L A T E S T      N E W S

Property regularization: Pb govt allows another chance to land owners

Chandigarh: Punjab Government today gave another chance to the property owners in unauthorized colonies to get their plots or buildings regularised so that they could avail benefits of government facilities like water supply, sewerage, and electricity.

In this regard, the Punjab Cabinet had approved the re-enactment of the Punjab Laws (Special Provisions) Act for another year by promulgating Punjab Laws (Special Provisions) Ordinance 2014, an official spokesman said.

The decision was taken in a meeting of Council of Ministers, chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here.

This move would provide an opportunity to the property owners for regularising their plots or buildings to avail the facility of sale or purchase of plots and basic civic amenities, the spokesman said.

The Cabinet also decided to amend 'Land Owners Become Partners Policy' for facilitating the land owners in the payment of Change of Land Use (CLU), External Development Charges (EDC) and other miscellaneous charges, he said.

Owing to the financial constraints, the land developers had earlier expressed their inability to pay these fees. Now the amended policy envisage either to bear these charges on loan basis by the development authorities or organize loans from banks which would be ultimately adjusted against the future receipts of the land developers.

In a move aimed at generating additional revenue for the state, the Cabinet also gave its assent to hike in tax levied on certain lotteries across the state.

As per the decision, Rs 2 lakh would be charged as tax on four digit lottery instead of existing Rs 85,000, Rs 80,000 on Card game instead of currently Rs 55,000 and Rs 2 lakh instead of existing Rs 1 lakh on Lotto game.

The Cabinet also approved setting up of Rehabilitation Centres across the state for rehabilitating the drug addicts.

Among other decisions, the Cabinet approved a policy of Net Metering and Technical standards for grid connectivity for roof top grid interactive solar photovoltaic power plants and setting up of Sant Baba Bhag Singh Self Financed Private University at village Khiala.- PTI


















Dikshit resigns; Kalyan Singh is new Governor of Rajasthan 

New Delhi: Yet another UPA appointed Governor Sheila Dikshit resigned today as the Narendra Modi government named former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh as the nominee for Rajasthan along with three others for Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.

Appointed in March on the eve of Lok Sabha elections, Sheila Dikhsit, who has been facing pressure, quit the post as Kerala Governor after her meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister yesterday.

Continuing with the filling up of vacancies caused by the sacking, resignation and retirements of incumbents appointed during the previous regime, the government today picked 82-year-old Kalyan Singh for Rajasthan, where Margaret Alva completed her tenure earlier this month.

Gujarat Speaker Vajubhai Vala was named for Karnataka where HR Bharadwaj had also completed his tenure recently.

Former Union Minister C Vidyasagar Rao will take the place of K Shankaranarayanan, who quit as Governor of Maharashtra on Sunday after he was shunted to Mizoram.

71-year Mridula Sinha, former president of BJP's Mahila Morcha, was appointed as Governor of Goa in place of BV Wanchoo, who was among those asked to quit after the change of guard at the Centre.

According to a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique, 82-year-old Singh will take over in Jaipur in the vacancy caused by the retirement of Margaret Alva earlier this month.

A two-time Chief Minister, Singh was was convicted for a day by the Supreme Court on October 24, 1994, for violating the commitment made to the court on ensuring the safety and protection of the Babri Masjid. He went out of BJP on two occasions but returned to its fold. - PTI
















DGMOs' Talk: India lodges protest with Pak over ceasefire violations

New Delhi: India today lodged a protest with Pakistan over increased border ceasefire violations as top military officials of the two countries held telephonic talks and agreed to hold flag meetings to defuse the situation.

The DGMO (Director General Military Operations) talks had been held around 1200 hours for about 10 minutes during which "all relevant issues" had been raised, Army officials said here.

There have been 95 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control and it has also breached the ceasefire pact 25 times on the International Border.

"The two sides have agreed to hold flag meetings at field levels by both Army and BSF to defuse the situation," the Army officials said.

The DGMOs -- Lt Gen PR Kumar from India and Major General Amir Riaz from Pakistan -- discussed the border situation during their talk on hotline, which takes place every Tuesday.

The DGMOs hold talks every week, during which they discuss issues related to the Line of Control and other areas.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has stated that India has been responding effectively and strongly to the ceasefire violations by Pakistan side.

