Two orphaned tiger cubs die of viral infection

first_imgTwo orphaned tiger cubs died of a viral infection at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, a forest official said today.One of the cubs died at around midnight yesterday and the other succumbed this morning, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve’s field director Mridul Pathak said.Both the cubs were four months’ old.They were among the three cubs found on January 22 this year at Sarwahi village on the periphery of the Sanjay Gandhi Tiger Reserve in the state.The poachers had killed the mother of the cubs.Later, the three cubs were shifted to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve to be put in foster care, he said.“We tried our best to save the cubs who were infected with parvovirus. This virus generally infects dogs, but it infected the cubs here. The doctors from Panna and Jabalpur were called and proper medicines were also administered to the felines but they could not be saved,” Pathak said.The third cub also has the infection and a team of doctors is trying to save the feline, he added.last_img read more

Six babies branded in Keonjhar

first_imgAfter six cases of branding of babies by traditional healers came to the light in Odisha’s Keonjhar district in the last ten days, the administration launched an awareness campaign urging people, especially tribals, to shun the superstitious practice.Despite being one of the richest districts of the country, Keonjhar has very poor health infrastructure.While four cases of branding of babies emerged from the Banspal area, one each was reported from the Keonjhar, Sadar and Harichandanpur blocks of the district. Although branding did not result in any death, two seriously ill infants were shifted to Cuttack.Tribals usually look up to traditional healers whenever infants or kids develop stomach ailments. The traditional healers then brand stomachs with a hot iron nail. It is one of the crudest forms of dealing with childhood illness.“Apart from pictorial advertisements on walls, we have directed all ASHA workers and anganwadi workers to counsel people against branding of babies,” said Kabindra Prasad Sahoo, Chief District Medical Officer of Keonjhar.last_img read more

A school too far

first_imgPune: When Bapusaheb Jangam visits his grandsons, he clambers down from the clifftop Raireshwar fort in Pune’s Bhor tehsil, where the family lives, to Aasra, a village at the base. The boys moved there for their Class VIII studies because the school in the fort has classes only up to Class VII, and it would be a tough daily walk. Though Jangam is remarkably fit, and has been making this trek since he was a child, it takes him 50 minutes downslope. This makes him sad about the younger kids in Raireshwar.The Maharashtra government’s education department has decided to close down zilla parishad schools with less than 10 students; this will affect approximately 1,300 schools, including the tiny one in the fort. According to the department — and Education minister Vinod Tawde has stated this too — low student numbers means that quality of education is poor. The students will be accommodated in ‘nearby’ schools.RTE ground rulesThe Right to Education Act says that the distance between a primary school and the house of a student must be less than one km till Class V, and less than 3 km from Class VI to VIII. But the Raireshwar children will now have to go to Rairi school, 35 km away. “It will take them at least two hours,” says Jangam. “Why are they doing this? Have those officers come for inspection at least once before taking this decision? Can these poor kids leave their homes and relocate closer to the school?”Raireshwar fort — where in 1645, the then-16-year-old Shivaji took an oath to found a Maratha empire —houses a hamlet of around 150 residents, mainly farming families.“I park my bike at the base of the fort and climb up the iron stairs,” says Arvind Shinde, the only teacher at the Raireshwar school “The kids will have to walk five kilometres down the mountain, then another 35 km to their school. It will be impossible in the monsoon.” Mr. Shinde fears that his 10 students will be forced to stop their education because of the arduous walk.The Hindu encountered two other primary schools on the plateau, in similar isolated hamlets: Malwadi (Raireshwar) with one student and Keshavnagar (Dhanvali) with three students. As with the fort school, these too will soon close, and the students will have to walk to Rairi village.Keshavnagar sits on a cliff, three kilometres further across the plateau. Its ‘basti-school’ was set up in 2001 to serve the 20 to 25 Mahadev-Koli (a Scheduled Tribe) families there. It too has a single teacher, Tulshiram Wagmare, who parks his motorcycle at Kankwadi village at the base of the cliff and walks for an hour up the path, which passes through a forest. He once lived here, but he moved his family to Bhor; he comes here to teach because he feels a commitment to the community. “Their parents are not educated,” he says. “Forget Rairi, they will not even allow these kids to come down to the closest school, at Khalchi Dhanivali. Who would want a Class I girl to walk through the forest for one or two hours daily?” Mr. Wagmare’s students include Sonal and Pratiksha Dhanavale, who are in Class I and III. On the day this reporter visited, heavy rain, the after-effect of Cyclone Ockhi, had made Keshavnagar unapproachable. “In the monsoon, even I stay on top because it is impossible to climb down. How can you expect little kids to do this?”Arduous trekFormer students from these schools say that while they had to walk down from the plateau to secondary school, at least their primary school was close by, which won’t be the case for the young ones now. “It takes at least two hours through a dense forest,” says Sonali Kank, who now studies in a college at Bhor. “Even we never walk that path alone. How will their parents send them down? It will end their education.” Rahul Dhanvale, from Khalchi Dhanivali, mid-way between Kankwadi and Keshavnagar, now a Class XI student in a school in Bhor, says. “I am an expert on walking these roads. But mud, rocks and steep slopes drain your energy. Why should those kids suffer?”The teachers and parents with whom The Hindu spoke requested not to be named, out of fear of the government, but bitterly criticised the education department’s decision, calling it absurd, unjustified and disastrous for the children.“It does not matter whether the school has even one student,” a teacher said. “Education is not about making profit. The school should run if it is close to the student’s home.” He is sure that no girl will be sent even to primary school if the decision is implemented. “What you are seeing is just 0.001% of the total problem. This decision has created havoc in the state.” A parent wondered if the government had done any physical survey before deciding on closing down the schools. “Why do they want my son to drop his education? This is inhuman,” he said.last_img read more

