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State News And Discussion - II
<b>MCD sealing drive: Delhi turns into virtual battlefield</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Violence erupted in several parts of the capital on Wednesday as traders protesting the MCD's sealing drive clashed with police injuring nearly 100 people, including 30 securitymen and a deputy commissioner of police.

According to TV reports,<b> at least two people were killed in the clashes</b>.
As a precautionary measure, the Metro services were short-terminated at Shashtri Park station, avoiding the areas of Seelampur, Welcome and Shahdara, a DMRC official said.
"Stones were hurled at a Metro train in Shahdara, damaging its windowpanes," he said.
There was chaos at the Shastri Park station as passengers were asked to get off the train and get a refund of their tickets.
<b>"The trade bandh has caused a business loss to about Rs 200 crore and a revenue loss to about Rs 15 crore for Delhi Goverment today,"</b> said CAIT general secretary Praveen Khandelwal.
<!--emo&:argue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/argue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='argue.gif' /><!--endemo--> NATIONAL | INTERNATIONAL | BUSINESS | NRI | SPORTS
Minister's anti-Tipu remark sparks row
Friday, September 22, 2006
Source: IANS
Bangalore: Karnataka Higher Education Minister D.H. Shankaramurthy is at the centre of a controversy.

This time, the controversy is over his remarks against Tipu Sultan, the brave 18th century ruler of Mysore.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader's demand for removal of a lesson on Tipu Sultan from school history books has led to strong protests by political parties, historians, scholars and Muslim organisations across the state.

The Minister's passing reference to Tipu's rule at a college function on Wednesday and his refusal to withdraw the remarks against the "Tiger of Mysore" has provoked remarks from his cabinet colleague Iqbal Ansari of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S). The opposition Congress is seeking his dismissal over the issue.

"History should not be raked up to create controversies. There are many who sacrificed for India's freedom. Tipu was one among them. He fought against the British rulers long before the war of independence," Ansari, who holds the labour and minorities welfare portfolio in the JD(S)-BJP coalition ministry, told IANS here.

Inviting Shankaramurthy to an open debate on Tipu's attributes and contribution to the state or the country, Ansari said there was no basis for raking up history and showing the erstwhile ruler in poor light.

"We, in the JD-S, will take up the issue at the coalition partners' coordination committee meeting to nip the controversy. We will ask the BJP leaders to restrain their minister (Shankaramurthy) from making such remarks in public and justifying them further," Ansari affirmed.

Shankaramurthy is reported to have told students at a local college that Tipu did not deserve to be called a "hero" as he forcibly converted thousands of Hindus to his religion, demolished temples and made Persian the official language, replacing Kannada in the princely state during his rule (1782-1799).

"As per the historical records of that times, Tipu minted coins in Persian. One of his swords had an inscription in Persian denoting his intentions to kill the infidels (kafirs) who did not believe or respect his religion," Shankaramurthy recalled.

Terming the remarks against Tipu irresponsible and unwarranted, playwright and actor Girish Karnad said branding Tipu anti-Kannada and seeking withdrawal of his lesson from school textbooks was ridiculous and smacked of political motivation.

"This is a very irresponsible statement made, unfortunately, by a BJP minister. There's no basis to say Tipu was anti-Kannada. This has nothing to do with education but politics, signalling a larger agenda," said Karnad, aJnanpith award winner.

"In fact, the Wadiyars, who were the last rulers of the princely Mysore state, had used English liberally in their correspondence and issued orders in that language. Does that make them (Wadiyars) anti-Kannada and less patriotic?" Karnad said on Thursday at a protest meeting here against the Minister's remarks.

Instead of burying the hatchet and cooling tempers, Shankaramurthy went on to justify his stand on Tipu and agreed to join the debate with his opponents. Subsequently, when reporters sought clarification on his remarks at a news conference, the Minister said young students should be taught only good things in history to help them grow as individuals and contribute to the good of society.

