of Bihar and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi will swap bungalows with former deputy chief minister and Lalu Prasad’s heir apparent Tejashwi Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
Fourteen other ministers, who assumed office as part of the new NDA government in Bihar 34 days back, also got new residential address after the building construction department (BCD) allotted them government bungalows on Tuesday.
The government would now serve eviction notices on the present occupants of the RJD and Congress, who were part of the Grand Alliance government, which came to power in November 2015.
Modi was allotted the 5, Desh Ratna Marg bungalow, earmarked for deputy chief minister. Yadav, at present, occupies it. He was, in turn, allotted 1, Polo Road, which Modi would vacate.
The bungalow allotted to Tejashwi’s elder brother and former health minister Tej Pratap Yadav at 3, Deshratan Marg has been given to the chairperson of the Bihar legislative council.
Interestingly, however, former education minister Ashok Choudhary and Awadhesh Kumar Singh, both of the Congress, retained their government bungalows.
Fourteen other ministers were also allotted government bungalows. They include agriculture minister Prem Kumar, who was allotted 3, Circular Road; road construction department minister Nand Kishore Yadav (2, Strand Road), land revenue minister Ram Narayan Mandal (12, Strand Road), tourism minister Pramod Kumar (4, Strand Road), social welfare minister Manju Verma (6, Strand Road), public health and engineering department minister Vinod Narayan Jha (39, Hardinge Road), urban development and housing department minister Suresh Kumar Sharma (3, Taylor Road), labour resources department minister Vijay Kumar Sinha (22/10, Bailey Road), cooperatives minister Rana Randhi Singh (36 A, Hardinge Road), art and culture minister Krishna Kumar Rishi (16/06, Bailey Road), SC/ST welfare minister Ramesh Rishidev (5, Circular Road), backward and extremely backward caste welfare minister Brij Kishore Bind (25, Hardinge Road), animal husbandry department minister Pashupati Kumar Paras (11, Strand Road) and mines and geology department minister Vinod Kumar Singh (33, Hardinge Road).
Nitish Kumar had resigned as chief minister on July 26, dumping the RJD and Congress, to stitch a new alliance with BJP.
Ever since the CBI filed cases of corruption against Tejashwi, his father Lalu Prasad and sister Misa Bharti, Kumar was under pressure to sack his deputy. But any action against the then deputy chief minister could have evoked the wrath of the RJD, whose support was vital for Kumar, and he chose to resign.
Inside story: Airport VIP access annulled after Lalu, Rabri found bypassing security
Patna :MMNN:24 July 2017
“Prasad and Devi were avoiding pre-embarkation security check before boarding an aircraft at the Patna airport, even though they did not figure in the list of 30 exempted dignitaries,” said an official.
The ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) worked with remarkable alacrity to annul, in less than five hours, its previous order, granting tarmac access at the Patna airport on their own vehicles to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi, MLC, both former chief ministers of Bihar.
Top sources in the ministry told HT the action followed a tip-off given by unidentified sources to the director-general of police (DGP), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), that Prasad and Rabri were going up to the aircraft without going through the mandatory security procedures.
“Taking advantage of the airport VIP access, Prasad and Devi were avoiding pre-embarkation security check before boarding an aircraft at the Patna airport, even though they did not figure in the list of 30 exempted dignitaries,” said an official.
The DGP, BCAS, immediately flagged the issue to the MoCA secretary through an email, sent at 6pm on July 21. Thereafter, the ministry worked overtime, and by 10.30 pm the same evening, it had communicated to the BCAS its decision to annul its previous advisory, allowing the couple VIP access, issued on July 30, 2009.
In just about 30 minutes, the BCAS headquarters communicated the information to its regional office at Kolkata, which caters to the Patna airport. The e-mailed order reached the Patna airport director and the chief aerodrome security officer by 11.30 pm, July 21.
Sources said there was also realisation among the officials concerned that even otherwise Prasad’s airport VIP access privilege should not have continued after he was convicted in a fodder scam case in October 2013, and sentenced to five years in jail.
Sources said, at Patna airport, Prasad and Devi had enjoyed almost the same privilege as one extended to the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, SPG protectees and the Dalai Lama, who are allowed tarmac access in their own vehicles across India.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan and BJP Patna Saheb MP Shatrughan Sinha have been allowed use of ‘airport ferry vehicle’, wherever the facility exists. This means they can drive up to the tarmac for boarding a flight or being received while alighting from a flight in a vehicle provided by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The two leaders from Bihar have been granted the privilege on “medical grounds”.
Again, while the August 1, 2009 order of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) for Prasad and Rabri was open-ended (that is, without an expiry date), that of Paswan and Sinha is reviewed every year before being extended for a maximum duration of one year. The May 23 MoCA order, in case of Sinha, is valid till June 30, 2018.
Sources said even before the July 2009 order, Prasad had been enjoying Patna airport tarmac access as railways minister, since 2005 when the BCAS first allowed him the privilege. The BCAS 2005 order came within 48 hours of the then Patna airport director Atul Dikshit disallowing Prasad’s vehicle from going to the tarmac.
Thereafter, on July 30, 2009, the MoCA issued a separate letter to the BCAS, advising it to extend the same privilege to Prasad and his wife. The letter followed a change in Prasad’s status from a Union cabinet minister in 2005 to an MP in 2009.
As such, Prasad continued to enjoy the privilege despite being disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha from Chapra in October 2013, after being sentenced to five years in jail in a fodder scam case.
Congress pitches in to broker peace amid RJD, JD(U) spat over Tejashwi resignation
Patna :MMNN:13 July 2017
Congress president Sonia Gandhi spoke to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday and thanked him for backing Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the unanimous choice of 18 opposition parties for the August 5 vice-presidential polls.
The Congress vice president, Rahul Gandhi, too called Kumar on Tuesday, sources said.
Speculation swirled after the phone call that the Congress was trying to broker peace between Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and partner Rashtriya Janata Dal, which is facing corruption allegations.
The three parties are part of Bihar’s ruling alliance that defeated the BJP in the 2015 polls. The Congress has 27 legislators against the RJD’s 80 and JD(U)’s 71 in the assembly.
The coalition is going through tense times amid calls to sack deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, who along with father Lalu Prasad is accused of having a role in a land-for-hotels scandal that saw the CBI raiding their homes and other properties last week.
Sources said the Congress top brass called chief minister Kumar and Prasad for resolving the crisis amicably and save the government.
There are indications that Kumar will meet Gandhi the next time he visits Delhi.
“The cases against Prasad are politically motivated. The government is trying to corner him for political reasons,” said an aide close to the Congress leader.
Sources said Kumar spoke to the Congress chief and deputy chief, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, on the JD(U)’s decision to back Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the opposition’s candidate for the next Indian vice president.
Rahul Gandhi reportedly thanked the chief minister for his support.
Kumar’s senior party colleague, Sharad Yadav, attended an 18-party meeting to pick the vice-presidential candidate. The BJP-led NDA has yet to announce its nominee.
Ties between Kumar and the Congress had turned frosty too after the JD(U) leader, an ally of the BJP for more than a decade till 2013, backed the NDA’s pick for the next President’s post, Ram Nath Kovind.
He also chose to send a representative for the midnight launch of the goods and service tax, an event the Congress had boycotted.
Congress leaders and the JD(U) traded barbs after Kumar’s support to Kovind, but Gandhi’s intervention stopped the spat from getting ugly.
Sources said Kumar informed the Congress leadership that he won’t let the Bihar alliance break, but was not happy with the way the RJD is handling the situation after the CBI raids.
The RJD is firm on its stand that Tejashwi will not resign, saying the allegations are politically motivated.
The Congress leadership is said to have left it to the chief minister to decide on the growing call to sack Tejashwi. The party also stated that RJD chief Prasad is equally important because of his sustained campaign to unite opposition parties against the BJP in the 2019 general elections.
“Congress does not want any confrontation between allies and wants unity in the coalition,” said a senior party leader in the state.
Sexual harassment slur on circle officer in Bihar; woman thrashes him in public, video goes viral
Patna :MMNN:5 July 2017
PATNA:The woman has alleged that the officer sexually exploited her after promising her a government job besides assuring to do her land related paper work
A woman thrashed a government officer in full public view on Wednesday, the video of which has now gone viral.
The woman claimed that the circle officer (CO) of Gaighat in Muzaffarpur district, 70 km north of Patna, was sexually exploiting her ever since she came in contact with him three years back. The woman had visited the CO’s office in connection with mutation of land
She alleged that the CO, besides assuring to do the land mutation work, also promised her a government job in his office. As she pursued with him for a job, she alleged that the CO exploited her sexually. After all these years, the woman ran out of patience on Wednesday. She walked into the CO’s office, held the officer by the scruff of her neck and thrashed him. As he stepped out of his office, the woman followed him, continuing with her assault and vituperative against him.
Bihar worried as wild elephants obstruct flood protection measures in Kusaha, Nepal
Patna :MMNN:30 Jun 2017
PATNA:In August 2008, the eastern afflux embankment on the Kosi was breached, causing widespread devastation in five districts of north Bihar, affecting over three million people and claiming almost 500 human lives.
Wild elephants are seriously obstructing the Bihar government’s flood protection measures in the Kusaha area of Nepal, about 12 km north of Birpur, a border town in Supaul district, which are crucial for the well being of vast areas of north Bihar.
For, it was in Kusaha that the eastern afflux bund (embankment) on the Kosi river had been breached in August 2008, causing widespread devastation in five districts of north Bihar as well as in some parts of the Himalayan country. The catastrophe had claimed almost 500 lives and affected over three million people.
Officials engaged in flood protection measures said elephants inhabiting the nearby protected forest zone frequently came out of their abode and blocked the mobility of men and machinery deployed by the Bihar water resources department (WRD), alongside the afflux bund.
“These elephants cause damage to anti-flood structures like spurs, which have been built to deflect strong current of water and minimise the river’s impact on the embankment,” said a source overseeing the flood protection measures.
The wild elephants have also been demolishing camp offices set up by the department to protect the 32 km long eastern afflux bund, constructed on the upstream of the Kosi. The structure has been built to check the increased level of water caused by the construction of Birpur barrage on the river.
On June 14, the elephants went on the rampage and damaged the camp offices at Madhuban and Kushaha areas in Nepal. “Free movement of wild animals in the Kosi project area in Nepal is indeed a matter of concern and we are taking steps to contain the menace,” said principal secretary of the WRD Arun Kumar Singh.
To facilitate the unhindered movement of the department’s field engineers and machinery on the bund, the WRD has created road diversions at many places, so that if elephants block the main road, the WRD personnel can take these diverted routes to reach their destinations.
The Nepalese government has also installed solar power fencing alongside the protected forest zone to prevent the animals from entering the nearby villages. The solar powered wires provide mild shock to the animals, when they came in contact with the fence.
However, despite the steps initiated by the WRD as well as the Nepalese administration, the elephants remained a serious threat to the embankment, said the department’s officials.
Notably, rodents had significantly contributed to the breach in the embankment in 2008. They had cut the metal wires used in the structure causing extensive damage to it, which had gone unnoticed till the embankment had caved in.
The Indian government was so worried about the free movement of wildlife in Kushaha that it had strongly raised the issue at the 8th meeting of the Indo-Nepal Joint Committee on Kosi and Gandak Projects (JCKGP) last year. It had appealed to the Nepalese delegation to take immediate measures on this count, or else it would be very difficult to carry out anti-erosion and other flood protection activities.
“Wild animals, especially elephants, are creating havoc and they need to be controlled either by patrolling or other suitable measures,” the Indian delegation had said at the meeting of the JCKGP. As part of security measures, the Indian side had reiterated the need for deployment of permanent armed police force (AFP) at Rajabas and Kushaha. It insisted that round the clock patrolling should be conducted in the area throughout the year for the safety of the Kosi project facilities.
Moreover, the WRD is much more concerned this time around as the Kosi is heavily inclined towards the afflux bund at Rajabas area of Nepal and attacking the spurs attached with the embankment. “The situation demands utmost vigil and it can’t be possible unless there is unhindered mobility of men and machinery all through the embankment,” said officials.
According to additional secretary, disaster management department (DMD) Anirudh Kumar, the Kosi breach had affected over three million people in five north Bihar districts – Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura, Purnia and Araria. “The Bihar government had demanded about Rs 14,000 crore from the centre to compensate the losses. However, the state received only Rs 1,000 crore, he said.
No stretchers available, mentally challenged woman dragged around hospital in Bihar
Patna :MMNN:24 Jun 2017
PATNA: Two days after CM Nitish Kumar's JD(U) announced its support to Ram Nath Kovind, PM Narendra Modi's choice for President's post, Patna and Muzaffarpur were inducted in the PM's flagship smart city mission on Friday.
The two Bihar cities find place in the third list of 30 smart cities. The proposed investment in these 30 cities is Rs 57,393 crore under respective smart city plans.
"The overall investment in the 30 cities announced today include Rs 46,879 crore for ensuring core infrastructure in the areas identified by citizens for area-based development and Rs 10,514 crore for technology-based solutions for improving governance, service delivery and utilization of infrastructure. With this, the total investment approved under the smart city plan for 90 cities has gone up to Rs 1,91,155 crore," Union urban development housing and urban poverty alleviation minister M Venkaiah Naidu said while announcing the third list in New Delhi on Friday.
The smart city mission was launched by PM Modi on June 25, 2015. Patna had failed to make it to the overall list of 98 cities shortlisted from across the country in the first stage of the competition. The state capital had, in fact, ranked third from bottom in the list of 17 cities from Bihar shortlisted in the preliminary stage, scoring just 35%
Naidu, while announcing the first list on May 24 last year had said that seven state capitals, including Patna, would be allowed to participate in the competition through "wild card" entry. "Patna stood fifth and Muzaffarpur seventh in the 30 cities selected today. It was for the first time that Patna took part in the smart city competition. Earlier, only Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and Biharsharif from Bihar had participated in the competition," Patna municipal commissioner Abhishek Singh said.