Tihar Jail launches ‘Wah-O’ perfume with Nafisa Ali as brand Ambassador

first_imgThe Tihar Jail is set to enter the perfume market by launching its product ‘Wah-O’ , with eminent activist and actor Nafisa Ali being its brand ambassador, officials said.‘School of Perfumes and Fragrances’ was inaugurated by Director General (Prisons) Ajay Kashyap on Friday, they said. It will also provide opportunities to inmates to become economically independent and “productive members” of society, officials said.According to the jail authorities, inmates will also be benefited through profits gained through the sale of ‘Wah-O.’ Ten per cent of the profit will go to the Prisoner’s Welfare Fund while 25% of the annual profits will also be channelised into the Victims Welfare Fund.The jail authorities said that Ali has agreed to become the brand ambassador for the Tihar perfumes. “Nafisa has agreed to be the brand ambassador for the Tihar perfumes which will enter the perfume market under the brand name of Wah-O,” an official said.He said that with little requirement of space and machinery, such units can be set up with a small capital. The inmate acts as an entrepreneur and an owner rather than a worker or a labourer in another person’s factory.Mr. Kashyap said that at present five fragrances (sandal, rose, mogra, jasmine, lavender), and a blend released under the name of Nafis, is being produced by the inmates. The market of pot-pourri, incense cones, diffusers among others will be tapped in the second phase. The high-security Tihar Jail, one of India’s largest prisons, produces several products under the umbrella of ‘TJ’s product.’ Initially, Tihar Jail’s products were sold to prisoners and their visitors, who can buy them a store just outside the jail.Later, they began to appear in stalls in courts. Also, Tihar products are also supplied in government offices. One of its stalls is currently at the Delhi Secretariat, which offers number of TJ’s products.last_img read more

Rajasthan raises minimum wages

first_imgThe minimum wages have been increased by ₹6 a day in Rajasthan following a proposal to revise the surcharge imposed on stamp duty, which is spent on welfare and protection of cows. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje made the announcement during her visit to Sawai Madhopur district over the weekend.Addressing a “Jan Samvad” programme in Chauth Ka Barwara, Ms. Raje said the minimum wages in all categories of work had been increased in view of inflation and to provide relief to labourers.The wages of unskilled labourers have been increased from ₹207 to ₹213 a day. The enhanced daily wages will be ₹223 for semi-skilled labourers, ₹233 for skilled labourers and ₹283 for highly skilled labourers. The increased wages will come into effect retrospectively from January 1, 2018.The State government is also considering doubling of surcharge on stamp duty for welfare and protection of cows from the existing 10% to 20%. Around ₹235 crore worth of revenue has been generated from the 10% surcharge levied in April last year on those making rent and lease agreements and making property transactions on stamp papers.According to the official sources, the State Cabinet has approved a notification for increasing the surcharge twofold and sent the proposal to Governor Kalyan Singh for approval.Extended grantsThe State needs about ₹490 crore annually to meet the expenditure for providing fodder and shelter to 9,60,000 cows in 2,562 authorised gaushalas. The State, which has a dedicated Ministry for cow welfare, has extended the grants for water and fodder to gaushalas from three months to six months.last_img read more