"Where is the need to teach the young minds about anti-Kannada people like Tipu?" I am not questioning Tipu's contribution or his bravery. I was only referring to some of his actions and attributes," Shankaramurthy asserted.

Angry over the anti-Tipu statements, the Congress state unit urged Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to either sack the Minister or seek his apology for maligning a great ruler and offending the sentiments of the people, especially the Muslim community.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Vice-President H. Hanumanthappa, party state unit general secretaries Abdul Wahab and Prakash Rathod and party chief whip in legislative council Saleem Ahmed said they would launch an agitation if Shankaramurthy was not dropped from the government and made to withdraw his remarks.

Tipu, born on Nov 20, 1750, at Devanahalli on the outskirts of Bangalore, was the first son of Haider Ali. He became king after his father's death in 1782 and ruled the kingdom until his own demise in May 1799 at the battle of Srirangapatnam near Mysore against the British troops.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->History should not be raked up to create controversies....<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Ansariji, so can we now revert back on the caste-based reservations and make it need-based please?
<!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> Democracy for sale in TN, highest bidders get Panchayat posts
Jaya MenonPosted online: Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print EmailLocal Polls: Villagers want me as leader, want me to spend money, says Madurai village Panchayat chief, who is said to have paid Rs 6 lakh at auction
Madurai, September 25: In a blatant violation of the democratic process, several villages across Tamil Nadu, where local-body elections are due on October 13 and 15, are seeing frenetic auctions for the posts of Panchayat presidents, vice-presidents, municipal and town Panchayat ward members.

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Biddings have already taken place in village squares or temple premises in several districts including Madurai, Krishnagiri, Namakkal and Vellore, with at least one Panchayat president post going for Rs 6 lakh.

Sources said Kanda Thevar Bose, a functionary of the All India Forward Bloc, was the highest bidder for the Panchayat president’s post of the Ayyanarkulam village, which falls within the Chellampatti Union in Madurai district.

“He paid Rs 6 lakh for contesting the Panchayat president’s post unopposed,’’ M Thangaraj, the CPM Chellampatti Union Secretary, told The Indian Express.

When contacted tonight, Bose, who is also the sitting Panchayat president, said: “An auction was held and the villagers wanted me to be their leader and they wanted me to spend money for the village. I won the auction.”

Wasn’t this buying his way to the seat? “Three people have filed their nominations but I am confident of winning,” he said. The Panchayat chief’s job is considered a “lucrative” one given his access to village welfare funding.

The auction took place on Saturday in front of village elders, with about five persons participating in the bid. The bid amounts go under various heads including “temple funds” and “village welfare funds.”

In fact, when the local police heard about the bids, they chased away the crowd. But, later, the enterprising villagers stealthily huddled into a van and the auction was conducted in the moving vehicle about 5 km from Ayyanarkulum village, said Thangaraj.

Auction for village panchayat presidents’ posts were held in Rasakkapatti and Vadakaatupatti villages which fall within the Usilampatty Union in Madurai District. In Rasakkapatty village, Maya Thevar, was the highest bidder, promising to build a temple in the village for Rs 2 lakh. In nearby Pottulapatti, Amaithi Thevaraj, who owns a shop in the village, is said to be the highest bidder, paying the village Rs 2 lakh for the Panchayat president’s post.

Said S Venkatesan, Madurai district CPM secretariat member: “We are making all attempts to break these auctions by asking our members to file nominations. We have also informed the District Collectors.”

Shaken by these reports, State Election Commissioner D Chandrashekaran has directed District Collectors to take action. But villagers aren’t quite cooperative. A lawyer, Ravichandran, who dared to defy the village diktat in Pottulapatti by filing his nomination, has been singled out for ostracism.

“As soon as we heard about two or three cases of bidding for local body posts, we sent out teams of revenue officials and police. Villagers started filing their nominations. They gave us in writing that no such bidding has taken place,’’ said G Sundaramurthy, Namakkal District Collector, who has threatened to book those participating in the bids under the Goondas Act.