Bhagalpur was the first Bihar city to be inducted in the list. The 'Silk City' figured among 13 cities from across the country selected in the fast-track competition on May 24 last year.
As necessitated by the city challenge competition in the first stage, every state was required to shortlist the cities they were to nominate for inclusion in the overall list of 100 smart cities. Accordingly, Bihar government initially shortlisted 17 cities based on the criteria and guidelines prescribed.
Meanwhile, Biharsharif will be among the 20 cities to compete for the remaining 10 slots under the smart city mission. P 7
No stretchers available, mentally challenged woman dragged around hospital in Bihar
Patna :MMNN:30 March 2017
Bhojpur district's one and only hospital certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in Arrah is continuously in news these days for raking up controversies.
In an unfortunate incident, a mentally challenged woman was dragged around by her relatives in the Sadar Hospital's premises in search of a stretcher, here on Wednesday.
On being questioned about the matter, the hospital administration said 32-year-old Shakuntala Devi is mentally disturbed therefore every now and then she tries to escape the building.
The hospital has, however, denied having received any request for a stretcher, which it said was available.
The woman's husband Anil Shah said his wife had to be taken to the Out-Patient Department (OPD) for administering an injection.
His request to the paramedical staff for a stretcher was turned down saying the hospital did not have one available.
"I was left with no option therefore I requested a hospital staff and a female attendant of another patient to carry my wife back to the ward," said Shah.
"There is no reason why a patient admitted to a ward, will be taken to the OPD for administering an injection. The patient had wandered into the OPD. Her husband, with the help of some others, held her by her limbs and brought her back to the ward. We never received any request for a stretcher, which we have aplenty," Hospital deputy superintendent Dr. Satish Kumar Sinha said.
Devi was admitted to the medical ward of the Arrah Sadar Hospital four days back when she developed complications related to her mental illness.
However, this is not the first incident which has come into light. Earlier in the month, four pregnant women were carried on a single stretcher in a state government hospital in Karnataka's Hubli district.
When questioned to speak on the incident, Superintendent Dr. Shivappa Anur Shetty said, "There's no shortage of stretchers, it's only the inability of hospital staff to manage them accordingly."
Last year, in a shocking incident, a woman was forced to drag her ailing husband on the ramp of a government hospital in Andhra Pradeh's Anantapur district after hospital staff allegedly expressed their inability to provide her a stretcher.
Bihar connections of gangs worry police
PATNA:MMNN: 30 March 2017
The city police arrested an eight-member gang, including four who hailed from the state of Bihar.
The police recovered four .32 semi-automatic pistols with 50 rounds and eight magazine clips.
In a similar operation, the police arrested two members of a nine-member gang from Bihar on February 9 and recovered five semi-automatic .32 pistols, one local make tapancha, 80 rounds of .32 and 6 rounds of 9mm.
The intent of the gangs were different, with one wanting to dominate the turf war in ganja smuggling in the Agency areas of Visakhapatnam and another planning a big dacoity at gun point in the city.
The preventive arrests were possible due to well-coordinated intelligence inputs.
The striking similarity in the cases relate to the weapons seized.
They were of the same .32 calibre, semi-automatic, made by an experienced gunsmith, and resembled the Italian Beretta.
And the important point was that the weapons bore the mark 'Made in USA', which is the trademark of the weapons factory located in Munger district of Bihar.
Mukesh Kumar, a key member in the eight-member ganja gang, is a native of Bihar and it was he who procured the weapons for the leader of the gang D. Raju, a resident of Rolugunta in Visakhapatnam district.
Talking to The Hindu , Mukesh said though he purchased the weapons from an arms dealer in a backward village in Arrah district, the weapons were originally procured from the illegal arms factories in Barkha village in Munger district. The price ranged from Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 45,000.
Everybody in Bihar knows that the gunsmiths of Munger are expert craftsmen and they can shape a gun that can resemble any of the top brands.
" Aur sabse badi baat- pura gaon ek industry hai- har ghar me gun banta hai " (And the important thing is that the entire village is an industry and guns are manufactured in every house).
According to Assistant Commissioner of Police I. Chittibabu, ganja smuggling in Visakhapatnam is also on the rise and organised armed gangs could pose a problem for law and order.
Bihar IAS officers meet governor, say won't take CM's oral orders
Patna :MMNN:27 Feb. 2017
The administrative machinery in Bihar is in turmoil, as the top civil echelon on Sunday decided not to accept any verbal instructions, even from the chief minister. The middle rung of civil and police administration is cut up for different reasons.
While the IAS officers are on warpath, seeking immediate release of Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) chairman Sudhir Kumar, the Bihar Administrative Service Association (BASA), is peeved after the government transferred of its two officers and suspended one for the January 14 boat tragedy, which led to the death of 24 persons.
The Bihar Police Service Association (BPSA), on the other hand, has also taken up cudgels for Sonepur sub-divisional police officer Mohammad Ali Ansari, who has been suspended over the boat tragedy.
In its memorandum to the governor, the association demanded adequate safeguard for officers to work fairly and fearlessly. The association also demanded that a civil officer, not below one who had attained supertime scale, head any probe involving an officer in the rank of sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) or above.
The IAS officers had on Sunday marched up to Raj Bhawan, seeking the governor's intervention for Kumar's release. He was arrested last Friday in the BSSC question paper leak case.
The meeting with governor Ram Nath Kovind lasted nearly 20 minutes, ending a nearly six-hour long deliberation of 125-odd IAS officers earlier in the day. The IAS officers' delegation comprised Dipak Kumar Singh, Vivek Singh, Rahul Singh, Divesh Shehra, Sudhir Kumar Rakesh and Shishir Sinha.
The association had earlier resolved not to accept any verbal instruction even from the chief minister. It also announced that no IAS officer would accept the posts of chairman and controller of the Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) or the technical services recruitment board till Kumar got justice.
The association also reiterated its demand for an impartial CBI probe into the BSSC question leak case.
Meanwhile, the BASA also held an emergency meeting to oppose the action taken against three officials. Those in the dock are Patna additional district magistrate (law & order) Rajesh Choudhary, control room in-charge Manzoor Alam and sub-divisional officer, Sonepur, Madan Kumar.
While Choudhary and Alam have been transferred, Kumar has been suspended.
The association has decided to meet chief minister Nitish Kumar for revocation of the suspension and transfer orders.
BASA general secretary Sushil Kumar Singh said the association had also expressed its anguish over the arrest of BSSC secretary Parmeshwar Ram in the paper leak case.
The BPSA was also angry over the suspension of Sonepur sub-divisional police officer in connection with the boat tragedy. It would meet on Monday to chart its next course of action.
Nitish Kumar is a 'curse' for Bihar, says Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha
PATNA:MMNN: 27 Feb. 2017
Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Sunday said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had proved to be "a curse" for the state as he had been unable to deal with problems in education and law and order. Kushwaha, who is the and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief, said there was rampant bungling and corruption in examinations.
"Bihar mein sex racket aur ghotala samne aa raha hai - topper ghotala, BSSC ghotala... Is mamley mein itna bada nexus samne aya hai. Yeh sab mukhyamantri ke sangyan me kaise nahi aya? Isse yahi kaha ja sakta hai ki Nitish Kumar Bihar ke liye abhishaap ban gaye hain (There are sex rackets and scams being exposed in Bihar - the topper scam, the BSSC scam... This is a big nexus. How was the chief minister not aware of these? It can be said that Nitish Kumar has become a curse for Bihar)," he said.
Kushwaha, a Minister of State for HRD, mentioned the alleged paper leak in the recent Bihar Staff Selection Commission examination and said racketeers had prevailed over the education system and the CM had been unable to clear the mess. "Bihar's progress has been stuck because of law and order failure and the education mess," he said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar To Join Anti-Note Ban Protest: Lalu Prasad
Patna :MMNN:21 Dec. 2016
RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Tuesday said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will join him in a protest against demonetisation.
"Nitish Kumar will be with us to protest against demonetisation," Lalu Prasad told the media in Patna.
It is the first time Lalu Prasad has said Nitish Kumar will join a protest against the November 8 spiking of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes.
"The Rashtriya Janata Dal will stage protest against demonetisation at all the district headquarters on December 28 and hold a huge rally in Patna early next year," the former Chief Minister said.
Nitish Kumar, who heads the Janata Dal-United, has supported the note ban, much to the embarrassment of his allies -- the RJD and the Congress.
"Nitish Kumar has told me he will review the impact of demonetisatiion after 50 days and will respond to the central government accordingly," Lalu Prasad said.
Earlier, Lalu Prasad attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for openly "advertising" for Paytm, which is jointly owned by a Chinese company.
"Has there been any Indian PM who openly advertises a Chinese company and says do Paytm?" he tweeted.
Chinese company Alibaba has a 40-per cent stake in Paytm, which has been widely used by people after demonetisation.
Road permit blocks Patna women auto drivers
PATNA:MMNN: 21 Dec. 2016
In 2013, when eight women, for the very first time, stepped outside the confines of their home and took the driver's seat in commercial auto-rickshaws in Patna, passengers wondered whether they were visiting a metropolis where it was not so uncommon to see female auto-drivers.
For a state like Bihar, it was a novelty. Auto-rickshaw unions, the district administration and the transport authorities combined their efforts to make it possible and promised all help to the women drivers. However, half of them eventually left the profession.
Three years on, in April 2016, more than 100 women expressed an interest to take up commercial three-wheeler driving. Top administrative and traffic officials inaugurated the training programme and again promised help-facilitating driving licenses, getting road permits and coaxing banks to disburse, finance among other things. But, over six months after the training programme ended, all but five are yet to hit the roads.
The reasons are many, but the major hindrance is denial of road permits to women auto-drivers. "The regional transport authority (RTA), despite promising to grant road permits to women drivers, has failed to do so," said Raj Kumar Jha, general secretary of Bihar State Auto Chalak Sangh.
Jha said it was the same in 2013, when the state government had assured tax benefits in registration and facilitation in issuing necessary permits commercial licenses to women drivers, but failed to do so, resulting in only eight of the 35 trained drivers hitting the roads.
This time, a few of them are on the road without permits. Among them is Ranjana Chauhan, who rues the apathy of the government, which "so vocally promises women empowerment". "Every day we are harassed by cops because we don't have permits. After the training was complete, my loan was sanctioned by the bank. What would I have done if not plied an auto-rickshaw?" asks the mother of three who started in August and earns Rs 500-600 per day.
Most women drivers operate only prepaid rickshaws, either from Patna airport or railway station. "Prepaid is safer. One cannot haggle with a male passenger at their destination," says another female auto-driver. Listing other hiccups faced by them, another woman driver said the auto-stands do not have basic facilities. "Competing with male drivers for passengers and at times facing indecent behaviour from travellers also a deterrent for many," she adds. Naveen Mishra, rued absence of female-only auto stands.
Police-locals clash in Bihar after temple demolished for road widening
Patna :MMNN:17 Dec. 2016
Violent clashes took place between police and locals in Patna City area after the district administration demolished a temple for widening of road. The Bihar government is at the moment working on a war footing for constructing new roads and widening of old road ahead of the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh to be celebrated in the first week of January next year.
People from the Sikh community from across the world are expected to be thronging to Patna City for the mega event.
The Patna administration, which had been trying to demolish the temple for a long time, had served several notices to the temple authorities but to no avail. Left with no choice, the administration, fully backed by police personnel today reached the spot where the temple was located and an attempt to demolish the temple was made that faced stiff resistance from the locals.
The angered locals soon turned unruly and attacked the police and district administration officials. The mob set on fire police vehicle, motorcycles and pelted stones on the district officials and cops.
The police soon retaliated and fired in the air to disperse the agitated mob. Once the mob was dispersed, administration brought down the temple using a JCB machine. The priests of the temple were also arrested for obstructing government officials from doing their work.
The situation, after the temple was demolished, remains tensed and heavy police deployment has been put up in the area to avert any untoward incident.
Revenue dip spectre looms over Bihar
PATNA:MMNN: 17 Dec. 2016
Bihar is staring at a financial crunch with the government estimating lower revenue collection in the aftermath of demonetisation.
"Demonetisation has led to a depressed market and this will result in decrease in revenue collection," Siddiqui told The Telegraph today.
Siddiqui conceded that finances in Bihar are "difficult" and the situation would probably extend to the next financial year.
Economists and finance department officials who spoke to The Telegraph on condition that they wouldn't be named contend that the minister is being generous.
"We are heading towards a massive financial crisis," said a state finance department official, pointing out that revenue is expected to dip further both from internal resources and central transfer. The official said that though the state has not cut plan expenditure, pegged at over Rs 72,000 crore for 2016-17, the axe cannot be ruled out.
The effects of dwindling revenue are already being felt. Chief minister Nitish Kumar has reportedly asked ministers not to announce new projects. The formation of the fitment committee, which recommends a pay hike in accordance with the central pay commission's recommendations, has been delayed because once the new scales are implemented it would mean an additional burden of
about Rs 7,000 crore on the state exchequer. Even some of the chief minister's seven resolves, like power supply to
all, may be hit because the spread of energy consumption would mean giving more subsidy. The state already owes power supply companies over Rs 3,000 crore.
Not surprisingly, the government has already conceded a drop of over 16 per cent in internal revenue collection in the second quarter (July to September) over last year. The targeted internal revenue for the current fiscal has been projected at Rs 29,730 crore. The state has not even been able to meet the target of Rs 25,656 crore set in the last financial year (2015-16).
Finance department officials now fear that Bihar might not even get the Rs 58,360 crore it expects to receive as share from central taxes during the current financial year. "Demonetisation means a drop in central tax collection resulting in a drop in state shares," said the finance official.
The government has responded to the financial crunch by raising taxes on consumer items, fuel, SUVs etc. But higher taxes could prove counter-productive to Nitish's demands for special status to Bihar to boost private investment. Economists point out that investors usually shy away from states which have high taxes and even local businessmen tend to migrate.
