Unknown militants on Tuesday launched four attacks on security forces across Kashmir, setting off an unusual war of words between the ruling National Conference and the Army and sharpening the debate over withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, general secretary of National Conference, blamed the Army for the attacks targeting security forces. “Of course, it was Army which engineered the attacks on security installations across Kashmir Valley. They carried out the attacks to oppose chief minister Omar Abdullah’s design to lift Armed Forces Special Powers Act from some areas in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. Inspector general of police, Kashmir Range, S M Sahai said that militants were desperate to strike on the eve of Diwali. “Today’s attacks point towards militants’ desperation. They want to show their presence and they chose Diwali ,” he said. The IGP said they were looking into Tuesday’s attacks. “We are looking whether there was any link between the four attacks and whether it was serial attacks or not,” he said. A police spokesman said three CRPF troopers sustained injuries when unknown militants hurled a grenade on a bunker at Akhara Building, Maisuma. “All the injured were shifted to SMHS Hospital, Srinagar for treatment,” he said. “In another similar incident, a grenade was hurled on a CRPF bunker at Batmaloo. However, there was no loss of life and property,” he added. The blasts triggered panic and tension in the city centre Lal Chowk and at Batmaloo with the authorities ordering a security beef-up. Searches were also conducted by police and CRPF troopers in Budshah Chowk area. Although Kamal has been known for his opposition to the Centre, his frontal attack on Army for the explosions in which CRPF jawans were injured marks a serious turn in the dispute over whether AFSPA should be withdrawn. J&K CM Omar Abdullah had told a TV channel after deliberations with the visiting central team led by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth that he would go ahead with his plan for AFSPA’s withdrawal before the annual Darbar move to Jammu next month.
The study was conducted across 43 countries between July 2010 and June 2011. In India, it covered 100 retailers, of which 60 were part of modern chains and 40 from the unorganized sector.
The biggest contributor to losses was thefts by customers, accounting for 47.6% of the total, followed by pilfering by employees at 25.5%. The losses have, to be sure, declined 12.5% from a year earlier, according to the study. To reduce thefts, retailers in the nation are spending more money on security solutions. Companies have also minimized their losses by providing more training to employees and assigning responsibilities on team and store managers for losses.
“The state will pay only the legal expenses which is not the concern as people spend crores in elections,“ chief election commissioner (CEC) S.Y.Quraishi said when asked for his reaction to the government move.
The issue of state funding of elections has been debated for years but due to a lack of consensus, no decision could be taken. The law ministry plans to hold an all-party meeting on electoral reforms in the coming days in which the issue of state funding of elections could also come up. Quraishi said state funding will “not solve the problem of black money“ which afflicts the process.
The inclusion of right to reject proposal in voting, said Quraishi, could be misused to put out an unintended political message, especially in places such as Kashmir and the north-eastern states where people already feel alienated. “We have to see the implication of everything for the country,“ said the CEC advocating 49-O button in electronic voting machines (EVMs) instead, which helps voters express their unhappiness over the candidates.
He said, “Instead of a negative force of right to reject, why don't you select a good candidate.“ The CEC said the commission had recommended for having 49-O button in EVMs to guard the privacy of voters.“Because if you do not go to vote, one could be intimidated. Secondly, somebody may go in your place to vote instead of you. To guard against this, we have suggested having 49-O button,“ Quraishi said.
He said the button did not imply or mean the right to reject. “It will only mean you will be able to express your opinion against a candidate. It will not count in your votes.“ On the right to recall plan, the CEC said, “It is not possible in India, which is a large country. It is there in smaller countries like Switzerland. It can be there in a panchayat election, but not in bigger elections.“
He said, “Every loser will start the right to reject from the day he loses“, and suggested that voter education as a good solution to it. “We can instead educate the voters to come out in large numbers and vote for a good candidate.