While elections to the local bodies in the state will be held in two phases on October 13 and 15, Corporation Mayors, municipal and town panchayat chairpersons will be elected by elected councillors on October 28.

The last day for filing of nominations is September 27 and last day for withdrawal of nominations is September 30. The total number of posts for which elections would be held are 130,962.

In 1946, a retired DIG of police in Rajasthan, Baldev Ram Mirdha, created the Marwar Kisan Sabha in Jodhpur division, primarily to introduce land reforms. The Marwar Kisan Sabha represented the Jats, and its merger with Congress after Independence gradually brought the community economic prosperity and political power to the Congress. But one prize has eluded this community, and that is chief ministership.

This issue has come to the boil time and again, mainly because in 1998, Parasram Maderna, the then CLP leader, failed to become the state’s first Jat CM even though the party swept the state, winning 153 of the 200 seats under his leadership. Instead, the Congress leadership plumped for PCC chief Ashok Gehlot as the CM instead of Maderna. Maderna being mass leader and a man of honour chose to sit at home rather then shout out loud in public.

One of the issues of concern for the Congress Party in Rajasthan today remains the detachment of support of the agrarian community post 1998 debacle. The Jats are almost 18 per cent of Rajasthan’s population and are capable of deciding the fate of at least 50 seats directly. Naturally, a significant shift in the community’s vote spell trouble or boom for the party. The Jats have proved their dissatisfaction with the Congress in the consecutive general and assembly elections and from 1999 onwards the BJP has been winning a majority of seats.

The Jat caste in particular and the agrarian community at large has given enough feedback to prove a point that any effort to correct the mistakes of 1998 with any other alternative personality will merely be a futile exercise.

The current scenario of Jat Politics shows that Congress leaders in-charge of Rajasthan are promoting priorities for party ‘in-groups’ that don't resonate at all with the larger public. This is classic case of over-reacting, mixed in with the most myopic opportunism. The real opportunity here is for the Congress to promote a grass root agrarian leader.

<!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo--> arre JaiP ji aap JodhP bhi hote to my answer would have been the same:
Pl tell Maderna ji to join BJP. <span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'><span style='font-family:Impact'>BJP is in power; what's ur problem man?</span></span> <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Shotgun, Suman to perform on Patna Dussehra celebrations</b> <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Patna, Sept 29: In keeping with its aim to show a change in climate in Bihar with the change of guard, <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>the Nitish Kumar government has decided to revive a cultural programme on the occasion of Dussehra here -- a tradition which had stopped for over a decade. </span>

The two-day cultural programme beginning today at the historic Gandhi Maidan being organised at the initiative of the Chief Minister, will see a host of prominent artistes from across the country regaling the audience, Minister for Culture Janardan Singh Sigriwal said.

The three prominent Bollywood personalities hailing from Bihar -- Shatrughan Sinha, Sekhar Suman and Prakash Jha -- would grace the inaugural function today, Sigriwal said.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would inaugurate the cultural night today in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, he added.

Sigriwal said the programme dedicated to legendary USTAD Bismillah Khan, who died recently, intended to show a change in climate in the state with NDA assuming power last year.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I just can't believed Lalu and Rabri patasa stopped Dussehra festival in Patna.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Scarcity of girls impacts Ashtami celebrations in Punjab </b>
Raju William | Ludhiana
With 764 females per 1,000 males, Fatehgarh Sahib district has lowest sex ratio in country
For the past several years, Harleen Kaur, a BCom first year student at a local college here, was again busy on Saturday morning to collect minor girls (kanjaks) for worship at the house of her neighbour - the Sharma family. The irony of the girl child being worshipped as a kanjak on Ashtami day while being routinely killed in the womb all year round might have escaped the attention of the devout in the past, but not any more, it would be seem.

A tough job which to her dismay is becoming tougher every year since she herself used to be part of worship as a kanjak at the Sharmas' house in Model Town Extension.