Both pre-and post-demonetisation "factors" are being blamed for Bihar's financial troubles. Economists point out that the liquor ban, imposed on April 5 this year, has not only hit excise collection but has also badly affected the tourism sector which earned Rs 2,000 crore in revenue.
They also point towards Nitish's decision to regularise services of teachers and increase salaries of panchayat sewaks, anganwadi workers, home guards, which has pushed the financial burden to over Rs 6,000 crore per year.
Internal and central revenue collection apart, demonetisation is also likely to hit revenue collection from transport and registration. The state already has to meet huge expenses in implementing Nitish's seven resolves and paying higher salaries and managing a debt estimated to be over Rs 1.06 lakh crore.
Bihar's economy largely depends on central tax shares and its internal resources. A good chunk of its internal resources - around Rs 4,000 crore - has already been wiped out owing to prohibition. Earlier this amount used to come as excise tax from the proceeds of liquor sale. The taxes collected from the tourism and hospitality sector had already dipped before demonetisation. Now with demonetisation, trade and commerce have suffered, which could lead to lower collection of taxes from the business community, finance officials said. The real estate business has witnessed a 50 per cent decline, leading to a shortfall in registration and stamp duty tax. Since the demonetisation effect is nationwide, economists point to a possible shortfall in collection of central taxes. In such a scenario, Bihar's share in central taxes is also expected to decline.
"Bihar's economy is facing the dual challenge of note-bandi and sharab-bandi. Small and medium industry, agriculture and trade all of these sectors have been badly hit by demonetisation. It will mean a poor state like Bihar getting less internal revenue and revenue given by the Centre. Even the central projects and grants may be hit. In Bihar there has been no investment proposal cleared for over one year. Private investment gives a boom to the local economy which will not happen in the state," said Satyajit Singh, president, Bihar, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Work on world's largest Hindu temple, Viraat Ramayan Mandir, to begin in 2017
Patna :MMNN:14 Dec. 2016
Work is set to start soon to build what could well be the world's largest Hindu temple -- in Bihar.
Those behind the idea say no more hurdles are left for the construction to begin after Holi festival next year, now that the original plan was modified following objections from the Cambodian government.
"We modified our original plan after Cambodia raised objection to our Viraat Ramayan Mandir, saying it is a replica of Angkor Wat," said Acharya Kishore Kunal of the Patna-based Mahavir Mandir Trust.
"We are set to start work after Holi, which will be an auspicious time," he said.
A former Indian Police Service officer, Kunal said the design or architecture of the proposed temple will have nothing to do with Angkor Wat, visited by millions every year.
The Cambodian temple complex was built in the 12th century during king Suryavarman's rule and is now a Unesco World Heritage site.
The proposed temple will come up over 165 acres at Janki Nagar near Kesaria in West Champaran district, about 150 km from Patna. It will cost over Rs 200 crore in the first phase.
That is when the Ramayan Mandir and a Shiv and Mahavir temple each would be built.
HIGH OCTANGULAR SPIRES
Its main attraction will be its 405-feet-high octangular spires. It will be taller than the Angkor Wat temple, which is 215 feet high. The complex will comprise 18 temples.
It will have a Shiva Linga, 44 feet tall and 33 feet in circumference -- proposed to be the tallest in the world.
Kunal said when work on the temple was to start last year, the Cambodian government raised objections with New Delhi, saying it was a copy of Angkor Wat.
Kunal and his team then re-exmained their plan. The modified plan was sent to Phnom Penh last year and again early this year through the Ministry of External Affairs.
The Cambodian embassy in New Delhi reportedly indicated that in case of any objection, it will suggest modifications.
NO RESPONSE FROM CAMBODIAN EMBASSY
"I have been informed by our government that there is no response from the Cambodian embassy," Kunal said. "So, a decision has been taken to start the construction work."
He said the temple design has been influenced by over a dozen famous temples in India and abroad, particularly Thailand and Indonesia.
Many Muslims have provided land at a nominal rate for the temple. "Without their help, it would have been difficult to take up this dream project," Kunal said.
The temple would have a seating capacity of 20,000 in a hall facing the main temple having the idols of Rama, Sita, Luv and Kush.
L&T, India's leading construction company, will build the temple.
Bihar no longer Bimaru, but gets bad press: Nitish
PATNA:MMNN: 14 Dec. 2016
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar feels that his state is getting a bad press for crime -- unfairly -- because the media has been blind to the fine print of statistics. Doing some number crunching himself, the chief minister came with the finding Tuesday that crime in Bihar is an exaggerated phenomenon.
"If you consider the ratio of criminal incidents to one lakh population in the country, Bihar stands at no. 22. But news coverage about crime in Bihar is unduly high. So many criminal incidents take place in Delhi. Does anyone speak about that?" complained Nitish Kumar in a speech to a workshop organised by his party Janata Dal (U) on prohibition.
And the chief minister blames the BJP, the main opposition in Bihar, for adding to the distortion by going on and on about the prevalence of "jungle raj" in the state since Nitish Kumar's new government took office last year.
In fact, Nitish Kumar argued, the state police have been so efficient that Bihar's storied crime rate has seen a considerable decline, especially since prohibition was imposed in April this year.
"There is rule of law in Bihar," the chief minister asserted and added that the real story about Bihar, the progress it has made in the economic and educational sectors, is not being told widely enough.
ATM looted, guard killed in Bihar
Patna :MMNN:10 Dec. 2016
A security guard of an ATM booth was killed and cash looted by unidentified people in this Bihar capital on Saturday morning, police said.
According to the police, Deepak Kumar, the security guard of a Central Bank ATM booth in Maurya Lok here, was killed and cash was looted.
Maurya Lok, a posh shopping centre, is known as a safe zone for visitors as patrolling police have been deployed round the clock.
Agitated residents and relatives of the guard blocked the roads and burnt tyres to protest against the incident.
They demanded the arrest of those behind the crime, and a compensation to the family of the victim.
According to the police, prima facie it appears that the armed men killed the guard when he resisted their attempt to loot the cash in the ATM machine.
Patna Senior Superintendent of Police, Manu Maharaj, told the media that the police have began a probe into the incident. "The police will arrest those involved in the crime."
"We have collected CCTV footage and other evidences from the site," Maharaj said.
Allahabad HC's comments on triple talaq revive secularism debate in Bihar politics
PATNA:MMNN: 10 Dec. 2016
Allahabad High Court's stern observations on triple talaq have revived the political race in Bihar about secularism. BJP on Friday accused both Lalu and Nitish of keeping quiet on the issue due to their "appeasement politics" with Muslims.
"Both (Bihar Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar and (RJD chief) Lalu Prasad Yadav are silent on the issue of triple talaq due to their overriding concern for vote bank politics. They are the opportunist players of such appeasement politics," said senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
Allahabad High Court observed in a recent order that triple talaq is "cruel" and "most demeaning" and that it "impedes and drags India from becoming a nation". The court also asked if the Muslim Personal law could be amended to lessen the sufferings of Muslim women.
Modi also targeted Nitish Kumar on the latter's continuous stress on women's empowerment, asking: "If you can impose prohibition in Bihar on the call of a few women, why cannot you gather the courage to
oppose triple talaq?" He accused Kumar and his main ally Lalu Prasad Yadav of not supporting Muslim women in their struggle against triple talaq and polygamy due to vote bank politics. "Over 90 per cent Muslim women oppose triple talaq and polygamy, but Bihar's ruling leaders have no concern for their desires," said Modi.
RJD leader Bhai Birendra defended his party, saying: "There is no denying the fact that our leader Lalu Prasad Yadav is the champion of secularism. Those terming the valued notion of secularism as vote bank politics are simply displaying their communal bent". Birendra, however, said RJD is still studying the Allahabad High Court order and would come up with a "suitable view" soon.
On the issue of Modi questioning the 50 per cent reservation for women in the state's local bodies ensured by the Nitish Kumar government, JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said BJP leaders if they so wanted, could openly come out in opposition of the legislative measure.
'Said 17 Lakhs, Not 70': Man Behind BJP's Bihar Land Deal Does A 180
KISHANGANJ, BIHAR:MMNN:30 Nov. 2016
Five days ago, 55-year-old Parshuram Chauhan in Bihar's Kishanganj claimed that he had sold one bigha land - about a quarter of an acre - to the state BJP unit for 70 lakhs.
Sales deeds of the deal transacted in September show that Mr Chauhan, in fact, sold two plots of land for Rs. 35 lakh, one owned by him and another in his wife's name. Going by Mr Chauhan's assertion, the remaining Rs. 35 lakh was received in unaccounted cash.
He now claims he was misquoted. "The media who came to take my comment behaved like it was a fish market. I only said Rs. 17 lakhs, they heard 70 lakhs."
But why say 17 lakhs when he sold the two plots for Rs. 35 lakhs? To this, Mr Chauhan had an even more surprising answer: "I have had a brain haemorrhage. So I sometimes forget things."
Mr Chauhan's land is one among many bought for office space by the BJP in Bihar between August and October this year, just before the Centre's note ban decision. Parties like Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janta Dal United hold it up as proof that the BJP was tipped off about the shock ban on Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes from November 8 - and was hurriedly dumping unaccounted wealth through these land deals.
The BJP says it paid the registered value for the land in Kishanganj through bank transfer, but the property document of one of the plots worth Rs. 15 lakh shows that the amount was paid in "nakad" or cash.
The BJP says it can explain. "The unique transaction number... was taking time. So the property papers show that it was paid through cash," claims Dilip Jayaswal, lawmaker and the Bihar BJP's treasurer.
Land records suggest that the market value of the land bought by the BJP is double the registered value. "The government rates are very low. As per the market value, that plot of land should be around Rs. 64 lakh," said real estate agent Mohd Safi.
The BJP said it had been looking for land for offices for a while and managed to swing a cheap deal only now. "We had been looking since January. We got low rates because the area has a lot of potholes and it is located next to a crematorium," says Rajeshwar Vaid, a BJP leader in Kishanganj.
Seven Maoists arrested in Jharkhand, Bihar
Aurangabad:MMNN: 30 Nov. 2016
Seven Maoists were arrested in Jharkhand and Bihar in separate operations, including one in which around Rs 31.53 lakh largely in the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes were also recovered, police said on Tuesday.
One of those arrested in Bihar was a 'zonal commander', who had been absconding for the past 11 years and was carrying a cash reward of Rs 50,000 on his head. Five Maoists were arrested from different areas of Jharkhand's Dumka district on Monday, Superintendent of Police Prabhat Kumar told reporters here.
One of the arrested Maoists, Mithilesh Mandal, had escaped during transit while returning from a court in Giridih in 2012. He faced several naxal-related cases under different police stations and was the self-styled area commander of the banned outfit, Kumar said.
Two country-made pistols, two four wheelers, five ATM cards, five cheque books, seven mobiles, naxal literature, five passbooks of different banks were recovered from the possession of those arrested.
The seized Rs 31.53 lakh in cash included four new Rs 2,000 notes while the rest are the defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, the SP said.
In another operation, two armed Maoists were arrested from the jungles of Chalho in Bihar's Aurangabad district today.
Superintendent of Police Satya Prakash said a rifle was also seized from the two, who were identified as Ram Pravesh Yadav, a 'zonal commander' of Chalho jungle, and 'sub-zonal commander' Sunny Mistry alias Brahmdeo.
Yadav, who has been absconding for the past 11 years, carried a cash reward of Rs 50,000 on his head, the SP said, adding that around two dozens of criminals cases have been lodged against the two rebels in various police stations of the district.
On the basis of information given by them, police are conducting raids at various places to nab their accomplices.
Death toll from Bihar in train accident mounts to 35
Patna:MMNN:23 Nov. 2016
The death toll of the passengers from Bihar in the Indore-Patna Express accident mounted to 35 on Tuesday. The official count of the deceased from Bihar travelling in the ill-fated train was 32 till Monday night.
Disaster management department's principal secretary Pratyaya Amrit said the railway authorities in Kanpur informed the state government about three more deaths from Bihar after identifying the bodies. He said the amount of exgratia announced by the state government was being distributed among the aggrieved families of the deceased passengers.
"Till now, cheques have been handed over to the kin of ten passengers who lost their lives in the accident. We are taking time for handing over the cheques as the situation was not suitable for such things at some places.
We need to give them space as the last rites were being performed in many cases," Amrit said. He said most of the aggrieved families from Patna and Katihar have been handed over the cheques of Rs2 lakh each. "The government will ensure that all the exgratia amount gets distributed in a day or two," he added.
Patna district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said the district administration has handed over the cheques to nine bereaved families. "All the cheques have been kept ready and they will be handed over to them at the earliest," the DM added.
He said Gaya's additional district magistrate Anil Kumar's son Abhinav Kumar was also among the passengers who lost his life in the accident. Agarwal said Abhinav was a final year engineering student in Bhopal Engineering College.
Chartered jet flier from Bihar held in Nagaland with Rs 3.5 cr in old notes
PATNA:MMNN: 23 Nov. 2016
A Bihar-based businessman, travelling alone in a chartered jet, was apprehended on Tuesday at the airport in Dimapur for allegedly carrying Rs 3.5 crore in demonetised currency.
Officials said sleuths of central security agencies and CISF questioned the man, identified as A Singh from Bihar's Munger district, soon after his jet landed here.
The case was later handed over to local Income Tax authorities. They said the man had come in here on a jet that had taken off from Sirsa in Haryana early on Tuesday. "CISF sleuths acted on some prior inputs and intercepted the passenger as soon as he landed here.
Initially, the amount detected was said to be Rs 5.5 crore but later I-T authorities reported the final amount with him to be Rs 3.5 crore. The taxman is investigating the source of the currency," they said.
A special vigil has been deployed by security agencies and the airport guarding Central Industrial Security Force in the wake of the demonetization of the two large currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 by the government.