India has also further strengthened its counter infiltration grid to tackle any attempt by Pakistan to push in militants during the ceasefire violations. -PTI 

















Pakistani firing worst since 1971 war: BSF

JAMMU: The Border Security Force (BSF) on Tuesday said that it was for the first time after the 1971 war that Pakistani troops were firing at Indian posts on such a massive scale.

BSF Director General D.K. Pathak said: "It is for the first time after the 1971 war that Pakistani troops have been violating the ceasefire on the international border on such a large scale, targeting even civilian areas in Jammu and Kashmir." Pathak was speaking to the media at the Miran Sahib headquarters of the BSF in Jammu district.

He said the BSF had been effectively retaliating against the Pakistani military on the international border.

"We are giving them a befitting reply as we ensure that no civilian areas on their side are affected by our response." Pathak said there were 25-30 launching pads where heavily armed militants were waiting on the Pakistan side to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir.

"These launching pads are located in schools, community halls and forest areas on the other side," he said.

Pathak is also visiting a government medical college hospital in Jammu to meet those injured by Pakistan firing.

The BSF guards the 210 km long international border in the three districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua in Jammu region. -IANS Back















Vajpayee, Advani, Joshi out of BJP's top body

New Delhi: The generational shift in BJP was complete today with its founders Atal Behari Vajpayee, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi being dropped from the Parliamentary Board, the highest decision-making body, which has the stamp of Prime Minister Narendra Modi all over now.

In a token gesture, ailing Vajpayee, and Advani and Joshi, now figure in the new five-member 'Margdarshak Mandal' (guiding group) after being associated with the party for nearly four decades.

Three-time Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and party general secretary JP Nadda are the new entrants to the BJP Parliamentary Board, which was reconstituted by newly-appointed chief Amit Shah. The two have also been included in BJP's Central Election Committee, which decides on the party candidates to be fielded in elections.

The 12-member Parliamentary Board chaired by Shah now has Modi, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Thawarchand Gehlot, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Jagat Prakash Nadda and Ramlal as its members.

The new BJP president Amit Shah initiated the changes after consultations with top BJP leaders and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

The five-member 'Margdarshak Mandal' also includes Modi and Rajnath Singh.

Vajpayee, who had faded away from public life since about a decade back due to his ill health, had been retained as NDA chairman.

The Central Election Committee was also reconstituted, with firebrand leader from Uttar Pradesh Vinay Katiyar being dropped.

Former BJP Mahila Morcha president Saroj Pandey, who was an ex-officio member of this committee, has been replaced with Vijaya Rahatkar as the new Mahila Morcha chief, who was earlier the former Aurangabad Mayor.

Jual Oram, a tribal face and union Tribal Affairs Minister, marks his entry into the 15-member body.

The other members of the CEC are Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Thawarchand Gehlot, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Jagat Prakash Nadda, Ramlal and Shahnawaz Hussain besides Rahatkar. -PTI 

















Z security for Som: 'No inputs taken from UP' 

Lucknow: Amid the controversy over the Centre according Z security to BJP MLA Sangeet Som, a Muzaffarnagar riots accused, UP government today said no inputs had been taken from it on the issue even as it maintained that it would continue to provide him Y category security as per a High Cout order.

"Security is the state subject. In this particular case, no input was taken by the Centre from the state before providing him the security," Home Secretary Kamal Saxena said.

He said there were rules and norms for providing security and it was reviewed during a meeting of IB and state officers every six months. On that basis, security could be continued or withdrawn.

Saxena also said there were examples when Centre had earlier given secruity to leaders directly. However, when asked, he did not name any leaders.

The official said on the directives of high court and after analysing threat perception, the state had provided Y category security to the legislator and it would continue along with the Z security.

Based on intelligence inputs that Som, MLA from Sardhana in western Uttar Pradesh, could be targetted by extremist elements, the Union Home Ministry decided to bring him under the security umbrella of the commandos of the CRPF.

"We have received a letter from the Centre regarding upgradation of Som's security to Z category," Uttar Pradesh's IG (Law and Order) Amrendra Singh Sengar told PTI earlier.

The letter has been forwarded to the agency concerned, Singh added.

The move to provie Z category security by the Centre came under scathing attack from Opposition, which termed it as a "license for killing" and a cruel joke with the victims.