It is not an odd case, as it turned out. People are finding it increasingly difficult to find girls for this annual ritual thanks to a severely lopsided sex ratio for worship on Ashtami observed on the eighth day of navrataras. Keeping in view the scarcity of girl child, many of them are finding themselves in demand to do rounds of several houses.

This stunning ground reality is reflected in the sex ratio figures of this State known for its saints, soldiers and farmers. The number of females per thousand males has decreased from 882 in 1991 to 874 in the last census. The figures are expected to have come down further as the census is now five years old. The situation is more alarming in comparison to 933 females per 1,000 males as reflected at the national level and shown on the official website of Punjab Government. Punjab also has the notorious distinction of having the lowest sex ratio in the country, which was estimated at 764 females in Fatehgarh Sahib district.

The more aware sections of society may be seized of the problem but the realisation about the menacingly growing gender imbalance in Punjab is due to a persistent decline of kanjaks among lower and middle class.

Will people like Ramesh Bangar, owner of a shoe shop in Ajit Nagar, ever learn? He stopped short of having a heated verbal duel when some girls went "out of turn" to his neighbour's for the purpose. "Until now I really was unmindful about the problem. But what is the Government doing about it'? he asked. .

His question is not without some basis. In Nawan Shahr district, for example, official initiative by deputy commissioner Krishan Kumar coupled with public awareness and active cooperation has changed things for the better. The sex ratio at birth in this district has witnessed a remarkable increase from 770 girls per thousand boys in May 2006 to 935 girls by August 2006. His prescription - awareness, enforcement of law, public support - has worked but, in his words, "still more needs to be done".
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Red States lag in giving jobs, Gujarat & TN excel </b>
Rajeev Ranjan Roy | New Delhi
The Left-ruled States are performing abysmally in giving employment to job seekers registered with the employment exchanges. <b>The 30-year-long Left rule in West Bengal gave jobs to only 7,300 aspirants in 2005 as against 72.91 lakh registered at 75 employment exchanges across the State. </b>Over 4 lakh job seekers were registered in the State last year.

However, <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Gujarat led by the Left leaders' bete noire Narendra Modi tops the list of performing States by providing jobs to 92,000 unemployed persons in 2005,</span> followed by Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The two States provided over 15,300 and 15,000 jobs respectively during the corresponding period.

<b>"The poor placement rate in a State like West Bengal is a sordid reflection on the Government's inability in filling up either existing vacancies at different levels and expanding the health and education infrastructure to generate more job vacancies. At the same time, one should not ignore the deteriorating condition of public sector units and small scale industries in the State,"</b> a Labour Ministry official said.

<b>In Tripura, another Left parties-ruled State, only 200 job seekers were given placements in 2005 as against the registration of over 24,000 youth at the State's </b>five employment exchanges. According to the data compiled by the Directorate General of Employment & Training, Ministry of Labour & Employment, for the year 2005,<b> Kerela, the only Left bastion in south India, registered over 3.24 lakh job seekers at 86 employment exchanges across the State, but only 9,700 registrants got placements.</b>

After Kerala and West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of employment exchanges of 84, where only 1,600 job seekers were placed in Government services and <b>Delhi where only 100 placements were made through 14 employment exchanges against the registration of 94,000 applicants</b>. In Karnataka, 1,700 applicants got jobs against the registration of over 1.54 lakh job seekers in 2005.

Among the worst performing States are <b>Andhra Pradesh, where 1,700 jobs were provided against the registration of over 3.77 lakh</b>. In <b>Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, J&K, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Daman and Diu, less than 50 persons</b> were given placements till December 2005.

The annual rate of growth of employment generation in the past years has been around 2.44 per cent against the growth rate of labour force at 2.51 per cent. Experts feel that this has resulted in an increase in the backlog of unemployment in the country every year.

"There is a need to place the target of employment generation at a rate sufficiently higher than that of the growth rate of labour force to reduce the backlog of unemployment," the official said.