Bihar: In Jamui's Maoist-hit panchayat, some cash trickles in
Patna:MMNN:19 Nov. 2016
Bhutak Manjhi's thumb impression did not match with the sample thumb impression in her biometric account with State Bank of India's (SBI) customer service point (CSP) on Friday.
The result: the 55-year-old from Rampur village, under Harla panchayat of Jamui district in southeastern Bihar, bordering Jharkhand, has to now travel to the block town of Laxmipur 4 km away to withdraw Rs 2,000.
Manjhi, who earns her living by working on fields or by doing petty work, said she doesn't have the courage to go to Laxmipur, as people start gathering before the SBI branch there from 2 am, although the area is in the middle of a Maoist-affected zone.
There are two bank branches and an ATM for the entire Laxmipur block.
Unlike Manjhi, many other women in queue at the SBI CSP in Rampur got money. The CSP-holder, Rajkumar Yadav, said the main branch gives him cash only against deposits received through old notes. Deposit in a day is not more than Rs 50,000. On most days before November 8, Rajkumar hardly dealt with any crowd. Since then, he has become no less than Santa Claus to the villagers - he gets between 80 and 100 customers daily, and has to return 20-odd people every day empty-handed.
Handed a Rs 2,000-note, Rukmini Devi looked puzzled, but smiled at the "small size" of the new currency. "Paisa mil gaya, lekin is gaon mein ise change kaun karega (I have got cash but who will give me change in this small village)," she asked. Her husband, she added, earns Rs 300 per day.
Savitri Devi, who has not bought grocery for a week due to cash shortage, said her family is cooking vegetables without haldi (turmeric).
About the government's decision to scrap big notes, Uday Manjhi, a daily wage labourer, said, "Those who are destined to deal in notes of Rs 50 and Rs 100 (the poor) have nothing to complain. We have heard it is a good decision."
Harla panchayat, 15 km from Jamui, is located at the entry point of the Laxmipur jungles, infamous as a Maoist hideout. Robberies are common on the 8-km road through the jungles, connecting to Kharagpur and other Munger towns, despite police patrol.
Harla villages have to depend on Laxmipur or Jamui to withdraw notes. "There is no question of crossing the jungles to visit Kharagpur or Tarapur to withdraw cash," Murari Prasad Singh, a retired postal department employee, emphasised. "So dozens of people leave for Laxmipur after 1 every night to stand in queue at the only bank and its ATM,"
Farmers selling just-grown paddy, meanwhile, are getting only 10 or 20 per cent of the amount due, with buyers keeping record of dues. Nandlal Sah, a paddy buyer, said, "I get one person to stand in queue at a bank and another person works on field - every day. We give some money to farmers against paddy purchase so that they can buy seeds for the rabi crop."
Vishwanath Sah, a provision store owner catering to four villages of the panchayat, said: "My business has gone down by 50 per cent since the note ban. I have sent back three or four people who came to buy provisions with the new Rs 2000-note. I have sold on credit, but there has to be a limit to it."
Sah said people are coming to buy only essential grocery items. Hardly any child has come to buy toffees in the last few days, he said.
Opposition releases report card on Bihar government's 'failures'
PATNA:MMNN: 19 Nov. 2016
A day ahead of the Bihar government's release of a report card on its performance in Bihar in 11 years, the opposition NDA led by the BJP released its own report card on the former's "failures" in the last one year.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushil Kumar Modi, while releasing the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) report on alleged failure of the Bihar's ruling Grand Alliance, said Bihar is in "bad condition" in the last one year.
He said some serious questions have been raised over the state government's failures, to which the Chief Minister must reply when he presents his own report card on Sunday.
The Grand Alliance led by Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar and comprising Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Yadav and the Congress will complete one year in power in Bihar on November 25.
Nitish has been at the helm of the state for the past 11 years.
"After Nitish Kumar joined hands with the RJD to form the government in Bihar in November 2015, it has failed on all fronts," the BJP leader said.
Sushil Kumar Modi, a former Deputy Chief Minister, said Nitish Kumar should instead come out with a report card on one year of his government instead of 11 years.
"He should explain to the people about the Grand Alliance government's performance in its one year in office."
50 lakh homes in Bihar to be provided free power connection by 2018
Patna:MMNN:16 Nov. 2016
With the aim of lighting up each and every household in the state, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday launched his ambitious "Har ghar bijli lagatar" scheme, under which about 50 lakh homes in Bihar will be provided free electricity connection by 2018.
"Har ghar bijli lagatar" was the last among the seven resolves of Nitish Kumar to be implemented before he completes his first year in office on November 20.
Inaugurating the scheme, Kumar said, "The per capita power consumption in Bihar has increased from 70 units in 2005 to 258 units at present. The peak demand also upped from 700MW to 3,769MW during the same period. We are fulfilling our promise of bettering power situation in the state." He, however, rued the treatment meted to Bihar by the Centre saying the state was not getting optimum power from the central quota.
The newly launched scheme will cover Bihar's rural above poverty line (APL) families, about 50% of whom do not have power connectivity, as per a survey being conducted by the state energy department for the implementation of the project. The BPL families are already covered under Centre's Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.
While the new connection will be free, the consumer will have to pay the electricity bill based on the meter reading as usual. In case anyone does not want to take a power connection, he or she will have to give in writing, the reason for the same.
It may be mentioned the PM Narendra Modi has also committed for round-the-clock power for all in the next few years.
Ten get death sentence for Bihar massacre
PATNA:MMNN: 16 Nov. 2016
More than 17 years after 34 villagers were brutally killed by the outlawed Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), the earlier avtaar of the now banned outfit CPI (Maoist), a district court in Jehanabad awarded death sentence to 10 accused and life imprisonment to three.
The quantum of punishment to the remaining two, out of 15 convicts, will be pronounced on November 18.
The judgement was pronounced by Additional District and Sessions Judge R K Singh, who earlier had acquitted 23 other accused for lack of evidence.
The massacre took place on the night of March 18, 1999, in which around 1,000 Maoists surrounded Senari village (then under Jehanabad, but now under Arwal district) and took the upper caste villagers captive.
They fired in the air to terrorise the locals. The ultra Left extremists then dragged the upper caste people to a nearby temple, tied their hands and feet and slit their throats.
The entire massacre which started on March 18 at 8 pm continued till midnight.
Seven people, including Bibha Kumari, a woman, were also injured in the incident. A retired judge, after seeing several of his kin among those dead, fainted and died on the way to hospital.
The MCC, before fleeing the massacre site, left pamphlets which blamed the villagers for their involvement in killings of Shankarbigha and Narayanpur.
The Shankarbigha carnage on January 25, 1999, saw 19 Dalits, mostly children and women, allegedly being killed by Ranveer Sena (a militant outfit of the upper caste Bhumihars) and another incident at Narayanpur in February (the same year) in which 11 Dalits were killed by the upper caste landlords.
Bihar was infamous for massacres in the 1980s and 1990s in which MCC and Ranveer Sena men often attacked each other. It was the Senari massacre which provoked the Ranveer Sena to take retaliatory action at Bathe in Arwal in which the landlords reportedly killed 62 people, mostly Dalits, on December 1, 2000. A day after the Senari massacre, one of the survivors, Chitamani Devi, who lost her husband and son, lodged an FIR at the Karpi police station and identified 15 named accused against hundreds of unnamed persons. Altogether 88 people were chargesheeted in the case through four different charge sheets.
Later, 31 witnesses were put on stand by the prosecution against the 38 accused. While 15 were convicted, the remaining 23 were let off for lack of evidence.
Bihar: Journalist shot dead in Rohtas district
Patna:MMNN:12 Nov. 2016
A correspondent of a Hindi daily was shot dead in the Rohtas district of Bihar today.
Dharmender Singh, a correspondent of Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar, was shot dead outside a roadside tea shop, a police official said.
In May, Rajdeo Ranjan, a senior journalist of Hindi daily Hindustan was shot dead by unidentified assailant in Siwan district.
The Central Bureau of Investigation is still probing the case.
Sale of gulab jamun, rasgulla has gone up since Bihar liquor ban: Nitish Kumar
PATNA:MMNN: 12 Nov. 2016
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Friday people were now going for food such as milk, rasgulla, gulab jamun and peda after shunning liquor.
He backed his claim by reeling out figures.
"Sale of peda has increased by 15.5%, gulab jamun by 15% and honey manufactured by state diary cooperative - Sudha by a whopping 380% in the past seven months since prohibition came into force in Bihar," he said addressing "Chetna sabha" as part of his 'Nishchay yatra'.
He had earlier asserted sale of "Rasgulla" has increased by 16.25% during this period while milk saw a hike of 11% since Bihar became a complete dry state.
Muzaffarpur was the third stoppage of Kumar's 'Nishchay yatra' aimed at taking feedback from people on prohibition as well as on the "seven resolves" that have been adopted by the government as their "policy of governance" for next five years.
The "seven resolves" include civic amenities like drinking water, toilet, roads and electricity for every household.
Kumar invoked Swami Vivekananda to answer his critics on liquor ban. "Swami Vivekananda had said that while doing any big work, one would face ridicule, then protest and ultimately people would extend support," he said.
"Some say I have gone mad while some others say I am intoxicated (for the sake of power)," he said.
The Bihar chief minister said there would be no compromise with the prohibition.
Kumar talked about smuggling of alcohol into the state after the ban.
"I had asked chief secretary and DGP to go into details of illegal trade of liquor into Bihar from Haryana and after hard work, the trade has been busted," he said.
Kumar exhorted women in particular to be vigilant against those still consuming and trading in liquor.
"As soon as you (women) spot anybody consuming alcohol, all the women of the village get together and dump the person in a de-addiction centre," he said.
Ministers Abdul Bari Siddiqui and Madan Mohan Jha, chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and state police chief P K Thakur were also present on the occasion.
Massive number of crimes during Chhath shock Bihar
Patna:MMNN:9 Nov. 2016
The pious three-day festivities of Chhath in Bihar this year brought in massive shock due to a number of sensational incidents of crime such as murder, besides nearly 20 deaths by drowning, when the rituals were observed in the state.
While the average crime graph in Bihar is known to dip considerably during Chhath as the state's populace takes part in the rigorous worship of the Sun God and Chhathi Maiya, a double murder and a knife attack on a young woman, both in Patna, during the three-day period left many shocked.
An ageing millionaire couple - Bipin Bihari Sharma (75) and his wife Savita Sharma (65) - was found brutally killed in their mansion-like house in Patna's P&T Colony on Sunday, the first day of the Chhath festivities that is considered the most pious.
Police suspected the role of their domestic staff and detailed two of them. After a third arrest, Patna senior SP Manu Maharaj said on Tuesday that the couple's domestic help and gardener had strangulated them to death with the help of another man.
The motive, he said, was robbery of the couple's cash and jewellery. Bipin Bihari Sharma was the head of the Salauna Math in Begusarai district, which is said to possess 3,200 acres of land.
Bihar enhances ex-gratia for martyred soldiers to Rs 11 lakh
PATNA:MMNN: 9 Nov. 2016
The Nitish Kumar Cabinet Tuesday decided to enhance the ex-gratia amount to Rs 11 lakh from Rs 5 lakh for kin of army personnel hailing from Bihar, who are martyred in war or war-like situation.
"The state government took a policy decision to pay Rs 11 lakh as ex-gratia to the kins of soldiers and officers, hailing from Bihar, martyred in war or war-like situation," Cabinent Secretariat Department Principal Secretary Brajesh Mehrotra told reporters here in a post Cabinet briefing.
The state government would also bear the expenditure incurred on cremation/last rites of such soldiers, Mehrotra said. The Bihar government had on September 19 announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia each to three soldiers hailing from Bihar, who were martyred in Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan-sponsored terror attack.
The three soldiers killed in September 18 terror attack were from Bihar regiment that included - S K Vidyarthi (Gaya), Rakesh Singh (Kaimur) and Ashok Kumar Singh from Ara (Bhojpur). Later, the state Cabinet on September 20 enhanced the ex-gratia amount to Rs 11 lakh for the three soldiers killed in Uri terror attack.
Besides, the government had also paid ex-gratia amount of Rs 11 lakh to the families of BSF soldier Jitendra Kumar Singh (East Champaran) and army havildar Rajiv Kumar Rai (Vaishali district) who lost lives in border firing in the aftermath of surgical strikes.
In another decision, the state Cabinet gave its nod for transfer of 10 hectares of land to Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for construction of building for National Integrated Agriculture Research Centre at Piprakothi in East Champaran, Mehrotra said.
Notably, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh had inaugurated the Centre last year whose main objective would be to conduct research on the development of location specific integrated farming system. Altogether, 13 decisions were taken today at Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Advocate Pankaj Kumar Singh was shot dead by unknown assailants in Bihar
Patna:MMNN:5 Nov. 2016
Adding on to the growing concern of rampant daylight murder in the country, a Bihar advocate was shot dead on Saturday in Hajipur area by unknown assailants.
Advocate Pankaj Kumar Singh was shot dead by unknown assailants on Saturday at Hajipur area of Bihar.
It is unclear as to why Pankaj was targeted by the goons.
Instances of assailants shooting dead individuals at point blank range have been more than many in the country.
Journalist Rajdeo Ranjan was shot dead at his office earlier this year.
Two Bihar teachers arrested for alleged sex with LKG student
PATNA:MMNN: 5 Nov. 2016
Two women teachers of a reputed missionary school in Patna were arrested for allegedly having sex with a six-year-old girl student, police on Saturday said. The victim is a LKG student of St. Xaviers School near Gandhi maidan in Patna.
Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj said two female teachers were arrested after an FIR was lodged against them under sections 376 of IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
"Police have been interrogating them at woman police station here, they may or may not be produced before the court on Saturday," he said. He said police have also interrogated the school Principal, Father Jacob, over the incident.