Amit Shah flags off Vasundhara Raje’s 58-day ‘Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra’

first_imgRajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Saturday embarked on a 58-day-long ‘Gaurav Yatra’ (march of pride) from the Charbhujanath Temple in the Rajsamand district, with an eye on the State Assembly election due in December this year. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah launched a scathing attack on Congress president Rahul Gandhi while flagging off the yatra.Daily questionPradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot, who has announced that he would pose one question to Ms. Raje everyday during the yatra, asked whether the BJP wanted to use temples only for getting political mileage in the elections. Congress workers also staged a protest against the yatra in Jaipur and burnt Ms. Raje’s effigy at the District Collectorate.Ms. Raje and Mr. Shah offered prayers at the temple before heading to Kankroli town where they addressed the first public meeting of the much-hyped yatra. Ms. Raje will use a modified bus as the ‘chariot’ during the onward journey, in which she will cover 165 of the 200 Assembly constituencies in the State by spending 40 days on the road. The march will culminate in Ajmer on September 30.Mr. Shah public wanted to know from Mr. Gandhi what his “last four generations” had done for the country. “There was a complete lack of development in a State like Rajasthan during the Congress rule,” he said.The BJP president claimed that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had released two-and-a-half-times more funds to Rajasthan in comparison with the previous UPA regime and brought 116 schemes for the people of the State. “Still, the Congress has the audacity to ask what the BJP has done [for you],” he told the audience drawn from the Mewar region.Mr. Shah also raked up the issue of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC), while alleging that Congress wanted to exploit the “illegal Bangladeshis” residing in India as its vote bank. “The Congress president should tell the people if Bangladeshis should continue to live in our country,” he said, and affirmed that the NDA government would “weed out every foreign national living illegally in India.”Taking strong exception to the tone and tenor of Mr. Shah’s speech, Mr. Pilot said his remarks had damaged the dignity of politics and proved that the BJP had nothing to offer to the public.last_img read more

SC agrees to examine plea for CBI probe into Bengal BJP workers death

first_imgNew Delhi The Supreme Court today agreed to examine a plea seeking a CBI probe into the alleged killing of three BJP workers in West Bengal after the recently held local bodies elections in the state.The plea filed by a BJP leader alleged that family members of the victims were being threatened and FIRs had been lodged in these cases.A bench of justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan issued notices to West Bengal and the CBI on the plea and sought their reply in four weeks.During the hearing, BJP leader and advocate Gaurav Bhatia said that “disturbing murders” have taken place in West Bengal and police have not registered an FIR in these cases.He said that CBI probe should be ordered and alleged that family members of the three slain BJP workers, Shaktipad Sarkar, Trilochan Mahato and Dulal Kumar, were now being threatened.₹50 lakh compensation demandMr. Bhatia also demanded that compensation to the tune of ₹50 lakh and security cover be provided to the family members of the victims.The bench said it is issuing notice in the matter.Earlier, the apex court had refused to give an urgent hearing on the plea seeking a CBI probe into the killing of BJP workers in Purulia and South 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal after the recently held panchayat polls.Shaktipada Sarkar, a BJP block president in the Mandirbazar-Dhanurhat area, was hacked tod death when he was returning home in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district on July 28.The body of a 32-year-old Dulal Kumar, a BJP worker, was found hanging from an electric pole in the Purulia district’s Balarampur of West Bengal on June 2.In the same district on May 30, the body of 18-year-old Tirlochan Mahato, also a BJP worker from Balrampur, was found hanging from a tree with a poster written in Bengali struck on his back, saying he was killed for canvassing for the BJP during panchayat election.last_img read more

