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PM Modi wields broom, launches 'Swachh Bharat' campaign

NEW DELHI: Wielding the broom, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the country’s biggest-ever cleanliness drive that is expected to cost over Rs 62,000 crore, asserting that the “Swachh Bharat” mission is “beyond politics” and inspired by patriotism.

Debunking criticism that his government has been taking credit for every achievement, the Prime Minister acknowledged the efforts of all previous governments to make India clean.

“I am not talking politics … this is beyond politics. This is inspired by my patriotism, not politcs. We do not have to do with an eye on politics … I say that with a clean heart … if we paint this again with a brush of politics, we will again do a disservice to Mother India.

“All the governments in this country have made one or the other effort to do this work. Several political, social and cultural organisations have made efforts in this direction. I greet all those who have worked,” Modi said in his 25-minute address at Rajpath, where he formally kicked off the five-year-long campaign that will cover 4,041 statutory towns.

Administering a pledge to people to make India clean, he said this task is not the responsibility only of safai karamcharis or the government but of all the 125 crore Indians.

He said that Thursday’s campaign should not be seen as a mere photo opportunity.

In an event marked by fervour and symbolism, the Prime Minister earlier wielded a broom and swept a pavement in Valmiki Basti, a colony of sanitation workers. 

The Prime Minister said that he is aware that the criticism of this programme will begin in just a few days, but he is exuded confidence saying that the countrymen will not let him down. 

The urban component of the Mission is proposed to be implemented over 5 years starting from October 2, 2014 in all 4,041 statutory towns. The total expected cost of the programme is Rs 62,009 crore, out of which the proposed central assistance will be of Rs 14,623 crore.

The Cabinet had last month decided to merge the ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan’, a campaign for rural sanitation with Swachh Bharat Mission.

The Prime Minister countered Congress criticism that his government behaves as if everything happened only after he came to power. “I do not make any claim that the government, which has been elected to power just now, has done everything.”

Congress has been attacking Modi accusing him of taking credit of initiatives undertaken by the UPA regimes and trying to give an impression that every good work was done only by him.

Recalling that he had congratulated all governments even from the ramparts of Red Fort, Modi said, "Even today from this stage, I greet and salute all the governments — Central, state and municipal, social organisations which have worked in this direction, whether they are leaders from Sarvodaya or workers of Seva Dal. I launch this programme with their blessings.”

Maintaining that everybody deserves kudos, the Prime Minister asked not to get into making political barbs on the issue.

“Everybody before us has worked for it. Under Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership, the Congress had led it…Who was successful, who was not. Let us not get into it who has done it, who has not. We should work responsibly,” he said. — PTIBack














Lakhs of Central Govt employees take cleanliness pledge

NEW DELHI: Lakhs of Central Government employees on Thursday took a pledge to ensure cleanliness in their offices and residential areas by working at least two hours per week as part of Narendra Modi administration's "Swachh Bharat" mission.

Each Central Government department has made detailed arrangements to administer the pledge to its employees on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary today. It is for the first time that all employees from the level of peons to Secretary were called to the office on Gandhi Jayanti, which is otherwise a government-declared holiday, to be part of the 'Clean India' campaign. 

Banners displaying message of maintaining cleanliness at work place and surroundings were put up on the central Government office buildings and along the road sides to encourage people. Some of the employees were also given specially-designed T-shirts displaying messages for maintaining cleanliness.

Home Secretary Anil Goswami administered the pledge to the employees of Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Personnel. Hundreds of employees participated in the programme and took the pledge.

"It is like a celebration. Employees are celebrating this. Cleanliness is a continuous process. I am sure employees will continue to ensure cleanliness in office and in living areas," said Mamta Kundra, Joint Secretary in Ministry of Personnel. There are about 30.98 lakh Central Government employees in the country.

