Monday, May 02, 2016

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Uttarakhand forest fires may be man-made: JavadekarSmoke rises from a forest fire in Yamkeshwa, Pauri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand, on Sunday. PTI photo

Uttarakhand forest fires may be man-made: Javadekar

02 May 2016 | 3:45 PM

NEW DELHI: Uttarakhand forest fires could be a man-made disaster, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday, as the National Disaster Response Force claimed that the inferno had been put out in more than 70 per cent of the affected areas. Four people have been arrested in connection with the fires.

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New Delhi, May 1

Uttarakhand forest fires could be a man-made disaster, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday, as the National Disaster Response Force claimed that the inferno had been put out in more than 70 per cent of the affected areas.

Four people have been arrested in connection with the fires.

Latest satellite imageries of Uttarakhand have reported that the forest fire has gone out in over 70 per cent of the affected areas, said NDRF.

"We have been informed that fresh images from satellite has shown that the effective area under fire in Uttarakhand has come down to 110-115 locations from the earlier about 427."

"It is expected that these figures will be brought down to 50-60 in the next few days by the combined forces fighting to douse the jungle fire," NDRF Director General OP Singh said.

He said the images from the sky were taken on April 29-30 and this has now given hope to all the agencies combating the fire that it will be contained soon. 

The Director General said the NDRF men are also working to save animals that could have been trapped in the blazing fire.

A squad of over 135 personnel of this special force are deployed in Uttarakhand as part of multiple firefighting teams to combat the raging fire in the jungles of Uttarakhand that have destroyed about 2,269 hectares of jungles in several districts and claimed at least seven lives till now.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have spread out in 13 affected areas of three districts of Pauri Garhwal, Almora and Chamoli with fire fighting equipment to tackle the massive blaze.

"Our teams are working in 13 sectors in coordination with the officials and personnel of the state fire and forest department. The teams have been instructed to adopt the conventional method of cutting the fire line and containing the fire.

"We are using fire beaters and green bushes to cut the fire from spreading. About 135 personnel as part of multiple teams are working in Uttarakhand at present," Singh said.

He said in Chamoli the NDRF is working in Pakhi and Gopeshwar areas, while in Almora the teams are working in areas like Binsar, Someshwar, Bikisen, Siplakhet and Dhauladevi.

Each team is covering an area of 8-10 sq km, he said, adding, additional NDRF teams have been kept on standby at its camp in Ghaziabad.

The force also saved a house from getting engulfed in the fire in the hilly jungle area of Mehlchori in Pauri district in which a family of four members lived.

Singh said he is in constant touch with his team leaders working in the state.

'No need to panic'

"The state administration is on the job. I reviewed the situation last night and authorities have told me that things are normal and under control," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said during Zero Hour after the issue was raised by Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress, Jagdambika Pal (BJP) and several other members.

He said National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel and choppers have been deployed and the fire has been brought under control.

"But there is no confirmation from the local authorities of any casualty due to the fires," the minister said. — Agencies/ TNS

Cong presses PM for reply on KG Basin, disrupts RS

Cong presses PM for reply on KG Basin, disrupts RS

02 May 2016 | 3:54 PM

NEW DELHI: Opposition Congress forced repeated adjournments in Rajya Sabha in the pre-noon session on Monday demanding a response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India pointing to anamolies in Gujarat's KG Basin gas project.

TMC MP raises chopper issue in RS, asked to withdraw from House

02 May 2016 | 3:35 PM

NEW DELHI: A Parliamentarian of the Trinamool Congress raised the AgustaWestland helicopter scam in Rajya Sabha on Monday and was asked to leave the House when he persisted even after his notice was rejected.