BJP moves Calcutta HC with fresh plea to hold rath yatra

first_imgThe BJP moved the Calcutta High Court on Monday with a fresh plea, challenging the West Bengal government’s denial of permission to the party’s proposed rath yatra in the State.The State government had held a meeting on the yatra with a three-member BJP team as per the High Court’s direction, following which it informed the party on Saturday that permission could not be granted for the same.Hearing todayRepresenting the BJP, lawyer Saptangshu Basu mentioned the matter before the court of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty and sought permission to file a fresh petition. Justice Chakraborty allowed the BJP to file the petition and asked its lawyer to serve copies of it to the State government and other respondents in the matter. The petition is likely to be taken up for hearing on Tuesday before Justice Chakraborty’s court, Mr. Basu said. The party had proposed to take out three rath yatras in different parts of the State ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. The BJP had moved a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court after a single-judge Bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty refused the permission. The Division Bench had on December 7 directed the State chief secretary, the Home secretary and the Director General of Police to hold a meeting with three representatives of the BJP by December 12, and take a decision on the yatra by December 14. The dates of the meeting and decision-making were later postponed by a day each by the Court.last_img read more

OMR sheets of 108 students go missing

first_imgThe OMR sheets of the mathematics paper of 108 students who had appeared for their matriculation examination were found missing from a government-run high school in Malkangiri district on Sunday.Complaint lodged The matter came to light after the authorities of SSD High School at Padia lodged a complaint at the Padia police station, police said. The complaint said the optical mark recognition sheets of nearly 108 students have gone missing from the school premises.Probe is on Malkangiri Superintendent of Police Jagmohan Meena said a team led by ASP U.C. Nayak has been sent to the school to conduct a probe. “Investigation is in progress to ascertain the circumstances in which the OMR sheets went missing,” he said. The school authorities have also informed the district administration and the Board of Secondary Education, which conducts the annual matriculation examination in the State, about the incident, said an official. Malkangiri Sub-Collector Rameswar Pradhan and other senior officials have reached the school for the probe.Three suspended The development comes a day after images of the mathematics question paper surfaced on social media on Saturday, prompting the State government to suspend three teachers in Kalahandi district. Earlier, the question papers of Odia, Hindi and English went viral on social media, putting the Board in a tight spot. The matriculation examinations began on February 22 and would conclude on March 8. The BSE had earlier suspended 10 persons, including four examination centre superintendents, for their alleged role in circulating the images of questions on social media.last_img read more

AGP, BJP strike Bill consensus

first_imgThe Asom Gana Parishad, which returned to the NDA fold on Wednesday, and the BJP will not speak on the contentious Citizenship Bill while campaigning for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Assam, NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.The two parties have decided to resume the talks on the Bill after the election, he added.AGP, which had walked out of the North-East Democratic Alliance remonstrating against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, brought by the Centre two months ago, returned to the grouping on Wednesday.“During the campaign, we will not say anything about our differences (on the Bill), but project our unity to the people,” Mr. Sarma said. Both the parties would sit together after the polls to find out a solution through “consultation and consensus”, he added.Mr. Sarma was addressing a joint press conference with Assam BJP chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass and AGP president Atul Bora here.‘Focus on PM’ “The sole aim of our campaign will be to make Narendra Modi the PM again for the development of Assam and the Northeast. Our campaign will focus on the success of the PM and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s tenure,” Mr. Sarma said.There will not be a separate manifesto or common minimum programme for the constituents of the ruling coalition in Assam, he added. A “common statement” approved by all the parties in the NEDA would be issued in the coming days, he said.Commenting on the issue, Mr. Bora said, “We have decided to sort out the differences through discussion. We have joined the alliance in the greater interest of the State and country.” He claimed that Mr. Modi had done “lots” of development work in the country, while former PM Manmohan Singh “did nothing” for the Northeast, despite being a parliamentarian from Assam for 10 years.Mr. Sarma added that seat-sharing details would be formally announced on Saturday in New Delhi after a delegation of the regional party meets BJP president Amit Shah.Voting in Assam will take place in three phases on April 11, 18 and 23.last_img read more