Medical examination of the victim has confirmed internal injuries to her private parts, the police said. The police have recorded statement of the victim's parents. Maharaj said he has asked Patna city Superintendent of Police Chandan Kushwaha to investigate into the matter.
According to the FIR, filed by victim's grandfather, the child had complained to her mother about the pain in her private parts and informed her that two female school teachers, whom she addressed them as "Badi Mam" and "Chhoti Mam", had been playing with her private parts in a room despite her protest.
"Victim even revealed to her mother that two accused female teachers during school time used to take her to a closed room, undress her and played with her private parts."
A team of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) experts have visited school premises where the girl was allegedly sexually exploited on a portable bed and collected evidences. The school Principal said the school management has constituted a sexual harassment inquiry committee that will look into the incident.
"The school will take action against the two accused if they were found guilty," he said.
After shutting liquor shops, Bihar seeks suggestions on prohibition
Patna:MMNN:2 Nov. 2016
A month after implementing the new stringent Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act 2016, Bihar government on Tuesday invited the general public to provide feedback and suggestions regarding its provisions through email, postal mail or fax till November 12.
The Supreme Court is to shortly hear a petition regarding prohibition in the State and the government is said to have taken this step to avoid any embarrassment.
'Draconian and stringent'
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was in Delhi on Tuesday and he met the State counsel in Supreme Court to discuss, according to sources, the prohibition law which has been termed by Opposition parties as "draconian and stringent". "The State government has implemented the new Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act 2016 from October 2. Many people have termed the legal provisions of the new act as stringent and questioned it but did not put forth any constructive suggestions. The government, therefore, appeals to the common people to come forward with suggestions on the provisions and implementations of the new prohibition act," said an advertisement issued by the state's Registration, Excise and Prohibition department in a local newspaper.
A source in the government told The Hindu: "Some provisions in the new act are impractical and draconian and may not be approved by the apex court, therefore the state government has been exploring escape routes to save its face."
According to the source, the state government might bring in some amendments to the law in the winter session of the state Assembly, likely to be held from November 25 to December 2.
Over 18,000 people have been sent to jail so far for violating prohibition laws since April 5 this year, when prohibition came into effect in the state, and several lakh litres of liquor were seized.
"Nitish Kumar now should apologise to the people of the state for implementing the draconian provisions of prohibition for which he has now appealed to the same people for suggestions," said BJP leader and Union minister of state Giriraj Singh.
Congress rubbishes talks of Bihar-like Grand Alliance
PATNA:MMNN: 2 Nov. 2016
Congress leader PL Punia on Wednesday rubbished talk of a Bihar-like "Grand Alliance" being formed in Uttar Pradesh, saying the Congress will fight all 403 seats.
"As far as the coalition is concerned, I am not in a position to say anything, but the message that we have received is that the Congress will fight elections from all 403 seats and we are making preparations for that."
Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor on Tuesday held a two hour long meeting with Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is trying t0 form an alliance of like-minded parties ahead of next year's assembly polls.
Kishor met the SP leaders last evening and apparently discussed the possibility of an alliance before poll dates are announced.
Yadav currently is struggling to resolve a power tussle between his son and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav, his younger brother. Mulayam Singh is said to favour such an alliance to counter the BJP and the BSP.
Bikers drag 15-year-old girl by her scarf, crush her to death
BIHAR:MMNN:26 Oct. 2016
A 15-year-old girl was killed by a group of three motorcycle-borne men who dragged her by her scarf before driving their vehicle over her in Bihar's Kaimur district, police said on Wednesday.
The police are yet to arrest anyone in the incident that occurred on Tuesday near Karjaon village on Hata-Durgawati main road in Kaimur district.
The Class 10 student from Fakarabad village was going to write her half-yearly examination along with three of other classmates when the incident occurred.
Sources said as one of the three men on the bike caught hold her 'dupatta' (long scarf) that got entangled around her neck she lost her balance and fell on the road. The motorcyclists dragged her for around 50 metres before returning to drive their bike over her, killing her on the spot.
The bikers, who lost balance and fell into a ditch, abandoned the motorcycle and fled as villagers rushed to the spot after hearing the cries of the other three girls.
Angry villagers blocked the main road with the girl's body demanding the arrest of the killers and also tried to set the bike on fire. Police said the motorbike was registered in the name of Brijesh Gupta.
The girl's father lodged an FIR against one Krishna Kumar Gond of Karjaon village and two of his unknown associates.
Assistant superintendent of police Jagunnath J Raddy said the accused was not at home when police reached there. Two police teams have been formed to conduct raids and nab the culprits.
Bihar police saves Delhi businessman's sons, arrests four for abduction
PATNA:MMNN: 26 Oct. 2016
Bihar Police on Wednesday rescued two sons of a Delhi businessman who were kidnapped from Patna airport on Friday. They also arrested four persons connected to the crime, police said.
"Police rescued both sons of a Delhi-based businessman - Suresh Sharma and Kapil Sharma. They were rescued from a village under Karja police station of Lakhisarai on Tuesday night," senior Superintendent of Police (SP) Manu Maharaj said.
The father, Babulal Sharma, deals in marble.
Majharaj said that the brothers, had arrived in Patna on business. They were kidnapped by Ranjit Don, alias Ranjit Mandal's gang. The kidnappers had demanded Rs 4 crore as ransom.
According to the police, Suresh and Kapil were allegedly invited to Bihar by Mandal for a business deal.
Mandal had earlier kidnapped a Haryana-based businessman for ransom but the police had managed to rescue him, also.
CM Nitish Kumar to start new public feedback programme in Bihar
BIHAR:MMNN:22 Oct. 2016
Having discontinued "Janata Darbar", the Bihar government is set to introduce a "Lok Samvad" programme in an effort to get public feedback and suggestions to help improve its different programmes.
The Bihar Cabinet Friday gave its nod to "Lok Samvad" under the Cabinet Secretariat department. It is set to start from December.
Cabinet Secretary Brajesh Mehrotra said under Lok Samvad, people will advise the government on its various programmes. "The idea is to incorporate public suggestions," he said.
Janata Darbar was stopped with the implementation of Public Grievances Redressal Act in June this year. "Lok Samvad would come in a different format, under which people can make suggestions on speedy implementation of welfare programmes," a government official said.
Sources said the new programme would be held Mondays, preferably on two or three Mondays a month, depending on CM Nitish Kumar's availability in Patna.
The opposition BJP, however, said Lok Samvad cannot replace Janata Darbar, which was held at all levels - from the level of the CM to the local police station SHO.
Factional fight of Bihar Congress comes to fore
PATNA:MMNN: 22 Oct. 2016
A factional fight within the Bihar Congress has surfaced over the birth anniversary celebrations of one of the party's tallest leaders and the state's first Chief Minister Sri Krishna Sinha.
Two separate functions were organised by two warring factions to celebrate Sinha's 129th birth anniversary. A big function was organised at SK Memorial Hall by former Union minister and senior party leader Akhilesh Prasad Singh who is at loggerheads with Bihar Congress chief Ashok Choudhary.
Another function was organised at Sadaqat Ashram, the party's state headquarters, which was presided over by Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Minister Awadhesh Kumar Singh. Choudhary, who is also a minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet, timed his visit to Dubai to participate in the 'Sir Sayyed Ahmad Day' functions organised by the alumni of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), reportedly to skip the programmes organised by the rival faction.
The factional fight was apparent from the fact that besides Choudhary, three other ministers from the Congress quota - Madan Mohan Jha, Abdul Jalil Mastan and Awdesh Kumar Singh - were present at the Patna Airport to receive senior party leaders such as CP Joshi, Meira Kumar, Shakeel Ahmad but skipped the function at SK Memorial Hall.
The supporters of the rival factions also reportedly jostled with each other at the airport to draw the attention of the senior Congress leaders. Media reports had highlighted how Choudhary had organised a conference of Dalits and Muslims recently at the same SK Memorial Hall where Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad was present.
Senior leaders though tried to keep the factional fight under wraps. While thanking Akhilesh Prasad Singh for organising the event, Congress national general secretary Shakeel Ahmad said certain elements wanted to make the members of the minority and majority communities fight each other. "There are people who want to make 15-18 per cent (minorities) people fight with the 80 per cent (majority) in the name of religion by distorting history," he said.
After Argument, Man Allegedly Sets Wife, 2 Children On Fire
DARBHANGA, BIHAR:MMNN:19 Oct. 2016
A man allegedly killed his wife and two children by setting them on fire in Bihar's Darbhanga district.
The incident took place in Teksar village. The man allegedly burnt his family after an altercation, police said today.
"The man, identified as Mohammad Haroon allegedly burnt his wife Rukhsana Khatun (22) and their two children, Zishan (4) and Ena (1), last night following a quarrel between him and his wife," Sub-Divisional Police Officer Dilnawaz Ahmed said.
The woman and children died on the spot, he said, adding that the bodies have been sent for post-mortem at Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital.
"The accused fled from the village after the incident," Mr Ahmed said, adding that "a murder case has been registered against Haroon by his wife's mother."
Mr Ahmed said that an investigation into the matter is currently under way.
Advisors to Bihar govt misusing posts: Sushil Kumar Modi
PATNA:MMNN: 19 Oct. 2016
Former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday alleged that the posts of advisors in Nitish Kumar government are being grossly misutilised.
Training his guns on Sudhir Kumar, advisor to minister in road construction department, Modi claimed that 90 road overbridges in Bihar are not getting constructed as Sudhir is adamant on construction of six railway overbridges (RoBs) in Saran parliamentary constituency, which has been represented by RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi.
Talking to mediapersons after his weekly janta darbar, Modi also claimed that the post of principal secretary in RCD is vacant from past six months in order to give maximum power to Sudhir as he takes all important decisions of the department.
"The advisor (Sudhir) even sits in the chamber of principal secretary and takes all important decisions. It is quite ironical that the post of principal secretary in an important department like RCD is vacant from past six months. Many competent and experienced IAS officers like R K Singh and Pratyaya Amrit have occupied that post and the department has done much progress in their regime," said Modi.
On the issue of delay in construction of RoBs, Modi said the Bihar government has approved construction of 53 RoBs on major district roads and state highways on cost sharing basis and ministry of railways has also approved 39 such proposals. "In doing so, railways excluded six RoBs - four in Chhapra and two in Vaishali - as there is not much vehicular movement at those level crossings. However, the advisor (Sudhir) is adamant on those six RoBs only. He has told the railways that until and unless those six RoBs are constructed, the state government would not entertain proposal for any new RoB in Bihar," Modi said.
He added that Sudhir and other advisors are doing "bossism" and CM Nitish Kumar should take steps to restrain them. "Would Nitish take actions to stop bossism by advisors in departments headed by RJD ministers?" Modi asked.
Apart from Sudhir, Modi also raised the issue of empanelment of poll strategist Prashant Kishore as advisor (policy and programme implementation) to Bihar government. "What advices has he (Prashant) given to Bihar government over the past nine months?" Modi asked.
He also took a dig at Nitish for not supporting triple talaq and uniform civil code. "The grand alliance is not going to sustain quite long and the fight is only for retaining 15% Muslim votes after the alliance breaks. Nitish could not gather the courage to speak against triple talaq even though it is a social stigma," said Modi.
Bihar town tense, Sec 144 imposed after violence over Durga Puja, Muharram processions
Patna:MMNN:12 Oct. 2016
Situation in Bihariganj town in Madehepura district of Bihar remains tense after clashes took place between two communities on Tuesday evening.
Section 144 CrPC has been imposed in the town after the clashes.
The clashes erupted after one community, which was carrying out a religious procession, was attacked by the other community leading to violent clashes.
Soon after the clashes took place, the police and district administration officials led by the District Majistrate Mohammad Sohail and Superintendent of Police Vikas Kumar reached the spot to quell the anger. However, they too had to face the wrath of the agitators.
Those who were stopped from carrying out the religious procession attacked the police vehicles and set the SDM's and DSP's vehicles on fire.
They first damaged the vehicles of the district officials and later torched them. The Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and Sub-Divisional Magistrate(SDM) had to run away from the spot to save their lives.
Thereafter, the local MP, Pappu Yadav reached the spot to control the situation.
SITUATION REMAINS TENSE
It was only by early morning today that the group carrying out the religious procession agreed to end their procession.
The situation in Madhepura, however, continues to remain tense.
Considering that the other community will be carrying out a religious procession today, massive police deployment has been put in place in Bihariganj.
The town has turned into a police camp in order to keep the situation under control.
Bihar: Bus carrying pilgrims overturns, three killed and 20 injured
PATNA:MMNN: 12 Oct. 2016
Three pilgrims, including two women,were killed and 20 others injured when a bus overturned near a village on NH-57 in Supaul district of Bihar Wednesday.
The incident took place when the private bus, in which the people returning to West Bengal from Ajmer Sharif, lost control and overturned near Saraigarh village, Bhaptiyahi police station in-charge Chandan Kumar said.
While a 70-year-old man, identified as Md. Ismail died on the spot, two unidentified women succumbed to injuries at Sadar Hospital, he said.
As many as 20 persons sustained injuries of whom eight were undergoing treatment at Sadar Hospital, Kumar said.
Bihar makes plea to allocate cheaper power to Bihar
Patna:MMNN:8 Oct. 2016
Bihar's energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav on Friday made a plea to the Centre to allocate cheaper power of equivalent quantum from central sector generating units of other region to Bihar to mitigate the shortage.
Addressing the state power ministers conference at Vadodara (Gujarat), Bihar minister said that the presently Bihar has an allotment of 2933 MW of central allocation. Out of the existing allocation on of 2933 MW from Central sector, the availability is about 2000-2100 MW.
"Due to discrepancy Bihar has suffered in getting appropriate allocation. In view of the exponential increase in demand of power, the present allocation is not adequate to mitigate the demand - supply requirement" minister said.
