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Monday, October 18, 2010

Speed up says Power Minister to NHPC ... State govt sanctions c crore ..... Alcoholic intake among Indian teens in the rise ... 130 villagesof Indo Bangla border identified as smuggling dens

Power Minister asks NHPC to Speed up 
PTI, New Delhi, Oct 17: Fearing that it may not meet the target of adding 62,000 MW electricity in the current Five- Year Plan, the Power Ministry has asked NHPC to speed up execution of various projects and has offered help remove impediments, if any.
The Power Ministry is conducting review meetings with the company officials asking reasons for delay in execution of its hydro power projects mainly --  800 MW Parbati-II (Himachal Pradesh), and 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri (Arunachal Pradesh).
Work on these projects has been stalled due to environment related issues, sources in the know said. "The NHPC did not get permit to work on these projects due to environment issues and local objections," a power ministry official said.
In West Bengal, protests by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha have hampered the work on Teesta Low Dam III (130 MW) and IV (160 MW). Geological issues have also hit NHPC's 231 MW Chamera-III in Himachal Pradesh. Law and order problems in Jammu & Kashmir have adversely impacted work on the company's three projects in the state.
"Due to unrest in the Kashmir valley three projects have been delayed," the official added. NHPC is constructing Uri-II with a capacity of 240 MW, Nimmo Bazgo (45 MW) and Chutak (44 MW) in J&K.
Due to violence, these projects have suffered significant loss of time and thus have been delayed. NHPC was earlier scheduled to commission these three power projects during the current XIth Five-Year Plan (2007-12) but now these projects are likely to miss their commissioning schedule.
NHPC, which has an installed capacity of over 4,000 MW plans to ramp up this capacity to over 10,000 MW by the end of the current XIth Five Year Plan (2007-2012).
If these hurdles continue to disturb the progress of these hydro projects, capacity addition under the stipulated time frame seems unlikely. Government plans to add 62,000 MW of electricity by the end of the current plan period.
State govt sanctions 4 crore for police quarters
SNS, KOLKATA, 17 OCT: In what appears to be an attempt to pacify a section of officers of the city police who are much annoyed with the government for not renovating the police quarters for a long time, the state government has sanctioned more than Rs 4 crore last month for repair of police housing complexes and strengthening infrastructure of other police establishments. The move, considered to be taken to help the CPI-M controlled Kolkata Police Association (KPA) to tighten its grip over the city cops, came at a time when a section of employees of Kolkata Police Directorate deserted the CPI-M affiliated state Coordination committee and formed union of Trinamul Congress at Lalbazar and other some others units including Alipore Bodyguard Lines after successive electoral setback of the Left Front. The state of some police housing complexes had become so pathetic that several policemen had to take private accommodation on rent. A section of policemen in the KPA had squarely accused the state government of ignoring the problem of police housing complexes. The matter was brought to the notice of the chief minister several times. The chief minister, while addressing a KPA meeting inside the Lalbazar premises in 2008, had assured that steps to renovate the housing complexes would be taken shortly. The matter was discussed between representatives of KPA and senior city police officers several times. But nothing effective came out of it. A senior city police officer said successive electoral setback, followed by formation of units of Trinamul Congress in Lalbazar has prompted the state government to finally give attention to the longstanding demand of the city policemen. Officials at the Writers’ Buildings said this is the “first time” that such a huge sum of money was allotted for renovation of police housing complexes and other police establishments in the city. “The usual yearly allocation of fund for the purpose stands at about Rs 1 crore. This time, the state government has sanctioned Rs 4 crore. The order of sanction came last month,” a senior official at Writers’ Buildings said. Another official said that the state government had faced a problem to disburse the fund in some earlier occasions. “In some earlier years, there was a shortage of money on the head under which fund is sanctioned for repair of police establishments. This time enough fund was available under that head,” the official said. 
130 villages close to Indo-Bangladesh border identified as smuggling dens
SNS, KOLKATA, 17 Oct: About 130 villages lying close to the Indo-Bangladesh border have been identified as prone to smuggling of narcotic substances, fake Indian currency and other essential commodities including rice.