CBI questions former IAF chief SP Tyagi

CBI questions former IAF chief SP Tyagi

02 May 2016 | 3:40 PM

NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) questioned former IAF chief SP Tyagi on Monday in connection with alleged corruption in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

SC appoints committee to oversee MCI’s admission process

SC appoints committee to oversee MCI’s admission process

02 May 2016 | 12:10 PM

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday set up a three-member committee that will oversee the counselling and admissions under the Medical Council of India until Parliament enacts a law empowering the medical regulatory body to conduct them on their own.

Diesel taxi drivers protest, block traffic

Diesel taxi drivers protest, block traffic

02 May 2016 | 2:00 PM

NEW DELHI: The city groaned under traffic woes today as hundreds of cab drivers blocked National Highway 8 and ring road, protesting against action by enforcement agencies following the Supreme Court's decision to ban diesel taxis in Delhi.

Wary of China's Indian Ocean activities, US, India discuss anti-submarine warfare

Wary of China's Indian Ocean activities, US, India discuss anti-submarine warfare

02 May 2016 | 10:15 AM

NEW DELHI/HONG KONG: India and the United States are in talks to help each other track submarines in the Indian Ocean, military officials say, a move that could further tighten defense ties between New Delhi and Washington as China steps up its undersea activities.

Rs 14-crore robbery in Chandigarh

Rs 14-crore robbery in Chandigarh

02 May 2016 | 2:06 AM

CHANDIGARH: In the biggest-ever heist in the city, a jewellery shop in the busy Sector 17 was robbed of diamond and gold ornaments worth Rs 14 crore besides Rs 10 lakh in cash.

Mediating in marital dispute, man killed

02 May 2016 | 1:42 AM

LUDHIANA: Playing mediator in a marital dispute proved fatal for Vidhi Chand (50), a BJP activist who headed the party’s Scheduled Caste Mandal.

Dad died in Kargil, Gurmehar wants to make peace

Dad died in Kargil, Gurmehar wants to make peace

02 May 2016 | 9:16 AM

Chandigarh/Jalandhar: Jalandhar teenager Gurmehar Kaur was just two when she lost her father, Captain Mandeep Singh, who made the supreme sacrifice during the 1999 Kargil war. Now, she is telling her story through a four-minute video on YouTube, but without uttering a word.

India, NZ ink deal for direct flights

02 May 2016 | 1:42 AM

Auckland: India and New Zealand today signed a deal that opens the door for direct flights between the two countries that could boost tourism and trade sectors.

Marking presence, but absence countsPanchayati miraj

Marking presence, but absence counts

02 May 2016 | 1:42 AM

Hisar: Three months after Haryana’s only all-women panchayat in Bhiwani Rohilla was unanimously chosen, the reins are back in the hands of men while all talk of women empowerment has been reduced to mere lip service. The men of the village have no qualms admitting that and the women have no problem toeing this line.

Comic-in-chief Obama steals show

Comic-in-chief Obama steals show

02 May 2016 | 1:42 AM

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama cracked jokes on himself, mocked journalists and lampooned Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in his final outing as comic-in-chief at the star-studded White House correspondents’ dinner today, ending his gig by dropping the mic and saying: “Obama out”.

Former Jan Sangh president Balraj Madhok passes away

02 May 2016 | 3:22 PM

NEW DELHI: Former president of Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS) and veteran RSS leader Balraj Madhok died on Monday. He was 96.

Nothing ideal about Adarsh

Prosecute colluders, take care of Kargil widows

The suicides at Barnala

An arhtiya-police nexus surfaces

The little red dot

Hindutva vs Hinduism

Hindutva vs Hinduism

Nayantara Sahgal

Now more than ever Gandhi should be relevant

Agrarian crisis needs long-term solutions

Manjit S. Kang

The agrarian crisis in Punjab cannot be tackled if the governments continue to entrust those who are responsible for creating the problems in the first place with finding solutions. Many are ready to take credit for the "Green Revolution," but no one comes forward to accept the blame for erroneous policies. A visionary plan is needed.