Against a target of 7,300km of national highways, NHAI has awarded 2,591km; another 2,659 km to be awarded in 4 months
8,917km NH built during NDA rule 17,236 km built during UPA-I tenure; 10,000km under UPA-II
Area: 33.43 hectares
15 statues of Mayawati & other Dalit leaders
Dome in Central Plaza houses statues of Mayawati, Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram
24 pink sandstone elephants at park
25,000 stone carvers & masons employed
2,500 masons worked exclusively on central dome
33 sandstone & bronze pillars, some as high as 300 ft
UP Chief minister Mayawati’s dream project – Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden – was inaugurated with much fanfare amidst Buddhist chants, showering of flower petals and cheering by BSP supporters. Dressed in a cream-coloured salwar kameez, her trademark handbag in place, Mayawati arrived in a chopper exactly at 5 p.m. Landing at the helipad constructed specially for the visit at the Apeejay School grounds in sector 16A, she drove up to the park located in Sector 95, followed by a convoy of sports utility vehicles amidst heavy security. She was waving and smiling at the thousands of supporters who had gathered to witness the grand opening. As several camerapersons captured the moment, a beaming Mayawati went around the premises, accompanied by the who’s who of the UP administration. Buddhist monks chanted prayers. Mayawati was accompanied by her parents Ramrati and Prabhu Dass and her niece. The opening ceremony was short and crisp – a red ribbon was cut and a button pressed to formally open the park and 20 other projects in Gautam Budh Nagar district. The chief minister used the inauguration as an opportunity to sound the bugle for the assembly elections scheduled for early next year. In a 40-minute speech that recalled the efforts of the BSP for bringing about development in the state, she lashed out at all opposition parties, terming them anti-Dalit and anti poor. Spread across 33.43 hectacres, the park that’s commonly referred to as Dr Ambedkar Park, was decked up with flowers and elaborate lighting arrangements and guarded by 25,000 policemen. Forty VIPs, including politicians and bureaucrats, 10,000 party supporters and onlookers witnessed the inaugural ceremony. Unmindful of the criticism from several quarters against the construction of the Rs 685-crore mammoth memorial, Mayawati described the inauguration as one that would “be inscribed in golden letters in the history of the nation.” The park, she said, commemorated and honoured the efforts of the Dalit leaders for the upliftment all backward communities, adding that the BSP was the only party to have honoured Dalit leaders like Kanshi Ram,Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, Narayan Guru and Jyotiba Phule. Apologising for the strict security arrangements that had kept everyone from even taking a peek into the park until today, she said it would now be open for visitors from across the country at a nominal entry fee of Rs 10. As a special treat, the UP chief minister Mayawati invited all spectators to take a look inside ‘Prerna Sthal’, promising that the park would remain open till late in the night for everyone to catch a glimpse of the grandeur. Designed by architects Design Associates Inc, the park has been divided into three parts - Column Plaza, Central Park Plaza and Ambedkar Plaza, separated by two water fountains. Column Plaza is dotted with several 300ft high pillars crowned by four-headed elephants and another iron pillar like structure at the centre, complete with a chakra and four elephants. Ambedkar Plaza houses 12 Dholpur and Mirzapur stone statues, brought from Lucknow. One is of the CM herself and the others of Gautam Buddha, B R Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram. The grander Central Plaza houses the dome that has three more life-size statues of the CM, Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram.
STANDARD GAUGE The Bangalore Metro is standard gauge, a system used by most metros worldwide. Narrower than the broad gauge, it allows for greater manoeuvrability, easy ride along curves, laying of tracks even on narrow stretches and control. The standard gauge has a track width of 4ft, 8.5inches, or 1,435mm, while the Indian broad gauge is 5ft, 6inches, or 1,676mm.
ROLLING STOCK The rolling stock (coaches/cars) are three stainless steel-bodied wagons. Though equipped with automated functions, the train will be under the driver’s control. The seating capacity per train is approximately 1,000, giving more floor area to standing passengers. The coaches are world-class, manufactured by Hyundai Rotem Korea and Mitsubishi Electric Company. BEML has the licence to manufacture coaches in Bangalore. While Mitsubishi supplied traction for the coaches, Hyundai Rotem supplied the rolling stock and BEML the coaches.
POWER IN THIRD RAIL Electricity for the train will run on a third rail next to the main track. It has an opening at the bottom at points from where the train draws its power. The third rail is covered with a yellow shroud, and a person falling on the track won’t be electrocuted. ABB will design, supply, install and commission four substations to receive and distribute electricity at 66/33 kV, as well as auxiliary and traction substations. ABB will provide an integrated network management, or SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system to monitor and control installations.
TECH AIDS FOR PASSENGERS Cameras will be installed inside the train as well as stations, and people’s movements will be monitored by an operations control centre at Byappanahalli. In case of any help or emergency, the control room will be able to see what went wrong. Trains will be Wi-Fi enabled, so passengers can use laptops, tablets as well as mobile internet. Passengers will have emergency voice communication with train staff through a speaker system. Passengers can press a call button to communicate anything urgent to the driver or control centre. Help will be at hand at the next station. The integrated control centre will have direct communication with trains and stations which will be CCTV-fitted with visual and audio service information. Bangalore Metro also has automatic train supervision, protection and operation systems — if there’s a train on the same track ahead, the approaching train will sense it and come to a halt at a safe distance. BMRCL officials said the only aspect that could have been automated but was not, was the opening and closing of doors. “We felt the driver needs to be alert. If everything is automated, the driver need not be in the train. So we’ve manually given the driver the option to open and close doors,” they said. Ticketing, too, is completely automated with just a swipe of the ticket, token or card at a particular point near the entry and exit, enabling the gates to open and close.
HIGH ON TECH Recharge of metro cards through mobiles and SMS, a first in the world