A senior BSF officer said the villages have been identified following an analysis of Intelligence inputs gathered by sleuths belonging to various State and Central agencies and arrests made by state police and border guarding force in the the last couple of years. Another startling revelation is that mostly women from these villages are involved in smuggling narcotic substances to Bangladesh and bringing counterfeit Indian currencies from there.
Vigil has been made stringent along the border and a special watch is being kept pn these 130 villages, located within 50 yards of International Border. The officer added that the smuggling of drugs, counterfeit Indian currency and arms was discussed during the director general level meeting between BSF and Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) held last month.
“When people from our territory cross over the border for either cattle grazing or to visit their relatives, they bring narcotic items to India in lieu of money,” said a senior BSF officer. Sealed consignment of narcotic items are handed over to them to deliver it to their agents in India. The Bangladeshi smugglers never disclose the names of their Indian accomplices, the officer added. The women drug traffickers never show interest to know the names of the receivers as they are paid in cash before delivery. Hiding the drug consignments in their clothes, the women evade jawans guarding the border, the officer added.
According to BSF sources, fake Indian currency worth Rs 86,41,290 have been seized on 2006 to August this year. In 2006, the BSF had seized counterfeit Indian currency worth Rs 9,37,900. A total 32 seizures were made in 2006. In 2007, the border guarding force of the country made 18 seizers of fake Indian currency of worth total Rs 6,95,300. In 2008, the BSF men seized counterfeit Indian currency of worth Rs 18,75,000 and registered 33 cases. In the next year, the BSF men recovered fake Indian currency of worth Rs 28,43,390 in total 39 cases of seizure.
Till August this year, 31 seizures of fake Indian currency have taken place on the border and the BSF jawans have seized about Rs 22 lakh fake Indian notes. 
Muslim Panel to appeal against Ayodhya verdict
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board Saturday said it had decided to appeal in the Supreme Court against the Ayodhya verdict given by a three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court last month.
The decision was taken at a closed-door gathering of the 51-member executive held at the Darul-Uloom, Nawa-tul-Ulema, popularly known as Nadwa here.
“The meeting felt that this judgment suffers from a number of infirmities. The executive committee of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) considers it to be the right and obligation of the Indian Muslims to challenge the judgment in the apex court and remove distortions introduced by the judgment in the basic values of the constitution and the established norms of jurisprudence,” the Board said in a press statement.
“Under these circumstances, the Board decides that this verdict be challenged in the Supreme Court of India,” it said.
Chaired by Maulana Rabe Hasan Nadwi, the rector of the Nadwa, the meeting was reportedly attended by prominent Islamic scholars and clerics from different parts of the country.
A Board source earlier said no consensus could be obtained on going for an amicable out-of-court settlement even though some members of the Board expressed their views in favour of such a settlement.
The meet follows the Sep 30 verdict of the Allahabad High Court that decided to divide the disputed 90 ft x 120 ft plot of land in Ayodhya into three equal parts – two to two separate Hindu parties involved in the case and one to the Sunni Central Waqf Board, representing Muslims.
Earlier, the Sunni Central Waqf Board had resolved to appeal against the order of the high court.
However, since the All India Muslim Personal Law Board is the highest decision-making body regarding religious rights of Muslims in the country, the final decision on the issue was left to the board.
Wonder kid targets Olympic glory
PTI, Chandigarh, Oct 17: Teenager Ashish Kumar, who fetched India’s first gymnastics medals in the Commonwealth Games by clinching a bronze and a silver, had contemplated the sport at one stage.
The 19-year-old gave India their first gymnastics medal since the beginning of the Commonwealth Games in 1930. After the bronze, he also followed it up by winning a silver in the vaults category.
“When I was 13, I lost out on qualification for the prestigious Tulit Peter Championship in Hungary by just 0.10 points. That was the second time I had not got selected and perhaps the first time I cried so bitterly,” Ashish said after he was honoured by the Chandigarh Gymnastics Federation.
“I was so depressed that I thought of giving up gymnastics. There was no point, I thought, after working so hard and failing to get selected. However, my parents motivated me and asked me to carry on. I think that was the turning point,” he said.