The minister made a request to the Centre to allocate 50% power also from Kahalgaon (stage-II). Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited has bagged the Aruna-3 hydel project in Nepal which is expected to be commissioned in 2016-17. Around 78% power (702 MW) will be available for India from the said project, which would be evacuated through 400 KV Double Circuit Dhalkebar -Muzaffarpur Transmission line from 400 KV Grid Sub station of Powergrid at Muzaffarpur, he said.
Bihar can conveniently avail power generated from Aruna-3 through the said transmission line network. "Therefore, it is requested to allocate 250 MW power to Bihar from Aruna Hydel Project. In the last power ministers conference too, Bihar had requested for the same," he said.
Bihar minister has also drawn attention of the Union power minister Piyush Goyal towards 2x250 MW Barauni Thermal Power Extension Project at a cost of Rs. 5308.3 crore, which is being executed by BHEL.
"The contractual completion schedule for the project has already expired in the month of July, 2014. The committed date of December 2016 has been again revised by BHEL for completion of Unit No 8 (2x250 MW) and presently it is March 2017 and June 2017. I would request you to direct BHEL to commission these units within committed time frame", minister said.
Welcoming the setting up of 4000 MW Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) at Kakwara in Banka district, he said 2440 acres of land has already been demarcated at Kakwara village and 120 cusecs of water allocation has been made by Bihar's water resources department.
The minister said that the formal allocation of coal block is still awaited. "I again request you to formally allocate the coal," he said and added that MoUs had been signed with NTPC and NHPC for setting up of greenfield Thermal Power projects at Kajra (Lakhisarai) and Pirpainti (Bhagalpur) respectively.
"MoU signed between NTPC In 2014 for two years has expired on February 2016. Bihar state power generating company limited (BSPGCL) has requested NTPC for their interest in the project for which reply is still awaited," minister said.
The minister made a request to the Centre to look into these issues. Meanwhile, a team of NTPC had visited Kajra site on April 2016 to explore the possibility of setting up Solar PV park of 250 MW.
Sushil Kumar alleges illicit sand mining, trade in Bihar
PATNA:MMNN: 8 Oct. 2016
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi today claimed that illicit sand mining and trade were going on in Bihar in connivance of the mining and transport departments with support from the police and drew attention of the state government on the violation of an NGT order banning such activities.
"There is illicit sand mining taking place from Sone river across a dozen districts in breach of the NGT (National Green Tribunal) ban on it... Hundreds of truck carrying sand make underhand payment of Rs 6000 on each vehicle to the local police to carry sand for illicit trade," he said in a statement.
Alleging patronage of "vested interests" in Bihar government, the former deputy chief minister said not only was the state losing precious revenue, but also the sand trade was continuing in violation of the NGT ban.
"How come the illicit sand mining and trade is possible without the traders enjoying patronage of the ruling parties with the transport and mining departments, besides the local police facilitating the sand trade?" he questioned.
Supreme Court admits Bihar govt's petition cancelling bail of rape accused RJD MLA
Patna:MMNN:5 Oct. 2016
The Supreme Court on Wednesday admitted a petition filed by the Bihar government, challenging the bail granted to RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav by the Patna High Court last week. Soon after Raj Ballabh was granted bail by the High Court, there was massive pressure building up on the state government to challenge his bail in the apex court.
ACCUSED SURRENDERED IN MARCH
Raj Ballabh Yadav is accused of raping a minor girl in February this year. After remaining absconding for almost one month, Yadav had surrendered in March before a CJM court in Bihar Sharif in Nalanda and was sent to jail. A speedy trial in this case is going on.
Last week, Yadav had filed for bail in the Patna High Court and he was granted the same.
Soon after the RJD MLA accused of rape was granted bail, the opposition had slammed the state government for not putting up facts against the RJD MLA in a strong manner before the Patna High Court, which enabled the rape accused MLA get bail.
BIHAR GOVERNMENT MOVED SC
After massive pressure from the Opposition, the state government had moved the Supreme Court for cancellation of Raj Ballabh Yadav's bail.
Slamming the state government, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had said the bail granted to the rape accused MLA was state-managed.
"I want to ask Nitish kumar as to why the state government did not tell the High Court that Raj Ballabh was not a law-abiding person and he should not be granted bail. Now that he has been granted bail, he will destroy evidence against him", said Sushil Modi.
NEXT DATE OF HEARING
The apex court today has scheduled 7th of October as the next date of hearing in this case.
17 crore trees planted to increase green cover in Bihar
PATNA:MMNN: 5 Oct. 2016
More than 17 crore trees have been planted in Bihar so far as part of efforts to achieve 15 per cent greenery by 2017, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said.
Bihar had launched the 'Hariyali Mission' in 2012 and fixed a target to plant 24 crore trees by 2017, Kumar said addressing a function at the Sanjay Gandhi botanical garden here on the occasion of wild life week.
He said more than 17 crore sapling have already been planted and exuded hope the target would be achieved before 2017.
The CM said the state government was providing free plants to citizens and also paying attention to protect these planted saplings.
Expressing a firm commitment to increase green coverage in the state, Kumar said we would not rest after achieving the 15 per cent targeted greenery by 2017, rather would enhance the target to 17 per cent.
Increased greenery would attract rain from cloud towards itself, he said talking about advantages of the green cover.
He said on an average Bihar receives 1,200 mm to 1,500 mm rain annually after the monsoon arrives in the state around June 2 to 12.
"But, in the past 11 years, except for three years, Bihar got less than 1,000 mm of rainfall," he said dispelling common belief that there was no shortage of water in the state.
Kumar said the imbalance of environment was causing a change in the state's weather pattern.
The CM stressed upon increase in awareness about wild lives among people and underlined the importance of maintaining environmental balance.
Why Patna high court shot down Bihar's prohibition law
Patna:MMNN:1 Oct. 2016
Is the right to drink alcohol a fundamental right?
The division bench of chief Justice Iqbal Ahmad Ansari and justice Navneeti Prasad Singh differed on this count while declaring Bihar's prohibition law illegal.
While Singh ruled in favour, Ansari differed, though the two judges were unanimous on all other points.
"The right to consume alcohol is not a constitutional right, and reasonable restrictions on consumption of alcohol, or complete prohibition on consumption of alcohol, can be imposed by the State in order to carry forward the goal set by the Constitution in the form of directive principles of state policy, but such implementation of the policy shall be in accordance with law and not in violation thereof," observed justice Ansari.
He dwelt at length on why he differed from his fellow judge on one count. "My learned brother has concluded that the right to bring alcohol within the confines of a person's house is his fundamental right and any intrusion thereto is violation of the right to privacy. I am in disagreement with it," observed justice Ansari, adding though justice Singh's answer was affirmative, it was not the reasons for the writ petitions filed by various parties to be allowed.
Citing Article 37 of the Constitution, which relates to application of the directive principles of the State policy, he observed: "The provisions contained in this Part shall not be enforceable by any court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws."
"It would mean that it is the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws and taking executive actions in terms of a defined policy or otherwise. Obviously, when the laws are made, they are not meant for being kept in statute books, but to be enforced. So, when the Legislature of a State makes the Directive Principles applicable in the governance of the State, one cannot be heard to complain that they are violating the fundamental rights".
What the order says
The division bench of the Patna high court, in its 142-page order dwelt on a whole range of issues while trying to give answers to every argument, before quashing the government's notifications.
It concluded that section 19(4) (enforcing total prohibition) of the Bihar Excise Act, 1915, as amended with effect from April 1, 2016 (passed by the State Legislatures on March 31, 2016), was ultra vires the Constitution and unenforceable.
"The impugned notification, dated April 5, 2016, issued by the state under section 19(4) of the amended Act is also ultra vires the Constitution and, consequently, unenforceable and the penal provisions of enhanced sentence and provision, with regard to confiscation of property, as introduced by the amendments on March 31, 2016, with effect from April 1, 2016, are also held to be ultra vires the Constitution," the bench observed.
Arrest on possession
The bench said that mere possession of liquor by an individual was not banned either by the Bihar Excise Act, 1915, or the April 5 notification. "If mere possession were to be so prohibited, it would give rise to serious problems. All persons, having legitimate stocks even for personal consumption, would on the next day ipso facto, become criminals, in violation of law, the Beverages Corporation included," it added.
The court also found the punishment as prescribed by the recent amendment to the act with effect from April 1, on all three counts, i.e., the personal punishments, both physical and monetary, punishment of confiscation of premises and punishment to the community, were quite unreasonable and draconian and cannot be justified in a civilized society.
"It may be justified in a Police State, which surely we are not. I would, therefore, declare the provisions, as aforesaid, to be ultra vires and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution," the order said.
Arrest during travel
Another aspect of unreasonableness of the effect of the notification is its application to various other aspects. "A person travelling by car or by train and traversing the territory of Bihar, he is caught in a predicament that he is going from a State, where there is no prohibition, and going to State, where there is no prohibition. He may be an army or defence personnel carrying his liquor ration or an ordinary citizen carrying his drink to his destination," the court said.
The court asked: " Neither of them consumed the same in this State; still they are to be persecuted and prosecuted. Why? Their only sin is that they chose or perforce traversed the territory of Bihar. Similar would be the case of liquor being transported from one State to another, but crossing through Bihar."
Right to privacy
It said that a citizen has a right to enjoy his liquor within the confines of his house in an orderly fashion and that right would be a part of right of privacy, a fundamental right, under Article 21 of the Constitution and, any deprivation thereof would have to withstand the test of Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution as well.
The court dealt with all the arguments given in favour of prohibition. "I may notice one argument by State. It submits no one has a right to eat poison. But, as the courts have held, what one eats is his personal affair and a right under Article 21; but that surely does not include right to eat poison. Liquor is not poison per se, it cannot be disputed. If what one eat is his right surely, what one drinks has to be treated similarly," the bench observed.
It said that in its opinion, "right to drink alcohol, like a responsible citizen, is a part of right to privacy included under Article 21 of the Constitution. It is not the case of the state nor any material placed on record that drinking alcohol per se as a responsible citizen is bad or injurious to health. It is abuse thereof that is injurious. On the plea of mere possibility of abuse by some persons, the right of others cannot be abrogated."
Not obligatory upon state
Citing Article 47 of the Constitution, the court said, "it does not mandate, in positive terms, making it obligatory upon the State to impose prohibition. The expression 'State shall endeavour' clearly leaves it to the State to decide whether to impose prohibition or not if so, when. If what was argued by the State, that it was a constitutional mandate to impose prohibition, is correct, then, by now, almost after 65 years of the Constitution, the entire country should have imposed prohibition, which has never happened. Can it be said that all the States are in violation of the constitutional mandate?"
Continuing further, the bench said, "The answer is obviously no. The second argument, canvassed by the State, was that once State decides to act pursuant to Article 47 of the Constitution, then, no citizen can claim any right, much less right under Part-III of the Constitution. If I have correctly understood the argument of the State, the submission would be that the directive principles, if sought to be implemented, would override the fundamental rights. The argument is noted only to be rejected."
Uri terror attack martyr Raj Kishore Singh cremated in Bihar
PATNA:MMNN: 1 Oct. 2016
Raj Kishore Singh, one of the soldiers injured in the September 18 Uri terror attack, was cremated on Saturday with full state honours in Bihar's Bhojpur district, a police official said.
Relatives and hundreds of people gathered in Raj Kishore's native village of Piprapati to witness the last rites.
"After his body was brought to Piprapati on Saturday morning, he was cremated," a district police official said. His body was first brought to Patna from Delhi on Friday.
Raj Kishore, 35, left behind his wife Kanchan Devi and two children, 12-year-old daughter, Sushani Kumari and 10-year-old son, Hemant Singh.
He was the son of a farmer and the youngest of three brothers.
Raj Kishore of the Bihar Regiment succumbed to his injuries on Friday at the Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi, where he was undergoing treatment after being injured in the attack.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced a compensation of Rs 11 lakh to the family.
Katju 'offering' Bihar to Pak. as 'package' with J&K draws flak
Patna:MMNN:28 Sept. 2016
The former Supreme Court Judge, Markandey Katju's comment on social media "offering" Kashmir to Pakistan on condition that it should take Bihar too, has drawn flak from various quarters.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy in the Cabinet, Tejaswi Yadav, on Tuesday questioned if Mr Katju had become the mai-baap (guardian) of Bihar and leaders of parties across political lines demanded an apology from him for "humiliating Bihar". Some demanded that he be booked for sedition.
Mr. Katju, known for his controversial remarks, later said the comment was made in a lighter vein and he respected Bihar and its people.
"Kuch log chapne ke liye ghar baithe hi bolte rehte hain...kya woh Bihar ke mai-baap ban gaye hain? [While sitting at home some people make comment for publicity... has he [Mr. Katju] become the guardian of Bihar]," asked Mr. Kumar while launching two of his seven resolves of providing drinking water and toilets to every household. He added that Bihar had a glorious past and no one could undermine the State.
Mr. Kumar's Deputy Tejaswi Yadav said, "Bihar may be lacking in resources but that did not give Katju a free hand to humiliate the State...Bihar has always shown the way to the country in good and bad times," he said on Twitter.
"This land has great courage and the will to fight against injustice. Bihar is the combination of courage, patience, might, mind, culture and spirituality", he tweeted further.
'Katju should apologise'
Leaders of the Congress, BJP and other smaller parties also reacted strongly and demanded that Mr. Katju apologise.
"Who has given Mr. Katju the right to make such an offer, even if it is in lighter vein, to Pakistan?...has he lost his senses," asked Sanjay Singh, a government employee - a view echoed by his colleagues.
Earlier on Sunday, Mr Katju had posted: "Pakistanis, let us end our dispute once and for all. We offer you Kashmir, but on the condition you also take Bihar. It is a package deal. You have to take the whole package, or none at all. Either you take both Kashmir and Bihar, or nothing. We will not give you Kashmir alone. Deal ?"
He added in the post: "P.S.: Atal Bihari Vajpayee had offered this deal to Musharraf at the Agra Summit, but he stupidly rejected it. Now the offer is coming again".
