People must be sensitised about ensuring road safety and obeying traffic rules as almost 90 per cent of the road accidents are caused due to human error, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Monday.
Presiding over the virtual inaugural function of national road safety month here, he said the theme of road safety was related to the life of every human being. Therefore, the road safety month was important to sensitise the masses.
He said the state is committed to make roads safer,adding that continuous efforts are required to reduce the hazards of road accidents by involving communities and stakeholders in various awareness activities on road safety.
Thakur also felt the need for active participation of general public, voluntary organisations, Panchayati Raj institutions, local bodies and related departments to make this campaign a big success.
Thakur said that special training must be imparted to drivers to make them sensitive regarding road safety, especially while driving school buses and professional vehicles, so as to bring about changes in their behaviour.
The state government had taken several necessary steps for improving the black spots on the roads to mitigate the accidents. The government is taking all necessary measures to conduct awareness campaigns for citizens to sensitise the public about the safety measures, he said.
The Chief Minister said that the Public Works Department and the National Highway Authority of India must ensure that the roads are built by ensuring proper gradients and better quality.
The authorities must not wait for accidents to declare any part of the road as black spot, but act pro-actively to remove the blind curves at the earliest.
At present, the Chief Minister said, there are 12.75 lakh driving licence holders in the state, including 82,325 women.
Special efforts should be made to make them sensitive about road safety and their participation in this campaign should be ensured.
Later, the Chief Minister honoured Himachal Road Transport Corporation driver Seema Thakur from Solan district and woman commercial vehicle driver Poonam Negi from Kinnaur district.
He also honoured good smartians Manmohan from Kalpa, Rai Singh from Poanta Sahib and Rajender Kumar from Arki for helping road accident victims.
New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) Despite supporting the ongoing farmers' agitation in the country, the image of former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has not come up to the mark to pose a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose approval rating and popularity remain intact despite the odds of the Covid-19 pandemic and the farmers' stir, as per the IANS C-Voter State of the Nation 2021 survey.
As per the survey, Rahul Gandhi is most popular in Kerala from where he has been elected to the Lok Sabha, and least popular in Uttarakhand where incumbent Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has been ranked lowest among the Chief Ministers.
The approval rating for Rahul Gandhi in Kerala is 43 per cent, followed by Tamil Nadu (25 per cent) and Jammu and Kashmir (15 per cent).
The all-India rating of the opposition leader is a dismal minus 5.07 per cent, with only 18.73 per cent of the respondents saying they are very much satisfied with his performance, 20 per cent saying they are satisfied, and as high as 44.08 per cent saying they are not satisfied at all.
The situation is not much different in the Union Territories where Rahul Gandhi enjoys an approval rating of 5 per cent, with 35 per cent respondents saying they are not satisfied with the work of Rahul Gandhi.
In the Congress-ruled state of Chhattisgarh, where Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is better placed than the former Congress chief, 51 per cent of the people are not at all satisfied with the performance of Rahul Gandhi.
In poll-bound West Bengal, where the Congress is in alliance with the Left parties, the approval rating of Rahul Gandhi is minus 7.09 per cent, with around 45 per cent of the people saying they are not satisfied with Rahul Gandhi's works, 14 per cent saying they are very much satisfied, and 23 per cent saying they are satisfied to some extent.
In Uttarakhand, the approval rating of the Congress leader is minus 41 per cent, followed by the northeastern states (minus 38 per cent) and Delhi (minus 23 per cent).
The situation is not much different in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, where Rahul Gandhi has an approval rating of minus 21 per cent with 54 per cent of the people saying they are unhappy with him.
Despite backing the farmers' stir, the Congress leader's approval rating in Punjab and Haryana, the two states leading the ongoing protests, is dismal at minus 18 per cent and minus 17 per cent, respectively.
His approval rating in BJP-ruled Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, though is minus 1.59 per cent and in minus 1.91 per cent.
The survey was carried out among over 30,000 respondents across the country.
New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) The Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology has issued summons to officials of Facebook and Twitter for January 21, to question them over misuse of the social media/online news platforms.
The schedule of meeting on the Lok Sabha website read: "Evidence of representatives of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and to hear the views of the representatives of Facebook and Twitter on the subject safeguarding citizens' rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space."
Earlier, the committee had summoned Facebook's India head Ajit Mohan over the issue of political bias on the social media platform.
The allegations of a Facebook bias towards the BJP were reported in The Wall Street Journal in August 2020 and had claimed that Ankhi Das, the platform's then India Policy Head had opposed the idea of removing hate posts by BJP leaders, warning that this could hamper their "commercial interests".