The BJP defended the move, saying the decision to provide security is taken based on "sufficient evidence" from intelligence sources and not on "whims and fancies". -PTI 














India bans Finmeccannica from future contracts

New Delhi: India today barred scam-tainted Italian defence firm Finmeccannica from participating in future tenders while deciding to carry out ongoing contracts with the group and its subsidiary AgustaWestland, more than a month after putting all deals on hold.

The Defence Ministry issued an order on how to go about dealing with Finmeccannica and its subsidiaries in the backdrop of allegations of payment of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 360 crore in the Rs 3600 crore VVIP chopper deal which is under investigation.

Defence Ministry officials clarified that this partial lifting of ban on Finmeccannica would not apply to AgustaWestland's Rs 3,600 crore contract to supply 12 VVIP choppers to the Air Force as it has already been scrapped.

Over a month back, the Defence Ministry had put on hold all the deals estimated to be worth over Rs 30,000 crore with Finmeccannica and its subsidiaries in view of the CBI probe against the firm.

Subsequently, the new government had sought an opinion from the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who opined that blacklisting of Finmeccanica would adversely affect the operational preparedness of the armed forces.

The Ministry today decided to continue the ban on tenders where the firm has been declared as the lowest bidder. It also decided to keep it out from tenders which are to be issued in future, Ministry officials said.

The Ministry has also ruled that the company would not be considered for award of contracts in tenders where other vendors are also participating.

At the same time, the Ministry provided relief to the firm as it allowed the armed forces to go ahead with the contracts that are already under execution as "there is no reason to proceed with the contracts."

The Defence Ministry also allowed the armed forces to procure spares for upgrades and maintenance of equipment that has been procured from the firm along with allowing participation of the company in tenders where it is one of the sub-contractors or supplier to the main contractor of the Indian government, they said. -PTI 


















Nanded Takht Board row: Badal writes to PM

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "restrain" Maharashtra government from going ahead with its "arbitrary" decision to reduce SGPC's representation in the Takht Sri Hazur Sahib Board at Nanded.

The Maharashtra cabinet recently approved the report of the Bhatia committee that recommended reducing the representation of Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) from the existing four to one.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, copy of which was circulated to media here, he said that this was not an ordinary administrative decision as it concerned the sentiments and religious traditions of Sikh community.

He said the Congress-led government had also decided to deny membership to Chief 
Khalsa Diwan, one of the oldest Sikh institution which was earlier represented on the Board.

"This anti-Sikh decision was a part of a deep rooted conspiracy of the Congress to lower the dignity of Sikh religious institutions, including the Takht Sri Hazur Sahib and the SGPC," he alleged.

Appealing to the Prime Minister to prevent the situation from getting worse, Badal said the Centre should take appropriate measures to refrain the Maharashtra government from going ahead with this "unwarranted dangerous move".

"The curious aspect of the decision is that while the number of members of the Board has been increased from 17 to 21, the number of representatives of the SGPC, the apex elected religious body of the Sikh, has been curtailed from four to one...At the same time, the number of the Maharashtra government nominees has been doubled," he said.

"This is not only illogical but also prima facie mischievous," he said.

Accusing it to be a conspiracy of the Congress leadership to weaken the Sikh community, Badal said the party has "always tried to either capture SGPC, the supreme elected body of the Sikhs, or to weaken it through political and governmental interference".

"The tension generated by their unwarranted interference in Sikh religious affairs in Haryana were still raging, the Chief Minister said.

The action of the Maharashtra government now was bound to further vitiate the atmosphere as there could be no moral, political or religious justifications for such interference, he claimed. -PTI Back
























Abolition of child marriage will take 50 years more: UNICEF

KOLKATA: India has witnessed a decline in child marriage in the last two decades, but going by the slow pace it will require another 50 years to abolish the practice from the country, according to UNICEF.

"Child marriage has been declining at a rate of one per cent per year in the last two decades, but at this rate it will be eliminated in 50 years or so," UNICEF Child Protection Specialist in India Dora Giusti told PTI.

"This is way too long and millions of girls will have married by then," she warned describing the scenario in the country as "alarming".

"A study among married women currently aged between 20-24 revealed that 43 per cent of them were married before 18 and two out of every five women during the survey said they were married as children," Giusti explained.

Incidentally, a United Nations report in July said that India has sixth highest prevalence of child marriage, with one in every three child brides living in the country.