Employees took a pledge to remain committed towards cleanliness. "I will devote 100 hours per year, that is two hours per week to voluntary work for cleanliness. I will neither litter nor let others litter. I will initiate the quest for cleanliness with myself, my family, my locality, my village and my work place," reads the pledge, administered to the employees by senior officials.

The Prime Minister has given a call for "Swachh Bharat" (Clean India) as a mass movement to realise Mahatma Gandhi's dream of a clean India by 2019, when the country will celebrate 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.

"I will encourage 100 other persons to take this pledge which I am taking today. I will endeavour to make them devote their 100 hours for cleanliness," as per the test of the pledge.

Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth had written to secretaries of all Central Government departments to create awareness on the matter and ensure that the pledge is administered to employees working under them.

"For a campaign of this nature to be successful, there is a need to create massive public awareness and to ensure participation and action for cleaning homes, government offices, schools, hospitals, work places, streets, roads and markets, railway stations and bus terminals, statues, monuments, rivers, lakes,ponds, parks and other public places.

"It is important to involve government and public sector officials at every level, non-government organisations, education and health institutions, rural and urban local bodies, self-help groups, youth organisations, residents and market associations as well as business and industrial chambers and associations in the cleanliness and awareness drives," Seth had said in his letter. — PTIBack

















Nation pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi on 145th birth anniversary

NEW DELHI: The nation on Thursday remembered Mahatma Gandhi on his 145th birth anniversary, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders paying floral tributes at his memorial in New Delhi.

Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh were among those who also paid homage to the Father of the Nation.

Naidu was the first to arrive at Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi's 'samadhi', followed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi who was accompanied by former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

After a while, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived at Rajghat and paid floral tributes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a brief visit to the memorial. Clad in a light blue kurta and a white Nehru jacket, Modi arrived at Rajghat around 7:40 am, where he was received by Venkaiah Naidu.

He went straight to the 'samadhi' where after offering floral tributes, Modi bowed his head. Manmohan Singh and Modi greeted each other with folded hands when the latter approached the sitting area.

The Prime Minister sat there for some time before he left for his other engagements.

An all-religion prayer was conducted during the ceremony. The favourite hymns of Gandhi were also played on the occasion. A large number of schoolchildren, foreigners and common people had also gathered at the venue to pay tributes to Gandhi. — PTIBack



















Maharashtra Assembly polls: Gadkari doesn't rule out post-poll alliance with Shiv Sena

PUNE: In an indication of a possible post-poll understanding with the Shiv Sena, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that the BJP could consider joining hands again with its estranged ally if the situation so demanded.

Describing the breaking of the 25-year-long saffron alliance in Maharashtra as most “unfortunate and painful”, Gadkari, when asked about a post-poll tie-up (in a hung Assembly scenario) with the Sena, said, “If the situation arises, we can certainly think of that. The Shiv Sena has been our ally bound together on the base of Hindutva.”

Stating that there is “bitterness” about the Sena in the BJP, he said, “We have the same amount of love for Bal Thackeray as we have for Atalji.” “Our Parliamentary Board will consider these issues if necessary,” he added.

When asked whether the BJP would consider taking support of NCP-Congress after the elections as an expediency, Gadkari said, “We will get majority. No ifs and buts.”

The lone Sena member of NDA Cabinet Anant Geete need not resign and nobody from the BJP has asked him to step down, he told a Marathi news channel.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray attacked the BJP saying it “used” the Sena to capture power in Delhi and broke the alliance afterwards for the Maharashtra elections.

Recalling the late Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde’s role in keeping the saffron alliance intact over the years, he said, “These BJP leaders never pushed things to the breaking point.”

“Now for today’s BJP leaders, it has become a game of chess,” he said.

Thackeray, addressing a meeting at Parbhani in the state’s Marathwada region last night, also ridiculed BJP’s slogan which seeks blessings of Shiv Chhatrapati saying that the party never even celebrated Shivjayanti. — PTIBack
























APTEL asks Adani Power to restore supply to Haryana utilities 

New Delhi: The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) in an interim order has asked Adani Power to restore and maintain power supply to Haryana utilities without interruption.