Now, his dream is to win an Olympic gold. “There was a stage when nobody thought India would get a medal in gymnastics. After that has been realised, I now have set my aim for the Olympic gold,” said Ashish.
Alcoholic intake among Indian teens in the rise
The challenges of a modern urban life seem to be taking a heavy toll on the teenagers in the age group of 15-19 years who are resorting to increased alcohol consumption in order to distract themselves from the day-to-day problems, a study has revealed.
According to the study conducted by the social development foundation of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), 45 percent of intermediate students in metropolitan cities consume alcohol excessively, at least five to six times a month.
Most of the 2,000 surveyed adolescents said they took to drinking out of peer pressure. Over 32 per cent of teenagers admitted to drinking when they were upset, and 18 per cent said they drank when alone. About 15 per cent said they drank when they were bored, while 45 per cent consumed alcohol to “get high.”
The survey, conducted across Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun, found that youngsters spend Rs 3,500- Rs4,500 on alcohol every year. Liquor consumption was most prevalent in Delhi-National Capital Region and Mumbai followed by Chandigarh and Hyderabad.
“More young Indians are resorting to alcohol these days due to the growing liberated society, easy spending power and wide availability of brands,” said D S Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham. The study also revealed a cultural shift where 70 per cent of teens said they consume alcohol at birthday parties, farewells and other such occasions.
Higher alcohol intake has increased risks of high-risk sexual behaviour, tuberculosis, cancer, liver diseases and duodenal ulcer among teenagers.  Teenagers also run the risk of alcohol dependency, moving on to more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and others, the study reveals (PTI).

Human Trafficking
“As unimaginable as it seems, slavery and bondage still persist in the early 21st century. Millions of people around the world still suffer in silence in slave-like situations of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation from which they cannot free themselves. Trafficking in persons is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time.”
[U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2003]
Trafficking in persons is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded or coerced into labour or sexual exploitation. Annually, about 600,000 to 800,000 people — mostly women and children — are trafficked across national borders which does not count millions trafficked within their own countries. Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat: it deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, poses a global health risk, and fuels the growth of organized crime.
Human trafficking has a devastating impact on individual victims, who often suffer physical and emotional abuse, rape, threats against self and family, passport theft, and even death. However, the impact of human trafficking goes beyond individual victims; it undermines the safety and security of all nations it touches.
India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced or bonded labour and commercial sexual exploitation. The large population of men, women, and children — numbering in the millions — in debt bondage face involuntary servitude in brick kilns, rice mills, zari embroidery factories and as domestic help. Internal trafficking of women and girls for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage also occurs. The Ministry of Home Affairs estimates that 90 percent of India’s sex trafficking is internal. India is also a destination for women and girls from Nepal and Bangladesh trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. In addition, boys from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are trafficked through India to the Gulf States for involuntary servitude as child camel jockeys. Reportedly, Bangladeshi women are trafficked through India for sexual exploitation in Pakistan. Moreover, Indian men and women migrate willingly to the Gulf for work as domestic servants and low-skilled labourers, but some later find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude including extended working hours, non-payment of wages, restrictions on their movement by withholding of their passports or confinement to the home, and physical or sexual abuse.
What is the reason behind such crimes of aggression does it pursue some kind of self-sadistic pleasure or are we also following some set norms? Norms of domestication, norms of showing monetary superiority? Have we become absolutely insensitive and indulgent in our luxuries and fancies that are offered by this modern lifestyle that we all aspire to lead? Have we become as ignorant as to not notice these crimes on humanity? Or are we willingly closing our eyes and pretending that they would either vanish or cease to exist just because we don’t have the power or even the time and for most of us even the will to change or to at least try to bring the change in them. Our efforts largely, are directed towards earning higher incomes, owning the latest gadgets, attending the most happening parties and being up to date with the latest gossip. And if we are the sensitive type, then we would acknowledge the suffering in this world but instead of attacking the problem, we resolve to spirituality, meditation and yoga to relieve us of the imaginary stress and pains caused by the discussions of such topics. Maybe it’s a high time we stop this selfishness and look out of the box we live in.
(Tanaya Malhotra -The views paper) 

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