Modi <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo--> Hungry kya? Dial helpline for free meals
[ 6 Oct, 2006 0936hrs ISTPTI ]

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AHMEDABAD: In an effort to help poor and needy people find food, Gujarat government has collaborated with NGOs to start 'hunger helplines' across the state, a first of-its-kind project in the country.

The objective of starting such a project with food charity organisations is to satisfy the basic hunger of people on regular days as well as during natural calamities like floods and earthquake, Gujarat Food and Civil Supply Secretary S K Nanda said.

"There are many organisations in every city of Gujarat which provide food to poor and needy people either free of cost or at very nominal rates. On the other hand there are many people who cannot afford to have two meals a day. The helpline will try to connect the needy to the donors," Nanda said.

A pilot project "hunger helpline" has already started in Surat and around 30 food charity organisations have been clubbed under one organisation, which has been given the responsibility of guiding hungry people to the nearest place in the city where they can get food free of cost.

Those in need for this helpline service just have to call one number to get connected to hunger helpline and an operator directs them to the nearest charity organisation from the area they are making the call, the official said.

<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Bihar to use beggars for AIDS awareness

Press Trust of India

Patna, October 30, 2006
Beggars in Bihar can now be choosers under a novel rehabilitation scheme floated by the state government to hone their talent for singing and dancing to create awareness against aids and polio besides other productive work.
The scheme - Pahchaan - a brainchild of the State Welfare Department Secretary Vijay Prakash, is intended to suitably rehabilitate 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh beggars in the state and harness their natural talent for some productive work, Prakash told PTI today.

Some beggars are good at singing, others are good acrobatic and dance performers while some have tremendous stamina which could be utilised in spreading awareness against diseases like aids and pulse polio programme through their street performance, the Welfare Secretary said.

Prakash said the department with the help of NGOs, was currently identifying beggars and studying their natural talents which would be further honed in a specific area through training programmes.

Depending on their aptitude, they would be engaged in varied works and paid a suitable "honorarium", Prakash said.

Some of them would be engaged in distributing milk and newspapers in households.

The department would provide bicycles and tricycles to the disabled among them.

From Deccan Chronicle

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Populist policies </b> 
Few economists will appreciate Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy’s promise not to impose fresh taxes or to raise bus fares and power tariff till the end of his government’s term in 2009. Normally, any ruling party is reluctant to raise taxes or power tariff and bus fares. But such populism costs the State exchequer dearly, putting a strain on State finances by pushing up budgetary deficits and public debt.

Andhra Pradesh has witnessed this phenomenon since 1983 due to populist schemes and policies pursued by successive governments. Telugu Desam founder N.T. Rama Rao had started it all by implementing the Rs 2-a-kg rice and subsidised saree and dhoti scheme for the poor and power supply for farm sector at concessional rates.

These schemes became a drain on the State’s resources in the 1980s and resulted in substantial cuts in the plan outlays of the State. Again, while in the Opposition, NTR forced the Congress regime to impose a ban on arrack in the 1990s. He revived the Rs 2-a-kg scheme and clamped total prohibition on liquor in 1994, causing terrible strain on the State exchequer. His son-in-law and successor N. Chandrababu Naidu had no option but to raise the taxes, bus fares, power tariffs and subsidised rice price and partially lift prohibition to shore up State finances.

To regain power, the Congress promised free power to farm sector and waived farm power dues. Over the last two-and-a-half years, the present regime has been implementing free power scheme at enormous cost to the exchequer. The scheme was modified to exclude ‘rich’ farmers but it still covers 97 per cent of the farmers.

Finance minister K. Rosaiah has presented three “tax-free” budgets in a row.

There has been no hike in power tariffs for the fifth successive year. Bus fares have been raised only once in February 2006 by the present regime. Good monsoon and buoyancy of State taxes has helped the government tide over the burgeoning financial burden to some extent since 2004. <b>But the State cannot afford populism endlessly, as the State’s public debt has already soared to Rs 82,720 crore this year. </b>

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