The tribunal in an interim order has directed Adani Power to "restore and maintain supply of electricity to Haryana utilities as against the contracted capacity of 1,424 MW on a sustained and continued basis without interruption".

APTEL also observed that since the Haryana utilities are not able to supply power to the consumers at large in the state as a result of which the consumers are said to be suffering.

Haryana had contracted 1,424 MW of power from Adani Power in 2007 from its power project located at Mundra in Gujarat.

Power was contracted at a levelised tariff of Rs 2.94 per unit for 25 years.

In February this year, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) had accepted petitions by Tata Power and Adani Power for higher tariffs following a change in the pricing regime by the Indonesian government for coal exports from that country.

CERC had awarded the compensatory tariff over and above the normal tariff, about 61 paise per unit, to the company which was challenged by Haryana utilities in APTEL to protect the interest of 55 lakh electricity consumers of the state.

APTEL in an interim order allowed increase in rates. The state utilities the moved the Supreme Court challengeing the tribunal's order on increase in rates. The apex court in last week of August stayed the APTEL interim order.

Adani Power in the last week of August had disconnected power supply to Haryana, accusing the state-owned power distribution companies of not providing escrow account.- PTI















Asian Games
India beat Pak to win men's hockey gold, qualify for Rio Olympics

INCHEON: A spirited Indian men's hockey team defeated arch-rivals and defending champions Pakistan 4-2 in a nerve-wracking shoot-out to end its 16-year gold medal draught at the Asian Games and earn a direct berth to the 2016 Rio Olympics, here today.

It turned out to be a humdinger of a contest between the two sub-continental foes as both India and Pakistan refused to give an inch to each other in the entire 60 minutes of a keenly contested tussle.

It took a shoot-out to determine the winner as both the teams were locked 1-1 in the regulation time of the summit clash at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium.

Pakistan started brightly and broke the deadlock as early as the third minute of the match through Muhammad Rizwan Sr before Kothajit Singh (27th) equalised for India in the second quarter.

The two teams continued their battle after change of ends but failed to breach the rival citadels inspite of creating numerous scoring chances, forcing the match into the shoot-off.

In the one-on-one shoot-off situation, Akashdeep Singh, Rupinderpal Singh, Birendra Lakra and Dhramvir Singh scored for India, while Manpreet Singh turned out to be the fall guy.

But all credit to Indian custodian and vice-captain P.R. Sreejesh, who produced breathtaking saves in the shoot-off to deny Pakistan's Abdul Haseem Khan and Muhammad Umar Butta.

Muhammad Waqas and Shafqat Rasool scored the goals for Pakistan.

By virtue of the coveted gold medal here, India have earned a direct qualification to Rio Olympics, while Pakistan will have to go through the qualifiers. The last time India won the gold medal was at the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. — PTIBack



















Asian Games
Boxer Sarita Devi's bronze reinstated after hearing

INCHEON (South Korea): Putting an end to the status of the bronze medal won by Indian boxer Sarita Devi, the Olympic Council of Asia on Thursday reinstated her medal in the 60kg category after a hearing with the India's Asian Games contingent officials in Incheon, South Korea. 

"I attended the OCA working group hearing this morning and expressed regret over what happened at the medal ceremony (of the women's 60kg group).

"I told them it had happened in an emotional moment. The OCA has reinstated Sarita Devi as the bronze medal winner. The medal will come to us tomorrow (Friday) morning," contingent's chef de mission Adille Sumariwalla told PTI.

Lightweight woman boxer Sarita, who was robbed off a shot at gold due to poor ring-side judging despite totally dominating her semi-final bout on September 30 against her South Korean opponent Jina Park, did not allow the medal to be hung around her neck at the medal ceremony.

After accepting it by hand, she hung it around the neck of silver medallist Park, who controversially defeated her in the semi-finals, and left the podium without the medal which was left behind by the Korean too.