Das has now quit Facebook.
New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) The Press Information Bureau (PIB) on Friday slammed the NDTV news channel for erroneous and malafide news reporting regarding procurement of rice and demanded it retract the news whose sole purpose seemed to be that of spreading misinformation.
In a letter to NDTV's Editorial Director and President Sonia Singh, Alpana Pant Sharma, Additional Director General of the PIB said, "In a shocking display of poor journalism and sheer disregard of actual facts, Ravish Kumar of NDTV has resorted to incorrectly portraying paddy procurement by the government."
She said that the news was totally "misleading" and creates an impression that the procurement in the current year is lower as compared to last year.
Sharma further said that during a sensitive time wherein some farmers are protesting at the borders of the national capital, Kumar has misrepresented important facts. "This not only misleads our nation's farmers but also incites negative sentiments in society," she said.
Highlighting the facts, the PIB official said, it is confirmed that till January 10 last year of the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2019-20, 423 lakh MT of paddy was procured. "Compared to the same period, 534 lakh MT of paddy was procured till January 10 this year by the central government during the current KMS. This shows that the increase till January 10 is indeed 26 per cent," she said.
"Kumar's report on your channel does an unfair comparison of full year procurement of 2019-20 with ongoing procurement of 2020-21," she said.
She further stated that the infographic mentioned in the news clipping from the twitter handle of Union Minister Piyush Goyal has been cropped, which leads to the impression that this was a "malafide" act.
The officer also said that the news report further confused paddy figures and rice figures, wherein both are different. Rice is procured from paddy, and therefore, the figures in lakh MT of rice will always be lower than paddy.
The officer "strongly" asked the channel to retract the erroneous news report, whose sole purpose seems to be that of spreading misinformation. "It is requested that the correct information may please be broadcasted prominently in your news bulletin so that viewers are given correct information," Sharma added.
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has transferred 15 IAS officers, including Divisional Commissioners and District Magistrates.
The transfers were announced late Saturday night.
According to an official release, Shiva Kant Dwivedi, who was on waiting list, has been made special secretary Minority Welfare; while special secretary, AYUSH Department, Rajkamal Yadav has been made District Magistrate of Baghpat replacing Shakuntala Gautam, who has been sent as Director, Local Bodies.
Vandana Sharma, Managing Director of Backward Class Finance Development has been made Director, Backward Classes Welfare; while Director, Local Bodies, Kajal has been made Special Secretary, Basic Education.
Special Secretary, Basic Education, Manish Kumar Verma have been sent to Jaunpur as District Magistrate; while Preeti Shukla, Commissioner Vindhyachal Division has been made Secretary Food and Civil Supplies.
Yogeshwar Ram Mishra, who was on waiting list, has been made Commissioner Vindhyachal Division; while Sanjay Kumar, also on the wait list has been made Secretary Finance.
Vikas Gothwal, Managing Director, Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam has been made Secretary, Department of Infrastructure and Industrial Development; and Anil Kumar, Commissioner of Agra has been made Managing Director, Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam.
Amit Gupta, Secretary, Medical Education will be the new Commissioner of Agra Division; while Dinesh Singh, District Magistrate Jaunpur has been sent as Commissioner Chitrakoot Dham.
Gaurav Dayal, Commissioner Chitrakoot Dham has been shifted as Commissioner Aligarh Division; and Gauri Shankar Priyadarshi, Commissioner Aligarh Division goes as Secretary Medical Education Department.
Air India's first non-stop flight on the Hyderabad-Chicago route arrived from the US city at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here on Friday. A few hours later, the first flight from the city to Chicago departed.
Flight AI-108 landed at 01.00 hours with 237 passengers and 16 crew. The same aircraft - a Boeing 777LR - took off from Hyderabad to Chicago with 226 passengers and 16 crew around 12.50 hours amid much fanfare.
Senior officials of GMR-led Hyderabad International Airport along with Air India staff and other airport stakeholders were present at the terminal to see off the passengers and crew on the flight to the US city.
A warm reception was earlier accorded to passengers who arrived from Chicago, including a cake-cutting ceremony, and cultural events and photo opportunity amid adherence to COVID protocols, said airport operator GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL).
The flight AI-107 from Hyderabad to Chicago will operate every Friday, departing from Hyderabad at 1250 hrs (IST) and land in Chicago at 1805 hrs (CST/Local US time) the same day.
The return flight AI-108 from Chicago to Hyderabad will operate every Wednesday, leaving Chicago at 2130 hrs (CST/Local US Time) and land in Hyderabad at 0140 hrs (IST).