Few more Monsoon showers on cards for Bihar and Jharkhand
MMNN: 28 Sept. 2016
Bihar and Jharkhand have been receiving decent amount of rain since last two days. In fact, in last 24 hours also few scattered light to moderate showers have blessed the two states.
A trough is seen extending from Bihar to Andhra Pradesh across Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. In the wake of this weather system, both the states have managed to witness some light to moderate showers in last 24 hours.
As of now, it is predicted that rains over both Bihar and Jharkhand are likely to continue in scattered phase, mainly in light to moderate intensity for the next 24 hours as well. Thereafter, these rains will take a break and reduce gradually.
Moreover, the cyclonic circulation which is over Chhattisgarh and adjoining Odisha is expected to become less marked. Furthermore, the trough across East India is also likely to become insignificant.
Due to these weather system, only light spells are foreseen to appear over Bihar and Jharkhand. In the last 24 hours as well, only few light to scattered moderate spells were observed over parts of Bihar and Jharkhand.
In fact, Daltonganj in Jharkhand recorded heavy showers of 96.6 mm. Rainfall recorded in parts of Bihar in a span of 24 hours from 08:30 am on Tuesday include Gaya with 30.8 mm rains, Purnea 2.6 mm, Bhagalpur 2.1 mm, Chapra 22.8 mm, Motihari 2.6 mm and Patna recorded 24.5 mm of showers.
He dressed like a woman to run con-racket; Bihar Police stunned at his expertise
Patna:MMNN:24 Sept. 2016
Criminals are known to adopt various methods to survive and thrive. One such guile and audacity shown by a con-man in Bihar's capital, Patna has left city police in awe. This man changed his identity and ran a con-business in the heart of the capital city.
Born a male, Avinash alias Goldi dressed like a woman to run his multi-purpose racket. He adopted a new name, Monica. He wore a variety of saris, bindis, fashionable jewelries and applied glossy lipsticks to be what he wasn't- a woman.
Patna police have arrested Avinash aka Monica for running a fake document racket. But, police officials said that there could be more than what met the eyes. Investigation is underway.
POLICE GET A TIP OFF
Patna SSP Manu Maharaj said that police got a tip off about a person, who was running a racket Rani Ghat area of Mahendru in Patna. The informer also gave a photograph of the person to police, saying that 'she is actually a man and not a woman'. Police conducted a preliminary inquiry and found the information credible.
Clad in plain clothes, a team of Patna police raided Avinash's office and apprehended him. Police recovered five bottles of liquor, Rs 10,000 cash, a password protected computer, a colour printer, seals of government officials and several other documents.
Police also seized photographs of Avinash in which he was dressed as Monica wearing saris, suits and jewelries. Police found several video clips of homosexual pornography in his mobile phone.
Avinash ran a office as Monica to offer various services to his clients, who came from the city as well as distant villages. Avinash smuggled liquor and supplied it to his clients as government strictly imposed prohibition throughout the state.
His services included making of any identification card including Aadhar card and any certificate right from 10th class to graduation, post-graduation, diploma, B.Ed, JE, ITI or any other that his clients wanted. He charged according to the needs of the client, ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 20,000 for his services.
Avinash told the police that he was doing this 'business' for three years without facing any problem. Youths willing to go abroad were his target clients. While, police were busy verifying his claims and examining the documents recovered from him, they sealed his office.
HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN
Avinash told Patna police that he got the idea of changing his identity from a man to a woman to run this racket during a pilgrimage to Tirupati Balaji. At this temple in Andhra Pradesh, he saw men offering prayers in the guise of women, police said.
Police said that he was very impressed with those men as they had a world of their own. He picked up this idea to run his racket, police said.
Avinash also had a fake facebook account in the name of Monica Kumari. Police are trying to ascertain as to whether Avinash dressed like a woman to defraud his clients or he is a transvestite.
Avinash has three brothers- all of them are bachelors. Police said that he disappeared some three years ago, but when he came back, he was a changed man. He began his fraudulent practice around the same time.
SC directs CBI to probe Shahabuddin and Bihar police to protect Rajdev Ranjan's kin
MMNN: 24 Sept. 2016
CBI was on Friday directed to proceed with its probe into the murder of journalist Rajdev Ranjan by the Supreme Court which asked the Bihar police to provide protection to his family that has claimed threat to life from controversial RJD leader Shahabuddin.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan also sought the response of Shahabuddin, Bihar's health minister and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad's son Tej Pratap Yadav and Bihar government on a petition by Ranjan's wife who has also sought transfer of the case from Siwan in Bihar to Delhi.
The RJD chief's son was seen in a photograph published in newspapers with one of the two sharp shooters of alleged gangster Shahabuddin.
"In view of that, we direct that the CBI may proceed with the investigation but not finalise it and shall file the status report before this Court on 17 October," the bench said, adding "Superintendent of Police, Siwan district, shall provide police protection to the petitioner and her family."
The counsel for Ranjan's wife Asha Ranjan claimed before the bench that CBI has not even started its probe into the case due to "political influence" and "fear of Shahabuddin" as the state machinery was protecting the history sheeter, against whom there were 58 criminal cases according to Bihar government's 2014 affidavit in the apex court.
When the counsel said the case should be transferred to Delhi, the bench said "CBI shall continue the investigation there. Eventually, after hearing them, we may consider whether to transfer the case. There is no trial as of now. Let them investigate."
The counsel told the court that five persons were arrested by Bihar Police in connection with the case, but the two alleged sharp shooters of Shahabuddin were not.
"CBI did not dare to take up the investigation in the case due to fear of Shahabuddin. Two sharp shooters, Mohammad Kaif and Mohammad Javed, were seen with Shahabuddin and Health Minister
of Bihar Tej Pratap Yadav. Entire state machinery is protecting Shahabuddin," he alleged. Kaif surrendered before a Siwan court two days ago.
He said that Rajdev, a journalist, had written various stories about the "criminal deeds" of Shahabuddin and after RJD-JD(U) alliance came to power in Bihar, he was shot dead.
"Terror of Shahabuddin was so high that even the trial judge, who had convicted him in one of the case, has requested for transfer from Siwan to Patna," he alleged while seeking transfer of the case from Siwan to Delhi.
Reacting to the apex court's notice, Tej Pratap on Friday said in Patna that similar notices should have been issued against BJP leaders also whose photographs had appeared with a suspect in the case and other criminals.
Asha's counsel Kislay Panday also said an FIR should be registered against Shahabuddin and Tej Pratap for allegedly "harbouring and sheltering" Kaif and Javed, who were declared as proclaimed offenders in the case in which "hapless and helpless widow" ran from pillar to post for justice.
He said Kaif has surrendered before the police but Javed has not been arrested so far.
Panday said that Asha and two children of the slain journalist have been compelled to live in constant fear after Shahabuddin was released from Jail.
If the probe and trial of the case was conducted in Bihar, Shahabuddin and others would "terrorise the witnesses" due to which they would not get any justice, he contended.
In its order, the bench referred to submissions advanced by the counsel which said, "criminalisation of politics have been heavily commented upon and deprecated by this court in many a decision...and case at hand depicts a disturbing affair in that regard, for Shahabuddin and Tej Pratap, though (they) hold party position and position in the political executive, yet do not even think for a moment before associating themselves with such kind of anti-social elements and, in fact, sometimes render assistance."
The bench said "on perusal of the petition, it is prima facie discernible that the petitioner who lives with two small children, after losing her husband and the developments that have taken place in District Siwan, is in a state of continuous fear."
"It has been said that courage is the mother of all virtues and a man with courage can always sustain his or her dignity. But, sometimes, situations are created by certain powerful protagonists which instill fear in the mind of a citizen and that fear has the potentiality to usher in atrophy to the sense of dignity.
"It is also asserted in the petition that in the obtaining fact situation, this Court may direct for giving her protection by the competent authority failing which it is difficult to fathom, what kind of danger shall visit her," the bench noted.
Bihar raises ex-gratia payment to soldiers' family to Rs 11 lakh after criticism on social media
Patna:MMNN:21 Sept. 2016
Bihar government on Tuesday raised the ex-gratia payment to nearest kin of each Bihari martyred soldiers to Rs 11 lakh from previously announced Rs 5 lakh, after widespread criticism on social media.
State's Principal Secretary (Information & Public Relations) Brajesh Mehrotra said, the state government would now make ex-gratia payment of Rs 11 lakh, instead of Rs 5 lakh, to the next kin of three Bihari soldiers who lost their lives in Uri terror attacks.
Earlier on Monday, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs five lakh to the next kin of each Bihari soldiers. Nitish's announcement led to widespread criticism on social media also because states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 20 lakh, Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, respectively, for their martyred soldiers.
"Just Rs 5 Lakh? Such amount would have been spent on celebrations after release of Shahabuddin, Pl keep it" said one Anamika Singh in a stinging remark that went viral on social media like Facebook and WhatsApp on Monday.
"Rs 4 Lakh compensation to those who die after consuming illicit liquor and Rs 5 lakh for sacrificing life for the nation?" asked another post of Facebook.
Stung by criticism on social media, the state government faced another embarrassment on Tuesday morning after Sangita Singh, wife of Bhojpur district's martyr Ashok Kumar Singh, while refusing to accept Rs 5 lakh, said that Bihar government has announced ex-gratia like a beggar.
"Hamara Pati Koi Sharab Piker Ya Nali Me Girkar Nahi Mara Hai. Humko Nahi Chahiye Yeh Paisa. Sarkar Apne Pass Rakhe (My husband has died not either due to consuming liquor or falling in drain. I do not want to accept this money. State government should keep it)," she told media persons at her village.
Liquor ban has totally failed in Bihar, claims Sushil Modi
MMNN: 21 Sept. 2016
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday claimed that the enforcement of liquor ban had totally failed in Bihar and blamed the Nitish Kumar government for lacking the will to do so despite enjoying support of the people and the opposition parties on the issue.
"The liquor ban has totally failed in Bihar as far as its enforcement is concerned....at its best, the State government had succeeded by only 50 per cent in enforcing liquor at the best of times, but now it can be measured at 30 per cent as the raids and seizures has reduced drastically," he told reporters.
Putting the blame on the doorsteps of the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for "total failure" of liquor ban in Bihar, Mr. Modi said the state government succumbed to pressure from various quarters on enforcement of the stringent provisions of the excise act.
The senior BJP leader said that the Grand Alliance government gave in to pressure by the police union to withdraw its decision on denial of promotion and posting to the police officers at police stations over failure to enforce prohibition in their respective jurisdiction.
The State government was also brought on backfoot by the people who refused to pay collective fine in districts like Aurangabad, Gaya, Nalanda, Khagaria, West Champaran, Gopalganj and Saran in the wake of death of more than 50 people due to consumption of illicit liquor, Modi, a former deputy chief minister alleged.
The episode related to the JD(U)'s Harnaut block president's arrest in Nalanda district after alleged seizure of liquor bottles from his house and the reported pressure applied by the ruling party on the district administration to give the former a clean chit further dented effective enforcement of prohibition, the senior BJP leader claimed It was due to the state government's meddling into functioning of the state government in the enforcement of liquor ban that prompted the then Principal Secretary (Excise) K. K. Pathak to proceed on leave to protest against arrest of two of his officers for booking the JD(U) block president, Mr. Modi said.
"Even at the best of times under Mr. Pathak's supervision, the enforcement of prohibition stood at 50 per cent," he said, adding that now that the charge of excise department had been given to the already burdened Home Secretary Amir Subhani the liqour ban was bound to fail alarmingly.
Mr. Modi also took potshot at the Chief Minister for visiting the BJP-ruled States to seek liquor ban and said that he had so far not visited any Congress-ruled States for the same purpose.
Issue not raised
The senior BJP leader criticised the Chief Minister for allegedly not raising the smuggling of liquor from porous border with Nepal during his meeting with the visiting Prime Minister Prachanda in New Delhi recently to seek the latter's support in enforcement of prohibition in Bihar.
With liquor ban gasping for breath in Bihar, Modi alleged that the State government had made expenditure of Rs. 600 crore for purchase of equipment like baggage scanner, digital locater, trolley fitted with liquor analysis kit, E-Ray-based full body truck scanner for strict enforcement of prohibition.
In addition, the State government proposed to recruit 1000 police officers and constables, 2000 jawans in Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) and about 900 posts in excise department, the former deputy chief minister said, but rued that the liquor ban had not brought desired result so far due to ineffective enforcement thus far.
RJD MLA's Son Allegedly Stabs Youth for 'Refusing' to Let Him Overtake
Patna:MMNN:17 Sept. 2016
In a shocking incident of road rage in Bihar, Kunal Pratap son of a senior RJD MLA Birendra Sinha reportedly stabbed a youth for 'refusing' to let him overtake his car at Obra in Aurangabad district on Friday.
The victim identified as Pintu was rushed to a government hospital in Patna with multiple stab injuries. His condition is stated be critical.
Speaking to CNN-News18, RJD MLA Birendra Sinha rubbished all the charges against his son. He said, "My son was not involved in any stabbing incident. The youth slashed himself with a blade and now blaming my son Kunal for the injuries."
He said, "This is a political conspiracy to malign my image. I am confident that my son is innocent and let the police investigate the matter properly. Things will be clear soon."
Meanwhile, the incident sent ripples across the political fraternity in Bihar as opposition leaders termed the incident as return of 'Jungle Raj'. They also demanded stern action against Kunal.
Police sources said, the alleged accused was detained on Friday night for further examination. On Saturday morning a large number of the RJD supporters gathered at a police station in Obra reportedly to build a pressure to release RJD MLA's son Kunal.
The incident took place months after JDU legislator Manorama Devi's son Rocky Yadav shot dead a youth Aditya in Gaya for overtaking his care on May 7. Rocky intercepted his car killed him with his Italy-made Baretta pistol for his "audacity" to overtake his vehicle. He was later arrested from his hideout by the Bihar Police.