Sumariwalla also said that he had asked for a review of the bout by an independent panel appointed by OCA.

"I have asked for a review of Sarita's bout by an independent panel appointed by OCA," said the former national men's sprint champion.

The threat of a ban on the boxer by the world governing body AIBA persists and Sumariwalla has said his priority now is to prevent this from happening. 

Earlier, at the daily media briefing by the Games Organising Committee, its Deputy Secretary-General Cheon-taik Son had termed Sarita Devi's refusal to accept the medal as "regretful and against the spirit of sportsmanship".

"It's very regretful this has happened and against the goal of Asian unity we had set ourselves for ahead of the Games. It was also against the spirit of sportsmanship and the action showed disrespect to the other athletes. It was a very unfortunate incident," he said.

"We have ensured that there's no such thing as home advantage in these Games. Still boxing is a very subjective sport. The spectators might see blood on a boxer's face, but it could be different from the judges' count of scoring punches.

"There have been lot of protests in boxing but no formal complaints have been lodged. We have written to AIBA. It's unfortunate that it happened in a game where a Korean was involved," he added. — PTIBack




















Asiad kabaddi: Indian men, women book final berths

INCHEON: Indian men's kabaddi team stayed on course for its seventh gold medal, while the women are eying their second consecutive title as they booked final berths at the 17th Asian Games at the the Songdo Global University Gymnasium here on Thursday.

Both the teams will be facing Iran in the final. The men thumped South Korea 36-25, while the women defeated Thailand 41-28 in their semi-finals. 

In the men's semi-final, five-time world champions India stamped their authority in the second half, collecting 22 points, after taking a slender 14-12 lead at the end of the first 20 minutes. The hosts relied on athleticism and quick movement to match the Indians, who had topped the Group A to enter the last four battle.

The nimble-footed Koreans took the Indians by surprise and ousted 10 Indians as compared to seven managed by the visiting side, whose raiders collected seven bonus points.

After taking a two-point lead, India, with a starting line-up of skipper Rakesh Kumar, Jasvir Singh, Anup Kumar, Manjeet Chhillar, Navneet Gautam, Gurpreet Singh and Subramaniam Rajguru, displayed technical and tactical superiority and mounted pressure early from the second half.

While Rakesh, Anup and Jasvir made big impact in the attack, Gautam, Chhillar and Rajguru did their bit in foiling rival's raid.

India ousted 19 Koreans during raids and defence, which helped them earn two lona points and one bonus points. The hosts knocked out 10 Indians and got three points for touching the bonus line in the opposite end. In the end, class and quality helped India register a comprehensive 36-25 win.

Iran, the silver medallist in 2010 Guangzhou Asiad, beat Pakistan 25-14 to set up the final date with India.

In the women's semi-final between, the Indian team, with the starting line-up of Kavitha Selvaraj, Kavita Devi, V. Tejeswini Bai, Abhilasha Mhatre, Priyanka, Mamatha Poojari and Kishori Shinde, rode on its brilliant second half scoring 27 points.

Thailand, silver medallist in the 2010 Asia Games, put up a spirited show against the defending champions, who started the game on a cautious note. In the first half, India ousted 12 Thais and collected two bonus points to score 14 points while their opponents also bagged 14 points by ousting seven Indian athletes and collected seven bonus points.

But India upped the ante in the second half and displayed an attacking game to completely dominate the Thai girls. India collected 19 points by touching or bundling out the rival players during raids or defending. With four lona points, the Indian team showed that it is the most formidable side and ready to defend its title.

Women's kabaddi was introduced in the Asian Games in 2010 and the men's team has swept all the gold medals ever since the sport was introduced in Asiad in 1990. — IANSBack














6 civilians injured in Pak shelling along LoC

JAMMU: Six civilians, including two women, were injured when Pakistani troops resorted to heavy shelling along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

According to an Army officer, Pakistani troops resorted to heavy firing by small arms and automatic weapons and shelling of 81 mm mortar bombs in two forward sub-sector of Sabjian and Mandi since 6.40 pm on Wednesday and intermittent firing continued till midnight, during which six civilians, including two women, were injured and six houses were damaged.