Air India will operate B777-200LR aircraft and cover the 13,293 KM in 16 hours 45 minutes while flying from Hyderabad to ORD and take 15 hours 40 minutes to cover the return journey.
"This new non-stop service has been on our connectivity wish list for quite some time. We are delighted that our very own national carrier Air India has commenced this service to bring the two destinations closer for all our passengers, who were waiting eagerly for a direct flight from Hyderabad to the US," said Pradeep Panicker, CEO, GHIAL.
"On behalf of Mayor Lightfoot and the city of Chicago, I am proud to inaugurate the first-ever direct flight between the United States and Hyderabad -- one of India's fastest growing cities and a centre of innovation," said Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner Jamie L Rhee.
"The connection with Hyderabad will generate an estimated $22 million per year in economic impact for Chicago, in addition to serving Chicago's large South-Asian population, the second-largest in the US," she added.
"A strong connectivity with India's centre of innovation is not only exciting for business in Chicago, but also prove to be a fruitful asset for our partners conducting business throughout North America," said Michael Fassnacht, Interim President and CEO at World Business Chicago.
Hyderabad-USA-Hyderabad has been the largest unserved market between India and the US, with over 7,40,000 passengers annually. Hyderabad is a gateway to south and central India, and a preferred and the largest transit hub.
It offers convenient proximity for passengers originating from the nearby cities like Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur, Bhubaneswar, Rajahmundry, Bhopal, and Tirupati with an additional demand of approximately 2,20,000 passengers annually.
Heralding a donations drive for the Ram Mandir construction at Ayodhya, Andhra Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Somu Veerraju donated Rs 50,000.
"I have donated my share for Sri Ram Mandir's construction as the years long desire of crores of Hindus is being fulfilled," said Veerraju on Friday.
He donated to Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra (SRJTK), located in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
Following his donation, SRJTK gave him a receipt, printed in both English and Hindi.
The BJP leader from Rajamahendravaram in East Godavari district called upon all the Hindu 'Banduvulu' (relatives) to donate as much as they wish.
"I call upon all the Hindu Banduvulu to donate as much as they wish to SRJTK," added Veerraju.
State BJP General Secretary, S. Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, said that the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, contributed Rs 5,00,100 for the construction of Ram temple.
Reddy shared the State Bank of India (SBI) account number to which interested people can donate.
Donations are exempt from tax under Section 80 G(2)(b) of the Income Tax Act.
The Sankissa village in Uttar Pradesh's Farrukhabad district, one of the most ancient Buddhist sites in the world, will soon be developed as a centre for Buddhist pilgrimage.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to develop Sankissa on the lines of Kushinagar, Sarnath, Kapilvastu and Kaushambhi.
A government spokesman said: "It is a matter of pride that Uttar Pradesh is a home to several important places related to Lord Buddha and these are being developed under the Buddhist circuit."
The Chief Minister has asked the officials to chalk out the action plan on this and draw a route map from Sarnath to Gautam Buddha Nagar, adding Sankissa village as sixth Buddhist destination in the state.
He wants that people from across the world should visit Sankissa, Kapilvastu, Shravasti, Kushinagar, Sarnath and Kaushambhi and see the ancient stupas and learn about the thoughts of Lord Buddha.
Adityanath also said that once Sankissa is developed as a tourist place, employment opportunities will increase and the system of road, electricity, and water will be better.
Also, the hotel and market business will bloom.
Sankissa, earlier known Sankasia, Sankassa and Sankasya, is an ancient city.
It came into prominence at the time of Gautama Buddha.
According to a Buddhist source, it was 30 leagues from Savatthi.
After Gautama Buddha's 'Mahaparinirvana', King Ashoka developed this place and installed one of his famous Pillars here.
He also built a stupa and a temple commemorating the visit of the Buddha.
This temple exists even today and the ruins of the stupa are also present as a temple of Vishari Devi. It is said that the name Visahari Devi is given to the mother of the Buddha.
Currently, Sankissa has ruins of old monasteries and Buddhist monuments.
It is rarely visited by pilgrims since it lacks facilities for travel.
Sankissa is now identified with Sankisa Basantapura on the north bank of the Ikkhumati river (Kalinadi), between Kampil and Kannauj in Farrukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh state of India.
It may be mentioned that Alexander Cunningham has described Sankissa village in his book "The Ancient Geography of India".
There is immense reverence for Sankissa among the followers of Lord Buddha settled across the globe. These devotees of Lord Buddha have built temples and stupas here.