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Pistol on my face, didn’t want to risk my life: Jewel shop owner

Pistol on my face, didn’t want to risk my life: Jewel shop owner

02 May 2016 | 1:29 AM

CHANDIGARH: “He was pointing a pistol at my face, I couldn’t even move. I forgot about the jewellery and did what he asked me to do,” said Vinod Verma, one of the partners of Forever Diamonds, Sector 17-C, where a Rs 14 crore daylight robbery at gunpoint was reported today.


To fund state projects, PUDA to take another Rs 500-cr loan

02 May 2016 | 1:16 AM

CHANDIGARH: To fund developmental projects in the state, Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) is now arranging a loan of Rs 500 crore from financial institutions.


Credit war over Rocky’s killing

02 May 2016 | 1:21 AM

FAZILKA: A day after the killing of 39-year-old gangster-turned-politician Jaswinder Singh Bhullar “Rocky” of Fazilka, near Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh, different groups have claimed the responsibility of killing the gangsters.

With links traced to politicians & cops, who will rein in gangsters?

02 May 2016 | 1:14 AM

CHANDIGARH: The killing of gangster-turned-politician Jaswinder Singh Bhullar alias Rocky and later raving about the murder on Facebook by the rival gang, with one of the posts even threatening an SSP, has thrown an open challenge to the police.

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ADGP admits to failure in curbing arson

ADGP admits to failure in curbing arson

02 May 2016 | 12:41 AM

ROHTAK: Muhammad Akil, Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order), has admitted to a strategic failure in dealing with violence during the recent Jat agitation for reservation. The ADGP, who was here in connection with the Jats’ ‘jail-bharo’ campaign today, also conceded that there were “black sheep” in the police force and maintained that action was being taken against them. More action would follow after the submission of the report by the Prakash Singh Committee, he added.

Forest fires ravage 3,000 hectares in Himachal Pradesh

Forest fires ravage 3,000 hectares in Himachal Pradesh

02 May 2016 | 1:01 PM

SHIMLA: Summer fires in Himachal Pradesh's grasslands and forests have so far led to 378 incidents, mainly in the low hills, and destroyed flora and fauna in over 3,000 hectares, a senior forest official said on Monday.

Govt to move SC on NEET

02 May 2016 | 12:16 AM

SRINAGAR:The Jammu and Kashmir Government will seek exemption from applicability of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in the state on the grounds that unlike in other states, education is a state subject in the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, which has special status within the Union of India.

IAF in action to douse forest fires

IAF in action to douse forest fires

02 May 2016 | 12:17 AM

DEHRADUN: In a major initiative to curb forest fires, two Indian Air Force (IAF) Mi 17 helicopters today sprayed water in severely fire-affected forest areas in the state.

Indian-origin tycoon's firm confirms bid for Tata Steel in UK

02 May 2016 | 2:08 PM

LONDON: Indian-origin businessman Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House group has confirmed that it will be submitting its bid for Tata Steel's loss-making UK businesses by tomorrow, according to a media report.

NoMumbai Indians’ captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot as Supergiants’ captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni looks on during their match in Pune on Sunday. AFP PHOTO

Now, Rohit whips Dhoni’s giants

02 May 2016 | 2:16 AM

PUNE: Skipper Rohit Sharma continued to lead by example as a thoroughly professional Mumbai Indians outclassed Pune Supergiants by eight wickets here tonight.


Women falter at final step, India win 3 medals

02 May 2016 | 2:16 AM

SHANGHAI: The Indian women recurve archers had to be content with the silver medal while the men’s team and the mixed-pairs team won their third-place contests to end up with a bronze medal each in the Archery World Cup today.


Thakur proposes 10-year jail term for match-fixers

02 May 2016 | 2:16 AM

NEW DELHI:BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, who is also a Lok Sabha MP, has introduced the ‘National Sports Ethics Commission’ bill which recommends a 10-year jail term for sportspersons found indulging in match-fixing.

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