Stressing that the practice of child marriage was still prevalent in certain communities and groups in the country, the UNICEF official held deep-rooted superstitious beliefs as responsible for its slow elimination.

"Child marriage is still a widely accepted practice ruled by social norms and gender roles. Girls are still seen as a burden and not worthy of investing on. For generations, once girls hit puberty, their parents have married them off in the false belief that this will also protect them from violence," Giusti explained.

"Often communities are resistant to welcome changes.

Furthermore, there are other factors, such as poverty, high costs of marriage, lack of education and other opportunities for girls that undermine change the practice," she elaborated.

Asked if the India government's cash transfer scheme as incentive to encourage retention of girls in school has helped in containing the practice, she said: "A recent study showed that the scheme has helped keep girls in school and therefore delay child marriage, but it did not have a long-term effect as it does not contribute to changing parents' mental set-up." –PTI Back






















Ragging case: FIR against 3 students, two 
Scindia school staff

GWALIOR (MP): Police on Tuesday registered FIRs against three students and two staffers of the prestigious Scindia School at Fort here in connection with the suicide attempt made by Adarsh Singh, son of Bihar Cooperatives Minister Jai Kumar Singh after alleged ragging.

The FIRs were registered against the minor boys, resident tutor, Arpan Soni and House master Parampreet Grewal, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mohammad Yusuf Qureshi told PTI.

14-year-old Adarsh was found in a semi-conscious state in his hostel room at the residential school on August 20. He was taken to a private hospital for treatment and when his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to New Delhi's Apollo Hospital.

Taking serious cognisance of the matter, District Collector P Narhari ordered a probe to be conducted by Sub Divisional Magistrate S Saxena.

SSP Santosh Kumar Singh also ordered ASP Qureshi to separately conduct an inquiry, especially into the ragging aspect of the case.

Police have already recorded the statement of the boys.

"After recording statements of the three senior boys belonging to influential families, we found out that Adarsh attempted suicide as the trio used to harass him by asking him to do menial jobs," the ASP said.

Police have also seized a bed-sheet and a ceiling fan from the veranda in front of Adarsh's hostel room. He allegedly tried to hang himself from the fan using the sheet but his feet touched the floor and the fan got unstuck from ceiling, which saved his life, Qureshi said.

The trio allegedly forced him to sweep the floor and also used to sometimes punish him asking him to bend down in various positions. They also allegedly beat him up, police said.

The accused students have been expelled and the two staffers have been debarred, Scindia School Principal Shamik Ghosh said. –PTIBack














British Indian MP to tackle violence against women

LONDON: British Indian MP Seema Malhotra has been appointed the first ever shadow minister tasked with tackling violence against women in Britain, Opposition leader Ed Miliband announced.

Seema Malhotra, 42, who will join Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper's front bench team, will champion the needs of all victims of rape, domestic and sexual violence, as well as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, trafficking and prostitution, a statement on the Labour Party website said.

Commenting on her appointment, Malhotra said, "It is significant that Labour has made this issue such a priority and I look forward to working with colleagues to try and make a real difference to women who have experienced huge trauma in their lives."

Malhotra was elected Labour Co-operative Party MP for Feltham and Heston constituency in west London in December 2011.

The former management consultant will also play an important role in shaping Labour's Women's Safety Commission to develop proposals for legislation to tackle violence against women and girls, which will be prioritised if the Labour Party comes to power.

"I am delighted that Seema has agreed to become Labour's first ever Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence against Women and Girls. She undoubtedly brings real expertise to this important role," Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband said.

A shadow minister is a member of the main opposition party in Parliament who would hold ministerial office if their party were in power. -IANSBack















'Breaking Bad' sweeps 66th Emmy Awards

LOS ANGELES: American crime drama TV series "Breaking Bad" won big, including honours for the best drama series and best writing for a drama series at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, held here on Monday. Comedy show "Modern Family" also won multiple awards at the ceremony, hosted by Seth Meyers.

"Breaking Bad" revolves around a struggling high school chemistry teacher, who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer at the beginning of the series. It presents how he turns to a life of crime to secure his family's financial future.

The show's star Bryan Cranston bagged the Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series Emmy. Aaron Paul, on the other hand, walked away with the Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series for his performance in the series. His co-star Anna Gunn too went home with Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series trophy.