The Burma temple built here in Sankissa is built by Buddhist followers of Myanmar.
In this temple, the figures of the soles of both feet of Buddha have been made.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday inaugurated the six-laned road between R-block and Digha, built at a cost of Rs 379.75 crore.
The 6.7-km stretch of road, boasting of state-of-the-art facilities, aims to ease massive traffic jams, providing much relief to commuters from north and south Bihar travelling to state capital Patna.
The six-laned road has electronic signages and solar-powered automatic street lights, offering signal-free drive.
Commuters of Digha, Rajiv Nagar, Indrapuri, Patliputra, Mahesh Nagar, Punaichak, Sri Krishnapuri and R-block can now move from one end to the other end of the road stretch in only seven minutes as against 40-45 minutes taken earlier. Vehicles carrying excess load can also ply on the six-laned road.
Sanjay Kumar, CGM of Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Limited, said that the project was completed in 21 months.
"This six-laned stretch has cuts at five places on either side to provide access to residents living in adjoining localities. Besides, we will construct roads to JP Setu and towards Saran and further to Vaishali district as well as Ganga Pathway from Digha to Malsalami along the Ganga river," Kumar said.
The elevated approach road between Digha and JP Setu is 1.3 km long and is expected to be completed by May 2021. The acquisition of 2.73 acres of land for the project has begun.
In December last year, the Chief Minister had inaugurated the Digha-AIIMS elevated road, providing easier access to the institution to millions of people from Chhapra, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali and north-western districts of Bihar.
In another major haul within a week, Mumbai Police seized over 345 kg marijuana or 'ganja' valued at around Rs 52 million, officials said here on Friday.
Following a tip-off regarding a huge consignment of contraband hidden in a building in Sangharsh Nagar, a Chandivali suburb in north-east Mumbai, a team of Saki Naka police station raided the premises, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 10) Maheshwar Reddy said.
The 'ganja' was found hidden in a small flat in building no. 10 in the Slum Redevelopment Authority complex.
The team scrutinized CCTV footage from the area and zeroed in on 39-year-old Ashok M Metre, who was arrested and booked under the NDPS Act, said Reddy.
The area was notorious for drug peddling and was put under extra surveillance to unearth the illegal goings-on, a police official said.
On January 9, the Narcotics Control Bureau had raided two locations in Bandra and Khar and seized over 200 kg of high-end drugs like OGKhush.
British national Karan Sajnani, an Indian-origin businessman living in Mumbai for over a year, was arrested along with sisters Rahila and Shaista Furniturewala, who are said to be managers of a Bollywood actress.
Sajnani's interrogation led to the arrests of 'Muchhad Paanwala' co-owner Ramkumar Tiwari, and Sameer Khan, the son-in-law of Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik, this week.
New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) The opposition seems divided while taking on the government on the issue of farmers as it has not been able to corner the government despite farmers protesting at the Delhi borders for the past 45 days.
While when Anna Hazare sat against the then UPA government the BJP cornered the government and the UPA was compelled to concede on demands on Lokpal but this time the opposition is not able to take the opportunity seriously. For the Congress which is mired in internal crisis over leadership issue, the solace has come from the Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece Samnaa in which they hailed Rahul Gandhi for taking on the Union government single-handedly.
"The Congress is in forefront in Punjab and Haryana in opposing the farm laws but where Congress is weak like in UP there is no movement by SP and BSP which have strong presence in the state while Rahul Gandhi has led tractor rally in Punjab to oppose the farm laws and led a delegation to the President," said a leader.
There has been criticism of Rahul Gandhi that he is unable to lead the opposition and NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that "he lacks consistency".
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said that though he supports Sena's gesture but the leader should be a consensus candidate. "Sharad Pawar is one of most able leaders in the present situation but once all parties come under one umbrella, the leader can be decided. Still, I would like to stress that current political situation of the country requires a strong and objective opposition," added Yechury.
On being asked that whether a weak Congress, the principle opponent party against BJP, translates into a weak opposition, Yechury said that to a large extent it is the truth. "We all wish that a stronger Congress would mean a much stronger opposition. But I cannot comment on the internal developments of the party," he quipped.
While same sentiments were expressed by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren that there is no one to show direction to the opposition. But Congress cites example of Rahul Gandhi taking on the government on Covid, China intrusions and farmers' issues.
Congress leaders maintain that opposition is united but the parties from North India like SP and BSP are a bit of afraid of the central agencies and they do not want to upset the people in power. They said Congress is the only party which has pan-India presence and government in four states and supporting two alliance government while BJP managed to pull down the governments in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.