“There was no loss of life or injury to anyone among the armed forces on this side in Pakistan firing,” the officer said, adding that Indian troops gave a befitting reply to them.

Civilian population living in the border hamlets of Gigriyal and Uripura along the LoC were targeted during the firing, the police said.

The injured have been identified as Hajra Begum, Sakina Begum, Zahoor Ahmed, Gulam Nabi, Khaja Ahad and Mumtaz Ahmed of Gigriyal and Uripora villages, they said, adding that the condition of one of the women is stated to be critical.

The injured were rushed to hospitals in Poonch and Mandi belts and most of them are out of danger, the police said.

At least six houses were partially damaged in the shelling, the police said, adding that five live bombs were recovered in Uripora belt, which are being defused.

The fresh three ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops were witnessed after a gap of one month and four days along the India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir. — PTIBack






BJP releases manifesto; promises foodgrain at Re 1 per kg 

Chandigarh: BJP in Haryana today promised foodgrain at Re 1 per kg for BPL families, free treatment to the poor and stipend for unemployed youths in its election manifesto, which it released today hoping to come to power on its own for the first time in the state.

The manifesto said if voted to power, BJP will take steps for stricter implementation of the laws against cow slaughter, even as chairman of the Manifesto Committee Ganeshi Lal said cow slaughter will be equated with culpable homicide.

The manifesto said, BJP's focus areas will be agriculture, rural development, industry, education, service sector, welfare of youth and women, welfare of Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes, said the 16-page manifesto released here by party spokesman and senior leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

The manifesto said if in power, BJP will bring the GDP growth in the state to 10 per cent over the next five years.

The party said it is committed to bring SYL Canal water to the state. The BJP government, if formed, will usher in milk revolution in the state and dairy sector will be promoted. It will also work towards bringing a second Green Revolution, it said.

Seeking a clear mandate, the punchline of the manifesto is "BJP ke saath chaliyein, Narendra Modi ke saath chaliyein".

(Come with BJP, come with Narendra Modi).

It said BJP intends to give better facilities to villages, bring transparency in administration, root out corruption and end the menace of female foeticide.

Four laning of the national and the state highways will be done, round-the-clock power supply will be given to various categories of consumers, clean drinking water will be made available to each household, free treatment will be given to the poor in hospitals and free medicines will be made available to them, it said.

Besides, the manifesto promised free pilgrimage facility to every senior citizen of the state, hike in old age and widow pension from present Rs 1,000 to 2,000, availability of water for every field and setting up of a relief centre to look into compensation detail of crops damaged due to natural calamity.

It also talked about soil health cards for farmers, free travel for school and college girls in roadways buses which will also have security guards on board.

The manifesto said in lieu of 100 hours of work, Class 12 pass unemployed youths will be given Rs 6,000 stipend per month while graduate unemployed will get Rs 9,000 per month, even as steps will be taken to lift the standard of education.

Others present on the occasion included another party spokesman and candidate from Narnaund segment Capt Abhimanyu and chairman of the Manifesto Committee Ganeshi Lal. - PTI 














Sardar and his boys to get 2.5 lakh each from Hockey India

New Delhi: The gold medal winning players of India's men's hockey team will receive a cash reward of Rs 2.5 lakh each from Hockey India for their stupendous show at the Asian Games.
India regained the Asian Games title after 16 years, following a 4-2 shoot-out win over Pakistan in the final.
Not only the men's players but Head coach Terry Walsh and High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans will also receive Rs 2.5 lakh each.
The other support staff members will also get financial incentive as Hockey India has decided to give them Rs one lakh each.
The players of the women's team, which won bronze medal, will get Rs one lakh each from the Federation while the support staff members will get Rs 50,000 each. -PTI




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