Bihar records light Monsoon rain, to intensify further
MMNN: 17 Sept. 2016
Bihar has been recording scattered light Monsoon rains for the last few days and last 24 hours were no different. Now as we proceed further, the intensity of rains is all set to increase over the eastern state.
According to Skymet Weather, a cyclonic circulation is prevailing over Vidarbha and adjoining region. Due to this, humid easterly and southeasterly winds are blowing over Bihar from Bay of Bengal.
In wake of this, we can expect light to moderate rain and thundershowers over several parts of the state. The activity is likely to continue for at least next 2-3 days. However, intensity of rain will be more over North Bihar that is located in the foothills of Himalayas as compared to the rest of the regions.
The reason behind this is the fact that when moist winds travel up to northern region of the state, they get obstructed with the hills. This makes North Bihar more prone to the rain activity than other areas.
Ever since the beginning of the Southwest Monsoon, Bihar has been rain deficient. In fact, it is the most deficit pocket in East India.
As on September 16, the cumulative seasonal rainfall deficiency for the rain stands at 12%. With some rains in offing, we can expect the situation to improve up to some extent and we could register a drop in the rainfall deficiency.
Bihar likely to move Supreme Court against Shahabuddin's bail
Patna:MMNN:14 Sept. 2016
Facing opposition flak, the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government is likely to challenge the bail granted to former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin in the Supreme Court soon, officials said on Wednesday.
"The state government has decided to appeal against the Patna High Court bail to Shahabuddin in the apex court," an official said.
A ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader close to Nitish Kumar said the decision was taken in the wake of protests by opposition over the release of Shahabuddin.
He also dispelled talk of the government having been "soft on Shahabuddin, who was released from jail after 11 years.
"It is wrong and baseless to say that the state government was soft on Shahabuddin. His release is part of a judicial process, politics has nothing to do with it," he said.
Shahabuddin, who was released from on bail four days ago in connection with the murder of a witness in the killing of two brothers in Siwan, said on Tuesday that whatever action the Bihar government wants to take, including invoking the Crime Control Act (CCA) against him, he will live in his own style.
"Sarkar agar CCA lagana chahti hai to lagaye, lekin mai apne tarike se jeeta hun (If government wants to invoke CCA against me, it can but I will live as per my style)," Shahabuddin told the media while meeting his supporters.
The opposition BJP has demanded that CCA be slapped against the former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP.
Sunil Hitech gains 6% on order win from Bihar government
MMNN: 14 Sept. 2016
Shares of Sunil Hitech Engineers surged 6.5 percent intraday Wednesday as it has received an order worth Rs 415 crore from Bihar State Housing Board under government of Bihar.
The said order includes construction of 1054 flats on 16.50 acres of land at Dalpatpur in the state of Bihar including complete infrastructure development.
The project comprises 23 high rise multistory residential towers in the RCC framed structure with A class specification and amenities.
Sunil Gutte, MD of Sunil Hitech said, "With this order, we have taken a firm step forward towards huge potential coming up under mass and affordable housing schemes announced by the central government throughout the country."
"The total unexecuted order book as on date is Rs 3429.57 crore and expecting orders of Rs 2500 crore during FY 2016-17," he added.
At 14:26 hrs Sunil Hitech Engineers was quoting at Rs 282.00, up Rs 12.20, or 4.52 percent on the BSE.
3 More Killed In Bihar Floods As Number Of Deaths Rises To 216
Patna:MMNN:10 Sept. 2016
Three more deaths were reported today from Bihar where receding waters are laying bare the trail of destruction caused by floods.
The number of deaths in Bihar floods increased to 216 though the situation appears to be easing with majority of rivers, including the Ganga now flowing below danger marks. The three fresh deaths were reported from Saran district, a Disaster Management Department statement said.
Officials said five concrete houses have collapsed, while 466 homes were washed away and 2,774 huts destroyed by the surging waters.
A total 135 cattle have died so far while assessment of damage to agricultural lands and crops is on.
The floods that have affected 40.60 lakh people in 2,210 villages in 12 districts, have forced shifting of 3.95 lakh people.
The government has deployed 3,082 boats for evacuation, while national and state disaster response forces teams are working in the affected districts.
According to Water Resources Department, Punpun river at Sripalpur in Patna, Kamlabalan river at Jhanjharpur and Kosi river at Baltara in Khagaria district were flowing above danger level.
But other rivers, including the Ganga, were flowing below the danger mark, the release said.
Meanwhile, light to moderate rainfall occurred at a few places in the state and heavy rainfall was recorded at one or two places in Lakhisarai and Begusarai districts.
In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, light to moderate rains and thundershowers occurred at isolated places where Meja received 3 cm of rainfall while Marihau, Varanasi and Moth 1 cm each.
Meanwhile, the weatherman today forecast cloudy weather with rainfall in the sub-Himalayan districts of West Bengal tomorrow.
Kolkata received little rainfall during the day and its maximum temperature during the day was 31.9 degrees Celsius.
RJD strongman Shahbuddin walks out of jail after 11 years; supporters celebrate release
MMNN: 10 Sept. 2016
Bihar strongman and controversial RJD leader Mohammad Shahbuddin on Saturday walked out of jail after Patna High Court granted him bail in a case of murder of a witness in the killing of two brothers in Siwan by bathing them in acid.
Shahabuddin's supporters, including RJD legislators and former ministers, accorded him a grand welcome on his release from Bhagalpur jail.
"We all know I was framed. But it was Court who jailed me, and now the Court has released me," he said.
The gangster turned politician said that he would not try changing his image as people have accepted him the way he is for 26 years.
"My release has got nothing to do with politics, judiciary has its own procedures. People have accepted me the way I am for 26 years. I have not attended any meeting for over ten years but still scores of supporters have converged here to welcome me. Why would I change my image?" he added.
Shahabuddin has already got bail from the high court in the case related to the murder of the brothers, Girish Raj and Satish Raj.
The RJD leader, who has been a four-term MP from Siwan, faces around 40 criminal cases lodged against him of which a dozen are in trial stage.
At present lodged in Bhagalpur central jail, Shahabuddin "will be now a free man", said his counsel Y.V. Giri.
Shahabuddin has been in jail since November 2005 after he was arrested from his official MP's residence in New Delhi by a joint team of Bihar and Delhi police. The process for the release of Shahabuddin will take three to four days, said legal sources.
Justice Sharma, who granted bail to Shahabuddin on Wednesday, had, on February 3 this year, rejected his bail application in the same case.
Shahabuddin was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2015 by a Siwan court in connection with the kidnapping-cum-murder of brothers Girish and Satish, who were doused in acid.
The case had hit the headlines in August 2004 when Girish, Satish and their third brother Rajiv Roshan - sons of Siwan businessman Chandra Keshwar Prasad - were picked up by the henchmen of Shahabuddin and taken to his native village Pratappur, where they were given an acid bath. Girish and Satish died. Rajiv, who witnessed the killings, however, managed to escape. Soon after the murder, the mother of the youths Kalawati Devi registered a case with the local police, charging Shahabuddin and his men with killing her sons.
The incident had created a furore as Shahabuddin was in jail when the murder took place, a contention raised by counsel Giri during the hearing of the case.
The lone surviving brother, Rajiv, who appeared before the lower court in Siwan as an eyewitness in the case, was killed by unidentified assailants on June 16, 2015. Shahabuddin and his son Osama were made accused in the case. They were charged with hatching a conspiracy to eliminate Rajiv.
On March 2 this year, the high court division bench of Justice Anjana Prakash and Justice Rajendra Kumar Mishra granted bail to Shahabuddin in connection with the killing of Girish and Satish. Shahabuddin's counsel Giri had argued that the name of his client was added in the murder case after 62 months of the incident and pleaded his non-involvement in the case.
The former MP has been languishing in jail for the last 11 years in connection with various cases, including murder, kidnapping, theft, violation of the foreign exchange Act and treason.
In the last 10 years, Shahabuddin was twice transferred out of Siwan jail, for a few months each time, to the Bhagalpur and Gaya jails. He was convicted for the first time on May 8, 2007, on charges of abduction and killing of CPI(ML) worker Chhote Lal Gupta in February 1999.
Shahabuddin's name, most notoriously, figured in the murder of former JNU president Chandrashekhar, who was shot dead in Siwan on March 31, 1997. He was earlier granted bail for illegal possession of mobile phones and related equipment in jail by a Siwan court.
During the Lalu Prasad-Rabri Devi era, Shahabuddin ran a parallel administration in Siwan right from the 1990s till 2005 when President's rule was clamped in Bihar. The district gained notoriety not only for murders and abductions, but also for the iron hand Shahabuddin had used to deal with his political opponents and foes. Not a single poster of any Opposition leader was visible when he contested elections. He decided the fees doctors would charge from patients. He would hold Kangaroo courts to decide disputes in Siwan. He was charged with opening fire on the SP of Siwan. The Bihar and UP police fought a gunbattle with him and his men in his native village, leading to the death of 10 persons, including two policemen.
Bihar: Liquor smuggled in empty gas cylinders
Patna:MMNN:7 Sept. 2016
Nawada police has arrested two persons for smuggling liquor into Bihar. Both the arrested persons have admitted that they were involved in smuggling of liquor.
They used to procure liquor from Jharkhand and smuggle into Bihar.
What is very interesting is the modus operandi which they implemented to smuggle liquor.
They used a empty gas cylinder for smuggling. They had cut the base of the gas cylinder and created a cavity.
They used to hide country-made liquor pouches inside the cylinder and carry it on a bicycle making it appear normal, like people transporting cylinders of a bicycle.
Bihar flood toll rises to 205, Ganga receding
MMNN: 7 Sept. 2016
Toll in Bihar floods rose to 205 with a fresh death reported today even as the situation appeared to be easing with the water level of swollen Ganga flowing below the danger mark.
The lone death has been reported from Samastipur district, a Disaster Management Department statement said.
According to the Water Resources Department, for the first time in a fortnight the water level of Ganga is flowing below danger mark today in all the seven places where it is monitored in Bihar.
The water level of the river receded in Kahalgaon for the first time today though at Digha ghat, Gandhi ghat and Hathidah in Patna district and Buxar, Munger and Bhagalpur it had receded a couple of days ago.
The rivers still flowing above the danger mark included Kamlabalan at Jhanjharpur and Kosi at Baltara in Khagaria district, the statement said.
The flood has affected 40 lakh people in 2,189 villages of 613 panchayats of 79 blocks in 12 districts, the Water Resources Deaprtment said.
About 3.17 lakh people have been evacuated from the flood-hit Buxar, Bhojpur, Patna, Vaishali, Saran, Begusarai, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Khagaria, Munger, Bhagalpur and Katihar districts, the statement said.
The government has deployed 2,973 boats for evacuation while national and state disaster response forces have already been deployed in the affected districts.
With flood situation easing, the numbers of relief camps have reduced to 378 from 652 that were being run till yesterday.
Around 1.98 lakh people have taken shelter in the 378 camps, which are being provided medical services by 589 teams.
A total of 210 camps are being operated for cattle affected by flooding of households. 86 cattle have died so far in the floods.
Bihar to issue bonds of Rs 777cr under UDAY scheme on Tuesday
Patna:MMNN:3 Sept. 2016
Bihar will issue bonds worth over Rs 777 crore on Tuesday under UDAY scheme for discoms, introduced by the government to bail out loss making power utilities in the country.
"Bihar government proposes to issue special securities of a notified amount of Rs 777.26 crore, under the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana Scheme (UDAY)," RBI said in a notification.
RBI has asked the eligible market participants interested in subscribing to these special securities between 10:30am to 12 Noon on September 6. "Allotment of securities and settlement will take place on September 7, 2016," it added.
The terms and conditions of the issuance are as under: The bonds will have a face value of Rs 100 and the minimum size of the bid has been fixed at Rs 100 crore.
RBI reserves the right to accept or reject any/all bids at its sole discretion. Power Ministry in November 2015 had issued memorandum on UDAY for operational and financial turnaround of power distribution companies (discoms).
Ex-Armymen protest liquor ban in Bihar
MMNN: 3 Sept. 2016
Thousands of ex-Army men on Friday took out a protest march from Danapur cantonment to Patna against the ban on liquor for them and submitted a memorandum to the Governor.
Under the amended state excise and prohibition law altogether 70 Army personnel, including officers, have been sent to jail during the last four months. In all, altogether 13,839 people have been arrested and sent to jail in the State since April 5 to August 31.
The police stopped the march a few yards from the Raj Bhavan but, later, a five-member delegation of the Ex-Servicemen League went up and submitted their memorandum there. "We've been assured action in 15 days by the Raj Bhavan... if nothing happens all the Army personnel in the State will take out an unprecedented protest march and fill the historic Gandhi Maidan," N.K. Singh, president of the league told The Hindu. Governor Ram Nath Kovind, however, is yet to give assent to the new "feared and draconian" Excise and Prohibition Act, 2016.
The mood at the protest march was volatile. "This is a fight for our right...liquor is medicine for us and according to Army rule 32/84 we get a certain quota of liquor from the Ministry of Defence...how can someone, all of a sudden, decide to stop this quota for us", added Mr. Singh.
He also said that he was in favour of a ban on liquor but "sharab sharabiyon ke liye ban hona chahiye, na ki faujiyon ke liye (liquor should be banned for those who have become addicts, not for the Army personnel)." According to a young member of the League, Jay Prakash Singh, altogether 70 Army personnel, both serving and retired, have been arrested and sent to jail between April and August for "violating" the amended State excise law.
"Among those arrested were some of the officers home on vacation with the allotted quota of liquor...this is dictatorship...when the Army is providing liquor to us what business has the Bihar government to arrest us?", asked Mr. Jay Prakash Singh.
"Ever since prohibition was imposed supply of liquor has been stopped at four canteens in the Cantonment," said S.K. Sinha who retired as Junior Warrant Officer.