"Modern Family" was feted for being an Outstanding Comedy Series, while Ty Burrell was given the trophy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for playing Phil Dunphy in the popular show, whose director Gail Mancuso bagged the Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series award at the extravaganza, held at the Nokia Theatre here.

The venue saw a star-studded presence of celebrities dressed in their best for the red carpet event, which was kept alive with Meyers' jokes. A special segment was 'In Memoriam', as part of which actor-filmmaker paid an emotional and befitting tribute to his "greatest friend", the late Robin Williams.

Prior to the tribute to Williams, pop star Sara Bareilles sang a touching rendition of "Smile" as the Emmy Awards acknowledged late celebrities James Avery, Maya Angelou, Lauren Bacall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Casey Kasem, Don Pardo, Harold Ramis, Mickey Rooney, Elaine Stritch, Shirley Temple and more.

For Allison Janney, the Emmys night turned out to be a double whammy. She bagged an award for being an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in "Mom" and even as an Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series for "Masters Of Sex".

In the category of performances in a mini-series and television movie, seasoned actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessica Lange won accolades for their Outstanding Performance as Lead Actor and Actress in "Sherlock: His Last Vow" and "American Horror Story: Coven" respectively.

The Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or movie honour was bagged by Kathy Bates for her role as Madame Delphine LaLaurie in "American Horror Story: Coven", while Martin Freeman walked away with the Outstanding Supporting Actor title for "Sherlock: His Last Vow", which also won the Outstanding Writing for a Mini-Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special for Steven Moffat.

In the Outstanding Directing for a Mini-Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special Category, Colin Bucksey received the trophy for "Fargo".

"Fargo", a dark comedy-crime drama TV series, was named the best Mini-Series and "The Normal Heart", based on a play of the same name, got the award for the outstanding television movie.

"The Amazing Race" got the Outstanding Reality- Competition Program trophy.

As far as the variety series were concerned, "The Colbert Report", which features political humorist Stephen Colbert giving satirical commentary on the big issues of the US, won two honours - the Outstanding Variety Series and Outstanding Writing in a Variety Series.

Sarah Silverman walked away with the award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for "Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles", and the Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special Honour went to Glenn Weiss for the 67th Annual Tony Awards.

In the Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series category, Don Roy King won for his work on 'Saturday Night Live', hosted by Jimmy Fallon.

The Outstanding Variety Special Trophy was given to the team behind "AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Mel Brooks".

At the awards event, the presenters varied from musicians like Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani to Hollywood stars like Julia Roberts, Halle Berry and Matthew McConaughey, who was also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series.

Other TV star presenters included Zooey Deschanel, Hayden Panettiere and Jimmy Fallon, who was also announced as the winner of Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.-IANS





















HP panchayat leaders threaten to seek
 Chinese help, arrested

SHIMLA: A village pradhan and a former village functionary in the border district of Lahaul and Spiti have been arrested on the charges of sedition after they allegedly threatened to seek China's help for development of the region.

Chering Thopga, Pradhan of Kungri panchayat, and Lovzang Thondup, a former panchayat pradhan of Sagnam in Tribal Pin Valley in Kaza Sub-division of tribal Lahaul and Spiti district were booked on the charges of sedition and arrested last evening.

P L Thakur, Inspector General (Mandi range) said the two have been booked and would be produced in court today.

Expressing resentment over lack of development in the remote tribal areas, the two had allegedly threatened to seek help from China if the government remained indifferent to their demands.

The IG Police then reached Pin Valley to look into the matter.

The two reportedly admitted having made the pro-Chinese remarks recently but said it was out of anger and only to draw the attention of the government towards the "lack of development in the area and the sufferings of the people".

A video prepared by local media persons on the alleged pro-China remarks made by the two was also handed over to the police.

Locals are angry as a vital bridge on the Kirnee Nullah, which was washed away almost a year ago, has not been reconstructed and the temporary foot bridge has been damaged.

The farmers are also worried about transportation of their crop in the absence of the bridge. -PTI














One killed, 17 injured in Himachal accident

SHIMLA: One passenger was killed and 17 injured on Tuesday when a bus carrying them skidded off the road and rolled down a hill in Himachal Pradesh, police said.

One of the seriously injured passengers was referred to the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla.

The Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus was on way to Bilaspur town when the accident occurred near Bagha.

He said the cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained.

Most of the victims were locals.


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